Resort life, Greenbrier style!
Time to shake out the sand, pull down the umbrella and empty the cooler as it’s back to work with the new PGA TOUR season!
The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia, located in the Allegheny Mountains will host for the ninth time and for the second consecutive year under the moniker of “A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier.”
The Old White TPC will stretch to 7,292 yards and play as a Par-70 (34-36) as usual, as 156 players, including all 50 graduates from the Korn Ferry Tour, will be looking to become winner No. 1 of the new season.
On the line for the winner is a two-year exemption, 500 FedExCup points and $1.35 million cash money.
Keith Foster’s redesign after the tragic flood of 2016 will be in year three. Veteran gamers will remember that this track has had a major upgrade about every two years, which makes trends more difficult to find. Foster’s upgrades after the flooding include expanded Bentgrass greens (6,500 square feet on average), new hole locations, new grasses (tees, fairways and greens) and a massive tree removal for better sight lines. Old yardage books and green maps won’t be as valuable as they once were as I’m setting my sights on the last two years more than the previous six events.
2018: Kevin Na (-19, 261)
The most bizarre trend at this event is no round leader, co or otherwise after 18, 36 or 54 holes has won the tournament. … Na began Sunday one shot behind Harold Varner III and Kelly Kraft (not entered), posted 64 and won comfortably by five. Only Russell Henley (63, 10th) posted a lower final round. … Na joined seven of the eight winners in the top 10 in Strokes-Gained: Putting as he was second. He was also the second winner after the redesign to rank in the top five in bogey avoidance.
Notables: Jason Kokrak had his best showing in five tries as he opened 65-64 and cashed T3. … Anirban Lahiri posted 61 in just his second round here, but didn’t break par on the weekend (T39). … Whee Kim opened 62-68 before 76-75 dropped him to 74. … Lahiri and Kokrak were bogey-free through 36 holes while Varner needed 43 holes to square his first. … This was the first co-54-hole lead for Varner. … Just 22 bogey-free rounds an only seven on the weekend. … Scott Stallings (2011) is the only winner of eight to post a round in the 70s.
2017: Xander Schauffele (-14, 266)
Sebastian Munoz led after all three rounds, but Schauffele posted 67 to win by one. … Joined Stallings and Ted Potter, Jr., (2012) as rookies to win. … Schauffele and Danny Lee (2015) joined the above as first-time winners on TOUR. … Led field in GIR, was T4 in bogey avoidance and sixth in SG: Putting. … Backed up his T5 at Erin Hills with T14 at Travelers and T35 at QLN before snatching win No. 1.
Notables: Robert Streb finished second for the second consecutive time after he lost a playoff to Danny Lee in 2015. … Munoz opened with 61, but closed with 72 for T3. … Henley cashed T5 and included 64 in Round 2. … Lift, clean and replace was used the first two rounds. … Of the top 13, there were just three rounds in the 70s.
2016: No Event
2015: Danny Lee (-13, 267)
None of the four, 54-hole co-leaders qualified for the four-man playoff in which Lee conquered to pick up his first TOUR victory. … Lee became the fourth international winner in six events and third in a row. … David Hearn and Kevin Kisner (not entered) joined Lee and Streb in the playoff. … None of the four, 54-hole co-leaders are entered this week. … Henley fired 63 on Sunday for solo fifth. … Streb putted with his wedge on the back nine after bending his putter. … 45 bogey-free rounds for the week.
Key stat leaders
Golfers around the top 25 in each statistic on the 2018-19 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.
* – top 10 finish in the last five events here
1 Denny McCarthy
3 Dominic Bozzelli
7 Patton Kizzire
10 Beau Hossler
15 Harris English
16 Billy Horschel
18 *Johnson Wagner
19 Peter Malnati
22 Patrick Rodgers
23 Sam Ryder
28 Bryson DeChambeau (T14, 2018)
(Six of eight winners UNDER-par on Par-3 holes)
1 Wes Roach
3 *Alex Cejka
3 Scott Piercy
7 *Danny Lee
7 *Keegan Bradley
7 Marc Leishman
7 Shawn Stefani
7 Denny McCarthy
16 Billy Horschel
16 Ryan Armour
20 *Bud Cauley (T9, 2014 last start)
20 *Johnson Wagner (T2, 2013)
20 Brian Stuard
20 *Jason Kokrak
27 Roberto Castro
27 Nick Watney
27 Bryson DeChambeau
27 Richy Werenski
Rounds in the 60s
1 Sungjae Im
11 Denny McCarthy
14 Scott Piercy
14 Harris English
14 *Joaquin Niemann
20 *Sebastian Munoz
22 *Jason Kokrak
27 Peter Malnati
27 J.J. Spaun
27 *Harold Varner, III
27 *Nick Taylor (T9, 2017)
27 *Bud Cauley
27 *Joel Dahmen
Russell Henley: He’s 34-under in the last three here so the Keith Foster redesign obviously suits his eye. … He’s 29-under over his last nine rounds, which includes 63, 64 and 63.
Jason Kokrak: Obviously figured out something last summer as he darted out to 65-64 before settling for third in his fifth trip. His form entering the week plus his performance last year should have gamers drooling.
Robert Streb: He’s 36-under over the last three editions so don’t be dismayed by T11 last year! That total includes a round of 71 so put a saddle on him this week!
Joaquin Niemann: Closed with 64 in 2017 before his bookends of 63 and 64 in 2018. His last five rounds are 18-under aggregate including a 72. Vamos!
Harold Varner III: Backed up his T29 in 2017 with the co-54-hole lead last year (T5).
Sebastian Munoz: Did everything but win in 2017 as noted above. His best two rounds were lift, clean and replace before they played it down on the weekend. Caution.
David Hearn: Fell in the 2015 playoff, but returned with T14 in 2017 and T30 last year. Korn Ferry grad found form in their final event.
Alex Cejka: With limited status he’s in this week on a track he obviously loves after posting 18-under in the two editions post-2016. His paydays of T9 and T13 include two rounds of par or worse.
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