Horses for Courses: Butterfield Bermuda Championship

This is the third edition at Port Royal Golf Club so we should have some clues on who handles this short track in paradise.

The desert sand of Las Vegas will be replaced by the pink sand beaches on Bermuda this week as a field of now 127 tees it up for the third consecutive autumn at Port Royal Golf Club.

Constructed in 1970 by Robert Trent Jones, the windswept 6,828 yards of Port Royal plays to Par-71 (36-35). As wind is always a factor in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, there’s not a heavy penalty for missing fairways. Only two inches of Bermuda bounds the fairways. TifEagle greens are ample targets averaging 6,000 square feet and won’t be as slick as their cousins Stateside in summer time. 88 bunkers and water on five holes will also provide the other defenses outside of the steady sea breeze.

The previous two winners should provide ample clues on what it takes to get it over the finish line. Brian Gay and Brendon Todd are notorious for their accuracy off the tee and ability to hole putts. Neither will win any long drive contests on TOUR but are both veteran winners who knew how to keep it out of trouble (check Bogey Avoidance) and get the ball up and down. They both took care of business on the back nine and closed the deal against the next generation.

No longer an opposite field event, the purse is $6.5 million with the winner pocketing $1.117 million plus 500 FedExCup points. The winner is also eligible for the Sentry Tournament of Champions, the Masters and all of the other perks awarded to full field winners.

Recent Event Winners

Season20212020
Year20202019
   
WinnerBrian GayBrendon Todd
Score269 (-15)260 (-24)
MOVPlayoff4
Age4834
   
Runner-upWyndham ClarkHarry Higgs
   
AccuracyT44
GIRT1510
   
Putting: Birdie or Better %104
Birdies20 (T3)27 (1st)
Eagles1 (T3)0 (T34)
   
Putting Average63
3 Putts20
   
ScramblingT164
Bogey AvoidanceT22
   
Par-3 ScoringT441
Par-4 Scoring1T1
Par-5 ScoringT49T26

Recent Winners

Last year – Brian Gay (-15, 269)

Birdied the first playoff hole to win. … Birdied the 72nd hole to reach a playoff. … Closed with 64, T2 round of the day. … Trailed by as many as four shots on the back nine. … Posted all four rounds 70 or better. … T3 2019. … 44 birdies in 144 holes over two years. … Picks up his fifth TOUR win at age 48. … First win since 2013 American Express. … Entered the week on four consecutive MC.

Notables in the field this week:

Denny McCarthy (T4) co-led the field with 21 birdies and posted the low round on Sunday with 63. … Ryan Armour (T8) matched his 2019 result as he shared the 36 hole lead. … David Hearn (T8) matched his 2019 result as he closed 67-66. … Kramer Hickok (T8) posted all four rounds in the 60s and was T1 GIR. … Kiradech Aphibarnrat (T11) was T4 Fairways and T4 Putts. … Michael Gligic (T11) only made seven bogeys (T2). … Anirban Lahiri (T11) co-led the field with 21 birdies. … Peter Malnati (T21) led after 18 holes with 63. … Defending champ Brendon Todd missed the cut. … The top 11 players were 10-under or better. … The cut was 1-over par.

2019 – Brendon Todd (24-under, 260 – not entered)

Tied the course record with 62 on Sunday to win by four. … Made birdie on holes 2 thru 8 and went out in 29. … Began Round 4 two shots off the lead. … Posted 63 in Round 2. … 17-under on the front nine for the week. … Hit it great and made everything (check table). … Picks up his second TOUR victory in 177th start at age 34. … Won the following week at Mayakoba. … T28 Houston previous outing.

Notables in the field this week:

Brian Gay (T3) circled 24 birdies (T4). … Hank Lebioda (T4) fired 63 on Sunday. … Fabian Gomez (7th) closed 66-65 and was T2 GIR. … Ryan Armour (T8) posted 25 birdies and was 9th Putting. … David Hearn (T8) led the field with 41 Fairways. … Bo Hoag (T11) posted two rounds of 64. … Russell Knox (T11) only squared four bogeys and was T2 GIR. … Beau Hossler (T24) T2 Birdies with 26 and No. 1 in Putting. … Weather was perfect. … Cut was 2-under. … There was only TWO rounds OVER par in the top 23. … 22 bogey-free rounds. … Scoring average 69.656.

KEY STAT LEADERS

Top golfers in each statistic on the PGA TOUR (thru 2021 season) are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week.

Driving Accuracy
RankPlayer
  
3Brian Stuard
4Ryan Armour
8David Hearn
12JJ Spaun
14Kramer Hickok
17Matt Fitzpatrick
19Mark Hubbard
20Vaughn Taylor
38Russell Knox
45Austin Cook
46Chase Seiffert
47Matthew NeSmith
52Jason Dufner
55Lucas Glover
58Bo Hoag
59Nick Taylor
63Cameron Percy
  
Strokes-Gained: Putting
RankPlayer
  
4Patrick Reed
19Adam Hadwin
22Denny McCarthy
27Hank Lebioda
34Michael Gligic
38Matt Fitzpatrick
39Ryan Armour
48Austin Cook
49Vaughn Taylor
52Mark Hubbard
54Martin Trainer
57Peter Malnati
58David Hearn
59Brian Stuard
61Beau Hossler
  
Scrambling
RankPlayer
  
2Seamus Power
7Hank Lebioda
21Patrick Reed
24Scott Stallings
27Vaughn Taylor
29Sean O’Hair
33Fabian Gomez
40Russell Knox
43Bo Hoag
45Brian Stuard
46Jason Dufner
58Camilo Villegas
61Nick Taylor
67Anirban Lahiri
68Denny McCarthy
70Scott Brown

Horses for Courses – Butterfield Bermuda Championship

PlayerTop 10sTop 25sMost RecentNotes
(Starts/Cuts Made)(calendar year) 
     
Brian Gay (2/2)22Win (2020)T3 2019; 33-under par
Denny McCarthy (2/2)12T4 (2020)T15 2019; Closed with 63 last year, co-low round of the week
David Hearn (2/2)22T8 (2020)T8 2019; 7 of 8 rounds in 60s
Ryan Armour (2/2)22T8 (2020)T8 2019; All 8 rounds in the red
Kramer Hickok (2/2)12T8 (2020)T15 2019; All 8 rounds in the 60s
Russell Knox (2/2)02T11 (2020)T16 2019; Hit 5 more fairways than anyone last year
Michael Gligic (2/2)01T11 (2020)T53 2019; closed 69-66 last year
Anirban Lahiri (2/2)01T11 (2020)Co-led the field with 21 birdies; 66-73 WD 2019
Kiradech Aphibarnrat (1/1)01T11 (2020)T3 Fairways
Sepp Straka (1/2)01T21 (2020)Best 2 rounds are last 2
Peter Malnati (1/1)01T21 (2020)Opened with 63, FRL; T3 Birdies with 20
     
     
Hank Lebioda (2/2)12T3 (2019)T16 2020; Closed 63 2019
Fabian Gomez (1/2)117 (2019)MC 2020
Bo Hoag (1/2)01T11 (2019)22 birdies, 7th Putting
Scott Stallings (2/2)01T18 (2019)T26 last year; 5 rounds 60s
Ben Crane (1/1)01T18 (2019)All 4 rounds 60s
Beau Hossler (2/2)01T24 (2019)T26 last year; 26 Birdies 2019; Top 3 Putting both 
John Merrick (1/1)01T24 (2019)Led the field GIR
     
OthersNotes
     
Seamus Power (2/2)   T37, T31
Cameron Percy (2/2)   T26, T48
Joseph Bramlett (2/2)   T45, T31
Ricky Barnes (2/2)   T63, T53
John Senden (2/2)   T49, T62

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