Power Rankings: Reno-Tahoe Open

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July 12, 2010
Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist

While the top cats are off scratching for the Claret Jug, the rank and file of the PGA TOUR returns west for one week. The Reno-Tahoe Open replaces the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee as the concurrent event to the British Open, and Montreux Golf and Country Club is about as opposite as it gets from Brown Deer Park. From a cozy, neighborhood parkland track to big sky country.

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Jack Nicklaus once called Montreux one of his top five favorite courses. She's a beauty all right. She's also part beast. It plays at nearly 7,500 yards, but it has to. Hovering around a mile above sea level, yardages are inflated. Meanwhile, greens average just 5,500 square feet, putting a premium on ball-striking. It ranked as the 10th-most difficult track in greens hit in 2009. It was also eighth-toughest in sand saves.

Of 12 categories measuring proximity to the hole from the rough, it ranked inside the top 10 most difficult in 11 of them, and was No. 1 in four ranges. And of the 14 categories measuring distance on putts, Montreux was among the 10 most difficult in eight. Its scoring average was just below par (71.91). In a nutshell, guys that are on top of their games - and math conversions - should thrive. Bonus for distance off the tee.

The same weather that the touring pros have typically enjoyed in August is in store this week. Sunny skies and high temps in the 90s are expected. Winds will be predictably challenging. While former resident, Scott McCarron, is the official host -- the only active golfer that serves in that capacity on the PGA TOUR schedule -- even he couldn't have asked the Chamber of Commerce for more ideal conditions.

Power Rankings: Reno-Tahoe Open
Rank Player   Comment
Vaughn
TAYLOR
Recorded consecutive victories here in 2004-05, but cracks the list based on his recent play. Finished T9 at the Travelers, T11 at the AT&T National and sixth at the John Deere. He's 16th in ball-striking, aided by ranking 20th in greens in regulation.
John
ROLLINS
En route to victory here last year, he ranked T4 in fairways hit, fourth in distance off the tee, third in putting and had a field-high three eagles. Four top 15s in five starts here, including a T2 in 2008. Co-owns course record of 62. Currently 28th in ball-striking.
Kris
BLANKS
Chasing redemption from his runner-up finish at the last opposite event in Puerto Rico. Leads the TOUR in ball-striking (second in greens), and has three top 10s, including a T9 at the Travelers. Less than $1900 shy of hitting seven figures in earnings.
Joe
OGILVIE
Enters the week on the heels of a pair of top 25s. Finished T13 in greens hit at the AT&T National, T3 in putting at the John Deere and inside the top 10 in birdies at both. Finished in the top 25 in his last five starts in Reno, including a fourth-place payday in 2009 (T2, GIR).
Robert
GARRIGUS
Since his gut-wrenching playoff loss at the St. Jude, he's finished outside the top 65 in three starts. Leads the PGA TOUR in distance off the tee, which has come in handy on Montreux. He cashed for a T9 last year and a T21 in 2008.
John
MERRICK
Has cashed in 17 of 20 starts this year, but his mildly impressive T16 at the AT&T National is a season-best. He's eighth in ball-striking, which helps explain his success in Reno: T8 in 2008, T4 in 2007.
Alex
CEJKA
Great record here: T9 in 2006, T12 in '07 and T5 in '09. Currently 23rd on TOUR in fairways hits and 49th in greens in regulation. Still relatively fresh off a T8 at the U.S. Open and T3 at the BMW International Open.
Rod
PAMPLING
No, really. Mired in a miserable season, he found some game at the John Deere, where he posted a season-high T15, finishing T3 in greens hit. Finished eighth in Reno a year ago, placing T5 in greens hit and T6 in birdies.
Ryan
PALMER
A horse for the course. Has cashed just once in his last 10 starts of 2010 (T9, Texas Open). Finished T5 here in 2009 (T1 in birdies, second in putting) and T4 in '08 (T2 in birdies, T9 in putting). Comes in ranked 18th in putting. Epitome of a flyer this week.
Jonathan
KAYE
Pretty much the only time all year you'll see him included in this feature. Has four top 10s in seven starts at the RTO, including a T9 last year when he finished in the top 20 in FIR and GIR, and had just seven bogeys. Colorado native familiar with the altitude.

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