Power Rankings: Reno-Tahoe OpenJuly 30, 2013
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist
When tournament organizers of the Reno-Tahoe Open elected to used the Modified Stableford scoring system in 2012, a likely assumption is that eagles and birdies would have nowhere to hide. After all, when there's greater incentive to go low -- it takes two bogeys to negate one birdie, for example -- touring professionals would seem poised to unleash reckless abandon. Except the numbers don't support the theory.
Now, most stats (e.g. driving distance, fairways hit, greens in regulation, strokes gained-putting, scrambling) are not maintained when Modified Stableford scoring is in play, so there are no figures from 2012 to reference. What we know is that 38 eagles and 1,458 birdies were holed at panoramic Montreux Golf and Country Club last year, but neither (and there were no albatrosses) ranks atop the tournament's aggregate for a singular edition in its 14-year history.
There are any number of valid factors to which you can attribute the moderate continuation of par breakers. Golfers at this level know better than to fire at every flag stick regardless of format. There's also the matter of the timing of this tournament and its priority for guys on the bubble to qualify for the imminent FedExCup Playoffs.
Most of all, Montreux simply isn't a pushover. It's a modern Jack Nicklaus design (i.e. bomber's paradise), but this tournament is played a mile above sea level, so adjustments in yardages are necessary and critical upon approach. It can play 7,472 yards from the tips but possesses greens that average just 5,500 square feet.
The scoring system caters to all kinds, so look for diversity on the final leaderboard. It will include golfers that find a groove at a time when they need it most. The points structure for the Modified Stableford is as follows: albatross = 8 points; eagle = 5; birdie = 2; par = 0; bogey= (-1); double bogey or worse = (-3).
Aside from the omnipresent winds in Reno, zero issues are expected with the weather. Sunny and dry conditions will envelop the field of 132. Temperatures will climb into the high 80s.
Power Rankings: Reno-Tahoe Open Rank Player Comment Mark WILSON Coming off a T6 in Canada, his third top 10 of the season. Two top 10s and another two top 25s in last six starts at Montreux. Currently 65th on TOUR in greens hit, 22nd in scrambling and T13 in par-4 scoring average. Rory SABBATINI Continued his roller-coaster summer with a T12 in Canada. In his last nine starts, he's logged two top 10s, another pair of top 20s, missed four cuts and withdrew once. Currently 31st on TOUR in greens hit and ninth in par breakers. J.J. HENRY The defending champion has survived the cut in seven straight starts here. The run includes another three top 10s. Last year, he circled three eagles and 17 birdies against only six bogeys. Top 10s in two of his last five starts this season. Russell KNOX Carded a 59 in the second round of last week's Albertsons Boise Open en route to a T12. Five top 15s on that circuit this year. Top 20s in his last two starts on the PGA TOUR on which he's scored under par in nine of his last 10 rounds. Chad CAMPBELL Since missing the cut at Colonial, he's 7-for-7 and has recorded top 20s in four of his last five starts. Under par in 15 of his last 19 rounds. Ranks T44 on TOUR in greens in regulation. Tied for 15th at Montreux in 2010. Andres ROMERO Held the 18-hole lead last year with 14 points. Went on to finished third. Top 25s in three of his last six starts, including a T21 in Canada. Ranks 18th in par breakers. Current leader with 283 holes played without a three-putt. Steven BOWDITCH Given how hot he can get with his putter and his current form, he possesses the perfect profile for this format. Blitzed through July with a T2 (Greenbrier), a T12 (John Deere) and a T17 (Sanderson Farms) before taking a break. Brendon TODD In just eight starts, he's 154th in FedExCup points. Four top 20s in his last five starts. Ranks 14th in earnings on the Web.com Tour. Would lead PGA TOUR in scrambling and rank inside the top five in par-3 and par-4 scoring if eligible. Stuart APPLEBY While he's just 124th in FedExCup points, he's carded 41 rounds under par this year. Ranks 37th in strokes gained-putting and sixth in scrambling. Two top 20s at Montreux in as many starts, including a T16 last year. James DRISCOLL Tied for 21st at the RBC Canadian Open, his third top 25 in five starts. Ranked second in par-4 scoring average at Glen Abbey. Overall, he's eighth on TOUR in strokes gained-putting, T45 in par breakers and 39th in scrambling.