Bud Cauley is looking for his first PGA TOUR win. (Cohen/Getty Images)
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Bud Cauley came into this week's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial on a streak he'd rather avoid.
In his previous 12 rounds on the PGA TOUR prior to Thursday, Cauley had failed to break 70. That included his last start, THE PLAYERS Championship, in which he shot 78-72 and missed the cut. He hadn't shot a round in the 60s since a third-round 65 at the Shell Houston Open in late March.
But he opened with a 3-under 67 at Colonial to break his streak, and on Saturday, he posted his third consecutive round in the 60s, a 4-under 66 that vaulted him up the leaderboard.
Cauley is 8 under through 54 holes and should be within striking distance of the lead going into Sunday's final round.
"The golf course fits my eye," Cauley said. "I definitely feel comfortable, but you still have to go out there and execute. That's what I've been trying to do."
The third round was not a particular great ball-striking round for Cauley, who hit just 9 of 18 greens in regulation. But he saved par four of the five times he found a bunker, and he needed just 23 putts on his round.
Cauley's best finish this year in 13 starts is a tie for 10th at the Valero Texas Open.
"I started hitting it a little bit better," Cauley said. "I'm going to keep working on the things I've been working on. And obviously short game is what it's all about anyway, so I keep working on that and go out and try to make some birdies tomorrow."
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here.
2013 PREVIEW: With a year that included six top-10 finishes under his belt, 22-year-old Bud Cauley seems poised for success in 2013. The former Alabama All-American was remarkably consistent, finishing 25th or better in nearly half of the events where he made the cut, and came within eight spots of advancing to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in his first full season on TOUR.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Cauley started the final round of the Wyndham Championship one shot off the pace being set by Sergio Garcia, then ended up in sole possession of third. It was his third finish of fourth or better in his last three starts, and matched his career best finish at the 2011 Frys.com Open. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: I guess I was a little disappointed in Bud's season but that's more a reflection of my high expectations than in Cauley's performance. He had six Top 10 finishes and was 35th in the FedEx Cup Regular Season. I thought he would win in 2012 and am predicting a victory for him in 2013. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: On his way. Arguably best among the rookies that didn't win in 2012. Went 21-for-28 with six top 10s and $1.774 million. Found a zone late, posting top fives in three of four starts to end the regular season. Amassed 28 starts, a total gamers would love to see him repeat but can't expect. Showcased a wonderful touch around greens -- ranked eighth in scrambling and sixth in sand saves -- a skill set that should prevent a sophomore slump. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
SOCIAL MEDIA: Find him on Twitter
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking 35th
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finishes||3rd||Wyndham Championship|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 21
Rounds played: 99
Top-10 finishes: 6
Money List rank: 44th
Driving distance: 74th
Driving accuracy: 112th
Greens in regulation: 51st
Strokes gained-putting: 84th
Scoring average: 51st
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN What is your prediction for Bud Cauley in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The nominees for 2012 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year were released on Monday -- Charlie Beljan, Jonas Blixt, Bud Cauley, John Huh and Ted Potter Jr.
Players were nominated by the PGA TOUR Player Directors and members of the Player Advisory Council (PAC). The awards are determined by a member vote, with PGA TOUR members who played in at least 15 official money events in 2012 eligible to vote. The balloting process ends on Nov. 30, with the winner to be announced in early December.
A quick look at each Rookie of the Year nominee:
CHARLIE BELJAN: Won one event (Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic), posted three-top-10 finishes, finished 63rd on official money list and 160th in FedExCup points
JONAS BLIXT: Won one event (Frys.com Open), posted five top-10 finishes, finished 34th on the official money list and 71st in FedExCup points
BUD CAULEY: Posted six-top 10 finishes, finished 44th on official money list and 38th in FedExCup points
JOHN HUH: Won one event (Mayakoba Golf Classic), posted four top-10 finishes, finished 28th on official money list and 29th in FedExCup points
TED POTTER JR.: Won one event (The Greenbrier Classic) for his only top-10 finish, finished 62nd on official money list and 93rd in FedExCup points
Now it’s your turn: Who do you think will win this year’s Rookie of the Year?
Bud Cauley and Marco Dawson share the first-round lead at The McGladrey Classic.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
A year ago, Justin Rose chipped in for birdie on the penultimate hole of the BMW Championship and held off John Senden by two shots to win the BMW Championship. The victory moved Rose from 34th to third in the FedExCup standings and punched his ticket to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Those outside the top 30 in the standings entering this week are hoping for a similar fate. Six players moved outside the bubble to inside it in the first week of the FedExCup Playoffs, and nine turned the trick last week.
Who, if anyone, will move from outside the top 30 and advance to East Lake in two weeks? Here’s a closer look at five players who I think could bust this week’s bubble. Fill out the form below and let us know which players from outside the top 30 you think will advance.
Bud Cauley (No. 33): For the second straight year, Cauley is playing his best golf when the pressure has been on. Last season, Cauley finished third at the Frys.com Open and 15th at the McGladrey Classic to lock up a card and avoid q-school. This year, Cauley has three finishes in the top 4 in his last six starts. One of those was a tie for 10th at The Barclays. Only four rookies have reached the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola since the inception of the FedExCup in 2007, but if Cauley can putt the way he did at Bethpage, I think he’ll advance. Click here for FedExCup Tracker
Seung-Yul Noh (No. 38): In Noh’s last 10 events, he’s finished outside the top 30 just twice (and one of those was a 31st-place finish). He tied for 13th last week in Boston, 21st at the PGA Championship and a season-best fourth at the AT&T National in July. Noh is also long off the tee, averaging just over 300 yards, and ranks in the top 25 in greens in regulation. He’s also pretty good with the flat stick (60th in strokes gained-putting). I think Noh not only advances, I think he flirts with the top of the leaderboard at Crooked Stick.
William McGirt (No. 39): By his own admission, McGirt has been watching the FedExCup standings since the week after the U.S. Open. He responded, too, finishing 13th at the Travelers Championship before adding a fifth-place finish in Mississippi and a runner-up in Canada. In his first two Playoffs events, McGirt finished 10th and 26th, respectively. The latter moved him up seven spots, so he’ll probably need something slightly better to make it to East Lake. But if McGirt can roll it the way he has each of the last two weeks, he’ll have a good chance.
Jeff Overton (No. 40): The Indiana native could either collapse under the pressure of trying to perform in front of a hometown audience, or thrive in it. I’m going with the latter, especially with Crooked Stick being a big ballpark and Overton being a big hitter. He seemed to have found something last week in Boston, where he tied for seventh.
Vijay Singh (No. 49): Given his position, Singh is going to need a very good week to climb into the top 30. But the 49-year-old has also done a nice job of managing his schedule with a couple of weeks off in what’s been a very busy stretch of golf. Singh contended at the PGA Championship before fading on the weekend, and he’s done the same for the most part in each of his last two starts -- which is certainly a concern. But the big Fijian played his way to East Lake last year with a tie for third at The Barclays after failing to reach the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola each of the previous two years, and I could see him doing it again this week at Crooked Stick.
The first four months of the season went relatively well for Bud Cauley.
In his first dozen starts in his first full year on the PGA TOUR, he recorded five to-20 finishes, including a season-best tie for fourth at Bay Hill.
Then Cauley found out it’s not that easy. He missed three straight cuts and failed to finish in the top 25 in seven starts.
“I think I maybe hit the wall a little bit,” he said. “It's a lot of golf.”
Cauley turned things around, though, when he visited his coach the week before the True South Classic. He went on to tie for fourth in Mississippi.
Friday, he kept that momentum going with a 7-under 63 to move into contention at the RBC Canadian Open.
“I played a lot in the beginning,” Cauley continued. “I feel a little more refreshed now.”
He’s playing like it, too.
Cauley made six birdies, an eagle and just one bogey Friday. He took only 26 putts after hitting 14 greens in regulation.
“Putting helps everything,” Cauley said. “I need to keep doing what I'm doing. I played well last week, put four good rounds together and two solid rounds this week. I'll just try to keep it going.”