By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM contributor
PALM HARBOR, Fla. – Brian Harman and Harris English have a lot of shared experiences from their days at the University of Georgia, and both have spent the week near the top of the leaderboard at the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank.
In one aspect, though, they might prefer disassociate from each other. On both days thus far, promising rounds have been spoiled at the final hole.
“You’ve just got to stay so patient out there,” said Harman, two shots behind leader Shawn Stefani’s pace after closing bogeys each day. “I just missed it in a couple of bad spots, and I paid for it.”
The lefty pulled his drive at No.18, then got a bad break when he watched it kick even farther left. He managed to steer his second shot to the front of the green, but three-putted when he left his first attempt 14 feet short.
“That green is just so tough,” he said. “If I got it anywhere past the hole, it’s going to go off the green. It’s almost kind of like a layup, unfortunately, but you’ve just got to take your medicine sometimes.”
English spent much of Thursday in the lead until a double bogey at Innisbrook’s tough 18th hole. One day later, he was one shot back until a bogey at No.9 after finding a fairway bunker.
“This is a tough golf course,” English said. “You have to hit it really straight and make a lot of putts. The pins are real tough out here and if you hit it in the rough, it’s real hard to make par.”
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: This rookie got a taste of the FedExCup Playoffs and liked what he saw. Finding a way to put four rounds together more frequently in 2013 will be key to getting there again.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Brian Harman's lone top-10 of the season came at an opportune time as he opened with a 65 at Bethpage that left him one stroke off the lead. The Georgia grad went on to finish 10th and jump from 97th to 41st in the Playoffs, where he would last two more events. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: At 150 pounds, Harman might be the lightest player on the PGA TOUR but he certainly puts up big numbers. The rookie made 21 of 30 cuts including a fifth place finish at the Barclays. That’s a great rookie season. Standing just 5-foot-7, he still averaged more than 290 yards per drive. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: It's still hard to digest that he'll turn just 26 in mid-January, but he was ripe to reap a full season on the PGA TOUR, and that he did in 2012. The lefty went 21-for-30 with eight top 20s in his rookie year. What's more, he carried a devil-may-care attitude around with him, which gamers crave. Deserved of a spot in all formats, including salary games at $1.146 million. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
SOCIAL MEDIA: Find him on Twitter
2012 QUICK REVIEW
|Regular Season ranking
|Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finishes||T5||The Barclays|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 21
Rounds played: 101
Top-10 finishes: 1
Money List rank: 87th
Driving distance: 87th
Driving accuracy: 33rd
Greens in regulation: 127th
Strokes gained-putting: 74th
Scoring average: 88th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN What is your prediction for Brian Harman in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- There are more than spots in the top 125 on the money list on the line this week, at least for Brian Harman.
Harman entered the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic 85th in money. After a 66, however, he’s projected to move up 20 spots, which would guarantee him a spot in all the invitationals next year.
The rookie out of the University of Georgia has had an impressive season so far -- he tied for fifth at The Barclays, 10th at the CIMB Classic, 11th at the AT&T National and posted back-to-back T-15s at the John Deere Classic and RBC Canadian Open in mid-summer.
“It’s been the most fun year of my life,” Harman said Thursday.
After five birdies, an eagle and no bogeys on the Palm Course in the opening round, next season could be even more fun.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
Brian Harman is one of the success stories of the FedExCup Playoffs so far, turning in the best finish of his PGA TOUR career at The Barclays to shoot from 97th in points to 41st.
He was near the bubble at the start of the week at the Bethpage State Park Black Course; now he’s in a pretty good spot to play through this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship and into next week’s BMW Championship.
And maybe one degree did it.
The lefthander doesn’t carry a 3-iron in his TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC set, and found himself pressing on approach shots to long par 4s in an early-week practice round – his first ever on the intimidating Black Course.
So he brought his irons to the TaylorMade van Monday night and had all of them (4-iron through PW) bent one degree strong. Come Thursday, in the first round of The Barclays, he shot 65. He ended the week tied for fifth, showing an impressive aversion to Playoffs pressure.
“It has to creep in, but you let those thoughts come and just let them pass,” Harman said. “You know the best way to assure a spot next week is focus on hitting the 4‑iron, 6‑iron, whatever it is.”
In his case, one degree stronger.
HEAVY METAL: Titleist’s new 913D3 prototype driver has won two of the last three events on TOUR, with Nick Watney’s win at The Barclays coming on the heels of Rory McIlroy’s dominant win at the PGA Championship.
Titleist also debuted its 913 fairway and hybrid prototypes at Bethpage. Graham DeLaet, the biggest mover of all last week with his T5 finish at The Barclays (from No. 106 to No. 44 in the FedExCup), used a 913F fairway.
TWO GLOVES MOVES ON: Tommy Gainey played himself from outside the top 100 in FedExCup points into a spot this week at TPC Boston after a T38 at The Barclays. He made adjustments to his Callaway Razr Fit driver to find some more spin, specifically by changing his upright hosel stting and adding more weight in the toe of the driver while taking it out of the heel.
The result? Gainey could still hit a hard cut but with more than 100 RPMs of spin.
GOLF WITH ZACH: GolfLogix, makers of the game’s best-selling golf app and a leader in GPS technology, is having a sweepstakes where four winners will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to play golf with nine-time PGA TOUR winner Zach Johnson at his home course in St. Simons Island, Ga.
Existing GolfLogix “Champion” members and those who join or upgrade memberships by Sept. 3 are automatically entered. For more information and to enter without purchase, visit here.
WINNER’S BAG: Nick Watney at The Barclays:
Driver: Titleist 913D3 (10.5 degrees)
Fairway woods: Titleist 910F (15, 19 degrees)
Irons: Titleist AP2 (3-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM4 (54, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron GSS
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- Brian Harman says he's playing with house money right now.
He's a rookie on the PGA TOUR and he made the FedExCup Playoffs in his first try. And the way Harman is playing this week at The Barclays, he's likely to stick around for another week, too.
Harman fired a 68 Saturday on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park to move into the top 10 at 6 under. He started the week ranked 97th in the FedExCup and was projected 51st when he finished the third round.
"I think it's awesome," Harman said. "... This golf course is unbelievable. It's going to be really interesting this afternoon if that wind gets picked up.
"I might actually go to the hotel room and watch it and try to get an idea of what it might be like tomorrow afternoon. It's an awesome venue and the fans are great and it's been a great experience so far."
Harman, who had opened with a 65, made four birdies, one eagle and two bogeys, one of which came at the 18th hole. He said he was surprised by the firmness of the greens on Friday when he shot 75 but got back to his game plan in the third round.
"I knew they were going to be firm today and just played accordingly," he said. "Had some things go my way, got off to a good start and got some momentum. Played really well and putted okay."
Harman, who came in three spots above the cutoff for next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship, said that he's tried hard to keep his position in the FedExCup out of his mind. Not that it's easy, of course.
"I know that if I play this course the way that I can, that I'm going to be fine," Harman said. "And as long as I just worry about the things that I can control, that's all I can worry about."
Brian Harman discussed his opening 65 in Thursday's first round of The Barclays.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- The biggest gallery during Thursday's first round of The Barclays belonged to Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Zach Johnson.
The overflow belonged to Brian Harman's group.
Harman, with playing partners Bryce Molder and Ricky Barnes, were in the threesome immediately behind the Tiger-Rory group. Those fans who hung back saw Harman, the PGA TOUR rookie, shoot a 6-under 65 to find a spot near the top of the leaderboard.
"Once a couple of their galleries sort of hung around on a couple holes to watch me play a little bit, so it was really cool," said the left-handed playing Harman, whose best finish this year is a tie for 11th at the AT&T National.
Harman said he used his prime viewing spot to watch Woods and McIlroy play and hopefully glean some knowledge from the FedExCup points leader and the world's No. 1 player.
"It was fun to watch them," said the 25-year-old Harman. "I got to watch them hit a bunch of shots, and I've gotten to talk to Tiger a couple times. He's an awesome dude. That's cool to watch those guys in their element and learn something."
Must be a fast learner, as Harman twice holed out from off the green. He also rolled in all 14 of his putts inside 10 feet, and he said his distance control "was really good."
"Just solid golf," Harman added.
And he was never distracted by the big crowds in front of him.
"I'm an old baseball player," said Harman. “I like it kind of boisterous out here. It was fun."
THREE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT BRIAN HARMAN
1. Golf is the only thing he does left-handed
2. Always uses a quarter to mark his ball
3. Dream foursome includes Megan Fox, Heidi Klum and Kid Rock