Newly engaged Jeff Overton opened with a 65 on Thursday at the Sony Open (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
By Ann Miller, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
HONOLULU — Two months ago, Jeff Overton was on one knee in Italy asking opera singer Christina Zimmer to marry him. Thursday, the couple was in Hawaii celebrating their engagement and the first full-field event of the 2013 PGA TOUR season.
Overton opened his eighth year on tour with a 5-under 65 at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He was a shot off Scott Piercy’s pace halfway through the first round at Waialae Country Club.
But back to November, when everything was “rocking and rolling.”
He and Zimmer went to Florence, where her mom grew up. He took her to Piazzale Michelangelo, on a hill on the south bank of the Arno River, overlooking the city.
“It seemed romantic,” Overton said. “It seemed like it made her think I’m romantic, even though she says I’m not.
“Got down on one knee right there, family was pretty close by and then they were there to take pictures and kind of celebrate. Worked out great.”
In other words, she said yes. They came home and bought a house in Florida and Overton went to work on his bunker play — “the worst part of my game.”
He has yet to win on TOUR, but Overton has four runner-up finishes and earned nearly $10 million. Last year, the 2005 Indiana graduate grabbed four Top 10s.
Thursday he went into four bunkers and got up and down each time. Overton drained par putts of seven and nine feet and birdied both par-5s from the bunker, from 19 feet at the ninth after plugging in the face, and 2 feet at the 18th.
He hit it close for birdie on the 12th and 13th, drained a 15-footer at the 17th and sank a nine-footer at No. 6 to nullify his only bogey.
“I’m really excited about it,” Overton said. “I don’t think I’ve ever shot this low here, never gone real low here. But it’s been weird because I should play good here. All the other courses that are extremely windy I generally play good on because I’m kind of a low spinner.”
His goal this year is to get that elusive win — “first thing.”
“That’s my biggest goal,” he says, “and more so I think it just comes from taking every shot … hit as good a shot as you can every time and play every single hole like it’s to win The Masters or a major.”
The engagement has not changed that strategy.
“Not at all,” Overton says. “Life is just good. There’s a different phase of life and just an exciting time, and just nothing really feels a whole lot different. Just nice and relaxing.”
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: Jeff Overton made steady progress last year, moving up 56 spots in GIR, 55 in scoring average and 22 in strokes-gained putting over his 2011 campaign. He's still looking for his first victory, though, and that will be priority No. 1 next year.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: The Indiana grad had already posted two top 10s when he came to the Deutsche Bank Championship ranked 83rd in the FedExCup. He dearly wanted to get to the BMW Championship which was being played the following week at Crooked Stick in his home state but Overton needed to work his way into the top 70 to get there. So he threw out a 64 in the first round at TPC Boston and went on to tie for seventh, moving safely to 40th and realizing the goal. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: I will always remember Jeff at the Deutsche Bank Championship. He desperately wanted to qualify for the BMW Championship in his home state of Indiana. How did he respond? He tied for seventh at TPC Boston including rounds of 69-68 on the weekend. Overton took a lot of pride in playing in his home state and every Hoosier along the Wabash turned out at Crooked Stick to cheer him. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: League championships are won with him in the trenches. Racked up another 29 starts in 2012, making the cut in 22 with four top 10s and another seven top 25s. Easily among the best active never to have won a PGA TOUR event. Go ahead and give the recently engaged 29-year-old a long look in salary games at $1.563 million. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
SOCIAL MEDIA: Find him on Twitter
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finish||T-4th||Shell Houston Open|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 22
Rounds played: 101
Top-10 finishes: 4
Money List rank: 52nd
Driving distance: 68th
Driving accuracy: 82nd
Greens in regulation: 63rd
Strokes gained-putting: 53rd
Scoring average: 31st
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Jeff Overton in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know.
Check out the top five shots of the week from the CIMB Classic, AT&T Championship, and Web.com Tour Championship featuring Justin Bolli, Bernhard Langer, Jeff Overton, Nick Watney, and Tiger Woods.
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.
Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012
4:30 p.m. ET: Hunter Mahan
5 p.m. ET: Rickie Fowler
5:15 p.m. ET: Dicky Pride
Wednesday, Sept 5
Following a.m. Pro-Am: Rory McIlroy
Following a.m. Pro-Am: Tiger Woods
Following a.m. Pro-Am: Bo Van Pelt
TBD: Justin Rose
Got a question for Jeff Overton? Send us your questions for Direct Connect — PGATOUR.COM’s video franchise that gets you closer to a PGA TOUR pro each week — and host John Swantek might use it when he chats with Overton, who sits 40th in the FedExCup standings.
Overton, an Indiana native, finished tied for seventh in the Deutsche Bank Championship to earn a spot in this week's BMW Championship at Crooked Stick. Overton, an Indiana native, had this event marked on his calendar all season and had badly wanted to qualify for Week 3 of the FedExCup Playoffs.
If you want to ask Overton a question, now is your opportunity. Just fill out the form below.
Also, we are now taking video submissions of questions. If you would like to send a video of you asking your question, please email the video to email@example.com. Please keep video to 20 seconds or less, shoot landscape style, and include your name and where you’re from in the text of your email.
Direct Connect video is posted each Wednesday afternoon on PGATOUR.COM, so please check back then for the Overton interview.
Jeff Overton's early 64 matched Tiger Woods for the best morning round at TPC Boston.
NORTON, Mass. -- To say Jeff Overton was frustrated might have been an understatement. In fact, he had seen three different putting gurus in the last five weeks.
Thursday's late afternoon session with James Sieckmann paid off handsomely, though, as Overton reeled off five straight birdies on the way to a 64 that left him tied for the lead at the Deutsche Bank Championship with none other than Tiger Woods.
Overton, who used just 26 putts in the first round, said he and Sieckmann concentrated on his alignment.
"I think it's key if you can get lined up and find your mark, and I opened my stance up a little bit," he said. "Who knows, hopefully it's fixed and I can come back out tomorrow and do the same. It was finally good to see a few go in and just make the putts inside 10 feet really."
Overton two-putted the second hole from 15 feet for his first birdie, added a 2-footer at No. 9 and then compensated for his lone bogey at No. 10 by draining putts of 5, 6, 19, 7 and 23 feet to get to 6 under. The final birdie at the 18th hole was a tap-in from 6 inches, courtesy of "one of the best chips I ever hit in my life," he said.
Sieckmann also helped Overton to an attitude adjustment of sorts when he told him to remember how good he is every time he picked a ball out of the cup. To build on that advice, Overton spent Thursday night concentrating on the round he wanted to have on Friday.
A week ago, he missed the cut at The Barclays, which was played on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park, the site of two U.S. Opens. Overton felt he played well overall but got caught up mentally in the difficulty of the course and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.
"And you're like, a couple over ... is probably going to be all right, but hopefully you don't shoot that,” Overton explained. “So I felt like I almost programmed my mind to shoot that.
"So … I was like, let's just get ourselves where we feel comfortable where we know we can shoot something under par (at TPC Boston). I went down the line of holes and played them out in my brain, which is something that you should always do and maybe something that I haven't done as much recently as I need to."
Overton has a lot at stake this week. He came to TPC Boston ranked 83rd in the FedExCup but only the top 70 will advance to the BMW Championship, which is being played this year at Crooked Stick in Overton's home state of Indiana.
The last time a PGA TOUR event was held in Indiana was in 1991 when John Daly won the PGA on the same course -- and Overton was 8.
"It's a big motivation," the Indiana grad said. "... I've played Crooked Stick a bunch, and in college we played it, and every year I seem like I always pop up there a few times a year because it's an awesome place, spent a little time there the last couple months, and I'm constantly getting a lot of great text messages and people say, hey, we're really excited to see you at Crooked Stick, just the whole Hoosier nation.
"It's just going to be fun if I can get into the event. ... It would just mean a whole lot if I could get into that tournament."