GREENSBORO,N.C. -- Carl Pettersson couldn't quite get the course record he set in his 2008 Wyndham Championship victory but the 62 he just polished off at Sedgefield was pretty darn strong.
Pettersson used a string of four straight birdies on the front nine, his second of the day, to finish one shot shy of the record. He started the streak with a two-putt birdie from 15 feet at the par-5 fifth hole, then added a 6-footer at the next, a 21-incher at the seventh hole and an 11-footer at No. 8.
Pettersson had a 31-footer for the record-tying birdie at No. 9 but couldn't convert. He owns a two-stroke advantage over David Mathis, who has played 14 holes. Defending champ Webb Simpson, who played with Pettersson, is tied for third at 4 under.
All three players have strong ties to the area.
Pettersson went to high school in Greensboro and college at N.C. State, then settled in Raleigh, N.C. Mathis was born in Winston-Salem, which is about 30 miles west of Greensboro, graduated from Campbell University and now lives outside Raleigh. Simpson is from Raleigh, went to Wake Forest and now lives in Charlotte, N.C.
GREENSBORO,N.C. -- Carl Pettersson has picked up where he left off last week at the PGA Championship.
The Swede, who tied for third at the Ocean Course on Sunday, has just rolled in a 7-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole at Sedgefield Country Club, his 15th of the day, to take sole possession of the lead in the Wyndham Championship.
Pettersson, who went to high school in Greensboro and won the 2008 Wyndham Championship, is one stroke ahead of David Mathis. He made the turn in 31 after birdie putts of 6, 17, 18 and 8 feet. Pettersson nearly made an eagle on the fifth hole, missing 15-foot putt by 2 inches.
Pettersson could move into the top five in the FedExCup standings if he wins for the second time this year and on this course on Sunday. He already has a win at the RBC Heritage, two runner-up finishes and one third this season.
Gary Woodland, who is finally healthy after suffering a wrist injury at the Masters, is alone in third at 4 under. Defending champion Webb Simpson has played 15 holes and heads a group of six players at 3 under.
The North Carolina resident breaks down the massive changes to Sedgefield.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Carl Pettersson attended high school about 15 minutes away from Sedgefield Country Club, which hosts the Wyndham Championship this week.
The Swede, who became an American citizen in January, went on to attend N.C. State and settle in Raleigh, N.C. Four years ago this week, he came back and won the Wyndham Championship and now serves on the tournament's board of directors.
So Pettersson, who hasn't missed the Wyndham Championship since 2003, probably would be playing here this week regardless. But he has added incentive since he could work his way into the all-important top five in the FedExCup should he win the Sam Snead Trophy this week.
Pettersson, who tied for third at last week's PGA Championship, is currently ninth in the standings. He has 1,576 points and could move past Bubba Watson, who is idle, into fifth in the standings with the 500 that go to first place.
The top five entering the finale at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola control their own destiny -- any of the five would win the $10 million bonus with a win at East Lake.
"I hope I can have a solid week here and play well in The Playoffs and have a shot at the FedExCup," Pettersson said. "That would be exciting."
Pettersson said the greens, which have been converted from Bent to Bermuda, makes Sedgefield play differently. The rough is up and the green complexes are more challenging to figure out.
"You can't play as aggressive as you have in years past here
because the greens are very soft and they're obviously a lot
firmer," Pettersson said. "You got to tone it back a little bit.
"It's important to hit the fairways, very important to hit the fairways. From there on you can try to attack on some holes. Some holes you got to play a little bit more defensively. Overall the golf course is great."
Pettersson says this season rivals 2008 as the best of his career. He's had five top-10 finishes, including a win at the RBC Heritage, two seconds and one third.
"I feel like my game overall has improved on every level and it's been a fun year," Pettersson said. "It's been a great year. I don't really want it to end.
"We've got an important stretch of golf now with the Playoffs and this week is one of my favorite events on Tour and looking forward to this week and The Playoffs coming off."
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
The first event of the 2012 FedExCup Playoffs is a week away but go ahead and count on this: Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will be in the same group for the first two rounds of The Barclays.
Woods, the PGA TOUR’s only three-time winner this year, currently is ranked No. 1 in FedExCup points. McIlroy, after his record-setting win Sunday at the PGA Championship, is No. 2 in points.
With just one week left in the regular season, it’s guaranteed that Woods and McIlroy will finish among the top three in points, even though neither player is in the Wyndham field.
The only possibility that would knock Dufner out of that group is if he stumbles this week and Carl Pettersson wins Wyndham. Pettersson currently is 449 points behind Dufner; the winner of the Wyndham Championship receives 500 FedExCup points. Dufner, however, could secure his spot in the top three by collecting 52 points (solo 19th or better) this week.
Either way, Woods and McIlroy will remain among the top three.
Woods, incidentally, committed on Monday to play each of the first three Playoffs events – The Barclays, the Deutsche Bank Championship and the BMW Championship – as he seeks a third FedExCup title.
The pairings have been unveiled for this week’s PGA TOUR Matchups Game on Facebook. You can check out the Matchups for the Wyndham Championship below, or on the PGA TOUR’s Facebook page.
Participants have until 6 a.m. ET Thursday to make their picks. Log on to the PGA TOUR Facebook page and click the Matchups link to make your picks for this week, or to sign up.
|Webb Simpson vs. Bill Haas||Wake Forest alums do battle in their home state|
|Carl Pettersson vs. Ryan Moore||Two past Wyndham champs ready for more at Sedgefield|
|Davis Love III vs. Jason Dufner||Ryder Cup Captain keeps close eye on Ryder Cup rookie|
|Sergio Garcia vs. Trevor Immelman||Two international stars are looking to kick-start their season|
|Jhonattan Vegas vs. Brendan Steele||Both need a big week to get into the FedExCup Playoffs|
AKRON, Ohio – The dog days of summer must be Carl Petterson’s time of year. The Swede, who became an American citizen in January, won the RBC Canadian Open – which was played last week -- two years ago. He’s the 2008 winner of the Wyndham Championship, which is two weeks on the horizon, as well. So maybe it should come as no surprise to see Pettersson, who won the RBC Heritage earlier this year, at the top of the leaderboard at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. He’s played 14 holes in 4 under and has yet to make a bogey. K.T. Kim and Charl Schwartzel, who are playing in successive groups, and have just made the turn, are one stroke back. Retief Goosen, Lee Westwood and Keegan Bradley are tied at 2 under. Goosen needs a big week. He came to Firestone Country Club ranked 139th in the FedExCup and could use a big push to finish in the top 125 and make the Playoffs.
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
A belly putter won last week on the PGA TOUR. That hasn’t been said as often as people might have thought, coming into 2012.
Carl Pettersson is one of the game’s longtime users, and won at the RBC Heritage with a Nike Method Prototype that has been in and out of his bag for a while. He used it to finish second at the Shell Houston Open earlier in the month, then went one spot better on the small greens at Harbour Town.
His win marks only the second for long putters this season. Bill Haas won the Northern Trust Open in February with a belly putter, the only other such win in 17 TOUR events so far. That keeps 2012 behind last year’s pace, when nine were recorded including Haas’ FedExCup clincher at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and Keegan Bradley’s major triumph at the PGA Championship.
Regardless of where you stand on the putters, Pettersson’s prowess has to be respected. He’s 17th on the season in Strokes Gained-Putting, picking up an average of .607 strokes on the field per round, and is the only player in the top 20 of the stat who swings a long putter.
“I putted well all week,” said Pettersson after putting on the winner’s tartan jacket at Harbour Town. “But I've used a long putter for 14 years. I'll be back to the short one next year when they ban it.”
That last quip was tongue-in-cheek from the game’s best swinger of the long wand.
FURYK RISING: 2010 FedExCup champion Jim Furyk is continuing to erase the memories of a down 2011 season. At Harbour Town he was T8, his fifth finish of T11 or better this season. He had five finishes of T11 all of last season.
His success is coming with a full bag of Callaway equipment. At Harbour Town he used a Razr Fit driver, Razr X Forged irons, X-Forged wedges, an Odyssey White Hot XG #7 putter and Callaway’s Hex Black Tour ball.
MORE CHARITY $$: After Bubba Watson’s Masters victory, Ping announced a limited-edition sale of 5,000 all-pink G20 drivers. The drivers go on sale June 1, at a retail price of $430, and Ping at first said it would donate 5 percent of the club’s proceeds to Watson’s chosen charities.
Reaction online to the size of the donation was not all positive, perhaps given the high retail price. One might also consider that unfair, considering how Ping is also donating $300 for every 300-yard drive Watson hits in 2012 – which adds up fast when you’re backing the biggest hitter on TOUR.
At any rate, two days after its original announcement, Ping upped its pledge to $50 per pink G20 sold.
“We looked back … and realized that with all the tremendous energy Bubba has created with his win at the Masters and for our brand, we needed to do more with this opportunity to give back to those in need,” said John A. Solheim, Ping chairman and CEO. “The response to the pink G20s has exceeded expectations at this point, so we’re increasing our commitment to help bring Bubba closer to his goal of raising $1 million for charity this year.”
TRUCE: Last Friday it was announced that Acushnet (Titleist’s parent company) and Callaway Golf reached a joint settlement of all pending litigation and disputes. No money was exchanged but the agreement allows each company to make golf balls and other products under patents owned by the other. Other details remain confidential.
The legal squabbles between the companies date to February 2006, when Callaway claimed Titleist infringed on Callaway patents in its Pro V1 ball. A 2007 verdict went in Callaway’s favor but was later tossed out, followed by years of further infringement suits and countersuits.
WINNER’S BAG: Pettersson at the RBC
Driver: Nike VR Pro STR8-FIT 11.5 degree (Fubuki a 50 X shaft)
Fairway wood: TaylorMade Burner, 14.5 degree
Hybrid: Nike VR Pro, 21 degree
Irons: Nike VR S Forged (4-iron), VR Pro Combo (5-PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro (49, 55, 60 degrees)
Putter: Nike Method Prototype (belly length)
Ball: Nike 20XI S
Carl Pettersson, who made win No. 5 on the PGA TOUR in the RBC Heritage, is a player who sets up a bit more upright then the norm.
This a result of how he positions his lead wrist in a more level to slightly uncocked position. Although Pettersson exaggerates this a bit, it is a good visual for a lot of amateurs to see as most error too much the other way.
I had the great opportunity to write my first article for the April issues of Golf Digest and ironically, I chose to write about the importance of the trail forearm at address in the full swing and putting. At the TOUR Academies, we encourage our players to learn to align the trail forearm to mirror the angle of the club shaft in the full swing and to perfectly align it with the putter.
To learn this, position your lead arm in front of your body about shoulder height, and point the fingers straight ahead. This would be considered a level lead wrist. From here, point the wrists to the sky, as this would be considered cocking the wrist. Conversely, to the ground would be un-cocking the wrist. Pettersson positions the lead wrist in a more level-to-slightly uncocked position at address. As a result, the clubshaft angle is very upright. The significance of this lead wrist position is this: It allows the right forearm to be positioned closer to the same plane as the clubshaft at address in the full swing, and exactly on the same plane with the putter. This is because the grip is being positioned towards the palms.
One of the most common errors at address is to position the club shaft angle too low at address. This very flat clubshaft angle at address now cocks the lead wrist too much, and positions the right forearm on a much different plane angle then that of the clubshaft. This is certainly a manageable setup, as you will still see clear representation of this with many of the best players. However, what you must understand is that at impact, this setup will force an extreme rise in the club’s shaft to create an inline relationship with the right forearm.
This extreme rise in the clubshaft can lead to poor impact alignments with the clubshaft, clubface and/or the body for many amateurs.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here .