July 9 2012
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
There was little in Ted Potter's resume to indicate he was about to win The Greenbrier Classic. He was 119th in FedExCup points coming into the week and 167th on this year's money list with $176,904. Potter had missed six of his last seven cuts and hadn't made a check since a T69th at the Shell Houston Open.
So what happened here? He had the best putting week of his
career. Potter was 68th in Strokes Gained-Putting this season but
was first this week in SGP and had just 48 total putts, 24-24, over
this weekend. A hot putter can elevate any PGA TOUR player into a
18th hole: Sometimes a player gets fortunate with the number and hole location, and that was the case for Potter at the 18th. At 164 yards and a back-right hole location, it was a perfect 9-iron and draw for the lefty. On the other hand, Troy Kelly never appeared comfortable with either the yardage or the hole location. He hit pitching wedge three times and never got inside 20 feet on Sunday.
Seventh hole: If Webb Simpson needs a lucky number, he should try seven. He played the seventh hole in 4 under for the week. Simpson hit it three feet, eight feet, 11 feet and four feet in making birdie every day.
Tough start: There is no doubt as to what was the most difficult stretch at The Old White TPC. The first six holes took their toll on the field and then the remaining 12 holes could be had. The Old White TPC begins with five tough par 4s and a par 3. The second hole is 488 yards and the sixth measures 471. Simpson stayed patient during the first half-dozen holes and then was aggressive. He was even par on the first six through three rounds and 14 under for the remainder of the course. The strategy worked perfectly until Sunday when he played the last seven holes in 4 over.
Holding court: Legendary instructor Bob Toski held court before the final round in the players lounge. He regaled present TOUR players with stories from the '50's when Ben Hogan and Jimmy Demaret walked the fairways. Toski works with Ken Duke, who had to force himself to leave for the range and his pre-round warmup. After making eagle at the 12th, Duke pointed directly at Toski with a look of determination.
Hole locations: A couple hole locations really bothered players in the final round. At the 11th, the flag was placed back-right and on a precipice. It was a hard hole to challenge and gave up just eight birdies on Sunday. Troy Kelly had the shot of the day to three feet and converted the birdie.
The 15th hole was even more difficult with the hole cut in the front of the putting surface. The green is just 12 paces wide in the front with bunkers flanking left and right. The hole gave up just three birdies in the final round with Charlie Wi, Kris Blanks and Ted Potter converting putts.
Bogey-free: Simpson went on quite a bogey-free run. He made a four at the par-3 15th hole, the sixth hole of his opening round on Thursday, and then did not make another bogey until the 12th hole of the final round. That's a run of 59 holes. Unfortunately, Webb followed up with bogeys at 13 and 14, making four bogeys in his last seven holes.
Pumped up: Troy Kelly was feeling the adrenaline in the final round. Trying to win his first tournament, Kelly crushed a 192-yard 9-iron and a 204-yard 7-iron which flew the green at the 15th. He has always been a long hitter and is ranked 15th on TOUR in driving distance at 300.5 yards, but some of his irons on Sunday were truly launched. He had a hard time controlling the distance in the final holes.
King of the flop: Charlie Beljan made quite an impression this week with his flop shots. At the 13th hole, he holed out a flopper and followed the dunk with a little dance which included a spin move. At the 17th hole, Beljan almost duplicated the hole out by flopping out of the rough to within 4 feet.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.