Power Rankings: Web.com Tour ChampionshipSeptember 24, 2013
By Jeff Shain, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – The inaugural Web.com Tour Finals reach their conclusion this week in the shadow of PGA TOUR offices, where the Dye’s Valley course at TPC Sawgrass offers the final test before the last 25 cards for next season are handed out.
A top-5 finish at any Finals stop -- or a pair of top-15s -- appears good enough to punch a ticket to the big stage starting next month.
Those already locked in, meanwhile, can take aim at No .1 Seung-Yul Noh for the fully-exempt card that goes to the leader in Finals earnings. Noh rewarded himself with a trip back home to South Korea after winning the Nationwide Children’s Championship and is sitting this one out.
Dye’s Valley is a familiar venue to Web.com Tour veterans, serving as home of the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open for the past three seasons. Though among the Tour’s shortest courses at just 6,864 yards, it’s also one of the most difficult.
Dye’s Valley has ranked among the Tour’s four toughest courses each year, topping the chart in 2011. Last year, the par-70 layout produced a scoring average of 71.718.
Wet conditions are likely to lower that average this year, with a system in the Gulf of Mexico forecast to dump rain all across Florida through at least Wednesday.
Power Rankings: Web.com Tour Championship Rank Player Comment Ben MARTIN Shaking off a slow start in Fort Wayne, Martin has returned to the form that notched two wins and three other top-6 finishes in a blistering late-season run. After top-5s in Charlotte and Columbus, the Clemson grad now hits a venue where he was third last year. John PETERSON The former NCAA champ star admitted to being “out of gas” on the final day in Columbus – but holds the distinction as the only man to finish among the top 12 at each Finals stop. After last week’s breather, it would surprise no one to see Peterson contend again. Aaron WATKINS It hasn’t been a good Finals for the Arizona pro, whose best finish thus far is a tie for 43rd in Fort Wayne. But he seems to thrive at Dye’s Valley, placing fourth a year ago and tied for 11th in 2011. Five of Watkins’ 12 rounds in the Valley have been 68 or better. Hudson SWAFFORD The former Georgia star pulled himself from the brink of the cut line to a tie for seventh in Columbus, notching a second consecutive top-15 finish that has him on the verge of a PGA TOUR card. Swafford ranks No.10 in Web.com Tour total driving, No.8 in GIR. Ryo ISHIKAWA A 69-68 weekend at Ohio State lifted the Japanese star to a tie for seventh, combining with a fifth place in Charlotte to punch his ticket for another PGA TOUR season. Surprising as it might seem, this marks Ishikawa’s first competitive visit to TPC Sawgrass. Camilo BENEDETTI Though the Colombian is among those on the bubble for one of the last PGA TOUR cards to be given out, he comes to a spot where he’s played well. Benedetti tied for 10th at Dye’s Valley last year, one spot better than he did in 2011. Tied for eighth at Chiquita. Michael PUTNAM The man who has been pressure-free since the Finals started, thanks to his No.1 spot in Regular-Season earnings, has continued to play well with top-20 finishes in all three events. Putnam has been even-par or better in all but two Finals rounds thus far. David MATHIS The North Carolina pro won the first Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open in 2010 at Dye’s Valley, then showed some chops across the way last year by tying for 15th at THE PLAYERS. Mathis has just one top-10 all year; another likely gets him back to the PGA TOUR. Sean O'HAIR TPC Sawgrass typically has been kind to O’Hair, though he admits he’s still stung by his 2007 double-dunk quad at No.17 while chasing Phil Mickelson at THE PLAYERS. Coming off a lost season, perhaps the other side of the property can fuel a PGA TOUR return. Heath SLOCUM A pair of strong Sundays – 66 at Charlotte, 67 at Columbus – have lifted the 12-year PGA TOUR veteran to a pair of top-20 finishes in the Finals. Though Slocum doesn’t have a strong résumé at THE PLAYERS, he did tie for fourth there as recently as 2010.