Power Rankings: Children's Miracle Network Classic

November 08, 2010
Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist

Both from a player's and fan's perspective, the Children's Miracle Network Classic is a fitting end to the PGA TOUR schedule. Not only does the location drip with metaphors and family fun -- crowning a champion and settling the top 125 in earnings in the shadow of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World -- but the host courses allow for low rounds. Guys can get aggressive and spectators can watch the fireworks.

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Disney's Magnolia (host) and Palm Courses are par 72s, but Magnolia (7,516 yards) stretches over 500 yards more than its partner. Yet, both tracks sat inside the easiest third of all venues in 2009. (Everyone in the field of 128 will take one turn at Palm before the cut. After four consecutive years with the lowest or second-lowest scoring average, it was seventh-easiest in 2009.) Therefore, the formula is simple; it's all about birdie opportunities. Greens and regulation and birdies are the statistical no-brainers. Putting takes a backseat to recent play and course history.

NOTE: Defending champion, Stephen Ames, who also won here in 2008, is not in the field as he recovers from a back injury that bumped him from the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open after 27 holes. He hopes to return to competition at the Bob Hope Classic on Jan. 19.

Dry conditions are expected all week. High temperatures will threaten if not eclipse 80 degrees. Wind may be a factor through Friday, but it will be moderate at worst.

Power Rankings: Children's Miracle Network Classic
Rank Player   Comment
Coming off a T4 at the Timberlake, where he led the field in birdies and fairways hit; also ranked third in putting and recorded a hole-in-one. Overall, he's 12th on the PGA TOUR in putting and 16th in total birdies.
He's performed everywhere this year, with seven top 10s. Last played The McGladrey, finishing tied for 15th. Leads the PGA TOUR in total birdies. Also 15th in greens hit, 37th in putting and eighth in the all-around.
En route to a share of fourth at the JT Shriners, played his final 55 holes in bogey-free 19-under to clinch his 2011 TOUR card (first time inside top 125 in earnings). Currently 28th on the PGA TOUR in greens hit and third in total birdies.
Three top 25s in the Fall Series, including a T18 in Vegas, where he ranked tied for fourth in greens and shot 68 or better every day. Polished off a T6 at The McGladrey with a Sunday 62. Best finish in nine starts here is a T9 in 2006.
Cannot ignore his stretch of five top 15s in his last seven starts going back to The Barclays. Making his first appearance at Disney since 2006. Ranks second on the PGA TOUR in greens in regulation and fourth in ball-striking.
Enters having cashed in his last nine events, including his most recent, a T24 at the Frys.com Open. Placed T2 here last year, ranking tied for eighth in greens, sixth in putting and second in birdies. Also finished T6 at the 2007 CMNC.
His last of four PGA TOUR victories occurred here in 2006. Finished solo fifth in 2008. Currently leads the PGA TOUR in fairways and greens. Four of his five best finishes of 2010 have come in his last four starts.
For second straight year, has earned his PGA TOUR card in the Fall Series. Finished T22 at the Timberlake, where he tied for fourth in greens and had just four bogeys (nothing worse) all week. Placed T10 here in 2008. Ranks 37th on TOUR in greens.
All-time money leader at this event, with seven top fives including a victory in 2008, his most recent of 20 career. Had just one bogey all week at the '08 edition. No top 25s in his last 10 starts in 2010, but he sits 15th on TOUR in greens hit.
Continues to live for the Fall Series, with a pair of top 20s in his last two starts. Co-runner-up at last year's season finale, when he led the field in putting, ranked tied for fourth in birdies and had a field high three eagles on the weekend.

.he Fantasy Insider is taking a week off, but you can check out my 2011 projections for all 25 Nationwide Tour grads [here].