This week marks the 34th event of the 2013-14 PGA Tour season, as the Tour heads to West Virginia for the Greenbrier Classic. A full field of 156 players will tee it up this week at The Old White TPC, where scores are expected to average below 70 for the third straight year.
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Jonas Blixt returns to defend the title he won here a year ago by two shots over a quartet of players. Here are 10 names to watch this week in White Sulphur Springs:
1. Jimmy Walker: The FedEx Cup points leader all season long, Walker was a runner-up here a year ago and tied for fourth in both 2010 and 2011, not to mention his Web.com Tour win in West Virginia in 2007. It seems he feels comfortable in the Mountain State, a trend that should continue this week as he currently ranks second in birdie average and fourth in strokes gained putting.
2. Bubba Watson: Watson has made Greenbrier into a part-time residence, giving him a little extra motivation to play well this week. He's still in the midst of a career year, with two wins and multiple other title contentions. The southpaw is currently fifth in birdie average, sixth in scoring and 11th in GIR percentage this season.
3. Bill Haas: A runner-up in a playoff here in 2011, Haas added a tie for ninth last year and has been quietly solid this season, with 11 top-25 finishes in 18 starts. Haas contended last week in defense of his title at Congressional before fading with a Sunday 77, but he hasn't finished worse than T-35 in his last six starts.
4. Brendon Todd: Basically the hottest player on the PGA Tour right now. Todd has five straight top-20 finishes to his credit, a streak sparked by his win in Dallas and capped by his tie for fifth at Congressional. He has been powered by a strong short game, and now ranks fifth in scrambling and sixth in strokes gained putting.
5. Webb Simpson: Simpson notched top-10 finishes at Greenbrier in both 2011 and 2012, and last year opened with 64 before fading back to the pack. He tied for third in Memphis last month and added a solid week at Congressional last week, and Simpson now ranks ninth on Tour in strokes gained putting and 15th in birdie average.
6. Brendon de Jonge: Still in search of his first PGA Tour win, de Jonge nabbed his second top-10 finish of the season last week at Congressional. He has made eight straight cuts, with six top-30 finishes across that stretch, and finished inside the top five at Greenbrier in both 2010 and 2011.
7. Kevin Na: In his first start after his playoff loss at Memorial, Na notched a respectable T-12 at the U.S. Open and continues to have a remarkably successful season in his return from injury. Na has 10 top-25 finishes in 2013-14, six of which have come since March, and he tied for seventh at Greenbrier in 2012 in his most recent appearance.
8. Marc Leishman: After a bit of a lull earlier this year, Leishman has found his groove with six straight cuts and five top-25 finishes highlighted by his T-8 result last week at Congressional. Leishman tied for 16th in his Greenbrier debut in 2010, and it seems this year you can't go a week without an Aussie in contention on Tour.
9. Steve Stricker: You know it's truly summer when Stricker is actually playing golf. Despite a limited schedule, the veteran has had some solid results of late, with four top-25 finishes in his last five starts dating back to March. He tied for 22nd in 2012 in his lone Greenbrier appearance, shooting four straight rounds in the 60s.
10. Daniel Summerhays: The only player in the field with top-10 finishes at Greenbrier each of the last two years. Summerhays was fifth in 2012 and T-9 last year, and he enters with some momentum, having cracked the top 30 in four of his last six starts. He's inside the top 25 on Tour in both strokes gained putting (16th) and fairways hit (24th).