Fact Pack: Frys.com Open


This week the PGA Tour continues its Fall Series with the Frys.com Open, where Bryce Molder defends the title he won in a 6-hole playoff last year over Briny Baird. Players can expect a course where birdies will be abundant, and like last week the edge will be given to those that can best convert their birdie chances on the greens at CordeValle. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

• After a mediocre playoff performance, Ben Crane will look to get back on track at a course that should reward his penchant for making birdies. Crane currently ranks fourth on Tour in par breakers and tenth in birdie average, and the YouTube wonder is second this year on Tour in birdie or better conversion percentage.

Jonas Blixt continued his impressive rookie campaign with a hot putter at TPC Summerlin, finishing third to match his best result of the year. The Swede led the field in strokes gained putting and putts per round, and now finds himself ranked third on Tour in strokes gained putting for 2012.

• Currently ninth on Tour in GIR percentage, John Merrick has some of the more accurate approach shots of anyone in the field this week at CordeValle. Last year he hit 56/72 greens in regulation, good for T-11 in the field en route to a T-30 finish. Last week, though, the UCLA alum hit fewer greens in regulation with each successive round in Vegas, still managing a T-36 finish.

• Having barely missed out on the FedEx Cup playoffs, Bobby Gates found a way to shake off his disappointment, finishing T-13 last week in his first start since the Wyndham Championship. He is striking the ball well, as he ranked T-12 in the field in GIR percentage at TPC Summerlin - similar to last year's Frys.com Open, where Gates was T-11 in GIR percentage en route to a T-7 finish overall.

• Last week's fifth place finish was a season-best for Bill Lunde and pushed him to 128th on the 2012 money list, now squarely on the bubble for retaining his 2013 Tour card. The Vegas resident and UNLV graduate enjoyed some home cooking at TPC Summerlin, leading the field last week in greens hit in regulation.

• Although he missed the cut here last year, Ben Curtis' 2012 numbers suggest he may be in for a good week in San Jose. Currently fourth on Tour in driving accuracy and ninth in strokes gained putting, the Valero Texas Open champion should be able to take advantage of a course that requires precision more than length off the tee. His recent results, though - including four missed cuts in his last six starts dating back to the British Open - indicate that Curtis may still be searching for the form that garnered him success in April and May.