Fact Pack: Crowne Plaza Invitational & BMW PGA Championship

By Will GrayMay 22, 2012, 8:30 pm

Fantasy players have two events to monitor this week, as both the PGA and European Tours play host to world-class fields. Jason Dufner, Matt Kuchar and many others head to 'Hogan's Alley' for the Crowne Plaza Invitational, contested along the iconic, tree-lined fairways of Colonial CC. Meanwhile, the European Tour conducts one of their biggest events of the year with the BMW PGA Championship, where Luke Donald defends his title. Each venue will put the field to a strong test, and identifying who will rise to the top of each leaderboard may be easier said than done. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title(s) and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

Few can match the polar opposite results that Harris English has seen across his last 72 holes of competition. Near the top of the leaderboard halfway through The Players, English shot 79-77 across the weekend and faded from contention. In his first action since that event, English shot 60-63 at Gleneagles CC on Monday to easily qualify for the British Open. With four top-20 finishes already on Tour this year, there is reason to think his good play in the qualifier will carry over this week at Colonial.

• One of the keys to success at Wentworth GC is hitting the green in regulation, early and often. Last year, Luke Donald finished T-3 for the week in GIR, and runner-up Lee Westwood finished T-1 in the category. In 2010, Simon Khan led the field in greens in regulation en route to victory. This bodes well for Ian Poulter among others; the Englishman currently ranks fourth on the European Tour in greens in regulation and - along with Westwood - led the BMW field last year in the category.

• Coming off a season-best T-7 finish at The Players, no one has more top-10 finishes on Tour this year than Bo Van Pelt, who has amassed five through 11 starts. Van Pelt continues to excel in a variety of statistical categories: first on Tour in final round scoring average (68.14), second in strokes gained putting, and also ranking in the top 10 in total driving, total putting, birdie average and the all-around ranking.

• This week's example of 'current form meets strong event history' is Zach Johnson. The former Masters champion has finished runner-up in two of his last three starts, including at TPC Sawgrass two weeks ago. Johnson also excels at this event, with three consecutive top-10 finishes - including a win here in 2010. In six career Crowne Plaza starts, Johnson's worst finish is T-30 in 2006.

• Perhaps the hottest man in golf not named Dufner, Ben Curtis will be taking his talents across the pond for the BMW PGA Championship this week. The former British Open champ has four consecutive top-13 finishes on the PGA Tour, including a win at the Valero Texas Open and a runner-up finish at The Players. Curtis will be playing in the BMW for the first time since 2009, when he finished T-6.

• After just two career starts here, Kris Blanks has demonstrated an affinity for Colonial CC, backing up his T-13 debut in 2010 with a T-10 finish last year. Blanks has carded six of his eight tournament rounds here under 70, and each of the last two years he has finished in the top eight in the field for greens hit in regulation.

• Tour rookie John Huh has accumulated 839 FedEx Cup points this year, and he needed nearly every one of them to qualify for his first career major. Huh is now in the British Open field as a result of finishing in the top 20 in the FEC standings following the HP Byron Nelson Championship - an exemption category that also netted spots at Royal Lytham for Johnson Wagner and Kyle Stanley. In fact, Huh secured the 20th and final spot in the standings by a mere five points, ahead of Hyundai TOC winner Steve Stricker. Huh will hope to use this bit of good news as momentum this week at Colonial as he tries to bounce back from last week's event, where he was forced to withdraw due to an elbow injury during Friday's round.

Boasting a European Tour victory on your resume doesn't exactly make you stand out at this week's BMW Championship - far from it, actually. An impressive 107 players in the field this week have a win to their credit, comprising more than two-thirds of the field. Among those with the most Euro Tour victories to their name sits Ernie Els, who resides nearby and recently helped redesign the course. Els has six top-10 finishes here to his credit, including three runner-up showings, and finished T-16 last year on the course he had a hand in re-sculpting.

**Don't forget to join Fantasy Expert Rob Bolton for a live golf chat Wednesday at 12:00p ET at www.rotoworld.com** 


Tune in to Golf Channel Thursday-Friday from 3-6PM ET for live coverage of the Crowne Plaza Invitational, and watch Thursday-Sunday from 9AM-12PM ET for live coverage of the BMW PGA Championship.

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Simpson overtakes DeChambeau in Ryder Cup race

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:09 pm

A T-12 finish at The Open allowed Webb Simpson to move past Bryson DeChambeau into the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot in the U.S. Ryder Cup points race with just three weeks to go.

Simpson finished the week at 3 under, five shots behind winner Francesco Molinari. Adding another strong result to his win at TPC Sawgrass and T-10 finish at the U.S. Open, he's now edged in front of DeChambeau by less than 41 points. But with players earning one point per $1,000 each of the next two weeks and 1.5 points per $1,000 at the PGA Championship, the race is far from over.

Jordan Spieth's T-9 finish strengthened his position at No. 6, as the top six players are essentially assured of qualifying automatically. Rickie Fowler held onto his spot at No. 7, while Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner both moved onto the bubble following T-2 finishes at Carnoustie. After a T-6 finish, Tiger Woods jumped from 31st to 20th.

Here's a look at the updated American standings, with the top eight after the PGA qualifying automatically and captain Jim Furyk adding four picks in September:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Bubba Watson

6. Jordan Spieth

7. Rickie Fowler

8. Webb Simpson

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9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Xander Schauffele

12. Matt Kuchar

13. Kevin Kisner

14. Tony Finau

15. Brian Harman

On the European side, Molinari was already in position to qualify automatically but is now assured of a spot on Thomas Bjorn's roster this fall. Fellow major champs Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy also solidified their footing with runner-up performances.

Here's a look at how things look for the Europeans, with the top four from each list after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

European Points

1. Francesco Molinari

2. Justin Rose

3. Tyrrell Hatton

4. Tommy Fleetwood

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Thorbjorn Olesen

Russell Knox

Eddie Pepperell

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Alex Noren

3. Rory McIlroy

4. Paul Casey

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Matthew Fitzpatrick

Sergio Garcia

Ian Poulter

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.