Fantasy Island: 2011 PGA Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 9, 2011, 1:43 pm

GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the 93rd PGA Championship. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from three groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Charlie Rymer; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; contributor Win McMurry; writer for NBCSports.com's ProGolf Talk, Ryan Ballengee; and RotoWorld.com's Rob Bolton.

You can battle the experts and play along as well. Just click here to get into the game.Compete against the GolfChannel.com experts and other fans in our Fantasy Challenge.

In parentheses, next to the names, are the participants' 2011 points earned and ranking among the 17 Fantasy Challenge 'experts.'


Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard (9,291,953; 4th)

Group A: Jason Day: The Australian's Grand Slam run began at last year's PGA Championship (T-10). Seems about right he would come full circle at Glory's Last Shot.

Group B: Hunter Mahan: A lot of talk about Atlanta Athletic Club's length, but a good ballstriker like Mahan will have a distinct advantage going into hard, fast greens.

Group C: Heath Slocum: Soft-hitting southerner outshines stellar field at Atlanta Athletic Club. Sound familiar?       


Randall Mell

Randall Mell (7,211,379; 11th)

Group A: Jason Day: Plays his best in the biggest events as evidenced by his pair of runner-up showings at Augusta and Congressional.

Group B: Bubba WatsonGeorgia will be behind the Bulldog's effort to claim the prize that slipped away last year.

Group C: Robert Garrigus: T-3 at U.S. Open was a big confidence builder for big events.   


Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer (8,212,892; 8th)

Group A: Lee Westwood: This course requires a player to hit it long and hit the fairways, which Westwood does.

Group B: Bubba WatsonIf the the big hitter can hit it where they mow the grass I think he'll have a shot.

Group C: Tommy Gainey: In a crazy season where six rookies have already won it's not a stretch to think that third-year player 'Two Gloves' can get his breakthrough in a major. 


John Hawkins

John Hawkins (8,273,598; 7th)

Group A: Nick WatneyMotivated by last year's Sunday collapse. This is a good ballpark for him.

Group B: Ryo IshikawaI just think he's the coolest dude on earth.

Group C: Robert Garrigus: Hits it a mile, makes lotta putts. Good combination. 


Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin (11,470,785; 2nd)

Group A: Steve StrickerHis time to win a major and essentially lock up the Tour's Player of the Year honors.

Group B: K.J. ChoiAnother man I don't think many people are picking this week. A win wouldn't be a surprise.

Group C: Bill Haas: Quietly has been playing well lately and is a good value pick in Group C. 


Gary Williams

Gary Williams (8,184,343; 9th)

Group A: Rory McIlroy: Let’s see … 2011 U.S. Open champion, top-3 finishes in previous PGA Championship appearances and a solid 2011.

Group B: Rickie Fowler: He is building momentum with recent high finishes at Aronimink, Royal St. George’s and Firestone. This could be his week.

Group C: Bill Haas: He’s made the cut in all three majors in 2011 and he lost in a playoff two weeks ago at Greenbrier. 


Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias (6,942,837; 11th)

Group A: Lee Westwood: He is my pick to complete the 'Chubby Slam.'

Group B: Zach Johnson: A T-6 in Akron last week and the 2007 Masters champion knows how to win majors in Georgia.

Group C: Charles Howell III: He finished T-22 at this course in the 2001 PGA and has three top-5 finishes this summer.


Win McMurry

 Win McMurry (12,980,711; 1st)

 Group A: Luke DonaldTime for the world's No. 1 to break through in a big event.

Group B: David Toms: A repeat performance by the 2001 champ? He's T-4 in driving accuracy and leads the Tour in proximity to the hole.

Group C: Stewart Cink: Georgia Tech product is starting to round into form. 


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee (6,034,199; 13th)

Group A: Luke Donald: He had an outstanding weekend at Firestone and is an excellent ballstriker.

Group B: Webb Simpson: Simpson has finished no worse than T-16 in his last six PGA Tour events.

Group C: Alex Noren: He's had an outstanding season and seems to have a levity for the pressure of a major championship if he can get into contention. 


Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton (7,712,575; 10th)

Group A: Luke DonaldWorld’s No. 1 is coming off a taut co-runner-up at Firestone.

Group B: Zach JohnsonThe Georgia resident has three wins in the state and top-10s in two of his last three starts.

Group C: Stewart Cink: Although tempted by Bill Haas, Keegan Bradley and others, I’m sticking with the local chalk. 


For more in-depth fantasy golf coverage, visit Rotoworld powered by NBC Sports.RotoWorld 

Getty Images

Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

Getty Images

Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

Getty Images

Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

Getty Images

Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."