Fantasy Island: Masters Tournament

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 5, 2011, 5:30 pm

GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the the Masters Tournament. 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 and Randall Mell; 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.

*Ranking among the 16 GolfChannel.com experts

Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard
Score (Rank*):
3,885,896 (3)
Group A:
Phil Mickelson

Group B:
Padraig Harrington

Group C:
Lucas Glover

On this the bookmakers got it right. Lefty’s win in Houston vaults him atop the conversation at the Masters. Besides, there’s a reason why members of Mickelson’s inner circle refer to Augusta National as “Phil’s Playground.”

Although he’s been far from stellar this season he seems to be trending in the right direction in recent weeks (T-8 in Houston, T-10 at Doral) and the Irishman has plenty of experience, both good and bad, at the year’s first major.

Found something in his swing last weekend back home at Sea Island (Ga.) Resort and has a secret weapon in caddie Don Cooper, who grew up caddying at Augusta National.

Randall Mell

Randall Mell
Score (Rank):
2,031,006 (15)
Group A:
Matt Kuchar

Group B:
Geoff Olgilvy

Group C:
Aaron Baddeley

The big smile tops his memories as an amateur slipping on a green jacket.

It's time he makes his presence felt at Augusta National and makes a run for a second major.

The world better appreciates his gifted putting stroke amid the dogwoods and azaleas this week.

Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer
Score (Rank):
2,774,088 (10)
Group A:
Phil Mickelson


Group B:
Bubba Watson


Group C:
Angel Cabrera


After lighting up Houston with 16 under on the weekend, I gotta go with with Mickelson.

Soft fairways will favor the bombers, at least early in the week, and Watson certainly qualifies as a bomber. Bubba may just prevail at Augusta.

Cabrera hasn't shown much form this year but the man does have a U.S. Open trophy tucked in his locker. It's right behind the green jacket.

John Hawkins

John Hawkins
Score (Rank):
3,587,629 (7)
 Group A:
Phil Mickelson

Group B:
Bubba Watson

Group C:
Aaron Baddeley






He's not giving me much choice.

He may not win but I certainly like his chances of contending.

Comes off a nice week, quietly building a big year.





Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin
Score (Rank):
2,734,618 (11)
Group A:
Nick Watney

Group B:
Hunter Mahan

Group C:
Brandt Snedeker

It's difficult not to pick Phil but I like Watney's record at Augusta National in his three previous appearances, I like his current form and I like his right-to-left ball flight.

He's finished in the top-10 the last two years and is good enough to win a major championship now. It'd surprise me if he's not in contention Sunday.

This pick could either pan out or completely backfire. He had that great run in 2008 at the Masters, but this year has missed four cuts, but also has three top-10 finishes.

Gary Williams

Gary Williams
Score (Rank):
3,229,610 (8)
Group A:
Phil Mickelson


Group B:
Bubba Watson


Group C:
Brandt Snedeker

With his win in Houston, Phil passed Tiger in the world ranking for the first time since the week before the 1997 Masters. He will take that  momentum to a fourth green jacket this week.
 
Staying on the left-handed theme, Bubba Watson can shape shots better than almost anyone and Augusta National is a course that demands such shots. If his short game is on, watch out.
 
Finished T-3 in the Masters in 2008 and is having a bit of a volatile season where he is either finishing in the top 10 or missing the cut. Brandt loves Augusta National, so I think he will go top 10.

Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias
Score (Rank):
3,991,043 (2)
Group A:
Phil Mickelson


Group B:
Bubba Watson


Group C:
Steve Marino


Let’s see: three-time champion, including last year; he dominated last weekend in Houston; and in 2006, he won in Atlanta the week before he won in Augusta. I like his chances.
 
He has played very well in 2011. Lost in a playoff in the last major of 2010, and although his Masters record is not great, it is easier to shape a fade than a draw so this southpaw is at an advantage.
 
While he has yet to win on the PGA Tour, Marino has a pair of runner-up finishes in 2011 and finished T-14 in his Masters debut in 2010. He knows how to make birdies and every champion in the last nine years has ranked in the top 10 in birdies for the week.

Win McMurry

Win McMurry
Score (Rank):
6,210,233 (1)
Group A:
Phil Mickelson

Group B:
Hunter Mahan

Group C:
Steve Marino
He went back-to-back in 2006. With momentum, history, and the opportunity to defend this week, I have no bones about jumping on the “favorite” bandwagon.
 
He’s finished inside the top 10 in his last two starts at Augusta National. Add his five top-10s this season in only nine starts and he looks incredibly strong for the year’s first major.
 
Last year in his first Masters appearance Marino tied for 14th. That coupled with his runner-up finish at Bay Hill have me convinced he can make another run up the leaderboard.

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee
Score (Rank):
669,529 (16)
Group A:
Phil Mickelson

Group B:
Hunter Mahan

Group C:
Aaron Baddeley

Defending champion. Shoots 128 over the weekend in Houston when he wasn't trying to win going into it. Three-time winner. This is his season, and he could match Tiger and Palmer with a win.

Two top-10s in each of the last two years is encouraging, as was his form in Houston. Actually, his whole year has been pretty solid.

He has already won once in 2011 and played well in Houston. Though an Aussie has never won the Masters, he seems like the best bet at this spin around Augusta National.

Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton
Score (Rank):
2,696,981 (12)
 
 
 
Group A:
Phil Mickelson

Group B:
Hunter Mahan
Group C:
Steve Marino

No sense overthinking this. Three-time champ and defending this week. Led the field in birdies in Houston. Dialed in.

Five top 10s in 2011, including a T8 in Houston. Top 10s in his last two starts here.

Two runner-up paydays in 2011. Finished T14 here last year, but needs to improve scoring on second nine at Augusta National. Played front 8-under, back 6-over.


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Garcia among bubble boys keeping playoff hopes alive

By Randall MellAugust 18, 2018, 12:34 am

Sergio Garcia gave himself a chance to keep his perfect FedExCup Playoffs record going with his rally Friday at the Wyndham Championship.

D.A. Points moved into position to make a historic leap into the postseason.

And Johnson Wagner dunked his last shot of the day from long range to keep his hopes of making the playoffs alive.

But the day didn’t end nearly as well for Tyrone Van Aswegen’s FedExCup hopes.

Van Aswegen didn’t do himself any favors trying to hold on to the 125th spot on the FedExCup points list. He missed the cut by a shot.

Only the top 125 advance to The Northern Trust and next week’s start to the playoffs.

Van Aswegen wasn’t alone among “bubble boys” missing the cut. No. 122 Jhonattan Vegas, No. 123 Seamus Power, No. 124 Martin Piller, No. 126 Chad Campbell and No. 127 Robert Garrigus all failed to make the weekend.

Garcia is among 13 players who have advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs every year since they began in 2007, but his run was in jeopardy of ending starting the week. He’s 131st on the FedExCup points list

With a 65 Friday following his opening round 66, Garcia is in more than a great position to advance. He’s in position to win the Wyndham. He is tied for fourth, five shots off the lead. The day ended with Garcia projected to move up to 118th on the FedExCup points list.


Wyndham Championship: Full-field scores | Full coverage

Current FedExCup points list


“I'm just going to try to keep building on the things that I did well these first two days,” Garcia said. “Whatever happens, happens. Like I said at the beginning of the week, if I have a great weekend, then it will be great. If I don't have a great weekend, it will still be great because

I'll get to rest.”

Points started the week 214th on the FedExCup points list. With back-to-back 64s, he trails only Brandt Snedeker going into the weekend. He’s projected to move to 81st in points. Nobody has ever started the Wyndham Championship that far back in points and qualified for the playoffs. Davis Love III was 186th when he won and advanced in 2015.

Wagner, 136th on the FedExCup points list, went to spectacular lengths Friday to keep his playoff hopes alive. He was outside the cut line until holing his 153-yard approach at the last.

Bill Haas, who is among those 13 players to have qualified for the playoffs every year, started the week 150th in points. He can keep his perfect playoff record going with a big weekend. He shot 68 Friday to make the cut. He’s tied for 52nd in the tournament.

Getty Images

Points two back after missing 16 of 17 cuts

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 11:54 pm

What’s the better story come Sunday?

Brandt Snedeker turning his 59 in the opening round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship?

Or D.A. Points winning after missing 16 cuts in his last 17 starts?

They’re both scripts in the works at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.

Points, who has been struggling this season with a herniated disc that causes numbness in his fingers, has broken through his season-long funk to shoot back-to-back 64s. He starts the weekend in second place, two shots behind Snedeker.


Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“It's been difficult,” Points said of his slump. “It's been hard on my family. I was in this position a couple years ago, and I clawed my way back and won in Puerto Rico.

“I had that big downturn, and I clawed my way out of it just to find myself way back down in another deep hole again.”

Points, 41, is a three-time PGA Tour winner. He won his first title playing alongside Bill Murray at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2011 and two years later won the Shell Houston Open. He slipped into a three-year funk after that, before rebuilding his game and winning the Puerto Rico Open last year.

“Hopefully, this is my way of starting to claw back out,” Points said.

Getty Images

New 'Mr. 59' Snedeker needs Day 2 rally to keep Wyndham lead

By Randall MellAugust 17, 2018, 11:24 pm

Brandt Snedeker struggled coming off the emotional high that comes with shooting 59, but it didn’t stop him from rallying Friday to try to turn his historic round into a victory at the Wyndham Championship.

After a sluggish start to the second round, Snedeker caught fire on the back nine at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., to take the lead going into the weekend.

With a 3-under 67, Snedeker moved to 14 under overall, two shots ahead of D.A. Points (64).

“I knew it was going to be tough” Snedeker said. “It wasn't going to be the same way it was yesterday. Kind of battling the emotion of everybody pulling hard for you, wanting to see you do it again. So the front nine was disappointing.”

A day after becoming the ninth player in PGA Tour history to post a sub-60 tournament round, Snedeker opened with three bogeys and two birdies on the front nine. He said it was a struggle to begin anew.


Full-field scores from Wyndham Championship

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“You hear people telling you every two seconds, `Mr. 59,’ or saying how cool it was to watch it,” Snedeker said. “Phone's still blowing up this morning, guys in the locker room are still talking to me about it. So, yes, totally on your mind. You can't ignore it. You can't try to forget about it. Hardest thing is trying to get back into a rhythm.”

Snedeker did with an eagle and two birdies on the back nine. Rolling in a 30-foot eagle putt at the 15th gave him back the lead he lost earlier in the round.

“To see that go in was huge,” Snedeker said.

Not every player to break 60 on the PGA Tour has gone on to win. In fact, Snedeker is looking to become just the fifth player to do so.

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Garwood (64) leads Dick's Sporting Goods Open

By Associated PressAugust 17, 2018, 9:53 pm

ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Doug Garwood birdied the final three holes for an 8-under 64 and the first-round lead Friday in the Dick's Sporting Goods Open.

The 55-year-old Garwood had nine birdies and a bogey, playing his final nine holes - the front nine at En-Joie Golf Club - in 6-under 31.

''Drove it well, hit the irons well, pitched well, putted well, thought well,'' Garwood said. ''I got to a point I was just making birdies and I kind of lost track of how it was going,'' Garwood said. ''That's always a good thing.''

He won the 2016 SAS Championship for his lone PGA Tour Champions title.


Full-field scores from the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open


"I haven't been playing great this year, but I've been working hard on my game and things I've been working on are paying off,'' Garwood said. ''My golf, I take it a shot at a time, don't think about too far in advance because you really can't control, you know, the 13th hole tomorrow. It's just about the tee shot on No. 1.''

Michael Bradley and Marco Dawson shot 65, Woody Austin and Clark Dennis followed at 66, and Bob Estes and Tom Gillis were at 67.

''It was a good day,'' Bradley said. ''I've traditionally not driven the ball well here and you've got to drive the ball good here to shoot a good score. I drove the ball well and made a few putts, so that was that.''

Kenny Perry, the 3M Championship winner two weeks ago in Minnesota, had a 68. Bernard Langer and Miguel Angel Jimenez each shot 70. Langer won the 2014 tournament. Jimenez is coming off a victory at St. Andrews in the British Senior Open.

Defending champion Scott McCarron had a 72. Kevin Sutherland also had a 72. He shot the only 59 in PGA Tour Champions history in the 2014 event. John Daly, the winner of the PGA Tour's 1992 B.C. Open at En-Joie, opened with a 73.