Fantasy Island: The Players Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 10, 2011, 4:06 pm

GolfChannel.com experts offer up their picks for the The Players 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 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.

 

The Players Championship

*Ranking among the 16 GolfChannel.com experts

Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard
Score (Rank*)
5,944,631 (2)

Group A:
Phil Mickelson

Group B:
Lucas Glover

Group C:
Andres Romero
Lefty hung 20 birdies on Quail Hollow last week on his way to a tie for ninth and, more Importantly, he’s putting well heading into a tournament he’s won before.

G-Love’s third-place finish at TPC Sawgrass last year was his best of the season and he followed his last victory (2009 U.S. Open) with two solid finishes, a sign he doesn’t dwell on the past.

The talented Argentine has been an enigma since his breakthrough Tour victory in 2008, but he’s shown signs of life in his last two starts (T-8 in New Orleans and T-16 at Quail Hollow).

Randall Mell

Randall Mell
Score (Rank)
3,758,889 (14) 
Group A:
Luke Donald

Group B:
Hunter Mahan

Group C:
Heath Slocum
Strong iron game, hot putter, perfect temperament to dissect Pete Dye's puzzle.
 
The exacting nature of his ball striking will improve his record at TPC Sawgrass.
 
Time for Florida native to make another headline, building on last year's T-4 at TPC Sawgrass.

Charlie Rymer

Charlie Rymer
Score (Rank)
4,286,618 (12) 
Group A:
Matt Kuchar

Group B:
Lucas Glover

Group C:
David Duval
Kuchar is gonna turn his customary top 10 into a win this week. He needs the cash – taxes are due on all the other money he has been winning.

Glover has got some big time MO, drives it beautifully, and played well here last year.

Duval played well here one time, right? Maybe it's flashback week
John Hawkins

John Hawkins
Score (Rank)
4,314,793 (11) 
Group A:
Luke Donald

Group B:
David Toms

Group C:
Sean O'Hair



Career year continues with biggest win to date.

Quietly having a very nice year, still a great putter.

Unless he's paired with Sabbatini, he'll feel good on a course where he's played well before.

 

Jay Coffin

Jay Coffin
Score (Rank)
4,661,206 (8) 
Group A:
Matt Kuchar

Group B:
Francesco Molinari

Group C:
Fredrik Jacobson
I like Lefty this week, but thinking here is that Kuchar is so consistent that he's bound to win something big sooner or later. He plays well at Sawgrass, I'm hoping this is his week.

He's only had one crack at The Players and it was a ninth-place finish. He hasn't played well in the past month but he's too good a player to not snap out of his funk.

In this group you're just looking for good value. Don't know if Jacobson qualifies as good value but he did tie for 10th here last year and he fits the mold of unassuming champions at Sawgrass.

Gary Williams

Gary Williams
Score (Rank)
5,259,860 (4) 
Group A:
Matt Kuchar

Group B:
Adam Scott

Group C:
Matt Jones
Has finished T-14 and T-13 in the last two years at TPC Sawgrass and has not missed the cut all year while recording six top-10s in 10 starts. A win would take him to another level

The 2004 Players champion is playing well in 2011 and finished second at Augusta National. If he controls the long putter he will be in contention

Missed the cut in his only appearance at TPC Sawgrass in 2008, but is playing well right now, finishing sixth in New Orleans and T-21 in Charlotte. This win would change his life

Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias
Score (Rank)
5,092,819 (5)
Group A:
Jin Furyk

Group B:
Ben Crane

Group C:
Tommy Gainey
 

Five straight top-25 finishes on the PGA Tour,  lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, has made the cut 13 of 15 times at TPC Sawgrass. He is due for a big week

Has improved every year at TPC Sawgrass: MC, T-66, T-36, T-6, T-5, and T-4. Two top-20s in his last two starts and he is an under-the-radar contender

May be the feel good story of 2011 as he has four top-10s, including a pair of thirds in the past month. This is his first Players and a win could make him the story of the year.

Win McMurry

Win McMurry
Score (Rank)
7,748,433 (1)
Group A:
Matt Kuchar

Group B:
Ben Crane

Group C:
Pat Perez

Last year’s PGA Tour money winner would be a stellar Playerss champion. He’s been incredibly consistent this year with six top-10s in ten starts. Add that to his resume from the last two years at The Players where he finished T-13 and T-14, and he’s a strong pick.
 
This tournament is always unpredictable, but for the last three years Crane has been a staple on the first page of the leaderboard Sunday afternoon.
 
Despite a rocky start to 2011 Perez has turned things around since the beginning of April. Since then he has three top-6 finishes in four starts, including a T-6 last week in Charlotte. And Perez has played well at TPC Sawgrass in the past, tying for third in 2006.

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee
Score (Rank)
1,650,559 (16) 
Group A:
Luke Donald

Group B:
Jason Day

Group C:
Davis Love III
The Englishman finished second at the Heritage, played on a course that is very similar to the rigors of TPC Sawgrass' Stadium Course. His game should carry over.

TPC Sawgrass takes a little bit of acclimation before success. A missed cut here last year might be just enough to get the Aussie comfortable on Dye's design. He has the complete game to win a tournament of this magnitude, this young.

The C group is a great chance to take a flier. DL3 had a really nice week in Charlotte and won this event in first in 1992, then in 2003, which was the first Players that I ever saw in person.

Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton
Score (Rank)
3,600,173 (15) 

Group A:
Luke Donald

Group B:
Ben Crane

Group C:
Fredrik Jacobson

Six straight top-10s. Eleven consecutive rounds under par. Sold.
 
Finished T-6, T-5 and T-4 in the last three years here, respectively. Arguably the only current horse for TPC Sawgrass.
 
Six top-25s in 12 starts this year. Ranks 19th in scrambling. Finished a career-best T-10 here last year in seventh career appearance. Experience matters.

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Getty Images

Rose leads Koepka, Grillo by four at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 9:06 pm

On the strength of a 4-under 66 Saturday, Justin Rose will take an four-shot lead over Brooks Koepka and Emiliano Grillo into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational. Here's where things stand through 54 holes at Colonial Country Club.

Leaderboard: Rose (-14), Koepka (-10), Grillo (-10), Corey Conners (-8), Jon Rahm (-8), Louis Oosthuizen (-8), J.T. Poston (-8), Ryan Armour (-8)

What it means: The fifth-ranked player in the world is 18 holes from his ninth PGA Tour victory and his second this season. Up once to start the third round, Rose extended his lead to as much as five with birdies on four of his first six holes. Through 54 holes, Rose has made XX birdies and just XX bogeys. The 2013 U.S. Open winner and 2016 Olympic gold medalist has a history of winning at iconic venues - Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional - and now looks to add Colonial to the list. He'll be chased on Sunday by Grillo, the young Argentianian who won his first Tour start as a member in 2015, and Koepka, last year's U.S. Open winner who continues to impress in his injury comeback despite ongoing wrist issues.  

Round of the day: Corey Conners and Ted Potter both turned in 8-under 63. Potter was bogey-free and Conners came home in 6-under 29 on the back nine.

Best of the rest: Jon Rahm, Louis Oosthuizen, Brian Harman, and Michael Thompson all signed for 64. Rahm called his six-birdie start the best 10 holes he's played so far this year. 

Biggest disappointment: Jordan Spieth has finished second-first-second in the last three years at this event, but he's yet to find his normal Colonial form through three rounds. Spieth, who said Friday he was capable of shooting "10 or 12 under" over the weekend, shot even-par 70 Saturday. He sits in T-38 at 3 under for the week, 11 back.

Shot of the day: Rory Sabbatini closed out his third round Saturday with this eagle holeout from 134 yards at the 18th. 

His colorful scorecard featured three bogeys, two birdies, a double bogey and that eagle. It added up to a 1-over 71. 

Getty Images

McCarron closes with only bogey, shares lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 8:49 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Scott McCarron, seeking a second senior major title to go with his 2017 Senior Players Championship, made his only bogey of the third round on the final hole to slip into a tie for the lead Saturday with Tim Petrovic in the Senior PGA Championship.

They were at 13 under par after Petrovic, seeking his first major, shot 65. McCarron has shared the lead through three rounds.

England's Paul Broadhurst, the 2016 British Senior Open winner, matched the best third-round score in tournament history with a 64. He was at 11 under.

Miguel Angel Jimenez, coming off his first major championship last week at the Regions Tradition, shot 65 and was 9 under.

Tom Byrum, who made a hole-in-one in shooting a 67, was in a group at 8 under.

Getty Images

Watch: Rose one-arms approach, makes birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 7:25 pm

Justin Rose appears to have taken a course in Hideki Matsuyama-ing.

Already 3 under on his round through five thanks to a birdie-birdie-birdie start, Rose played this approach from 143 yards at the par-4 sixth.

That one-armed approach set up a 6-foot birdie putt he rolled in to move to 4 under on his round and 14 under for the week, five clear of the field.

Getty Images

McIlroy battles back into tie for BMW PGA lead

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 26, 2018, 4:09 pm

Rory McIlroy got off to a rocky start on Saturday in the third round of the BMW PGA Championship, including hitting a spectator and making a double bogey. But after that incident on the sixth hole, he didn't drop another shot, birdieing the final hole to shoot a 1-under 71 and tie for the lead.

McIlroy had gone into Moving Day with a three-shot lead, but Francesco Molinari had the round of the day, a 6-under 66. "It was nice keep a clean scorecard," said Molinari, who hasn't made a bogey since the 10th hole on Friday.


Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship


McIlroy and Molinari will be paired in Sunday's final round. They are tied at 13 under par, four shots clear of Ross Fisher, Branden Grace, Sam Horsfield and Alexander Noren.

The Wentworth course ends with back-to-back par-5s, and McIlroy birdied both of them. He got a break on the 18th hole as his drive hit a spectator and bounced into light rough.

"It was a struggle out there today," McIlroy said. "I think when you're working on a few things in your swing and the wind is up and you're stuck between trying to play different shots, but also try to play - you know, make good swings at it, I just hit some loose tee balls on the first few holes. But I'm proud of myself. I stayed patient. I actually - I'm feeling a bit better about myself after today than I was even walking off the course yesterday."