Friday, August 24, 2012

Barclays First-Round Notes

First-Round Notes – Thursday, August 23, 2012

PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup
The Barclays serves as the kickoff to the FedExCup Playoffs.
  • The top-125 players on the final Regular Season FedExCup points list (following the Wyndham
    Championship) qualified for The Barclays.
  • The top-100 players on the FedExCup points list following The Barclays qualify for the Deutsche Bank
  • The top-70 players on the FedExCup points list after the Deutsche Bank Championship advance to the
    BMW Championship, contested at Crooked Stick GC in Indianapolis, Ind., for the first time.
  • Each playoff event offers 2,500 FedExCup points to the winner.
  • The top-30 players following the BMW Championship will qualify for the TOUR Championship by Coca-
    Cola. Prior to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, a points reset will take place, giving all players in the field a mathematical opportunity to win the FedExCup title. The top-five players control their own destiny and would claim the FedExCup with a victory at East Lake.
  • Any player in the field at The Barclays can mathematically move inside the top five in the points standings with a runner-up finish or victory.
  • In 2011, seven players began the FedExCup Playoffs ranked outside of the top 30 and played their way into the field at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
    Padraig Harrington – No. 62 in FedExCup – 64 (-7)
    Padraig Harrington, winner of The Barclays in 2005, carded six birdies to shoot 29 on the back nine en route to a 64 (-7). Harrington’s 64 is his lowest round since a career-best 61 (31-30) at the Transitions Championship in March (finished T20). The 29 matches Harrington’s career low for nine holes on the PGA TOUR. He shot a back-nine 29 at the 2007 TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in the first round (finished T11).
    Harrington’s 64 ties the lowest round in a PGA TOUR-sanctioned event at Bethpage State Park: The Black Course, posted by Lucas Glover (R2) and Mike Weir (R1) at the 2009 U.S. Open, when the course was played as a par 70.
    Harrington finished T8 (70-68-73-75) and missed the cut (76-76) at the two U.S. Opens held at Bethpage, in 2002 and 2009, respectively.
    Harrington has held or shared an 18-hole lead in a PGA TOUR event six previous times, most recently after his opening-round 61 at the 2012 Transitions Championship. He has not converted any of those 18-hole leads into victory. In fact, Harrington has only led in one round en route to his five PGA TOUR victories – at The Barclays 2005, when he shared the 54-hole lead with Jim Furyk. At that event, Harrington made a 65-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to edge Furyk by one shot.
    A win this week would make Harrington the sixth player to win The Barclays more than once: Vijay Singh (4); and Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia (2).
    In the 45-year history of The Barclays, the first-round leader/co-leader has gone on to win nine times.
Nick Watney – No. 49 in FedExCup – 65 (-6)
Nick Watney’s opening-round 65 is his second-lowest round of the year, behind a 64 during round two of the Wells Fargo Championship (finished 8th).
Watney was ranked No. 1 in the FedExCup standings after the PGA TOUR Regular season last year and finished 9th, his best showing since the FedExCup began in 2007. He posted a T10 finish in The Barclays 2011, his second top 10 at the event. His best Barclays performance was a T6 in 2009.
Watney missed the cut at the 2009 U.S. Open held at Bethpage Black (73-73).
Brian Harman – No. 97 in FedExCup – 65 (-6)
In his FedExCup Playoffs debut, rookie Brian Harman posted seven birdies against one bogey in round one and is one shot off Harrington’s lead. Harman is one of 11 rookies to make the FedExCup Playoffs.
Harman has eight top-25 finishes. Earning his first PGA TOUR top 10 would move Harman into the top 40 in FedExCup points and would go a long way toward getting him to the FedExCup finale in Atlanta. Based on the last three years, it’s projected that Harman needs to finish 68th this week in order to move into the top 100 in FedExCup points and advance to next week’s Playoffs event in Boston.
Since the FedExCup began in 2007, the best finish by a rookie in the final standings is 20th – by Brandt Snedeker in 2007 and by Marc Leishman in 2009. The only other rookies to advance to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola are Keegan Bradley (2011, 20th) and Andres Romero (2008, 28th).
Harman’s best finish thus far this season is a T19 at the RBC Canadian Open, where he carded a career-low 63 in the second round. 

Two players have won in their first appearance in The Barclays – Jack Renner (1979) and Vijay Singh (1993). Eight players have made The Barclays their first PGA TOUR win: Andy North (1977); Jack Renner (1979); Wayne Grady (1989); Vijay Singh (1993); JP Hayes (1998); Dennis Paulson (2000); Chris Smith (2002); and Jonathan Kaye (2003). 

Pat Perez – No. 72 in FedExCup – 66 (-5)
Pat Perez opened with a 5-under 66 in his 10th appearance in 2002 his best finish. In his six starts since The Barclays became the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs, his only made cut led to a T60 finish in 2010.
Perez, No. 72 on the FedExCup points list, entered the week with a 73.4 scoring average in opening rounds at The Barclays, dating to the first season of the Playoffs in 2007. During that span, his only other score in the 60s in 11 rounds was a first-round 67 in 2010.
Last year, Perez withdrew from The Barclays following an opening-round 79.
In 11 full seasons on the PGA TOUR, Perez is still seeking his first trip to the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.

Sergio Garcia – No. 33 in FedExCup – 66 (-5) st Sergio Garcia, a two-time winner of The Barclays (2001, 2004), posted his 21 rounds and 11 starts) in round one and is two shots off of Harrington’s lead.
round in the 60s (out of 41
start at The Barclays, with a T2 finish in his inaugural
A below-average season by Garcia’s standards has turned around with his victory last week at the Wyndham Championship. The win was just his second top-10 finish of 2012, after a T4 to start his PGA TOUR season at the Northern Trust Open. The last player to win back-to-back PGA TOUR events was Tiger Woods in 2009 (Buick Open, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational).
Garcia fell as far as No. 103 in the FedExCup standings and entered the Wyndham Championship at No. 102.
Garcia is one of the most successful players at The Barclays, with two career victories that have helped put him at No. 2 in career money earned at the event. Entering this week, Garcia ranked seventh in career stroke average at 69.33 in 40 rounds at The Barclays.
The 32-year-old, eight-time PGA TOUR winner is looking to reach the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola for the first time since 2008, when he suffered playoff defeats at two of the four PGA TOUR Playoff events (The Barclays to Vijay Singh and the TOUR Championship to Camilo Villegas).
Garcia finished fourth (68-74-67-74) and T10 (70-70-72-70) at the U.S. Open at Bethpage in 2002 and 2009, respectively. 

Misc. Notes
There were 34 rounds in the 60s during round 1 of The Barclays. In the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage, there were 26 for the entire four days of competition (60 in the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage over four days).
Bill Haas opened the defense of his FedExCup title with an even-par (71).

K.J. Choi, a runner-up to Steve Stricker at The Barclays 2007, the first FedExCup Playoffs event, got off to a strong start with a 67 (-4) in round one at Bethpage. Choi has seven top-10 finishes in the FedExCup Playoffs, trailing only Steve Stricker and Camilo Villegas, who are tied for most with 10 each, and Jim Furyk (8). Phil Mickelson also has seven. 

Steve Stricker extended his lead in the category of “Rounds in the 60s – FedExCup Playoffs,” carding a 69 (-2) in the opening round. He now has 47 rounds in the 60s, followed by Jim Furyk (37), Phil Mickelson (36 – includes his 68 in round one) and Hunter Mahan (35). 

Luke Donald opened The Barclays 2012 with a 3-under 68. A year ago, Donald set a single-season Playoffs record, playing all 270 holes without a three-putt. He began this week where he left off last year, playing all 18 holes on Thursday without a three-putt. Donald led the TOUR in 2011 in three-putt avoidance. This year he ranks ninth.

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