Sunday, August 26, 2012

2012 Barclays Championship from Bethpage Black--Nick Watney is your Champion

The first round of the FedEx Cup playoffs is complete, and American Nick Watney survived a week of brutally fast greens, finishing at 10-under par for a three stroke victory.  Watney entered the final round trailing Sergio Garcia but quickly made up the deficit as Garcia faltered throughout the round.  Bethpage Black proved to be a tough test for even the best in the world, as many of the top-10 golfers in the world struggled to tame the lightning-fast greens.  Some greens were running upwards of 15 feet on the stimpmeter.

Throughout this final round, though, Watney seemed in control on the greens.  Though three-putting five previous times in the tournament, Watney put together a solid final round to win for the first time since the AT&T National in 2011.  The win strengthens Watney's chances for a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup, a spot that only last year seemed assured to him.  The win moves Watney into the top spot in the FedEx Cup standings and should provide a solid boost in the World Rankings with the stellar field.

Garcia finished a second strong week in a row in a tie for third after faltering down the stretch.  Following his win at the Wyndham Championship, Garcia used a temporary caddie for a second straight week to success.  Finishing one spot ahead of Garcia was Brandt Snedeker, who can use all of the strong finishes he can get to strengthen his bid for a captain's pick to the Ryder Cup.  The solo second moved Snedeker into the second spot in the FedEx Cup standings.

Entering the week as the number 1 ranked player in the FedEx Cup Standings, Tiger Woods seemed destined to have a great week on a course where he has had so much success.  A solid first round of 3-under par set him up for a chance at the win.  But a sore back relegated him to a 2-under par second round, and he could not get the putter working on the weekend, three putting numerous times.  Woods struggled to a 76 in the final round and fell to 3rd in the FedEx Cup standings.

Other players who struggled included Rory McIlroy, who finished at 1-under par.  Finishing at 5-under were Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuisen.  Luke Donald came home at 3-under par.

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