This week in golf presents a tale of two coasts.
On the east coast, we have the final week of the PGA. Players seeking last minute FedEx Cup points will take on Donald Ross’ Sedgefield Country Club for the Wyndham Championship.
Out west, the world’s best amateurs are at Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill for the U.S. Amateur. It is my favorite tournament of the year, and the increased coverage of it with Fox Sports has been a phenomenal development.
First, the pros.
Last season saw Henrik Stenson claim his 6th PGA Tour victory with a one-shot win over Ollie Schniederjans. The big Swede shot a final-round 64 and set the tournament record at 258. He closed with birdies on 15, 16 and 17 to hold on for the victory. Stenson has not won in the last year but came close at Bay Hill.
The magic number is 125 this week as only the top 125 players in the FedEx Cup standings will be moving on to the playoffs. Only four players have ever jumped from 140 or higher and into the top 125 at the Wyndham, so it would take something special to make up that much ground.
123 - Seamus Power (+13)
124 - Martin Pillar (+7)
125 - Tyrone Van Aswegen (364 pts)
126 - Chad Campbell (-3)
127 - Robert Garrigus (-8)
128 - Corey Conners (-10)
Notables on the outside: Sergio Garcia (131st), Harris English (132nd), Steve Stricker (141st). Full rankings
With jobs on the line, here’s who Paulie likes to excel at the old school Donald Ross track.
West Coast Best Coast
The US Amateur is (in my opinion) the best tournament of the year. It is always played at a phenomenal venue, it features world-class players, it has match play, it has drama, and it now has tons of live TV coverage.
This year’s setting is Pebble Beach as the USGA gets a test run for the 2019 U.S. Open. 312 players teed off on Monday and have now played a round on both Pebble and Spyglass Hill. The field has been cut to 64, and match play is set to begin on Wednesday morning. But first, a 24 for 1 Playoff will commence to decide the final spot in match play. That’s right, 24 players are tied for 64th place.
During the stroke play qualifying Western Amateur champion and soon to be Texas freshman Cole Hammer earned co-Medalist honors with New Zealand’s Daniel Hillier. Hammer is having a sensational 2018, besides his Western Am win, Hammer also won the Azalea Am, made a semifinal run in the U.S. Junior and a 4th place finish at the Sahalee Players. Hillier ranks 20th in the World Amateur Rankings and will look to become the first Kiwi to capture the U.S. Amateur crown since Danny Lee.
Outside of Hammer and Hillier here are some of the names who you’ll want to look out for during Fox’s coverage of the event.
-2016 U.S. Mid Am Champion and 2017 Masters low-amateur Stewart Hagestad
-All Americans Justin Suh (USC), Collin Morikawa (Cal), and Shintaro Ban (UNLV)
-2017 NCAA Champion and Haskins Award winner Braden Thornberry
-Akshay Bhatia - This soon to be junior in high school finished runner up at the US Junior and has won back to back Junior PGA Championships.
-Former US Jr. Am champion and current SMU Mustang Noah Goodwin
Shane Bacon and the Fox Crew will kick off coverage today from 5-8 PM EDTon FS1.
Wrapping up the PGA
SB Nation’s Brendan Porath and ESPN’s Kevin Van Valkenburg joined the podcast to discuss the exciting 2018 PGA Championship and the major season. Listen to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher or the website.
The Web.com Tour is in the Pacific Northwest for the Winco Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft Heinz (Seriously, that’s what it’s called). Tee Times
The LPGA heads to the brickyard for the Indy Women in Tech Championship Driven by Group One Thousand One (Again, that’s what it’s called).
TJ Vogel Monday qualified for a record 8th PGA Tour event this year. He needs a top-40 finish to go into Web.com Tour finals.