Greenbrier Classic 2014: A preview and best bets for the this week's PGA Tour event
By Dave Tindall. Last Updated: 02/07/14 2:31pm
The 18th green at the Old White
The PGA Tour travels 250 miles south-west from last week's event in Maryland to contest the fifth staging of The Greenbrier Classic at White Sulphur Springs.
Designed by Charles Blair Macdonald and opened 100 years ago, The Old White is situated close to the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia.
This lush, rural location was once the home of seven-time Major winner Sam Snead whose name has always been synonymous with The Greenbrier Club.
The tree-covered layout has generous fairways and large undulating greens and, during the inaugural Greenbrier Classic of 2010, yielded a final round 59 to tournament winner Stuart Appleby (-22).
One extra incentive this week is that the leading four finishers in the top 12 (or ties), who haven't yet got a spot in the Open Championship will secure a place at Hoylake.
Star names in the field this week include Masters champion Bubba Watson and FedExCup leader Jimmy Walker.
2012 winner Ted Potter, Jr. with the rather large trophy!
The Old White TPC at The Greenbrier Resort was toughened up after Appleby's birdie blitz in 2010 although it still remains one of the easier par 70s on the PGA Tour rota. Ted Potter won the 2012 event with 16-under after a pair of weekend 64s. It measures in at 7,287 yards with the two par fives coming on the back nine (the 12th and 17th). The name and age of the course suggests it might be a haven for wily veterans but rookies Scott Stallings (-10) and Ted Potter took victory in 2011 and 2012 respectively while Sweden's Jonas Blixt (-13) became the third straight twenty-something to triumph in 2013.
7.50am (10th tee): Patrick Reed, Bill Haas, Steve Stricker
8.00am (10th tee): Jimmy Walker, Scott Stallings, Jonas Blixt
12.50pm (1st tee): Brendon Todd, JB Holmes, Bubba Watson
1.00pm (1st tee): Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradley, Tom Watson
Bill Haas has posted a PGA Tour win in each of the last four seasons (he actually won twice in 2010) so this looks a good chance for him to extend that streak.
He's racked up no end of top 25s this season and just needs to get the putter a little hotter to turn those into title challenges.
Haas is certainly a big fan of The Old White as he was runner-up there in 2011 when losing in a play-off and ninth last year. He was also 11th with a round to go in 2012 after a round three 65 before fading.
Bill Haas: Strong course form
Past records show he's a definite horses-for-courses type so there's every reason to believe he can shine again at a venue where he thrives.
Take the 22/1.
Brendon de Jonge is still looking for his first victory and this looks as good a place as any for him to shed the maiden tag.
The Zimbawean was third on debut in 2010, fourth in 2011 and also shot bookend 66s when 17th last year.
He's been placed in the top 30 in five of his last six starts and most recently was eighth in the Quicken Loans National last week. Go each-way at 33/1.
Which player in the field is the only one with top fives on his last two starts?
The surprising answer is Brendan Steele, who has placed tied fifth in both the Travelers Championship and the Quicken Loans National. He also opened with a 66 in this event last year.
Interviewed in Maryland last week, Steele said: "I've been happy with my whole game for a while now but I'm just starting to put it together in the last couple weeks."
Have a punt on the 2011 Texas Open winner at 45/1.
At bigger odds, Michael Putnam looks an interesting runner at 125/1.
The four winners at this venue had never played here before so see Putnam's paltry course form (a withdrawn after round one in 2011) as a positive!
In his last two starts he's finished 11th at the Travelers Championship and 24th in the Quicken Loans so the 31-year-old, who won twice on the Web.com Tour last year (May and June), could be a surprise package.
2pts e.w. Bill Haas at 22/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
1.5pts e.w. Brendon de Jonge at 33/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
1pt e.w. Brendan Steele at 45/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)
1pt e.w. Michael Putnam at 125/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5)