The PGA Tour is in West Virginia this week for the second running of The Greenbrier Classic. Stuart Appleby fired a final round 59 to win last year’s tournament and he’s back to defend.
The course at The Old White TPC has been toughened up since last season. In 2010 Appleby was, by no means, the only man to go low. In fact, the scoring average for the tournament was 68.536 – the second lowest of any par 70 course on the PGA Tour schedule. So, for this year, the greens have been re-seeded with bent grass to make them firmer, the fairways will be tighter, the rough thicker and the course longer.
With the WGC Bridgestone Invitational next week and the USPGA Championship the following week, many of the top players are completing their preparations this week at the Greenbrier. There are also players trying to play their way into the fields for Firestone and Atlanta Athletic Club.
Those on the verge of the top-50 on the Official World Golf Ranking will be looking for a good showing here to sneak inside and so earn a start in the Bridgestone. Ryan Palmer, currently at 52, and Webb Simpson at 53 will be pushing extra hard this week.
The Old White course at The Greenbrier originally dates from 1914 and was the work of Charles Blair Macdonald and Seth Raynor. In 2006 Lester George completed a redesign that aimed to restore the layout to play as it had in its early years.
Sam Snead, a former “Golf Professional Emeritus” at the Greenbrier, scored his final hole-in-one on the Old White course’s 18th hole back in 1995.
The Greenbrier is no stranger to professional competition. The club’s Greenbrier Course was used for the Ryder Cup matches in 1979 and the 1994 Solheim Cup. It was also host to a Champions Tour event from 1985-87.
Venue: The Old White TPC, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia
Date: Jul 28-31
Course stats: par 70, 7,210 yards
Purse: $6,000,000 Winner: $1,080,000
Defending Champion: Stuart Appleby (-22)
Thursday 28- Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Friday 29 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Saturday 30 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm
Sunday 31 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 6pm
Brandt Snedeker – He’s been on a good run of form (despite a missed cut at the Open) and this course should suit him – he tends to perform well over par-70 layouts.
Phil Mickelson – He performed well at St George’s to finish in a tie for second. He’s playing some excellent golf at the moment and it’s surely just a matter of time before he makes a return to the winner’s circle.
Jeff Overton – Last year’s runner-up, Overton was tied third in the AT&T National earlier this month. He thrives on testing layouts and his performance over the Old White last year proved he enjoys the course.
Key hole: 18th. Unusually, The Old White course finishes with a short par 3. At just 162 yards, it’s a birdie chance. The tee shot must be fired over the river to a green surrounded by bunkers.
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