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Golf Barometer: Welcome Back, Appleby

David Ferris

David Ferris

Ferris covers the PGA Tour for RotoWire. He is an award-winning sports writer and a veteran fantasy columnist. He also is a scratch golfer.


UPGRADES


Stuart Appleby:
On one hand his 59 might seem a little cheap, given how easy the birdies were flowing at The Greenbrier Classic. That established, Appleby used the red numbers to catapult himself to a win on a Sunday of all days, and it came despite whatever internal pressure he was feeling - remember this is someone who hadn't hoisted a trophy on Tour since the Shell Houston Open almost four years ago. The victory doesn't seem like a fluke - Appleby had five cashes in six starts, most of them strong ones, into last week - and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Appleby can make some noise when the playoff season rolls around.

Jeff Overton:
He's got three seconds and two thirds in the last four months, which raises the question - do we praise him for competing so often, or flag him for not being able to close? Overton really can't be hammered for his failure to finish last week - Stuart Appleby's 59 came out of nowhere - but then again, Overton did find a way to miss a 3-foot birdie putt on 17 that would have set him up for a likely playoff (spike mark or no spike mark, you have to drop that one). If Overton can get the emotions a little more in check - he seems to live and die with every shot, especially on the weekends - he'll be in the winner's circle before he turns 30.

Pat Perez:
Generally we think of him as a player who gets it done early in the season, but in 2010 Perez is flipping the trend. He had a three-month slump earlier in the year, but he's been on the mark of late, cashing in 7-of-8 starts including a pair of significant checks (T10 at Crowne Plaza, and T9 at The Greenbrier Classic). We'd consider Perez a possible sleeper for the PGA Championship if he had any experience at Whistling Straits; he didn't play in the event in 2004.

Matt Bettencourt:
He was a solid fantasy option down the stretch in 2009, and don't look now but he's doing it again. Bettencourt's win at Reno was no fluke; he's followed it up with a T17 at the RBC Canadian Open and a T16 at The Greenbrier.

DOWNGRADES


Brandt Snedeker:
His iron play has been erratic for about three months, and that's essentially why he's slammed the trunk in seven of his last 13 starts. Sure, his angelic form on the greens pays a lot of bills, but there's a lot of scrambling to be done when you're 170th in driving distance and fighting yourself in the fairways.

John Daly:
He's cashed in 9-of-12 starts the last six months, but he's not making deep runs - none of those checks topped $30K. Daly didn't seem particularly engaged Sunday at The Greenbrier Classic, shooting 76 on a track that was handing out birdies to everyone else. Daly can still go low on a given day when the flow finds him and he keeps his head about him, but will we see four rounds strung together at the same event? We're not holding our breath.

Davis Love:
He had a nice U.S. Open but otherwise he hasn't done a thing for three months. You can point directly to the flat stick - Love currently stands 182nd in putting, and that's not the sort of trend you want to be battling when you're 46 and wavering in confidence.

David Toms:
It was good to see him back on the course last week after a few weeks off to rest the shoulder, but Toms didn't look sharp at all. When Toms is right his iron play is rock-steady, but he's 116th in GIR this season, a number we're not used to seeing. We'll be surprised if he does much in the final quarter of the year.