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Golf Barometer: Stanley's Best Skill: Short Memory

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.

UPGRADE

Kyle Stanley:
While I didn't think the collapse in San Diego would leave a permanent scar, I have to admit I was stunned to see Stanley circle the wagons so quickly, winning in Arizona. That all out of the way, we've got a potential star here. Stanley hits the ball a mile, he's dynamite with his long irons and he has a better-than-average putter. Better yet, he obviously has a short memory and a lot of resolve, two things you need to succeed on the tour.

Ben Crane:
He's already bagged three Top-10 checks this year, including a sole second in Phoenix, and he seems to be enjoying the game more than ever (he was engaging fans all through the weekend in the desert). Crane is still in his mid-30s - he turns 36 next month - and probably hasn't shown us his career season yet. He's comfortable in his own skin and has the ability to be a consistent winner.

John Rollins:
He's already baked $727,668 this year, showcasing a wonderfully-balanced game: 19th in tee distance, 14th in accuracy, 40th in GIR, 34th in putting. That's a profile that can win anywhere. Rollins also has his scoring average under 70 for all four rounds, Thursday through Sunday. He only has three wins on tour, the last coming in August 2009, but that number should go up this season.

John Daly:
Just seeing him make a cut anywhere qualifies as news, so it was stop-the-presses time when he ran T4 at the abbreviated Qatar Masters. Keep in mind Daly has just one victory in 17 years; he hasn't been a serious contender for a long time. For now, keep him stashed in the curiosity file.

DOWNGRADE

Spencer Levin:
Two weeks ago it was the Stanley collapse, and last week it was Levin's turn to give it away, failing to hold a six-shot lead into the final round in Arizona. Levin had a solid 2011 campaign when you consider his ordinary driving (just 117th in total driving) and putting (115th in strokes gained) - he scored better than his component stats would suggest - but he's also shown a tendency to play poorly when he's in deep contention. It might take him a while to bag that first victory.

Tommy Gainey:
It's been a crash-and-burn for Two Gloves, with three trunk slams and one piddly $10K check that came through a MDF at the Sony. In short, he's yet to play four rounds in any week, and he hasn't broken 70 in a month. He played over his head in 2011 and everyone seems to realize it; last year's surprise hero could be turning into this year's fantasy zero. He's no longer in our Top 100.

Kevin Chappell:
I considered him a breakout candidate entering the season, but he needs to get his irons going; he's missing greens left and right, and that's why he hasn't done better than a T30 check through four starts. The UCLA product won't be on my roster for the Crosby Clambake; we need a show of good faith first.

Jeff Overton:
Two mediocre checks (T54, T54) opened his season, and then a bad wrist forced an early withdrawal at the Phoenix Open. The breakout season of 2010 seems like a distant memory; Overton was erratic for most of last season, and then he had the embarrassing public intoxication arrest in mid-December. Some time off might serve him well for now.

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