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Golf Barometer: A Bankable Stud

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

Sang-Moon Bae:
He got away with a couple of loose moments at the Byron Nelson on Sunday - especially the dangerous tee shot on the par-3 17th - but Bae also ran down Keegan Bradley during the course of the day, and he wasn't thrown by the giveaway double-bogey he made on the close of the front side. The first PGA Tour win is always the hardest to get and now Bae has that secured. His putting is outstanding. His driving needs to be straighter (160th in tee accuracy), but he has the right type of skills to manage around that. He's capable of being an international star someday.

Keegan Bradley:
When you open with a course-record 60, OK, sure, you're supposed to win the tournament. Bradley didn't have his best stuff on the final three days at the Byron Nelson, of course, and his putter let him down at key moments Sunday. That said, Bradley took the sole second in stride and was classy in defeat - these are the sounds of a winning player who knows he'll be grabbing another trophy before long. He hasn't been in in the limelight too often this year, and yet he stands eighth on the money list without a victory yet. He's still a bankable stud.

Ricky Barnes:
Maybe the 66 on Sunday will jump-start his messy year. Barnes ultimately grabbed a T12 check (his only good pay of the year) and has made five cuts in his last seven tries. Baby steps. A full confidence rebuild could take a while, but our hunch says he'll be a Top-100 player the rest of the way.

Camilo Villegas:
Don't look now but he's actually starting to play well again (that's actually an absurd figure of speech - of course you should look now). Villegas stumbled a bit with a closing 75 at the Byron Nelson (landing in T48 position), but he followed that up with a solid 68-66 effort at British Open qualifying. Note that Villegas ran T9 at the RBC Heritage and T17 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational a few weeks back, and heck, he's just 31. It's too early to close the book.

DOWNGRADE

Sean O'Hair:
He was off and running with a solid 66 to open at the Byron Nelson, but a Friday 75 had him slamming the trunk for the eighth time in 2013. What happened to the future stud everyone envisioned a few seasons back? O'Hair's stat profile doesn't show any obvious reasons for optimism: he's 159th in tee accuracy, 145th in GIR, 132nd in putting strokes gained. He's still belting the ball great lengths, but that's little consolation when the rest of your game is in the toilet.

Louie Oosthuizen:
A neck problem forced him out of the Byron Nelson with a check already secured, and he's not going to start at Crowne Plaza either. It's the worst time for this sort of injury, with three majors just around the corner; we figured Oosthuizen would be one of the 10 primary favorites across the pond in June.

HOLDING STEADY

Charl Schwartzel:
You hate to diss anyone off a sole third on the previous weekend, but Schwartzel's putter was shockingly erratic in Sunday's round, and he has to feel he left a potential win on the table. That sort of performance sometimes comes with aftershocks down the road.

Gary Woodland:
He's cashed in seven events in a row but it's not adding up to much - the last six checks have been under $20K, and he hasn't seen a Top-20 since Phoenix. Woodland looked primed for something good at the Byron Nelson before a field-worst 79 on Sunday. He's not accurate with the driver or comfortable with the putter now and it shows. He's also playing very poorly on weekends, when you need to make your move - Woodland's 169th in Round 3 scoring and 187th on the Money Day.

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