2008 AT&T Classic Review
TPC at Sugarloaf - Duluth, GA May 15-18
by Matt of Predictem.com
It was a fitting ending for a former Bulldog as Ryuji Imada won the AT&T Classic from Duluth, GA in a playoff over Kenny Perry. Imada put together a stellar 5-under par round on Sunday including a birdie on the 72nd hole that got him into sudden death after Perry could only muster a par on the last.
Imada was no stranger to an AT&T playoff as he lost to Zach Johnson in ’07 on the first playoff hole. This time the result was different as Perry had a bit of bad luck with his approach hitting a tree and bounding into the water, giving Imada the opportunity to par and win. It was a direct role-reversal as it was Imada that found the water in last year’s playoff.
The win was the first for Imada on the PGA Tour and earns him $990,000 along with punching his 2009 Masters ticket. Imada had only one bogey over the last three rounds and made hay on the greens while totaling the fewest putts of any player in the field. Imada’s winning total was a 15-under par, 273, highlighted by a 66/67 finish on the weekend. Scores in general were low as the wet weather gave players the lift, clean and place privilege.
Kenny Perry put his final round 80 at the PLAYERS behind him and carded four sub 70 rounds to take the runner up spot. Camilo Villegas finished one stroke back of the playoff at 14-under after a final round 66 that included an eagle putt on 18 that would have tied him for the lead. Villegas settled for solo third, his best finish of the year. Jonathan Byrd streaked to the top of the leaderboard after a pair of 66’s on Friday and Saturday, but he could only muster 1-under on the weekend and wound up in fourth at 13-under.
The trio of Justin Bolli, James Driscoll and Parker McLachlin tied at 12-under and round out the top-5. McLachlin held a three stroke advantage as he stood on the 14th tee, but three bogeys on the way in dropped him back of the leaders. Third round leader, Charles Howell III, struggled to a 2-over par 74 that bumped him to a T8 at 11-under. Zach Johnson was in position for a title defense, but an even-par weekend left him ten shots back in a tie for 34th.
With the win, Ryuji Imada breaks into the top-5 on the Money List. He currently sits fourth at $2.3 million up from 22nd the week prior. Tiger and his $4.4 million are still on top, followed by Phil Mickelson at $2.7 million. Stewart Cink finished the AT&T in a tie for 11th and occupies the third spot, about $300,000 behind Lefty. Geoff Ogilvy is bumped to fifth at $2.2 million earned.
Similarly, Imada moves to third on the FedExCup list from 18th overall last week and is only 415 points behind Mickelson in second place. Tiger is tops here as well, nearly 7,000 points ahead of the second spot in less than half the events. Stewart Cink and Anthony Kim round out the top-5 on the list. Cink is the only player in the top-5 without a win, but leads the Tour with six top-10 finishes.
Each week we pick three potential winners, one each from a short, middle and long odds group at a golf sportbook and break down a few matches. Here’s how we fared this week at the AT&T Classic.
For the Win:
Stewart Cink - 10 to 1 - Not a bad finish at T11, but a 71/71 on Friday and Saturday left too much ground to make up.
Zach Johnson - 14 to 1 finished T34 and never got going on the weekend.
Camilo Villegas - 28 to 1 - Solo 3rd and an eagle away on the 72nd from joining the playoff. Saturday’s 71 left a little too much to do on Sunday.
Matches: (our pick)
Zach Johnson v. Retief Goosen (Johnson)
A push here as they both posted 5-under. Johnson’s 73 on Sunday cost us this one after leading all weekend.
Jonathan Byrd v. Camilo Villegas (Villegas)
Best head to head on the board as they went 3rd and 4th separated by one stroke. Villegas and his Sunday 66 pays here.
Ben Crane v. Hunter Mahan (Crane)
Odd no action bet as both players pulled out prior to play due to injury.
Stewart Cink v Retief Goosen (Cink)
Another solid finish for Cink at T11, finishes four ahead of Goose’s T34.
2-0-1 for the week with another close call on the longshot. See you for next week’s preview and picks.