2008 ATT National Review

AT&T National Review
Dates: July 3-6, 2008
Course: Congressional CC (Blue Course)

With Tiger Woods hosting the second AT&T National from his couch, Anthony Kim took center stage and the victory and just maybe emerged as the next up and comer to challenge Tiger’s dominance. Kim erased a three-shot deficit with a sterling 65 and wound up at 12-under total and two ahead of Fredrik Jacobson.

Kim fired four rounds in the 60’s, but saved his best for last as he went around without a bogey Sunday to hold off Jacobson and a large group that finished in third at 9-under, 271. Success came early for Kim as he birdied the first hole all four days and he finished with several veteran-like pars on the way in to seal the deal.

For his efforts, Kim takes the $1.08 million winner’s share and solidifies his positions on the FedEx and Ryder Cup lists, all but assuring a spot on the American team come September. The win was Kim’s second of the year, adding to the Wachovia Championship he captured earlier in the season. He joins the list of Woods, Mickelson and Perry as multiple winners in the ’08 season. As a multiple tournament winner, Kim receives full exemption status on Tour through the 2011 season.

Fredrik Jacobson stormed the course on the weekend with rounds of 66 and 65, but couldn’t catch the mistake-free Kim and had to settle for solo second at 10-under, 270. Not all bad news for Jacobson as the finish earns him a spot in the British Open with the AT&T National rewarding the top-5 finishers with berths in the Open if not previously qualified.

Tom Pernice, Jr. came in as the third-round leader after a 63 Saturday, but struggled on Sunday, posting a 2-over par 72 and falling to a T9 finish. The group tied for third at 9-under included Jim Furyk and Rod Pampling, who posted 66 and 65 respectively, with Tommy Armour III, Nick O’Hern, Dean Wilson and Robert Allenby rounding out the logjam. Allenby records his 6th top-ten of the year and trails only Stewart Cink’s seven on that list.

Notables in the field were Steve Stricker and Rocco Mediate in a tie for 18th which was good enough to earn Mediate a spot in the British with Kenny Perry declining his invitation to play across the pond. This week included a three day cut as 80+ players qualified for the weekend, but those missing the weekend all together were Brandt Snedeker, Mike Weir and Trevor Immelman. The starting tee times were moved up and the players sent off in threesomes for the second time in three weeks as weather threatened to halt play.

Although the AT&T National featured a tamer scoring pace than the weeks previous, there were still plenty of birdies and several rounds under 66. Tom Pernice and Peter Lonard both notched tournament low 63’s, with Lonard’s coming on Sunday and vaulting him to a T12 finish. D.J. Trahan fired a final round 64 with Davis Love III among the four that carded Sunday 65’s.

Anthony Kim blitzed the field with a stat sheet that included top-20 ranks in driving distance and fairways hit and top-15 marks in greens and scrambling. Kim had a hot putter as well, as he tallied the 8th fewest putts including a very efficient 26 total putts in the final round. For the year, Kim has 11 cuts made in 14 starts and has a second and a third to go with his two wins to bring his top-5 total to four. The win has Kim knocking on the door of the World Ranking top-10, where he currently sits 14th.

With the FedExCup playoff season nearing, Phil Mickelson sits atop the list of active players but is only seven points ahead of Kenny Perry who is in the John Deere field, with Lefty playing with the Euros this week. Stewart Cink and Anthony Kim follow and Robert Allenby is officially tenth after his finish this week.

Kim becomes the 5th man on Tour to go over the $3 million mark in earnings in ’08 with only Perry, Cink, Mickelson and Woods ahead of him. Justin Leonard, Geoff Ogilvy, and Vijay Singh follow, with Ryuji Imada and Sergio Garcia rounding out the top-ten, all of which have collected over $2 million.

Each week we makes picks to win from a short, middle and long odds look and pick a few head to head match winners as well. Here’s how we did for the AT&T National.

For the Win:

Hunter Mahan 20 to 1 – We were looking pretty good after Hunter turned in a Saturday 64 to get into position, but a shaky start on Sunday was too much to overcome and the Sunday 68 left Mahan in a tie for 12th at 7-under.

Robert Allenby 22 to 1 – Another good look for here as Allenby carded 4 rounds in the 60’s, but not quite enough to catch Kim. 67/67 on the weekend was good enough for a T3 at 9-under.

Paul Goydos 80 to 1 – We dared to dream on a real shot in the dark and Goydos had us believing with a 1-under start, but an 8-over stretch on the way in dashed the hopes just like that and more bogeys on Friday led to a WD.

Matches (our pick) (Win or Loss)

Hunter Mahan (-120) v. Mike Weir (-120) (Mahan) (W)

Both players were on the shortlist to win this week, but Weir struggled from the outset and handed the W to Mahan with his missed cut.

Cory Pavin (EVEN) v. Brian Gay (-130) (Pavin) (W)

We liked Pavin in this matchup of very similiar players based on his play of late and really like the even money. Neither played particularily well, but Pavin’s T68 was good enough versus Gay’s 72/73 start that led to a MC.

See us soon for the John Deere Classic preview and picks.