2008 Buick Open Review

2008 Buick Open Review
Dates: June 26 - 29, 2008
Venue: Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club
Location: Grand Blanc, Michigan

Kenny Perry continued his run of excellent play and cashed in his second victory of the year this past week at the Buick Open. Perry outlasted the field in a birdie-filled event and came from behind with a Sunday 66 to take top honors at 19-under, 269 total.

The win marked the second time that Perry came out on top at the Buick where he won in ’01 previously and is the 11th victory in his PGA career. Perry was solid throughout the week with all four days in the 60’s and got some help from his competitors to claim the trophy and the $900,000 winner’s share.

Perry started the day three strokes behind the third round lead but got in the thick of the battle with four birdies in his first seven holes. The shot of the day came at the short par-4, 14th where Perry found the bunker off his drive and holed out from there for an eagle that got him to 19-under. Four holes at even would follow and Perry would have to wait in the clubhouse to see if the remaining challengers could best the total.

Bubba Watson played himself into contention with solid play on Sunday to go along with a pair of 67’s and a 68 coming in, but needed a birdie on 18 to tie for the lead and force a playoff. The finishing hole played the hardest for the week and had only yielded three birdies on Sunday. Watson managed to stand over a 15-footer for the tie, but the putt failed to fall and Bubba had to settle for a T2, one shot back at 18-under, 270.

Woody Austin scorched the back nine all week at Warwick Hills and continued that trend on Sunday, moving to 20-under and the solo lead after 16 holes. A bogey on 17 dropped Woody back to a tie for the lead, and another bogey on 18 moved Ausin out of a potential playoff and into a tie for second with Watson at 18-under.

The third round leader, Daniel Chopra, faded quickly on Sunday, with four bogeys on his front nine. Chopra could not turn the tide on the way in and finished with a 75 and dropped to a tie for 17th.

Ken Duke, Bob Tway and Matt Jones all turned in strong Sunday’s to finish in a tie for 4th, two strokes back at 17-under. Other finishers of note include Rocco Mediate at T28, former champion Jim Furyk at T36 and Justin Leonard at T55. Notables that missed the weekend include defending champion Brian Bateman, Brandt Snedeker and John Daly.

Perry’s Stat Line

Kenny Perry survived the low scoring Buick by taking advantage of the scoring holes and knocking down the clutch putts. Perry was above average off the tee, averaging 302 yards on the driving holes, but only hit a field average number of fairways and greens. Kenny made his mark on the greens, where he only needed the 8th fewest putts for the week.

For the year, Perry has missed only one cut in 17 starts and the Buick win counts as his 4th top-3 finish. Perry moves up the FedEx and Ryder Cup Lists and is currently 19th in the World Rankings.

Course Comfort

For the second week in a row, the host course gave up birdies early and often, and challenged the pros to go low in order to keep pace. 20 of the top-30 finishers were able to card all four rounds under-par with four players posting 65’s on Sunday. The top-ten places and ties had a final round average of 66.9 and finished at a 16.5-under par total. Corey Pavin, John Rollins and Bo Van Pelt all managed a 64 at some point in the week for the tournament low round.

Ryder Run

Kenny Perry has been playing this year in hopes of earning a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team as this year’s edition will be played in his home state of Kentucky. His last six starts have produced two wins and a runner-up and have all but locked up a spot to Captain Paul Azinger’s squad.

Perry currently sits fourth on the list after the win, which is as good as third with points leader Tiger Woods ruled out of the competition. The top-8 on the list will earn automatic spots on the team with two captain’s picks rounding out the roster for the event which will take place the third week in September.

If the bids were given today, Stewart Cink, Phil Mickelson, Perry and Jim Furyk would comprise the top half of the squad with Justin Leonard, Boo Weekley, Anthony Kim and Woody Austin rounding out the last four. Austin moved from 18th to the 9th spot with his T2 at the Buick Open. The next two players out are Brandt Snedeker and Steve Stricker and players will have unitl the first week in September to play themselves onto the team.

Betting Review

Each week, we give you some picks to win and some match winners from the boards at the golf sportsbooks. Here’s how we fared this week.

For the Win:

Short: Jim Furyk - 10 to 1 - We went with the hot hand at the Buick over the last decade and Furyk proceeded to post one of his worst finishes, a T36 at 9-under.

Middle: Heath Slocum - 22 to 1 - Another hot player who cooled at Warwick, finishing at 5-under in a tie for 59th.

Longshot: Nathan Green - 66 to 1 - We took Woody one week earlier and he went MC, so maybe look for Green next week as he was a MC here, missing the weekend by one-shot at 2-under.

Matches (our pick) (W or L)

Furyk v. Perry (Perry) (W)

We called ourselves on picking against our winner’s pick, but the even money pushed us to the hotter Perry and he paid here by 10 strokes. We should have rode him all the way.

Justin Leonard v. Heath Slocum (Slocum) (L)

Slocum was another even money look, but Leonard pulls out the one-shot win in this matchup of also-rans.

Rocco Mediate v. Nick O’Hern (O’Hern) (L)

We liked O’Hern as the more consistent player in ’08 but Rocco took control with a 67 on Saturday and finished with a four stroke victory.

Check us out soon for next week’s preview and picks.