PODS Championship Review and Tour Notes
by Matt of Predictem.com
The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook had plenty of bite this week for the PGA Tour players who teed it up at the PODS Championship in Tampa, Fl. The demanding layout got the better of many golfers, including third round leader Stewart Cink, allowing Sean O’Hair to post a 2-under final round and take the trophy. O’Hair finished at 4-under par, 280, to gain his first victory since 2005 (John Deere Classic). Cink shot a 3-over round of 74 to finish in a six-way tie for second.
O’Hair certainly earned this W; he was the only golfer not to post a over-par round on the week en route to his 2 stroke victory. For the week, the course played at nearly 73 strokes on average, making it the highest scoring course on Tour this year to date. The victory punches O’Hair’s ticket for the Masters in April.
Cink was in control going into Sunday, but saw his two stroke lead evaporate on the back-nine. At one point, he dropped four strokes in a four hole stretch that included a double bogey. A short birdie putt that missed on the 15th probably ended any chance for a comeback, and a drive into the water on the next tee surely did. Cink finished at 2-under, 282, in a log jam for second with Ryuji Imada, Troy Matteson, George McNeill and John Senden.
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A notable finish was Steve Stricker’s final round 66 that moved him from a t62 to a respectable t14. Some big names that slammed the trunks on Friday were Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Davis Love III, all missing the cut.
The PGA Tour Money List had a little movement this week, with Sean O’Hair making the biggest jump. The $954,000 he took home for the win vaulted O’Hair from 165th to 16th currently. Tiger still sits atop the list with his 2 wins in as many starts and $2.28 million. Phil Mickelson and K.J. Choi retain their respective spots behind Woods and Stewart Cink moved into the 5 spot with his share of the runners up split. ($294,591)
The FedEx Cup Points List mimics the Money List much as it has through the early stages of the Tour year. O’Hair is the big mover again, picking up almost 150 spots as he goes from 162 to 16 on the list. Tiger and Lefty are 1 and 2 as they were for the past few weeks. Cink moves to 5th on the strength of playing in three straight final groups.
The bigger names will be back to work this week with the Tour moving down the road to Orlando for the Arnold Palmer Invitational from Bay Hill.
Ernie Els has pulled out of Bay Hill, citing fatigue issues.
Ryuji Imada, Daniel Chopra, D.J. Trahan and J.B. Holmes all reside in the top-10 on the FedEx Points list for ’08, making them all exempt to the WGC-CA Championship at Doral. Players have one week left to get inside the top-50 in the World Ranking or be in the top-10 on the FedEx List to make the field.