2009 FBR Open Review
by Matt of Predictem.com
While most of us were getting ready for the Superbowl to start, Kenny Perry was busy notching a win in the desert at the 2009 FBR Open. Perry needed extra holes to defeat Charley Hoffman after both players wound up regulation at 14-under par. Neither player seemed to want to win as both were 1-over after two playoff holes, but Perry knocked down a 20 foot birdie on the third to edge Hoffman. Perry secured the 13th victory of his PGA Tour career and took home $1.8 million for the win.
The TPC at Scottsdale hosted one of the strongest fields on Tour this year, but several lesser known players and Tour rookies stole the show for much of the event while the big-name favorites never mounted a charge. The crowd of spectators was amped as usual, showing why this event, coupled with last week’s Bob Hope Classic, makes one of the more fun stretches on the Tour schedule.
Players with the morning tee times were at an advantage, getting out before the afternoon winds, and none fared better than rookie James Nitties. Nitties carded a 65 to post an early one shot lead over Charley Hoffman and David Berganio at 5-under, 66. Lucas Glover joined Nitties later in the day to share the lead with Briny Baird, Kevin Na and Matt Kuchar tied for 5th at 4-under.
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Phil Mickelson got off to a rough start in his ’09 debut, taking a double bogey on his very first hole and eventually posting a round of 76.
For the second day, the morning groupings enjoyed the better of the conditions with Nick Watney vaulting to a one shot advantage after a round of 8-under, 63. Hoffman, Kuchar and Nitties followed up solid day one performances and finished the day at 8-under in a tie second. Kenny Perry showed up on the first page with a 63 as well, landing at 7-under total and in a tie for 5th with Cameron Beckman.
Phil Mickelson failed to turn around an ugly start and missed the cut after a Friday 73 that left him at 7-over. A host of big names would not be around for the weekend with Justin Leonard, Anthony Kim, Stuart Appleby and Steve Stricker among the players not able to get in at even or better.
The weekend started out the same as the early rounds did, with players making moves from early tee times. Scott Piercy, Kevin Na and Brian Gay all moved to 10-under or better with Piercy grabbing the lead for a while on the back despite three bogeys down the stretch. Kenny Perry used a birdie on the last to gain a one stroke advantage at 12-under heading into the final day. Nick Watney struggled on day three, eventually carding a 1-over round to fall four strokes back. Geoff Ogilvy and Ted Purdy shared low round honors for the day after 65’s and were among the 11 players within three strokes of the lead.
Nearly all of the players in contention would have a shot at the win with the front page of the board trading birdies and bogeys all day long. Kenny Perry stood on 18 needing apar to win in regulation, but an untimely drive into the trap led to a bogey and a playoff with Charley Hoffman who fired a round of 67 to get to 14-under. The playoff did not contain many good shots by either player with both golfers finding the roughs with drives and settling for a bogy-par start. Hoffman found the bunker on the third playoff hole, eventually hitting a great shot to get the ball to the edge of the putting surface. Perry had found the green on the third and now needed the birdie to fall with Hoffman likely to make par. Perry’s 20-footer snuck in the side and sealed the win.
Kevin Na earned a solo third after a 68 with James Nitties and David Toms rounding out the top-5 at 12-under overall. Low round of the day was 65 by Rod Pampling and D.J. Trahan with both players moving into the top-25 from outside 40th to start the round.
Other notable finishes include Zach Johnson, Geoff Ogilvy and Luke Donald in 12th, 17th and 25th, respectively.
Kenny Perry is now the Tour’s leading money winner in ’09, just in front of Zach Johnson and Geoff Ogilvy. Pat Perez and David Toms are in the four and five spots with Charley Hoffman making the jump from 61st to 6th after the runner-up finish. Matt Kuchar also moves into the top-25, currently in 24th at $230,000 from 74th last week.
Zach Johnson remains ahead of Perry on the Fed Ex list with Ogilvy, Perez and Toms trailing in the 3 to 5 slots. Hoffman, Kuchar, Kevin Na and James Nitties all make big leaps this week while John Merrick and Adam Scott move out of the top-5.
It was a disappointing week for our picks with Mickelson and Camilo Villegas both missing the cut as our short and middle odds favorites. Brian Gay did give us hope of a 50 to 1 payday, but a 70 on Sunday left our longshot three strokes back of the playoff.
The PGA moves back to California this week for the Buick Invitational from Torrey Pines in La Jolla.