Be sure to check back this week, as reporter Eric Evans will be on the grounds at Congressional for the AT&T National. You can follow @esquaredgolf on Twitter.
There weren't any true fireworks at this year's Travelers Championship, bucking a trend of final-round drama that has accompanied this tournament for the last 15 years.
Try telling that to Marc Leishman though. He posted a bogey-free 62 at approximately 3:45 p.m. ET, then waited for more than two hours as one player after another tumbled out of contention. First, it was Charley Hoffman, who appeared in control with the lead until he double-bogeyed No. 17 and hit it in the green side bunker on No. 18 for a closing bogey. Then it was the final pairing of Brian Davis and Roland Thatcher who each had a chance -- Thatcher actually birdied No. 17 before coming up a few feet short on his approach to No. 18 -- but neither could match Leishman's -14 total. Leishman's 62 was the lowest final round by a winner on Tour this year, and he's also the first Aussie to win on Tour in 2012.
All in all, many of the guys we expected to play well this week had respectable finishes but several others disappointed. Here's what we learned:
- We shouldn't be shocked by Leishman's win. He had made 9 of his last 10 cuts, was the 2009 PGA Tour rookie of the year and has had plenty of success despite a poor run in 2011. But like what seems to have happened a lot this year, there wasn't a ton of warning that this win was coming. Despite a t3 at the Byron Nelson last month, his stroke average at his last two events (Colonial, Memorial) was 72.9. It does tell us, however, that Travelers continues to make first-time Tour winners. Will Leishman become the next Hunter Mahan or Bubba Watson? I think he'll be more like JJ Henry -- a spot choice in fantasy golf, including the Byron Nelson where he now has two top-10's the last three years.
- TPC River Highlands is a true 'horses for courses' event. Bubba made a nice run to finish one behind Leishman; Mahan shot 61 on Sunday to climb into the top-15; defending champ Freddy Jacobson was in the lead Thursday and Friday (and part of Saturday, after the weather issues pushed the second round back). Heck, even John Rollins -- in the midst of a terrible year by his standards -- finished in the top-5 for the second consecutive year. The lesson: it's much tougher to pick who that first-time winner will be than to go with a reliable horse. Speaking of which…
- Bo Van Pelt disappoints again at a course seemingly made for his game. His t24 result isn't terrible, but for a guy who finished in the top-15 here two of the last three years and who regularly finishes in the top-20 at events, this wasn't the expected payday. I guess his fantasy owners should be thankful he performed better than at Hilton Head (MC) or Wells Fargo (WD after round one). On the radar: he had a t11 finish at last year's AT&T, this week's event.
- Fours are wild for Brian Davis. He's the poor man's Van Pelt, now with four top-10's and seven top-25's on the year and on a $2 million earnings pace. It's also his third t4 finish (Bay Hill, Houston) of the season. He's been rock solid since missing three of four cuts to start the year, and he's a player worth considering in multi-player formats at a minimum.
- A note for 2013: The US Open will be held at Merion in the Philadelphia area, which might help strengthen the field even more at this event. It's a lot closer than San Francisco, anyway.
Trending Well: Paddy Harrington (four straight top-15's), Jacobson (four top-20's his last seven events), Seung-Yul Noh (hasn't missed a cut since April, second straight top-20), and Rory Sabbatini (after a t2 at Memorial, a nice t18 at the Travelers).
Breaking Bad: Ryan Moore (nothing happening recently), Harris English (shot a 60 in British Open qualifying and finished t5 at Colonial in the same week; in the six events before and after that, he hasn't finished better than 62nd), and Ricky Barnes (hasn't done anything notable since Pebble Beach).
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Photo: US Presswire