Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

July 8, 2013

Greenbrier Classic 2012 champ claims 'good week'

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — Ted Potter Jr. proved his point.

One year ago, Potter shocked everyone — including perhaps even himself — by winning The Greenbrier Classic in a playoff win overTroy Kelly.

He returned to the Old White TPC as defending champion this week, and wound up in a three-way tie for sixth place. Call that a successful week.

“It’s definitely a confidence booster because, I mean, coming out, winning here last year,” Potter said. “I mean guys probably think that was a fluke or something like that, I’m sure. But just to come back and play well here definitely helps my confidence for the rest of the year too.”

Potter, who had four rounds in the 60s, shot a three-under 67 on Sunday, surviving a three-plus hour weather delay to finish in the top 10, his second of the season.

 “I’m very happy to finish at 9-under and it looks like maybe Top 10 or something like that,” he said. “I am definitely pleased with that.”  

 It’s safe to say that Potter likes the Old White TPC.

 “I just love this course, it’s tree-lined, it’s tight, and you’ve got to position yourself still in the fairways out there because of the bunkers out there, but I think it’s a course that’s fair to everybody,” Potter said.  “Anybody that hits it 270 to 310 can play this course.

 “Some of the courses on TOUR you’ve got there’s more bomber scores. This course, I think the whole field has got a good chance to play well. I guess that probably boosts my ego around the course confidence-wise, and I feel like I’ve got a good chance around here.”

 While Potter was able to finish his round before darkness fell, as was the rest of the rest of the field, he wasn’t complaining about the 3-plus hour weather delay.

 “Actually when we got called off I was happy to get called off when we did. I just snapped one in the bunker and the wind was blowing,” said Potter, who played the opening two rounds with fan favorites Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson. “So having to get up and down from 130 yards, I didn’t really want to hit that shot with the wind blowing 20 (miles per hour) at a time.

 “So I was happy we got a little delay there. But (I) came right back and actually made par so that was good. I got off to a good start and made some birdies coming in so I was just happy to finish strong.”

• • •

Greenbrier gleanings:

 • All three former Greenbrier Classic champions took part in the event. Scott Stallings, who won in a playoff in 2011, finished tied for 23rd at 6-under par. Stuart Appleby, who won the inaugural tournament in 2010 with a final round 59, missed the cut and didn’t play over the weekend.

• The best round of the final day was a 4-under 66 by Brendon de Jonge, a Virginia Tech product and former winner of the Pocahontas Amateur in Bluefield. He finished tied for 17th at 7-under par.  

• Other prominent PGA TOUR finishers include Davis Love III (T9, -8), 19-year-old Jordan Spieth (T23, -6), Bubba Watson (T30, -5), Tom Watson (T38, -4), second round leader Matt Every (T38, -4), Webb Simpson (T41, -3), first round co-leader Tommy Gainey (T41, -3) and Justin Leonard (70th, +7).

• Swedish weather: Greenbrier Classic champion Jonas Blixt credited the weather with helping him earn his second PGA TOUR victory. That included a 3 hour and 10 minute delay, and a final round that was played in less than four hours.

 “I think the weather kind of played out to my advantage,” said Blixt, a native of Sweden and graduate of Florida State. “It’s kind of Swedish summer weather you guys had today and I just felt kind of comfortable with the rough the way it was because I played a lot out of it.

 “The way the golf course set up and greens and everything, it couldn’t have played out any better for me. Yeah, the weather played a big role.”

• Surprise ending: Blixt had missed the cut the previous week at the AT&T National, and had also finished in 78th, 77th and 70th place since April, with the only bright spot being an 11th place finish at Colonial in late May.

 “It has just been a hard year. I just haven’t played that well and it just feels really weird, missing the cut last week and I felt like the ball was going everywhere…,” he said.

“I don’t know what it is, someone must have been looking down on me and said the ball’s going to go in the right direction.”

• Rainbow at the end: After a long day filled with rain, Blixt played his final two holes with a rainbow in the background. Not that he realized the symbolism at the time.

 “I’ll be honest with you. I was quite nervous today because I didn’t feel too great about my game,” Blixt said. “I saw it on 17 when I was walking up to my third shot, but after that I was just kind of, you call it, in the zone. I didn’t see too many things.”

 Blixt will receive a check for $1,134,000 for the win.

 Now that is something worth seeing.

 — Contact Brian Woodson at bwoodson@bdtonline.com

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