Watney confirms ranking at AT&T National
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2011 AT&T National | Wrap | 04 Jul 2011
Nick Watney has lived up to his standing as the leading world ranked player in the field at the AT&T National at the Arnomink Golf Club in Philadelphia, winning the event by two shots over K.J. Choi.
Interestingly K.J. Choi, a former winner of this event, was ranked just one spot behind him in the rankings leading into this week’s event so that they have finished first and second this week was no real surprise.
It was Watney’s third round of 62, which included a final nine of 27, that set up the victory but he was also impressive today as he went bogey free on a day when most of his nearest challengers struck trouble at some stage.
It was Watney’s second victory of the 2011 season and his 8th top ten, placing him in the category of Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar and Steve Stricker as the most consistent players on the PGA Tour. The victory will move him to number 10 in the world ranking. Watney now heads the FedEx Cup standings.
Choi joined Watney in the lead at 12 under when he birdied the 14th but made a mess of the 15th when his second finished in a bunker just short of the green with his approach and took four more to get down.
That left Watney two ahead and although Choi bounced back with a birdie the 16th, so too did a Watney.
“I love this golf course,” said the winner after the event. “I played well here last year, and it’s a bummer we’re leaving. Congressional obviously is a great course. I haven’t had great results there, but I’ll give it my best shot next year.
“It’s a very addictive feeling to be out there and under the gun, and to be able to hit good shots and putts is why I play. I want to keep working hard. We’ve got two majors to go, so hopefully I can put myself in a good position in one of those tournaments.
“I think I’ve learned from the first two that I maybe placed a little too much importance on the Masters and the U.S. Open, so I’m going to go to the British — I’m going to enjoy this and then go to the British and try to do my best but maybe take it a little easier on the bad shots and whatnot.”
Three players tied for third. Adam Scott, Jeff Overton and Charles Howell 111 all finished at 9 under and two behind Choi. Overton birdied the 11th and 12th to get within one of the lead but gave them back quickly.
Scott was threatening the leaders when, after an opening bogey, he made the turn in 34 to be three behind but a double bogey at the 10th, after a poor drive at the 10th left him in a horrible position, stole his momentum.
Scott recovered with three more birdies to finish in the share of third and although disappointed with the stumble at the 10th was happy with his week. “Everything was in good shape and progressing from the way I wanted it, but one bad swing on 10 kind of made it very difficult for me to have a great run on the back nine. But I came back and made some birdies after it, and I’m happy with that, a couple great saves with the putter. I feel good about it, but if I was really on, I think I could have got myself in this tournament today. I was playing well enough.
“The purpose of coming here was to get a good result and just build up a little confidence. I felt I was playing well even back to the U.S. Open. Some weeks you just can’t get a result, and it’s important to have a good run before the Open and get a good indication of where everything is at so I can prepare nicely next week.”
Robert Allenby reversed an ordinary stretch of tournaments of late to finish in a share of 6th. Allenby reached the turn in 2 under and at that point was 5 under and chasing a top ten spot. He then birdied the 12th, the 13th and holed in one at the 14th to get to 9 under and at that point was not totally without a winning chance. He bogeyed the very next hole however but the 6th position is his best in his last nine starts.
Importantly for Allenby, who was in 12th position in the Presidents Cup rankings, the finish will assist his cause in his quest for a place in Greg Norman’s team in his hometown of Melbourne in November.
Rod Pampling finished 38th and Geoff Ogilvy 57th.
The PGA Tour now plays the John Deere Classic, its last event before next week’s Open Championship at Royal St Georges.
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