Can Scott bounce back in Akron?
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2012 World Golf Championship -Bridgestone Invitational | Preview | 31 Jul 2012
The World Golf Championship Bridgestone Invitational is played this week at its long time home, the South Course at the Firestone Country Club in Akron in Ohio, and with so many potential storylines to unfold, the event promises to be one of the more intriguing in tournament golf in recent times.
Tiger Woods returns to a venue where he has won on seven previous occasions and given his recent form he is a great chance to win again. With two victories and a 3rd place finish in his last three starts on the PGA Tour, Woods has clawed his way back to the number two position in the game and given his penchant for playing the same golf courses well each year he has a great chance of moving even closer to catch and pass Donald to regain the game’s top spot.
Woods has finished outside the top four only twice in twelve starts in this event and it would appear that great record is likely to continue this week.
Adam Scott defends the title he won so brilliantly last year. Scott lead after an opening round of 62 and although headed in round two he came back strongly to lead into the final day and eventually win by four. It was the first victory for the then recently formed partnership between Adam Scott and Steve Williams and one that gave vindication to the changes Scott had been making to his game.
Now Scott arrives in Akron with the final few holes of the Open Championship still hanging over him. As to how long they hang over him may well depend on how he plays this week and at next week’s PGA Championship in Kiawah Island.
Scott has two other top tens at Firestone and so the golf course is clearly one on which he enjoys a comfort zone. His response to a tough final day at Royal Lytham & St Annes will be watched with interest.
Luke Donald finished runner-up to Scott last year and his most recent form gives sufficient encouragement for him to again do well. He finished 5th at the Open Championship at his last start and although a little short of recent tournament play (he has played only two events since the US Open) he could still do well. He will need to play well it would seem if he is to hold his number one position in the game.
Rory McIlroy has played this event well in each of the past two years and despite his indifferent form of late this might just be the sort of event for him to bounce back. Interestingly if he was to win and Donald finished outside the top 11 then McIlroy again becomes number one. They are a couple of big ifs however.
The South Course has been a good venue for Lee Westwood in the past. Three top tens in his past four starts included a runner-up finish to Vijay Singh in 2008 and although he disappointed with a below par effort at the Open Championship his earlier form was good enough.
Bo Van Pelt just keeps getting better and with 3rd place in this event two years ago and several very good finishes on the PGA Tour this season he looks a good chance at longer odds to do well. Van Pelt finished 7th in Canada last week but it was his runner-up finish to a rampant Wood at the AT&T National which most impressed.
Other Australians in the field include Jason Day, who finished 4th during his great season last year and who will play for the first time as a father, his son Dash born three weeks ago.
Geoff Ogilvy, John Senden, Aaron Baddeley, Marc Leishman, Robert Allenby and Greg Chalmers are also in the field.
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