Who’s Hot Heading Out of the British Open at St. Andrews?

July 22, 2015

1. Jordan Spieth – 504.67 points

The 21 year-old Texan came within two strokes—one to get into the British Open playoff, the other to win it—of joining Ben Hogan as the only players in history to win the first three legs of the grand slam in a single year. It may be small consolation, but Spieth does join Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win the Masters and U.S. Open, then finish one shot short at the British. And while many will point to the missed par putt on 17 or the pulled tee shot and poor approach on 18 as the cause, in the end it was really the 37 putts, including five 3-jacks, in the weather-delayed second round that ultimately did him in. Spieth won’t play again until the WGC-Bridgestone—at which point he will be all of 22-years old—so we’ll have to wait and see if he can get over the disappointment of St. Andrews and continue his spectacular play.

2. Zach Johnson – 417.33 points

The 39 year-old strung together four brilliant rounds of golf at St Andrews, including a remarkable 66 on Thursday despite teeing off in the heart of the afternoon wind and rain. Johnson did it mainly with the wedge and putter, navigating St. Andrews’ acres of greens with just three 3-putts all week for a total of 115 putts, 2nd best in the field. Now the talk will turn to the “blessed boy from Iowa’s” chances of being enshrined in the World Golf Hall of Fame. With 12 Tour wins, including two majors, he is certainly in the hunt.

3. Louis Oosthuizen – 326.66 points

The South African continued his run of stellar play in majors securing his second consecutive 2nd place finish after falling a shot short in the playoff. Oosthuizen was sharp all week, ranking 2nd in driving distance and greens hit, but in the end his flat stick let him down, as he ranked T-35 in putting and carded six 3-jacks. Like Spieth and Johnson, Louie won’t tee it up again until the WGC-Bridgestone in early August.

4. Robert Streb – 221.34 points

A T-18 at St. Andrews marks Streb’s sixth top-20 finish in his last seven starts, but he had to be a bit disappointed that he couldn’t capitalize on his opening round 66. His consolation prize is that he’ll take a few weeks off to spend time at home in Kansas with his wife and 5 month-old daughter before gearing up for the Bridgestone.

5. Jason Day – 216.67 points

The Aussie showed his major muscle once again, finishing T-4 at the British, and can now boast a career top five in all four majors and six overall. Day made the top-30 for the first time in five Open Championships, overcoming poor ball striking with savvy play around the greens, leading the field in scrambling. He will play the Canadian Open for the first time since 2009, and his length off the tee should be a key advantage at the Glen Abbey course. If he can find a few more greens—and continue to get up and down when he misses—he could be a factor up north.

6. Danny Lee – 207.34 points

Lee’s inexperience on links courses showed this week as the 24-year old shot 73 and 74 in the first two rounds—going five over on the final five holes—to miss the cut. After playing the last five weeks in a row, Lee is headed back to his home outside of Dallas for some time off.

7. Marc Leishman – 204 points

The 31 year-old Aussie was lights out at St. Andrews, leading the field in putting and posting just one bogey in his final round. Alas, that lone blemish—a missed four-footer for par on 16—may have cost him his best-ever shot a major while adding his name to the list of fellow journeymen like Chad Campbell, Rocco Mediate, Chris DiMarco and Len Mattiace that got into major playoffs only to come up short.

8. Brooks Koepka – 194 points

Koepka rallied to a T-10 finish at St. Andrews despite opening rounds of 71 and 70 that ultimately left him too far back to catch up. After last year’s T-4 at the U.S. Open, the 25 year-old former Seminole now has two major top-10s. He’ll head to Canada for his first career Canadian Open where his ball striking—currently 20th on Tour—and penchant for eagles (1st) should be a plus on Glen Abbey’s five par 5s.

9. Adam Scott – 186.67 points

Judging by his T-10 finish, it’s hard to believe that Scott was tied for the lead on the final nine at St. Andrews. But three bogeys and a double in his last five holes proved his undoing, and with the clock ticking towards the January “anchored” putter ban, one has to wonder if we will soon be seeing the last of a great player who has long struggled with a conventional flat stick.

T-10. Justin Rose – 184 points

After a rough start to his British Open with an opening round of 71, Rose shot 68-68 before a final round of 70 to finish T-6. So once again, he managed to get close but couldn’t muster the kind of back nine push he showed at Merion in his 2013 U.S. Open win. He’ll take this week off before returning to action at the Quicken Loans National in late July.

T-10. Scott Piercy – 184 points

Not many likely noticed it, but Piercy’s win at last week’s inaugural Barbasol Championship did earn him a spot in our top 10. He posted a win in Canada in 2012, so will head to the Canadian Open with momentum and some mojo, though it likely won’t be enough to overcome his history at Glen Abbey, where he finished T-52 in 2013 and T-40 in 2009.

Inside the rankings:

*Off the GOLFstats player rankings, we determine the hottest players based on the last nine weeks on the PGA Tour. Keys to the system:

*132 points for regular tour win. All finishers in top-50 get points via a declining scale.

*198 points for a win in WGC events and the Players Championship, 264 points for a major win.

*points are lost for missed cuts, DQs or WDs: 10 for regular events, 15 for WGC and Players, 20 for majors

*All points get degraded 1/3 after weeks 4, 5 & 6, and by 2/3 for weeks 7, 8 & 9

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