Notes: Reversal of fortunes at Greenbrier

Johnson Wagner during the third round of the 2013 Greenbrier Classic on the PGA Tour.

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It must have been the warm, sultry summer air of West Virginia, because a number of players reversed their recent form at The Greenbrier Classic. To wit:

• Johnson Wagner worked his way into a two-stroke lead through 54 holes and was in prime position to win for the fourth time. In the end, an untimely weather delay and a poor putting performance did him in. Still, he finished joint second, his first top 10 of the year, and it put the brakes to a miserable skid; Johnson had either missed the cut or withdrawn in his previous seven tournaments. It was his first time since the RBC Heritage in April that he made it into the weekend.

• Davis Love III also picked up his first top 10 of the year. In his previous nine tournaments this season, Love had missed four cuts, withdrawn twice, and finished no better than T-18.

• It was a chance for Louis Oosthuizen to work himself back into a little form headed into two of his favorite tournaments: the John Deere Classic (he’s a farmer, remember?) and the Open Championship. Oosthuizen had withdrawn in each of his previous two starts – after 18 holes of the U.S. Open and before the start of the fourth round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship – but he shot 67-68-69-69 to finish T-17 at the Greenbrier. Certainly, it’s been a quiet PGA Tour season for the talented South African, as he has earned checks in only five of his 10 starts.

• Modest that it might be, Ben Curtis’ T-17 was his best finish of the season.

• Nick Watney had missed three cuts and finished T-61 in his previous four tournaments, so chalking up a T-23 represents a move forward.

• • •

QUICK TAKES: A par 5 of thoughts as we dust off the passport and E-Club in preparation of another visit to the Open Championship and the wonders of links:

• Natalie Gulbis says she’ll marry a former quarterback. What, you think a backup punter had a chance? (Read story here)

• Hey, Gary Player, guess all those pushups did the trick, eh?

• Tiger Woods is the 8-1 betting favorite to win the Open Championship. He’s more like 800-1, however, when it comes to ever getting one of his golf course designs finished.

• Here it is early July and there are only three LPGA tournaments left on American soil for 2013 – four if you count the Solheim Cup – and one isn’t until November.

• By the power vested in me by me, you cannot be considered a major championship if your roster of former winners doesn’t include deceased players. That takes care of the Evian silliness. Heck, of the 14 different winners, Juli Inkster is not only just 53, she’s still playing.

• • •

SWEDE WEEKEND: One of the first to greet a victorious Jonas Blixt after he finished his closing round at The Greenbrier was David Lingmerth, a fellow Swede and good friend. Obviously, Blixt was the story of the day, given that he had won his second tournament, but Lingmerth hadn’t fared badly, either.

With a share of ninth, in fact, Lingmerth continued his solid play that began with a surprising runner-up finish to Tiger Woods at The Players Championship. Whereas Lingmerth, a PGA Tour rookie, had missed the cut in eight of his first 12 starts, he has recorded two top 10s and four top 10s in making the cut in each of his last six.

Blixt’s victory vaulted him to 51st in the world rankings, with Lingmerth at No. 82. But Lingmerth sits higher in FedEx Cup points (29th, to Blixt’s 39th) and money (24th, to Blixt’s 33rd).

• • •

GOT SOME WORK TO DO: We’re on the threshold of the season’s third major and do you know where some marquee names are in regards to the FedEx Cup standings? Not where one might expect, that’s for sure. Here are some notables who need to put on a little bit of a charge, given that only the top 125 make it into the playoffs:

Oosthuizen is 138th, Stuart Appleby 139th, Trevor Immelman 146th, Sean O’Hair 153rd, Ryo Ishikawa 156th, Davis Love III 160th, David Toms 164th and Robert Allenby 173rd.

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