You can add one name to the field at the British Open in two weeks at Royal Birkdale: Kyle Stanley will compete for the Claret Jug after beating Charlies Howell III on the first extra hole of a playoff Sunday in the Quicken Loans National at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm. Stanley will return to the Open for the first time since missing the Muirfield in 2013. Howell's runner-up qualified him for the first time since 2012.
David Lingmerth and Daniel Summerhays started Sunday's final round atop the leaderboard, but Lingmerth shot 73 and Summerhays put up a 74. Stanley and Howell each shot 66. Howell bogeyed the first playoff hole and Stanley made his 4-foot par putt for his first win since the 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open. He'd been without a Top10 on Tour for two years before this season. Stanley is 29, marking the 20th win on Tour this season by a player in his 20s. TPC Potomac played harder than expected as the winning score of 7-under was the highest winning mark of the season and just the second in single digits under par after Sergio Garcia's 9under at the Masters.
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Howell, meanwhile, has now gone 294 starts since his last win at the 2007 Genesis Open. He's having a nice season overall, though. Scotland's Martin Laird and Sung Kang also qualified for the British Open with their strong results last weekend. I frankly wasn't all that confident of doing well at the Quicken Loans National since it was the first time the tournament had been held at that course. My pick to win was Brendan Steele, but he missed the cut. I did hit on Rickie Fowler for a Top 10 and missed on one for Bill Haas by a shot.
This week, four more potential spots for the British Open are up for grabs - for Top 12 finishers if not already qualified - at the Greenbrier Classic at the Old White TPC course in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. It's a fairly new tournament as it debuted in 2010. You may remember that last year's was canceled before it even started because of severe flooding in the area that resulted in some deaths and many millions of dollars in damages. The course was right in the middle of all that (the Greenbrier Resort housed some 700 flood victims for a while). Every green had to be replaced and the entire back nine rebuilt. One of the few 59s in a Tour event was shot here in 2010 by Stuart Appleby, who won that inaugural event.
The defending champion from 2015, then, is New Zealand's Danny Lee. He beat David Hearn, Kevin Kisner and Robert Streb in a playoff for his first career victory. Hearn missed a 12-footer on his 72nd hole to potentially win. It was the third playoff in tournament history. It's not a great field with only four of the world's Top 30 this time. Many guys are already overseas working on their games ahead of the Open.
Golf Odds: Greenbrier Classic Favorites
At Bovada , Patrick Reed is the +1200 favorite. That should tell you about the quality of the field because Reed has a MC, 26th and 29 th in three trips to this tournament. Not exactly "Horse for the Course." He was 17th last week.
Haas and Kisner are +1400. Haas fares well here as he was second in 2011 and ninth in 2013. He missed the cut in 2015. Kisner had missed the cut in three trips here before his co-runner-up in 2015.
Lee and Lingmerth are +2000 and Phil Mickelson +2200. It's Lefty's first tournament since shockingly parting with long-time caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay. He was on the bag for 41 victories. Mickelson's brother Tim, a former golf coach at Arizona State, now takes over. Phil has missed the cut in three tries here, where he has a summer home.
Golf Odds: Greenbrier Classic Expert Picks
For a Top 10, I like Haas (+150), Webb Simpson (+190) and Jimmy Walker (+350). Simpson and Walker both have three Top 10s here but are yet to win. Head-to-head, go Si Woo Kim (-125) over Kevin Streelman (-105), Howell III (-115) over JB Holmes (-115), Keegan Bradley (-115) over Bubba Watson (-115), Simpson (-125) over Tony Finau (-105), Kisner (-140) over Lee (+110), Lingmerth (-120) over Mickelson (-110), and Haas (-105) over Reed (-125).
I'd probably go with the prop that there will be a playoff at +300 since they have happened half the time on this course. To win, I'll roll the dice on Bradley and Watson at +1400 vs the field (-5000). Bradley enters off back-to-back Top 10s and was fourth here back in 2014. Watson has missed three cuts in his past four in 2017 but was Top 16 his past two trips to the Old White Course.
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