The Caddie Line: 2018 Barracuda Championship
The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational isn’t the only event on the PGA Tour schedule this week.
Over in Reno, Nevada, the Barracuda Championship also tees off on Thursday at Montreux Golf and Country Club.
The Barracuda Championship is the only event on the PGA Tour that uses a modified Stableford scoring system, where players receive points for scores. Here’s the breakdown:
- +8 points for an Albatross (3 strokes under par)
- +5 points for an Eagle (2 strokes under par)
- +2 for a Birdie (1 stroke under par)
- 0 points for a Par
- −1 point for a Bogey (1 stroke over par)
- −3 points for a Double bogey or worse (2 strokes or more over par)
Chris Stroud is the defending champion and is back this week, along with the likes of Retief Goosen, Padraig Harrington, Hunter Mahan and Joel Dahmen, who has been red-hot as of late.
So, who should you be keeping an eye on in Reno? We asked three caddies who are on the ground there this week that very question.
To protect their identity, the caddies have submitted their five respective picks anonymously.
Let’s take a look at who they picked and why:
- Tom Lovelady, “He hits the ball real long and makes a lot of birdies. This format will suit his game. He’s also just outside the top 125 in the FedEx standings and needs a big week. He does well in opposite field events, evidenced by the T2 a couple weeks ago at the Barbasol Championship.”
- Ryan Blaum, “He’s been playing well every week. He’s very consistent and looking for an even bigger week after a great Sunday 65 at the RBC Canadian Open.”
- Joel Dahmen, “Ever since he played with Tiger Woods at the Quicken Loans, he has developed a lot of confidence. Joel has gotten up on the leaderboard almost every week since. He’s played four tournaments since that round with Tiger. His worst finish in that stretch? A T15 at Barbasol. The rest? All T8 or better. He’s another player that hits it long and makes tons of birdies. This could be his week.”
- Abraham Ancer, “He had another top 5 at the RBC Canadian Open and that makes five for the year. He’s has been putting really well and continually getting stronger every week. He’s a very consistent ball striker, which helps when it comes to avoiding a big number. That’s huge at the Barracuda with this format.”
- J.J. Spaun, “J.J. hasn’t had a breakout week yet, but this guy is one heck of a player. He has all the game to win on the PGA Tour. He’s got a big heart, putts the ball well and his ball striking is spot on. With the greens this week being so pure at Montreux he could get that putter hot for sure. Watch out!”
- Scott Stallings, “After a rough stretch, he’s been in good form recently and I think he’s ready to break out. His loop has a ‘W’ and a couple of top 5s at this place. Experience helps with the elevation and conditions.”
- Robert Garrigus, “He’s in the same spot as last year: on the outside looking in for FedEx Cup (currently No. 126). He typically plays well with his back against the wall. He tied for sixth in this event a year ago.”
- Patrick Rodgers, “This is a good format for him. He’s underachieved so far this year and I think he’s due for a high finish.”
- Ryan Palmer, “Ryan is coming off a good week in Canada. He tied for 22nd, but had a nice 66 in the final round. He’s played here in Reno plenty of times. If his caddie can make their tee times each day, they’ll be in the mix come Sunday afternoon!”
- Chris Stroud, “He’s the defending champ and he’s got lots of good thoughts coming back. Usually the defending champ finds a way to hang around late in the week. With this format, you can make up a ton of ground quickly.”
- Shane Lowry, “He’s the highest-ranked player in field, finished 12th last week and he’s here for one reason: to win.”
- Andrew Putnam, “He’s a west coaster, highest-ranked player in current FedEx Cup standings in the field and has played steady all year with four top 10s. He should be comfortable in contention.”
- Brandon Harkins, “Chico State nation. He has a track record of good finishes in this part of country (top 10 in Safeway last fall; 2nd in Ellie May Classic near San Francisco last year on Web Tour).
- Hunter Mahan, “Hunter is a proven winner. He led through three rounds two weeks ago. He’s a great driver of the ball and will have plenty of eagle chances this week… which will allow him to pile on the points in the Stableford format.”
- Kevin Streelman, “He’s in the middle of a solid year and the next-highest on the current FedEx list behind Putnam in the field. He’s another one of the few players here who has little to play for except a win.”