The second-annual Greenbrier Classic golf tournament begins on Thursday and Phil Mickelson is the solid favorite to get his second victory of the year.
The event will be played at The Old White TPC in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. It’s a par 70 course with a total yardage of 7,274.
Last year’s inaugural event was won by Australia’s Stuart Appleby with a score of -22. He shot an incredible 59 on the final day for a one-shot win over Jeff Overton. A whopping 50 players finished at -10 or better, but the harder greens and course tweaks should have an impact on scoring this year.
Mickelson (8/1) is sixth in the World Golf Rankings and fourth in the FedExCup standings behind Nick Watney, Steve Stricker and K.J. Choi, none of whom are playing here this week. Mickelson can move up to first in the FedExCup with a win this week.
The lefty Mickelson is coming off a close-call at the British Open, finishing second and having his chances to win. His only victory this year was at the Shell Houston Open in early April, with a great chance to add to the hardware this week with this field.
Sergio Garcia (14/1) is the second-favorite despite still looking for his first win since 2008. He does have top-10 finishes in both the U.S. and British Open this year, but finished tied-for-60th at this course last year (-8).
Charles Howell III (18/1) had three consecutive top-5 finishes before finishing tied-for-28th at the British Open. His last win was way back in the 2007 Nissan Open, over Mickelson in a playoff. He finished tied-for-ninth last year (-14) at Greenbrier.
Overton (20/1) is a 28-year-old Indiana native, who wants to avenge last year’s second-place after leading by three strokes heading into Sunday. He tied-for-third at the AT&T National in early July and has two other top-10, PGA Tour finishes this year.
Webb Simpson (20/1) is the youngest of the favorites at age 25. He’s still looking for his first professional win, losing to Bubba Watson in a playoff in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans this past May. He’s finished in the top-16 in his last five events, including the U.S. and British Open, but missed the cut here last year.
Retief Goosen (22/1) is the only other player in this event in the top-20 in the World Golf Rankings (No. 20). He finished tied-for-third at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in June, but had to withdraw from the British Open (back injury) and it remains to be seen how that affects him.
Bill Haas (28/1) had two wins on the PGA Tour last year (Bob Hope and Viking Classic). He has no wins this year yet, but has six, top-10 finishes. He ranks sixth on the tour in Greens in Regulation Percentage (70.02).
Spencer Levin (28/1) is still looking for his first career PGA Tour win. He did have a playoff loss to Johnson Wagner during February’s Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun and was tied-for-ninth last week at the Canadian Open. He finished tied for 21st last year at this event (-12).
The next tier at 33/1 includes Andres Romero, Anthony Kim, Brian Gay, Chris Kirk, Davis Love III, Gary Woodland and J.B. Holmes.
Appleby’s odds are at 100/1 after missing the cut in nine of his last 12 PGA Tour events.