By Jim Workman
Assistant Managing Editor
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS —
A year ago, Ted Potter, Jr. was a surprise winner of The Greenbrier Classic, lifting the trophy for his first PGA TOUR FedExCup victory in a field that began with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Tom Watson.
He was the last man standing, accepting the Greenbrier-version of a green jacket from resort owner Jim Justice, after winning a three-hole playoff over Troy Kelly as a PGA TOUR rookie.
Although the 29-year old second-year pro didn’t win the 2013 edition of the tournament after finishing at 9-under for the tournament, the left-hander is proving to be a contender to watch, week-to-week.
He shot 69-66-69-67, tied for sixth, at this year’s Greenbrier Classic.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster because, I mean, coming out, winning here last year, I mean guys probably think that was a fluke or something like that, I’m sure,” Potter said. “But just to come back and play well here definitely helps my confidence for the rest of the year, too.
“I’m very happy to finish at 9-under — I’m definitely pleased about that.”
Coming into this week, Potter had one Top 10 finish, and four Top 25s in 17 events played.
But the Old White TPC has to hold a special spot for Potter.
“I just love the course, it’s tree-lined, it’s tight and you’ve got to position yourself still in the fairways out there because of the bunkers out there, but I think it’s a course that’s fair for everybody,” Potter said. “Anybody that hits it from 270 to 310 can play this course.
“Some of the courses on TOUR you’ve got there’s more bomber scores. This course, I think the whole field has got a good chance to play well. I guess that probably boosts my ego around the course confidence-wise, and I feel like I’ve got a good chance around here.”
Coming out of a three-hour weather delay was a challenge for every golfer who hadn’t made it into the clubhouse when the horn blasted at 1:50 p.m. But Potter took it in stride.
“Actually, when we got called off I was happy to get called off when we did,” he admitted. “I had just snapped one in the bunker, had to chip one out and the wind was blowing. So having to get up-and-down from 130 yards, I didn’t really want to hit that shot when the wind was blowing 20 (miles per hour) at the time. So I was happy we got a little delay there. But I came back and actually made par so that was good. I got off to a good start and made some birdies coming in so I was just happy to finish strong.”
Potter’s finish was the best ever for a past Greenbrier Classic champ, in a PGA TOUR FedExCup event that just completed its fourth tournament.
In fact, the two other former Greenbrier Classic champions were in the field this week. Stuart Appleby, the 2010 winner, did not make the cut, posting a 70 and 71 on Thursday and Friday. Appleby failed to make the cut in 2011 and 2012 as well.
Scott Stallings, the 2011 champion with a 10-under score and a playoff win, finished this year at 6-under, going 70-67-67-70 for the week. He finished with a T56 last year, at 2-under.
— E-mail: jworkman@