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Notebook: Unknowns dominating The Greenbrier Classic

Jul. 06, 2013 @ 11:09 PM

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Another year, another case of unlikely contenders stepping to the forefront at The Greenbrier Classic.

PGA Tour stars such as Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson are in the background and looking up at a bunch of players who were nowhere near the radar when the tournament got underway.

To put it in perspective, when Watson and 2011 Greenbrier Classic winner Scott Stallings finished their rounds just before 3 p.m. Saturday on the Old White TPC course, the top nine names on the leaderboard had a combined seven PGA Tour titles.

Four of those individuals -- Morgan Hoffman, Matt Jones, Tag Ridings and Daniel Summerhays -- haven't won on the tour.

Sound familiar?

Stallings' first-ever tour win came in a playoff in 2011 and Ted Potter Jr., followed that last year by achieving the same feat to get his first tour win.

Unless something drastically changes during the final round, The Greenbrier Classic will likely be jumpstarting someone's career and changing a PGA player's life.

For the players involved, it will be one of the most memorable moments in their life.

But is it the best thing for The Greenbrier Classic?

That remains to be seen.

Ever since Media Day for the tournament in early June, Jim Justice, chairman of The Greenbrier Classic, has said that he would like to see 2013 be the year that a big-name golfer takes the title.

He pushed for a Phil Mickelson-Bubba Watson final pairing down the stretch, but Mickelson didn't make the cut and an errant 17th hole on Saturday took Watson from a potential contender with a solid Sunday round to 4-under-par for the tournament and several shots off the pace.

Figures have not been released yet, but the crowds gathering on the fairways of The Greenbrier Classic have not seemed as large as in years past.

Perhaps it's the economy, but the statements by Justice suggest that year four needed a name winner to keep ticket sales and merchandising on pace with the first three tournaments.

And after Saturday's rounds, it appears the name of the winner could very well be another first-timer.

The third first-timer in a row.

WOODLAND WAY: Gary Woodland came out early Saturday and set the tone, firing a 64 on a day when the temperatures rose and the scores dropped.

Woodland went from being on the cutline Friday to second place at one point during Saturday's round.

He is 7-under for the tournament.

PAST WINNERS IN CONTENTION: Both Stallings and Potter are within proximity of making a push for their second title at the tournament with each sitting at 6-under heading into Sunday.

Stallings was paired with Watson on Saturday and fired his second-consecutive 67 to move up the leaderboard while Potter shot a 69 to continue his consistency.

SPEAKING OF POTTER: Mickelson might not be able to figure out Old White TPC, but Potter sure has a bead on The Greenbrier Classic's course.

Potter's 1-under 69 on Saturday continued an impressive stretch in which he's been under par in all seven rounds he's played at The Greenbrier Classic.

Grant Traylor is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2759 or gtraylor@herald-dispatch.com. Follow him on Twitter (@GrantTraylor).

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