- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jim Furyk

Ranking: 10th

Analysis: It has been almost two years since Furyk last won, but Congressional has always suited him. In addition to grabbing a share of third each of the past two years, Furyk tied for fifth at the 1997 U.S. Open here. He ranks among the top 25 in driving accuracy and putting, two requirements to have a shot to win here. With six top-12 finishes in the past three months, breaking through is only a matter of time.

Name: Danny Lee

Ranking: 131st

Analysis: Last year’s U.S. Amateur champion, the 18-year-old Lee became the youngest player in European Tour history to win a tournament when he triumphed at the Johnny Walker Classic in February. He turned pro after the Masters and has had mixed results, missing two cuts but tying for 13th at the Byron Nelson Classic. Though consistency has been an issue, Lee can go low: He ranks ninth in birdies per round.

Name: Paul Casey

Ranking: Third

Analysis: Perhaps no golfer this year has performed as well as Casey. The European Tour Order of Merit leader has won three times worldwide (the BMW PGA and Abu Dhabi championships across the pond and the Houston Open in the States) and finished second in the match play to Geoff Ogilvy. Casey, playing in his first tournament at Congressional, looks to get back on track after a missed cut at Bethpage and six straight rounds in the 70s.

Name: Sean O’Hair

Ranking: 13th

Analysis: O’Hair hasn’t had much success at Congressional, but the course suits his game well. He is in the midst of a breakout season, winning the Quail Hollow Championship and finishing in the top 25 every time he has made the cut. O’Hair also was in contention at Bethpage before a 76 on Sunday ended his chances. With no glaring weaknesses and the second-best greens-in-regulation percentage on the PGA Tour, he is poised to make a run here sooner rather than later.

Name: Lucas Glover

Ranking: 18th

Analysis: Glover made the cut at the AT&T; National each of the past two years, and now he’s riding high after a gritty performance down the stretch that carried him to victory at the U.S. Open. Glover ranks first in total driving, has two other top-three finishes and tends to play his best golf in the summer months. If he’s not too emotionally drained from his Open win, Glover should be in the mix.

Name: Robert Allenby

Ranking: 35th

Analysis: Allenby finished tied for third, tied for sixth and tied for 13th in his past three visits to this track. He is one of the most consistent players in the game and plays best on tough tracks, recording top 15s at TPC Sawgrass, Bay Hill and PGA National this year. If Allenby’s putter is cooperating, he is a threat to contend anywhere - especially a U.S. Open-style layout where his precision (ninth in GIR) will come in handy.

Name: Fred Funk

Ranking: 715th

Analysis: The University of Maryland alum made the cut at the AT&T; National in both 2007 and 2008, finishing tied for 63rd and 62nd, respectively. Funk has competed primarily on the Champions Tour this year, but he did make the cut last month at the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. He bottomed out with a third-round 75 and final-round 82, but his 60th-place finish was his best in four PGA Tour events this season.

Name: Anthony Kim

Ranking: 15th

Analysis: Kim ran a successful sophomore campaign, winning at Congressional and Quail Hollow, but he hasn’t been able to build on that this season. A share of second at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship is his only top 15 result in 12 starts. He ranks third in birdies per round at 4.24 and set a Masters record with 11 birdies Friday, but too often he gives those strokes right back.

Name: Hunter Mahan

Ranking: 42nd

Analysis: One of the Tour’s rising stars, Mahan notched top 12s in 2007 and 2008 at Congressional. He has played the weekend in all 16 tournaments he has entered this season, including a tie for 10th at the Masters and a tie for sixth at the U.S. Open. Mahan is solid in just about every aspect of the game (16th in all-around ranking) and is searching for his second career victory.

Name: Vijay Singh

Ranking: Ninth

Analysis: With a two PGA Championship wins and one Masters title, Singh has more majors than everyone else in the field besides Tiger. He tied for 12th when he played here in 2007 and also made the cut at the 1997 U.S. Open. This has not been one of his best seasons; he has battled injuries and missed five cuts in 15 events with no top fives. Singh is another player who will be a factor as long as his putter doesn’t act up.

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