Thursday, July 31, 2008

Charlotte's Wagner hoping for big finish

Johnson Wagner spent the past two weeks hanging around home in Charlotte, playing some golf, relaxing and getting ready for what he hopes will be a big finish to his 2008 PGA Tour season.

Wagner, who won the Shell Houston Open in April, opened the World Golf Championship-Brdgestone Invitational Thursday in Akron, Ohio, with a solid even-par 70, putting himself in position to be a factor at Firestone when the weekend arrives.

The victory in Houston in April not only got Wagner into the Masters at the last minute, it affirmed his belief that he belonged on the tour. His record since Houston, however, has been spotty.

He made four straight cuts in one stretch but his best finish has been a tie for 27th in the EDS Byron Nelson Championship.

Wagner ranks 45th in FedEx Cup points and went to Firestone intent on improving his standing as the four-tournament playoff stretch approaches in three weeks.

"I'm starting to play better on tougher courses and in bigger events and I feel like I can play well in this stretch," Wagner said. "I want to make the top 30 in the FedEx standings so I can play in the Tour Championship and winning another tournament would certainly take care of that."

After the Bridgestone this week, Wagner will play the PGA Championship next week, bypass the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro then being the FedEx Cup playoffs at the Barclays in mid-August. Ideally, he would play his way into a spot at the Tour Championship Sept. 25-28 at East Lake in Atlanta.

As for his breakthrough victory at Houston, Wagner said he needs to focus on what's next rather than on what he's already done.

"I need to quit thinking about (the win)," Wagner said. "I need to focus on the good things I did to get in that position and start doing them again."


Andy Brown said...

Johnson Wagner sounds confident. You can make it out from the fact that he believes he has started playing better in bigger tournaments and tough courses. An obvious sign of great things to come from this man in the future.

Look at Tiger Woods. It’s been over a month that he has been out of action, was out for a good period in between and despite that he is still doing a pretty darned good job of defending his FedEx Cup. The most heartwarming story in the Fed Ex Cup points list is that of Keny Perry who has clearly established himself as the best player this season with a hot streak which includes three wins.

Some of the other names in the leaders list I hope will continue to improve their game through the season are Anthony Kim, Sean O’Hair and Ruji Imada. These youngsters must definitely step up to the plate and try and take over the mantle from the great man Tiger Woods. This week, it would be fun to see who wins the WGC event in the absence of Tiger. Tiger has pretty much patented his right to the WGC trophy.