Three weeks into the 2012 PGA TOUR season, none other than the newly mustachioed Johnson Wagner is leading the FedEx Cup standings.
Unless you’re a diehard golf fan who could not wait for the 2012 PGA TOUR season to begin, and/or have little to no interest in professional football, this little tidbit of information probably passed you by.
Granted, the first few tournaments of the season don’t always have the strongest fields of the season, but Wagner leads a reasonably impressive Top 5 consisting of Mark Wilson, Steve Stricker, Martin Laird and Harrison Frazar.
Starting With a Bang
Wagner, however, has been singularly impressive with three Top 10 finishes in a victory in three January tournaments.
The former Virginia Tech All-American and current Charlotte, NC resident opened the season with a ninth-place, 13-under par performance in the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii.
Moving to the big island for Week 2′s Sony Open in Hawaii, Wagner earned the maximum 500 FedEx points for a non-major tournament with another score of 13-under par, this time for a two-stroke win.
When the TOUR returned to the mainland for last weekend’s Humana Challenge in La Quinta, California, Wagner finished in a three-way tie at 22-under par with John Mallinger and Robert Garrigus for a second place finish behind the winner, Mark Wilson.
Moving Up in the Rankings
Not only does Wagner have the early lead in the FedEx Cup standings, but he leads the TOUR in actual scoring average at 67.67 strokes per round—he is 15th when using the PGA TOUR’s weighted adjusted scoring average at 69.36—and is the early money leader with $1.573,133.
His victory in Hawaii was not only a substantial payday, but it also qualified him for the 2012 Masters Tournament in April.
Wagner’s strong play also has him within striking distance of next month’s World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona which takes the top 64 players in the world.
In only three weeks, Wagner—whose 2011 victory at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico allowed him to keep his PGA TOUR card for at least another two years when it was close to expiring—has taken a quantum leap in the Official World Golf Rankings, jumping from No. 220 to No. 68.
Wagner is skipping this weekend’s event, the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, to recover from a busy couple of months that included plenty of practice in Charlotte and three December visits to Florida where he played and practiced with his swing coach, and developed a feel for his new Taylor Made clubs.
While he is taking this week off to spend time with his wife, Katie, and their two young children back home in North Carolina, Wagner will no doubt be looking forward to the coming weeks in which he will defend his MGC title in Mexico and look to jump higher in the rankings with hopes of playing in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
If he continues his torrid place, or at least continues to make cuts and challenge the leaderboard for the next few months, his goal of creeping into the Top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings and a potential berth in the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah is not so far-fetched.
Suffice it to say, Johnson Wagner has gotten off to a hot start in 2012.
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