Ryan Palmer (pictured) has an ideal skill’s profile for this week’s challenge at the Children Network Classic, the last official tournament on the PGA Tour schedule for 2012.
The tournament is being played at two easy courses at the Disney World Resort in Florida. The pro-am nature of the event and its date in the schedule can make this a relaxing end of season outing for many players.
However, it is the last tournament for players to retain their cards for next season and those close to the mark will see this as a massive week in terms of career development and security for the next year. The top 125 in the Money List are assured of playing privileges for next season.
Palmer is currently 44th in the FedEx Cup rank which means he has no concerns about his schedule for next season. He will also comfortably finish inside the top 70 so he will be playing in limited field events such as the Memorial and Colonial next season.
Our Player in Focus turned pro in 2000 and since then has made gradual progress through the ranks on the Main Tour. Eight missed cuts in 24 events during 2012 is a solid effort but the highlight of Palmer’s season was a run of form in the spring.
He has had four top 10s this season and they each came during a series of events from April to June. A missed cut at the Player’s Championship was the only blip in a run of form that read tied 4th, tied 9th, tied 5th and tied 3rd. Palmer won more money in that spell than over the rest of the entire season.
Palmer’s last win was in 2008 at the Ginn Sur Mer Classic, a Fall Series event at that time. He is due another and generally plays well at this time of the year and on courses such as the Palm and Magnolia layouts in Florida.
There will be a premium on distance over accuracy this week. The courses will provide plenty of eagle and birdie opportunities and players will have to convert many of those chances to contend. Due to the easy nature of the courses a putting contest may develop which means players will need a good putting average to be competitive.
Palmer is the only player in the field currently inside the top 20 for both driving distance and birdie conversion. He is also above average in terms of average putts per round which means his skill’s profile makes him a leading contender in Florida this week.