2020 Brick Capital Classic – WFJA Predictions
By Jon Hockaday
I have already heard the question asked many times. “Who will win the Brick this year?” That is the million-dollar question as we head into this weekend’s 44th Annual Brick Capital Classic Golf Tournament at Sanford Golf Club. A total of 8 former champions that have won 19 titles are entered and the field will be strong once again. Picking a Brick Capital winner and projecting the winning score is tricky – but WFJA Sports will examine the possibilities. I would note that in the previous 43 years of the event, there have been several surprise winners to include Mike Purvis in 1987, Don Moss in 1993, Bobby Ballinger in 2000 to name a few. But more often than not, the area’s best has risen to the occasion and contended for the title. Below we will look at previous winning scores and offer some predictions for this upcoming weekend.
While some of the early Brick Capital records are sketchy at best, we have determined that winning scores early on were around even par for the two-day total. The highest winning score on record was Joe Gay’s playoff win in 1983 that required a 146 total to make the playoff. Scores began to lower in the mid-80s and Ray Epley’s final round 65 was the best round of the 80’s. Gerald Harrington changed things in the 90’s with a 134 total (-8) and winning scores since have consistently been in the 3-under to 6-under par range. There has been a total of six (6) scores of 134 (-8) or better in Brick Capital history and they have all been a winner. Since 2000, the winning score has been from 131 (-11) to 134 (-8) a total of four times, fifteen (15) times the winning score has been from 135 (-7) to 140 (-2), and once the score has been over par (+2).
Predicting the winning score is determined by several factors – strength of field, course conditions, and weather. Below is a look at all three:
The overall strength should be as strong as ever in the 2020 Brick Capital as 10 former champions the have won are entered as well as the regular group of top local players. Champions since 2000 that have entered this year’s event are Jack Radley (2013 & 2018), David Wicker (2001, 2003, 2010, 2011), Press McPhaul (1997, 2005, 2008), Currie Howell (2006), Craig Sturdivant (1984, 1995, 2004), and Jordan Pomeranz (2002). Other top local contenders include 4-time Champion Gerald Harrington, Walter Brinker, Jonathan Hockaday, Chris Brown, Brad McDougald, Zack Martin and Brad Wicker.
The course conditions at Sanford Golf Club are good. Greens are as good as ever and the fairways are full. Recent rains will add a few yards to the course, but softer fairways will make the tight fairways of Sanford Golf Club play a little wider. Course set-up by the Committee is obviously important to scoring. The course yardage cannot play but so long, but Sanford Golf Club can certainly be made tougher with strategic pin placements. The golf course management will have some tough pins both days and picking and choosing the ones to play away from is always key.
Weather can change by the day and current forecasts have it hot (and hopefully) dry. I have learned to not even try to predict the weather, but only to hope for the best and that weather conditions do not affect or delay play. The Brick Capital Classic has had very few weather issues over the years and the forecast of low 90’s and partly cloudy will be welcome.
Determining the winning score in this event is important when guessing a winner. If the scores get super low (say 8-12 under par) the number of players that are capable of scoring that low is minimal. Only a handful or less in this year’s field can go that deep under par for two days. Jack Radley, David Wicker and several others have proven they can get way under par. A winning score from -2 to -7 under par brings an additional 10-15 players with capabilities of winning. This event is full of players that can shoot under par on a given day and raising the 2-day total just brings more players into the mix.
The lowest 36-hole total will win this weekend’s Brick Capital Classic. Just how low that score is will let us know how many will contend on Sunday. My gut right now is 5 to 6 under par is a winner this weekend. That leaves the door open for a good size group of competitors to throw their hat in the ring. A year like this is what makes local tournament golf so exciting – the unknown of who will come out of the pack and have a weekend to remember. Will someone blow the field away on Saturday like Sturdivant in 1995 and Harrington in 1990 or will there be a final nine shootout that is decided on the final hole like Wicker’s win in 2010? Whatever the case – it will be a fun weekend, and when the dust settles Sunday about 6:00 pm, we will have our 2020 Brick Capital Champion. Can’t wait!
The Senior Division will most likely boil down to a small group that can win the title. Last year’s Senior Champion Rod Brechieson is not entered and former Champ Ray Epley heads this group. Expect Mike Buchanan to be in the mix as well as David Barber, who may be playing as well as any in this group. Several others could change things if they decide to enter the Senior group instead of the Regular Division. Look for the winning score to be near par and a small group battling for the Senior Brick title.
WFJA Sports will air LIVE Updates of the 44th Brick Capital Classic this weekend from Sanford Golf Club. Updates will come at :15 & :45 minutes after each hour from 12-6 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Listen to the updates on 105.5 FM or on the station’s website at: www.wfjawwgpradio.com.