Greenbrier Classic notebook
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS - Brad Faxon doesn't know whether to say hello or goodbye.
Faxon celebrates his 50th birthday on Monday and is leaving the PGA Tour, his home the past 28 years, for the 50-and-over Champions Tour. He joins that tour for next week's 3M Championship in Blaine, Minn.
He didn't exactly celebrate his final PGA Tour event, shooting a 4-over-par 74 at the Greenbrier Classic Friday and missing the cut with a score of 9 over for two rounds.
"Two [disappointing] days of scoring,'' Faxon said. "It was frustrating.
"I can't find one thing that I need to go work on. It's not chipping or bunker play or driving. I've done everything OK, and I hit enough good shots. I made five birdies today. I'm just doing things that I haven't done in a while, and it's a little lack of confidence. That's all it is.''
An eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, Faxon stands 42nd in career earnings at just over $17 million.
He was greeted by family members outside The Greenbrier clubhouse Friday moments after signing his last scorecard. Faxon said he departs for Minnesota and the Champions Tour on Tuesday.
"It's bittersweet,'' he said. "I'm looking forward to it. A new career, being a rookie, young guy. But I love being out here.''
Faxon has long been regarded as one of the best pure putters on the PGA Tour. He led the Tour in putting average in 1996, '99 and 2000, setting a record in the latter at 1.704 putts/greens in regulation.
He was even spotted giving impromptu putting tips after Friday's round to James Driscoll, one of his playing partners, who eagerly absorbed the information.
Even though Faxon wound up missing the cut in all 11 PGA Tour events he played this season, perhaps it was fitting he birdied his final two holes Friday - ramming home a 12-foot putt on No. 18 to the delight of a large gallery.
It was the end of a sentimental journey, but Faxon didn't rule out playing in another PGA Tour event somewhere down the road, perhaps even making a return visit to the Greenbrier Classic.
"I have a lot of great friends [on the PGA Tour],'' Faxon said, "and you're playing the best theater in the world. It's a pretty cool spot to be out here. I would love to play better, obviously. Hopefully I'll get the chance to come back out here and play a few more sometime.
"I'm sure there'll be the odd one or two [PGA Tour events] that I'll get in. I don't know when those will be. I probably won't play any more this year. I'll have a full schedule of senior events to play - seven tournaments to play, which will be enough.''
A better Brand
Christian Brand of Charleston didn't make the cut as he'd hoped, but his consolation prize was improving his score during Friday's second round, shooting a 3-over 73 following Thursday's 78, which stuck him in a tie for second-to-last place.
"I just wanted to play better,'' said Brand, 23, the lone amateur in the field who earned his spot by winning the West Virginia Amateur earlier this month. "[Thursday] was kind of a wash on the greens, but I had a lot of fun out there. It's great to have everybody pulling for you.
"Mostly on the greens [I had trouble]. I hit it decently, but I didn't putt well.''
Brand's shining moment of the day on Friday came on No. 16 when he sank a birdie putt measured at 46 feet, 8 inches. It's the longest putt made on the hole all week.
"A nice long break, left to right,'' Brand said. "It barely fell over the edge, and the crowd went wild. That was nice.''
Brand, at least, can boast that he tied Rocco Mediate, a six-time PGA Tour winner, albeit for second-to-last place at 11 over. Alex Rocha of Brazil and Robert McClellan of the U.S. were at 13 over.
On Thursday, Brand bagged two birdies, but they were offset by three bogeys and a double bogey on the par-4 second hole.
"The whole experience has been great,'' Brand said. "It was awesome from the first shot. It was awesome since I got up here Monday morning - the crowd support, getting to sign autographs.''
Thanks for volunteering
Elijah Moloney's stint as "quiet'' marshal down the left side of the No. 1 fairway turned into a full-contact gig when Scott Piercy's 318-yard drive plunked him in the arm.
Moloney, a Maplewood, N.J., resident and Marshall graduate, suffered a bruise but came out ahead. Piercy autographed his glove and handed it to Moloney for his troubles.
As for Piercy, he poked out of the rough, chipped on and parred the hole.
Piercy wound up shooting a 76 Friday and missed the cut at 4-over 144.
Canadian Chris Baryla can be called a streaky player.
Last year, during the PGA Tour qualifying school in Florida, he followed a round of 61 with one of 73. He eventually earned his full card for the 2011 Tour.
He was streaky all in the course of one round Friday at the Greenbrier Classic, carding six birdies - including three in row on his first nine - two bogeys and a triple bogey.
Baryla doesn't mind the tag.
"Sure,'' he said. "I mean, if it's streaky on the good side, I'll take it.''
Eagle has landed
Brett Wetterich holed a 99-yard shot for eagle on No. 1 after a 326-yard drive down the middle. He finished the round at even par for the tournament, so the shot may have given him the cut.
He started on 10, and also birdied his last hole, the ninth.
"That was a good shot,'' Wetterich said. "I think that birdie on the last hole was more important, though. I think that's the one that gets me in.
"But on my 10th hole, I got a little lucky. It went a little right of where I wanted to, took a good bounce, a little bit of spin and the rest is history.''
Doug Smock contributed to this report. Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or rickr...@wvgazette.com.