Surprising and consistent, Overton close to half of his Ryder Cup goals

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Already this season, Jeff Overton has had three seconds and two thirds, barely missing out on his first career win several times.
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Associatd Press

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Published: Wednesday, August 04, 2010 | 6:46 p.m.

Even avid golf fans might be surprised to see who is No. 4 in the U.S. Ryder Cup team rankings this week.

Tiger Woods? Nope. He's ninth. Stewart Cink? He's at No. 13.

Try Jeff Overton, hardly the name that comes to mind when you consider the best American players in 2010.

"It's not like I'm Tiger Woods," he said. "Maybe if we could ever win instead of finish second, maybe we'd have a little better chance of (being known)."

Overton is listed so high among U.S. golfers for the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor because he's played consistently well all year. He's had three seconds and two thirds, barely missing out on his first career win several times.

On Sunday at the Greenbrier Classic, it took Stewart Appleby's stirring 59 in the final round to beat him. The 27-year-old Indiana University graduate also was runner-up at the Zurich Classic and the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

"This year I've been able to get inside the top three a lot, but I haven't been able to get that win," he said Wednesday, the day before the start of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. "Hopefully, I'll be able to keep plugging along. Like (former British Open champion) Ian Baker-Finch said, 'You keep knocking on the door enough times, eventually something is going to happen.'"

Overton's scoring average is 69.81, third best on the PGA Tour. He is 12th on the money list with more than $2.4 million. He's up to No. 47 in the world rankings after starting the year at No. 186.

A native of Illinois, he is the son of a former baseball player and quarterback at Indiana State. He said he gets his competitive fire from his dad.

He also dates an opera singer.

Asked where they met, he laughed and said, "Bloomington, Ind., the No. 1 opera school in America."

Overton said he knows about as much about opera as his girlfriend knows about golf.

For instance, his girlfriend's mother came out to see him play once. He made a bogey and she said, "What did he do? He made a bogus?"

So far this year, he's been anything but bogus when climbing those Ryder Cup charts.

"(Making the team) would be half the goal," he said, "and then the next half of the goal would be to figure out a way to go win the USA some points."