Dean & Deluca Invitational Predictions
When: May 26-29, 2016
Where: Colonial CC – Ft. Worth, TX
Channel: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, PGA Golf Betting Analyst, Predictem.com
Just like the NCAA Basketball Tournament, the PGA Tour season is full of upsets in the early going. The fall and winter portions of the schedule are filled with first-time winners or cagey vets snagging a long overdue victory. By the summer however, you start to see many more familiar names atop the leaderboards just like you see those blue chip basketball programs filling the deeper portions of your bracket. The big dogs are done jet-setting and fulfilling their sponsorship obligations and it is not surprising at all to see the Tour dominated by the best in world at this time each year. In just the last two weeks, we have seen Jason Day, Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy win events and now the players head to Colonial CC for the Dean& Deluca Invitational. A tournament at Colonial has been part of the PGA Tour since 1946 but this is the first year for the title sponsor after many years under the Crowne Plaza banner so the name itself seems awfully new. What isn't new is the high level of play that this event brings to the table. The invitational status of this stop means that all participants have earned their invite by good play since about this time last year and there are a few sponsor exemptions added to fill out the field. The most notable exemption in recent memory was given to Annika Sorenstam back in 2003 when she became the first female to compete in a Tour event since the days of Babe Zaharias. Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott highlight this strong field with Chris Kirk set to defend his 2015 crown.
Colonial Country Club near Fort Worth is a classic piece of golf design that really has withstood the test of time. The 7,204 yard, par-70 layout is routinely rated as one of the best courses in the U.S. and the timeless design still brings difficulty without being monstrously long or overly "tricked-up". There really isn't a straight away hole outside of the par-3's so this course sets up to favor those that can manage the ball into the right spots. The big hitters will have to temper their aggression to avoid finding themselves in trouble off the tee and inaccurate approaches will be lead to tough up-and-down opportunities. The stretch from holes 3-5 are famously the most difficult on the course which is a departure from the usual situation that sees the final holes as some of the most demanding. That early opportunity for movement either up or down the leaderboard could make for an interesting Sunday.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight our favorites to win. We make some picks to win the event outright and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that you can find at Bovada Sportsbook. Here are our picks to win the 2016 Dean & Deluca Invitational.
Matt Kuchar (12 to 1 odds to win)
Despite not having a win to his 2016 record, Kuch is having a fine season with nine top-25 finishes and he's been inside the top-10 in three of his last four starts, including a 3rd place run last week. Matt has never been a dominant statistical golfer but rarely makes the kind of mistake that takes him out of the running. He enters the week inside the top-40 nearly across the board in all the ballstriking metrics but he shines in scoring categories like approaches from 75-100 yards where he ranks 10th. That kind of short game skill helps him save par and that is just as important to scoring as netting a bunch of birdies. Kuchar is 9th in scoring heading into Colonial and his 32nd overall putting stat suggests he can do it all from tee to green and the finish. No surprise to anyone if he comes out on top this week.
Jason Dufner (30 to 1)
Dufner has restored much of the consistent play that had been missing in recent years and he has just two missed cuts in 2016. He notched a win at the CareerBuilder in the early portion of the schedule and has had good runs routinely since. He was on the fringes of contention last week before a final round of 70 sunk him to T24 at the Nelson. Jason has a thing for Colonial with two runner-up finishes since 2012 to his credit so you like the simple fact that he has an eye for the course. Dufner is 17th in ballstriking, 12th in greens hit and inside the top-20 in both birdies and scoring average. If his putting stats weren't mired outside the top-150, he probably would have at least one more win on the season but I expect the familiar greens at Colonial to ease his putting woes.
Brandt Snedeker (40 to 1)
It has been a roller coaster spring for Sneds. On the good side, he notched a stellar top-10 at the Masters but it has been a tough go since with three missed cuts out his last four events. I think he shakes that downward trend this week as he returns to the site of his 2015 runner-up at the then Crowne Plaza. Brandt needs to improve on his ballstriking consistency if he wants to get back to the early season form that saw him go 1-2-3 in three consecutive starts but his putter has never left him and he does have the shots in his bag to win here. Snedeker is a fine recovery and bunker player so he can dodge a few missed greens and his birdie and scoring averages have never bounced out of the top-35 despite his recent run of sloppy play. The course should fit his game and good players don't typically stay down for long so watch for Snedeker to bounce back this week.
Picks to win based on projected score after all four rounds. Single round matches and prop bets can be found at the web' best sportsbook: 5Dimes.
Jim Furyk v. Bill Haas (pick to win: Haas)
File this one under the make him prove it category. Furyk, while talented, is coming off a major injury layoff and his is one the wrong side of 40 to simply shake the rust off immediately. In two starts since his return, Furyk has missed on cut and finished T35 at the Players Championship. That really isn't bad considering Furyk is likely just getting back in the flow but that is exactly the problem. Haas isn't trying to get back in shape or figure things out. Haas is ready to go and knows exactly where his game is at. Furyk is one of the toughest competitors of his generation but I think his goal right now is prepping for the remaining Majors and seeing if he can get inside the cut lines for the Playoffs. Winning would be great for Furyk but I think he is more happy with progression and gaining feel. I'd happily bet against him as his name will have him paired with talented opponents that are probably a bit better than him right this moment. Haas is solid with top-40's in fairways, greens, scrambling and scoring so he won't do Furyk any favors by trainwrecking. Haas is the safer play until Furyk regains his form.
Adam Scott v. Jordan Spieth (pick to win: Scott)
Betting against Spieth is a losing proposition in the long run but you can't just blindly bet for him each week either as he is almost always a heavy favorite. You will most likely find Scott listed at even money or perhaps better this week and that is simply fantastic value for a top-10 player. Scott hits more greens than Spieth in 2016 and while Jordan has putted better and carded a few more birdies, it is Scott that has the better scoring average. In short, Spieth is making some mistakes. Maybe it's pressure or the tiniest lack of focus but let us not forget how young Spieth is and minor wobbles are part of his growth. It is crazy that his "down" weeks find him still in contention so you really have to take advantage of him when you can, and you still might get burned it seems. Scott is the play here at Colonial as Spieth seems to be a bit susceptible to that extra mistake that he just didn't make for most of the last season and a half.
Good luck and good golf!
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