2008 Crowne Plaza Invitational

Tournament: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
Dates: Thu. May 20 – Sun. May 22, 2008
Location: Colonial Country Club – Fort Worth, Texas
Television Coverage: Golf Channel/CBS

Back to Texas for the PGA this week as Fort Worth and Colonial Country Club host the Crowne Plaza Invitational. Rory Sabbatini is back to defend his ’07 crown against a strong field out for the winner’s share of the $6.1 million dollar total purse. Follow the early rounds on the Golf Channel and catch the weekend on CBS.

Although the name of the tournament has changed often, Colonial Country Club has played host to a Tour event since the days of Ben Hogan, giving the course one of the longest consecutive runs in Tour history. The layout of the track has remained relatively unchanged over the years, and this week will play at par-70, measuring 7,054 yards.

While most courses save the best or hardest for a dramatic back nine finish, Colonial tests players early with the three toughest holes on the front at three, four and five. The second most difficult is the par-4, 467 yard, third hole, that has a guarded dogleg and length on the approach that makes birdies few and far between. The 252 yard, par-3 is next and an elevated green makes the yardage even more troublesome. The 472 yard, par-4, fifth rounds out this run as the hardest hole on the course and will test the players to find a fairway with trouble on both sides. Look to the accuracy stat leaders to have a good week and give the edge to the putters versus the bombers as well.

Each week, we take a look at a group of contenders to win and make a pick from a short, middle and long odds look. We also break down a few matches on the boards at the golf sportsbooks. Odds to win/top-5 and ties bet courtesy of Bodog.

Phil Mickelson

9 to 1 to win and 2 to 1 for a top-5 or tie finish

Lefty looks to get back in the winner’s circle for the second time this year. The world’s second ranked player has 10 top-25’s this year in the 10 cuts he has made, so he is always a threat. Phil has a win and a second here in 2000 and 2001 and is coming off a week of rest after a T21 at THE PLAYERS. Ranking 5th in both birdie and scoring average, his only sub-par stat is fairways hit, where he is 169th on Tour.

Jim Furyk

12 to 1 and 5 to 2

Furyk has it going well in the last month, finishing 4, 7, and 27 in his last three starts. His game fits Colonial well, ranking in the top-30 in the ballstriking stats as well as putting average. Second here last year, Furyk looks to be the third straight ’07 runner-up to win in ’08 after Sergio Garcia took THE PLAYERS and Ryuji Imada just won at the AT&T.

Kenny Perry

18 to 1 and 3 to 1

Perry has had good looks to win the last two weeks, but an 81 derailed him at THE PLAYERS and a wet approach ended his AT&T with a playoff loss. Perry is a two time Colonial champ, winning in ’03 and ’05, with a runner-up in ’02 as well. A good combo of length off the tee (19th) and greens hit (26th) leads to the Tour’s 10th best scoring average at 70.02 strokes.

Anthony Kim

18 to 1 and 3 to 1

The youngster broke through a few weeks back with a win at the Wachovia after going T2 and T19 in the weeks prior. Kim ranks 6th in driving distance, but his 14th ranked putter leads to 3.8 birdies per 18 and the Tour’s 7th best scoring average. He will be making his second appearance at Colonial, he logged a T18 in his debut last year.

Stephen Ames

20 to 1 and 4 to 1

Ames is one of those players that no one really pays attention to, yet seems to be one break here or there away from multiple wins. He has missed only one cut this year and that came back in January, so he is a good pick dependability wise in matches. Ames is a solid player, ranking 21st in the All Around stat while possessing the 29th best scoring average.

Chad Campbell

20 to 1 and 6 to 1

This Texan looks forward to the events in the Lonestar state as much as anyone, and has had success here, with a second in ’04. He has been a bit uneven lately, with three missed cuts mixed in a T2 and T10 in his last five starts. The Tour’s 9th All Around player nets 3.8 birdies on average on the strength of an 11th best flatstick.

Geoff Ogilvy

25 to 1 and 5 to 1

Ogilvy has been a little hit or miss in ’08 with four missed cuts, but has three top-10 finishes in seven cuts made, including a win at the WGC-CA. Geoff has been plenty good off the tee as the 33rd ranked total driver and is 17th in greens hit, but a 134th putting average has held him back a bit. A good putting week should have him on the first page this week.

Justin Leonard

33 to 1 and 6 to 1

Leonard is another Texan who likes to play in his home state and really likes Colonial with no missed cuts in 14 career starts. His Colonial resume also shows nine top-20’s and 5 top-5’s in those starts. Justin in super accurate, ranking 10th in fairways and 3rd in GIR% to go along with a 10th best putting average.

Rory Sabbatini

33 to 1 and 6 to 1

The defending champ might deserve a bit more love here, but this year’s play has been spotty throughout, due in some part to an illness that has sapped much of his strength. Rounding into shape healthwise, Sabbatini posted a T27 at THE PLAYERS which broke a streak of four weeks that saw him go 70, MC, MC, and 67 for finishes. Well above average in driving distance and greens hit, he averages a 18th best 3.7 birdies per round which will give Sabbatini a chance to repeat with a solid week overall.

Our Picks to Win:

Short Favorite: Jim Furyk 12 to 1

Middle of the Road: Chad Campbell 20 to 1

Longshot: Justin Leonard 33 to 1

Head to Head Matches (our picks)

Selected matches found at Bovada and are for the entire tournament. Check your favorite golf sportsbook for similiar matches as well as daily head to heads.

Anthony Kim (-120) v. Geoff Ogilvy (-120) (Kim)

Taking Kim here based on his recent hot streak and his sizeable edge in the putting department.

Phil Mickelson (-140) v. Jim Furyk (+110) (Furyk)

I like Furyk here especially as the big underdog coming in off a really good last month or so. Colonial demands straight driving versus long driving and Lefty can be erratic at times.

Kenny Perry (-120) v. Stephen Ames (-120) (Perry)

Perry should have a win in the last two, looking for the good play to continue this week. This one should be close with the scoring averages separated by .2 strokes.

Good Luck!