Crowne Plaza International Preview and Picks

Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
Thurs. May 28 Sun. May 31, 2009
Colonial Country Club Fort Worth, TX
The Golf Channel/CBS

by Matt of

The so-called Texas swing comes to a close this week with the players teeing it up in Fort Worth for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club. The PGA summer is here and many of the Tours big names are in U.S. Open prep mode and therefore skipping a week here and there to stay fresh. The defending champion, Phil Mickelson, will be one of those not in attendance as he will remain on an indefinite personal leave during his wifes cancer treatment. Best wishes to the Mickelson family through this unfortunate circumstance. With the field lacking some star power, the title is truly up for grabs and it will be a good week to pick the right horse as the odds get longer in the absence of a clear-cut favorite. The Golf Channel will air the early rounds with CBS picking up the weekend coverage.

Colonial is a staple of the PGA Tour schedule, hosting an event for the 62nd time this week. The par-70 layout has been lengthened by about 150 yards from last year and will play at 7,204 yards for the championship. Colonial played right in the middle of the pack in terms of scoring (difficulty) in 08 competition, and rewards accuracy as much as any course in the Tour rotation. Fairways and greens are critical to scoring almost every week, but shot shaping, fairway positioning and recovery shots will play a huge part in a winning effort here. Players like Kenny Perry, Jim Furyk and Justin Leonard have fared well in the past, relying on their shotmaking to get around the grounds at Colonial Country Club.

Each week, we take a look at the golf sportsbooks and make some picks to win the event outright and some head to head match winners as well. Well give you a short, middle and long odds player we like to win based on their stat sheets and how their games line up with the host course. Here are our picks to win the Crowne Plaza Invitational with line info and odds courtesy of the board at Superbook.

Short: Zach Johnson (20 to 1 to win)

20 to 1 is a bit long for a favorite, but thats what you get when its a toss-up at the top of the board. Zachs game really suits the demands of Colonial, ranking 15th in fairways hit and 16th in greens in regulation. Johnson has two wins on the year (Sony, Valero) showing he can putt well enough to seal the deal and also owns the 5th best scoring average on Tour (69.8). I also like Zach in round one matches as he has the 8th best scoring average on Thursdays.

Middle: Sean OHair (25 to 1)

Sean has had a tremendous start to the 2009 season, leading the Tour in top-10 finishes with six and notching a win at Quail Hollow. OHair consistently has himself in position to score, ranking 24th in total driving and 5th in GIR%. The overall stat sheet is one of the best on Tour as Sean has the best overall scoring average at 69.7 and the top position in the all around stat.

Longshot: Rod Pampling (40 to 1)

Pampling is a gut pick here, but a pretty good one based on his T2 in last years event which included a third round 63, which was also the low round for the week. Rod is not a flashy player, but is ultra-steady and consistent, ranking from 40th to 80th in the majority of the statistical categories. Pampling looked like he figured something out last weekend, closing with a 69 and 65 in the final two rounds at the Nelson.

Head to Head Matches (our pick)

* all matches are for entire tournamentcheck with your favorite golf sportsbook for single round matches, updated daily.

Geoff Ogilvy (-110) v. Kenny Perry (-120) (Ogilvy)

Perry seems the obvious choice here based on his two wins since 2003, but Kenny has been scuffling a bit since his heartbreaker at Augusta. Ogilvy is seldom the underdog in any match, ranking 2nd in putting average, 8th in putts per round and 1st in birdie average.

Paul Casey (-115) v. Jim Furyk (-115) (Casey)

This layout is tailor made for Furyks control game, but Jim hasnt been knocking close very much lately, ranking 127th in greens hit. Casey broke through with a win at the Houston Open and owns the big edge in GIR%, ranking 22nd and also makes a ton of putts on those greens hit, ranking 6th in birdie average.

Good Luck!