Crowne Plaza Invitational Picks
Dates: May 22-25, 2014
Course: Colonial Country Club Ft. Worth, TX
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, Golf Handicapper, Predictem.com
The calendar still says spring but the PGA Tour is moving into the summer portion of the schedule and the players travel to Texas this week for the Crowne Plaza Invitational. Adam Scott is the new #1 in the world and he will be teeing it up at Colonial along with several other top players, including many of this seasons tournament winners. Boo Weekley will look to defend his title against some of the hottest players on Tour, including Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk and Jordan Spieth.
Colonial Country Club is a bit of a celebrity herself as the course has hosted a PGA event in every year since 1946, the longest current streak on Tour. Colonial has been a Major and PLAYERS Championship host in the past and the 7,204 yard, par-70 course routinely tests players to hit quality shots over all eighteen holes to score. The fairways are narrow by Tour standards and a quick look at recent winners shows a trend that benefits the straighter players. Steve Stricker, David Toms and Zach Johnson (twice) have all won here and golf fans know that those players certainly favor precision over power. Look for that trend to continue and Colonial should once again produce a champion that succeeded in the tee to green game.
The online betting sites have released the odds for the week and Matt Kuchar is in the favorites seat at 12 to 1 for the win. A large group at 15 to 1 includes Zach Johnson, Furyk, Spieth, and Adam Scott so all of the household names are represented in the shorter odds category.
Without getting too bogged down in splitting hairs with those players, I will simply offer Furyk and Johnson as the better bets.
Kuchar is hard to dismiss on consistency alone but he hasnt really embraced the challenge of taking a step up while Tiger is out and Phil and Rory are somewhat quiet. I think Kuch CAN be one of the best on Tour on a regular basis but he just hasnt put a run together where he is routinely charging for the win. Top-10s are great and he has a ton of them over the last two years but Im waiting to see a killer instinct out of Matt before Im putting money on him. Scott and Spieth are likely the best raw talents in this field but I do not like their cavalier attitude off the tee. Neither hit enough fairways to make me feel good about their chances to win this week. They could easily both be in the top-10 but again, this course will reward a more controlled approach and fairways are at a premium.
DEPOSIT $250 AND GET $250 FREE AT
That controlled style is exactly what you get with Furyk and Johnson. Both are veterans that have success at this course and certainly know that patience is the better part of valor at Colonial. I will break down a head to head match between these two later on but I think both are as statistically perfect for this course as you could hope for.
Here are a few other players that I like for Crowne Plaza Invitational bets:
Graham DeLaet (25 to 1 odds to win)
The Tours best ballstriker and GIR% leader is what you get with DeLaet and that has to be a good fit for Colonial. Graham has scuffled a bit with two missed cuts in the last month but he was T7 last week and was in contention here last year before a Sunday 74 sent him down to 22nd. DeLaet is top-10 in total driving and 16thin scoring average but a sporadic putter has limited his chances at contention. He has to improve on the greens if he is going to break through but the rest of the sheet looks good for this week.
Ryan Palmer (40 to 1)
It isnt exactly scientific but Texas guys simply know Texas golf. Chad Campbell, Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank have made careers out their Lonestar Stare results alone and the Amarillo born Palmer looks to cash in on that trend. Ryan has at least made the weekend here in three straight starts, topping out with a T5 in 2012. Palmer ranks third in the all-around stat on the strength of top-15 marks in total driving, ballstriking and birdie average. He is the Tours best at scoring before the cut so a visit to the weekend is almost a lock; lets hope he can continue the scoring pace to the end.
John Senden (40 to 1)
John has brought some good return on those who have bet him this year. His journeyman status has made him nearly impossible to beat in head to head matches against like competition and he paid very well as the Valspar winner. Senden has not missed a cut in nine straight events and he should be around all week at Colonial with top-25 ranks in total driving, greens in regulation, scoring average and overall ballstriking. Maybe John is not ready to win against the strongest of fields but the competition this week isnt anything different from when he grabbed his win earlier in the year.
Head to Head Matches
Im picking the winner based on finishing position after all four rounds. Check the online sportsbooks for single round matches and prop bets.
Jim Furyk (-110) v. Zach Johnson (-110) (pick to win: Furyk)
These two might not be bombing it off the tee but this is probably the most interesting match that you can post based on the similarities between the two. It is easy to suggest that both will hit a bunch of fairways and greens and grind out a solid finish, but who is the better bet to win this match? It is hard to ignore the better Colonial resume of Johnson but Furyk is on a roll with two T2 finishes of late. This one comes down to Furyks 174thbest birdie average against Johnsons 28thrank in that category. Thing is, Furyk is scoring nearly the same as Johnson with far fewer birdies on average so his mistakes are virtually zero. When the course is tough, take the guy that gives away the least.
Harris English (-110) v. Bill Haas (-110) (English)
I never want to sound dismissive to any player but I think that Haas is outgunned here, even though he should be expected to play well at a course like Colonial. English owns meaningful edges in ballstriking, birdie and scoring average and really only trails Haas in putting and that is by a modest amount. The stats are tilted quite a bit and sometimes that scares me off but I think Harris has the goods to take this one. Bet your picks at the sportsbook with the absolute best betting odds and most wagering options: 5Dimes.
Good luck and good golf!