Crowne Plaza Invitational Predictions and Analysis
Date: May 21-24, 2015
Course: Colonial CC - Fort Worth, TX
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by Evergreen, PGA Handicapper, Predictem.com
The portion of the PGA Tour schedule that starts with the Masters and ends with the U.S. Open is arguably the best run of events each year. In addition to both Majors, that stretch includes big events like the WGC Match Play, the PLAYERS and the Memorial. The Crowne Plaza is probably a tick below those events in terms of prestige but not by much and certainly has the history and tradition to go toe-to-toe with any PGA Tour stop. The Crowne Plaza is one of just a few invitational events each year and the field is limited to the top ranks of the OWGR or FedEx lists and winners from the previous year. A few sponsor exemptions round out the field with the most notable probably coming in 2003 when Annika Sorenstam became the first woman to compete in a PGA Tour event since Babe Zaharias. Jordan Spieth highlights this field that includes defending champion Adam Scott and former champ two-time champ Zach Johnson.
Colonial Country Club is a gem on Tour with roots dating back to 1946. The 69-year tournament history makes the Crowne Plaza the longest running single site event outside of the Majors. The 7,204 yard, par-70 track is routinely one of the best courses in the country and has become historically synonymous with Ben Hogan after he won this event five times. Many still refer to the course as Hogans Alley and players will face a tough ballstriking test throughout this week. Power is not a big benefit at Colonial and a look at previous winners shows that accuracy pays with names like Zach Johnson, Steve Stricker and Corey Pavin owning tartan plaid jackets. 7,200 yards is pretty short by most PGA measures but the relative lack of distance is offset by a meandering layout that requires nearly every shot to be shaped correctly to earn a positive outcome. Putting becomes a major key this week as the scoring pace will be moderately fast despite the par-70 tag.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the players that we think are the best bets to win. We make some straight up picks to win and breakdown a couple of head to head matches that you can find at the best golf betting site on the web: 5Dimes. Here are our picks to win the 2015 Crowne Plaza Invitational!
Jimmy Walker (18 to 1 odds to win)
Walker will be making his first start since missing the cut at the PLAYERS. That is his only missed cut of the year and Jimmy still sits second on the FedEx points list, a position he is familiar with after being either first or second going back to week one of the 2013-14 season. Walker is long enough to tackle any course, something that he wont really need this week, but he did put that length to good use during a T10 run here last year. He is our pick this week based on a solid 40thin greens hit and his Tour-leading strokes gained-putting stat. Picking up strokes on the greens is always a good thing and especially productive at courses where there are less than four par-5s. Jimmy is second in birdie average and fourth is scoring so he will have a good chance to make a run even if he starts slow.
Patrick Reed (28 to 1)
Reed doesnt want to be left behind by the rest of the young guns and he is the kind of player that is easily motivated by just that kind of intangible challenge. He won the 2015 Tournament of Champions to kick off the regular season and enters the week with just one missed cut in 15 starts. Like Walker, Reed is an exceptional putter, ranking 27thin strokes gained and 4thin overall putting average. That work on the greens helps him to the 3rdbest scrambling percentage and he does a great job of not letting his mistakes turn into really bad holes. Reed is top-30 in birdies and scoring and he will certainly need to lean on his ability to grind out pars and hang with a tough field on a tough course. It really has been amazing to see these kids handle pressure so well given their overall experience and Patrick is right there in terms of being one of the Tour standard-bearers for years to come.
Brandt Snedeker (45 to 1)
It has been a pretty forgettable year for Sneds. Outside of his win at Pebble Beach, there have been cashed checks but not many front-page finishes and he has missed the cut at the Masters and PLAYERS Championship. Given that this event is a step back from that big tournament pressure, I expect Snedeker to put in a better showing on a course that is suited for his game. Brandt is an accurate player from tee-to-green but he really gets a bump on the greens where he is top-10 in strokes gained and top-20 in both putting average and one-putt percentage. Snedeker rarely misses opportunities to score and can salvage good results behind the 11thbest scrambling percentage. His overall scoring average is a ho-hum 38th but he doesnt have to beat a Major-level field and the par-70 format plays right into his hands.
Robert Streb (66 to 1)
Streb has had a solid campaign so far, winning the McGladreys back in the fall and his T4 last week has him sitting 10thin the FedEx standings. He had missed four cuts in a stretch from the Palmer to New Orleans but seems to back in form with a decent week at the PLAYERS and his good results at the Wells Fargo. Streb isnt the high end putter that the above players are but he is top-30 in ballstriking, greens hit and scoring average so the diversity of skill is present. He has totaled the 8thmost birdies in 2015 so he is a fair bet to score well enough to win and if he should put in another good performance if he can get around the way he did last week. At just 28, he still has a lot of experience to gain but he is a PGA winner and looks to be moving into the next tier of Tour performer.
Head to Head Matches
Picks to win based on final score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
Paul Casey v. Adam Scott (pick to win: Casey)
Picking against the defending champ comes with some risks but Scott is struggling through an equipment change and isnt quite in top form. You would expect his play to turn around soon but for now, he should be looked at as an opportunity to be against, especially against someone playing well. Casey is top-15 in greens hit and scoring average and this course responds well to those that can hit greens in bunches. Casey is just average when it comes to finding fairways but Scott isnt any better and Casey is the one with the better putting stats. Take advantage of Scotts downturn while it lasts.
Chris Kirk v. Kevin Na (pick to win: Na)
The books found two of the best workers on Tour to go heads up in this one. Both Na and Kirk are no-nonsense players that have the ability to get it done under tough course conditions. Both should see fairly productive weeks but Na is the one scoring better so far this year, 17thin scoring against Kirks 63rd, and that really comes with simply making more birdies. Both players are good scramblers and hit about the same amount of fairways and greens so it really does just come down to Na outperforming Kirk in general. I know that is a rather unscientific method to pick a winner but it might be the best way to go this week as Colonial puts the entire bag in play and demands a good putting week so stick with the guys that have been just that little bit better than the others. Bet your Crowne Plaza Invitational predictions for FREE by taking advantage of a huge 50% signup bonus at one of the web’s best sportsbooks: MyBookie!
Good luck and good golf!