Tournament:The Fort Worth Invitational
When: May 24-27, 2018
Where: Colonial CC – Ft. Worth, TX
TV: The Golf Channel/CBS
by: Evergreen of Predictem.com
The Memorial and US Open are the big name events just on the horizon but before Jack’s Place or Shinnecock, the PGA Tour makes on more stop in the Lone Star State for the Fort Worth Invitational. There have been several sponsor names for this event over the years but Colonial CC has been the constant and the Fort Worth course is one of the Old Guard stops on Tour. Jordan Spieth highlights the field this week with Kevin Kisner back to defend his 2017 title. Jon Rahm, Matt Kuchar and Justin Rose are also in attendance, as are former champs Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker. The EPGA’s BMW Championship is a big competitive draw working against Colonial but this field is strong and the invitational status allows the tournament committee to extend invites to popular veterans like Jim Furyk or emerging stars like Maverick McNealy. A US Open berth is attainable for those not yet exempt and that always put in an extra layer of intrigue as that race to qualify is essentially an event within the event.
Colonial CC is a staple of championship golf in a state that has plenty of PGA stories to tell. The 7,209 yard, par-70 layout demands accurate drives into narrow fairways but both long and short players have found a way to win here throughout the history of the tournament. There are just two par-5’s at Colonial so players will need to be able to score on some rather tough par-4’s in order to keep pace. The par-3’s prove pivotal as well with mid-to-long irons necessary on all four with the 247-yard, 4th hole standing out as an unusual challenge. The par-4, 5th hole is one of the more difficult holes on the course so that early stretch can have a lot to say about how a player’s round will go. Without a true advantage presented to any one style, this event is usually wide open but experience has often won out over youth and talent. Look for the grinders to do well and expect the late Sunday groups to be filled with players that have proven they are able to execute in the clutch.
Each week, we take a look at the online betting sites and highlight the best values on the board. We make some picks to win and breakdown a couple of head-to-head matches that are prominently featured at the various golf betting outlets. Here are our picks to win the 2018 Fort Worth Invitational.
Rickie Fowler (20 to 1 odds to win)
Fowler has put in a rather nondescript season to this point with his T2 at the Masters standing out as the lone brush with greatness. He heated up at this point in the season last year and put in a sterling month that included a T2 at the Memorial and T5 at the US Open. I think similar things are in order for Fowler this season as he refocuses his immense talent toward winning big events. Despite being winless in 2018, he manages to turn in nice stats including a 13th best GIR percentage and the 18th ranked scoring average. He is 39th in putting average on greens hit in regulation so he is making the most of his approaches. Rickie is an underrated performer around the greens but has developed one of the better overall scrambling games on Tour. He enters the week 6th in scrambling and 25th in sand saves. We know he can win and he brings a nice value considering he is one of the favorites on paper.
Jimmy Walker (28 to 1)
Walker is one of the hottest players entering the week with five straight finishes inside the top-25, including three in the top-6. He missed four cuts in his first six starts but has not missed the weekend since early February. He has made the cut in three straight Colonial starts with a T10 back in 2014. The putter has been the weapon of choice for Jimmy during his hot streak. He currently sits at 3rd in overall putting average and his 31st ranked putting average on greens in regulation helps turn in a top-25 birdie average. Walker’s rough start left many of his ball striking stats below average but his recent upward trend is erasing those early troubles. He is still long enough to challenge Colonial in the right spots and has the kind of deep experience that will help this week.
Ryan Palmer (66 to 1)
When the event is in Texas, it is always a good idea to have a native Texan on your betting slip. Palmer has struggled for much of 2018, making the weekend in just half of his starts but he has a good record at Colonial. He was T3 in 2016, T5 in 2014 with another T5 in 2012. He enters the week inside the top-20 in driving distance and being well versed at this course will let him know when to use that length to his advantage. Palmer has struggled to find a consistent putter stroke but can certainly get it rolling as his 32nd ranked birdie average would suggest. He is a top-15 performer off the tee and this course needs to be attacked the proper way from start to finish so look for Ryan to set himself up better than the average player this week. If he can limit his mistakes, he should be able to navigate the course and the field.
Picks to win based on predicted score after all four rounds. Check with your favorite online betting site for single round matches and a variety of prop bets.
This is a very interesting match right here as Dufner has twice been a runner-up at Colonial with Kisner as the defending champion. Both are strong in similar statistical categories as well so this has a slim margin on paper. While Dufner would be 2-0 heads-up against Kisner in the last two events, I am sticking with Kevin as he has averaged 10-under par over his last three starts at Colonial. Kisner hits more fairways than Dufner and a small-ball approach works just fine here. Both are solid workers on the greens but Kisner is a bit better with the putter and currently nets more birdies per round with a similar edge in scoring. Dufner is a tough out when experience pays off but I think Kisner has a friendly view of Colonial and can work his way around this course as well as anyone.
A very complicated match here as Koepka is just getting back up to speed after missing time with an injury. Brooks would be a big favorite if you looked at the last 12 months or so overall but Scott is the 2014 champion here and is fresh off a ball striking master class at Trinity Forest. Both were T11 at the very tough Players Championship so this could be another closely contested match. Stick with Scott as there is a little rust yet on Koepka’s game with him currently hitting less than 55% of his fairways since returning. Colonial requires a decent level of precision off the tee and Scott has the advantage there. He also gets an edge in greens hit although Koepka is way above Tour average in that category as well. Brooks has a nice birdie average but has made a few more mistakes than he would like in his limited play and Colonial is not a course to be trading birdies with bogeys. Koepka is going to be hot in a few weeks so get a bet in against him while you still can
Good luck and good golf