Sergioooooooo! As good as it was to see him finally get the monkey off his back, I’m one of the many players who had a rather large piece of Brooks Koepka. We don’t like to use the “c” word, but Johnny Miller would have been proud of that choke job. Overall it wasn’t a great week, as I was among the masses who fell victim to Ryan Palmer and Scott Piercy. That was unfortunate, since some of my lower end plays (Martin Flores, Tim Wilkinson, Bryce Molder) had very solid weeks.
But let’s move on to the Dean and Deluca (what?) Invitational, which I’ll just call Colonial. Chris Kirk is our defending champion, making a clutch par save on the 72nd hole to hold off 4 players including Jordan Spieth. The venue is a narrow par-70 course which features many doglegs, overhanging trees, and other characteristics that will place a premium on ball placement and accuracy. Accurate approach shots and elite putting should get the job done this week, and I’ll be targeting some of the usual suspects. I’m not huge into comparing courses, but you can look at the Valspar Championship and the RBC Heritage leaderboards to get an idea of what to expect this week. Think more…Kevin Na. Think less…Dustin Johnson (he’s not playing). To really emphasize how important course fit is and that there is a definite mold, Ian Poulter is passing up one of England’s premier events this week to play Colonial, directly because he thinks his game fits this course better. Read into that what you want.
Once again, I’m going to focus heavily on recent form and course history, especially given the fact that so many players have ties to the Fort Worth, Texas area. The key stats I’ll look towards this week:
- Good Drive %
- SG: Approach
- Birdie % (100-125 yards)
- Par 4 Scoring Average
And now on to the picks! Hopefully we can turn things back around this week. I’ll try to give some solid picks across the pricing spectrum. The pricing is pretty soft this week, especially if you fade Jordan Spieth. Here are the guys I’m looking at in all of the pricing tiers:
Matt Kuchar ($11,000) – Solid course history, elite recent form with back-to-back 3rd place finishes. He checks the boxes of driving accuracy, par 4 scoring, and SG:Approach. Kuchar is a cash game staple this week, but offers some GPP upside.
Chris Kirk ($9,700) – Defending champion, solid recent form (minus The Players), and the best course history over the past five years at Colonial. Kirk is an elite iron player and excels at the 100-125 yard range that is key this week.
Kevin Na ($9,200) – Held the 54-hole lead last year before faltering on Sunday. Elite ball-striker, elite course history, 3rd in par 4 scoring, and 4th in SG:Approach.
Danny Lee ($8,800) – Texas ties, played very solidly last week at the Byron Nelson, and has been consistently finishing in the top-25 the past month. Also has a 10th place finish at Colonial last year. Lee is someone I always back on these narrow courses.
Bill Haas ($8,700) – Weak field specialist, and Haas has excelled at some comp courses this season (Copperhead and Harbour Town). Has made 5/6 cuts at Colonial and seems to fit the mold of an accurate ball-striker who can contend.
Patton Kizzire ($7,900) – One of my favorite values of the week, Kizzire has flashed game all season. He’s not a bomber, so this track is right up his alley. He played well at Valspar and the RBC Heritage and has contended numerous times this season.
Boo Weekley ($7,400) – Course horse. Colonial and Harbour Town are the two weeks each year that I’ll roster Boo. He’s an elite wedge player, fired a 62 last Friday, and seems to have a sharp game right now.
Emiliano Grillo ($6,700) – Fits a similar mold as Kizzire – a ball-striker who putts well. Grillo is severely underpriced and will make his way into my cash lineup this week. Besides the MC at The Players, Grillo has been playing great golf, including a 17th at The Masters. He’s 7th in driving accuracy this season and plays par 4s well.
Adam Hadwin ($6,600) – One of two Canadians gaining steam this week. Hadwin had a 5th place finish here last year and his game is trending up with five made cuts in a row. My only concern is how heavily he relies on the putter. One bad week on the greens and Hadwin will be trunk-slamming on Friday.
David Hearn ($6,400) – The other Canadian gaining steam this week. Checks all three boxes this week (driving accuracy, par 4 scoring average, SG:Approach). Hearn is 4/5 cuts at Colonial and recently has been stringing together a ton of top 25 finishes. Too cheap to pass up.
I’m adding two new pieces to the picks portion of this article:
Fades of the week:
Zach Johnson ($10,700) – His game still seems a bit off since the change to PXG clubs, and although he showed flashes at The Players and last week, Zach doesn’t seem to be right. Considering the high price tag and the likely 25%-30% ownership in GPPs, he’s a fade for me.
Colt Knost ($8,300) – See above. Colt has been on a tear recently (and all season), but I think fatigue gets the best of him this week. Even though his price is very reasonable, his ownership will also skyrocket this week, making him elite GPP fade for me.
Bryce Molder ($7,100) – I might regret this one, because Molder’s price is way too low. He approached 16% ownership last week and I expect at least that this week, making him a fade for me. His course history isn’t anything special, so if Molder isn’t scorching hot with the putter, he’s a possibility to MC here.
European Tour (BMW PGA Championship) picks:
Francesco Molinari ($10,700)
Martin Kaymer ($10,400)
Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($9,600)
Soren Kjeldsen ($8,800)
Tyrell Hatton ($8,600)
Chris Wood ($8,000)
James Morrison ($7,500)
Marc Warren ($7,200)
Richard Bland ($6,700)
Gregory Bourdy ($6,500)
Good luck this week!