Crowne Plaza Invitational Picks

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I hope everyone enjoyed a thrilling Players Championship. It’s always great to witness a playoff and especially one on the 17th at TPC Sawgrass. This week the Tour travels to Fort Worth, Texas for the Crowne Plaza Invitational. The event is held at the beautiful track known as Colonial Country Club. Players have the ability to go very low at Colonial resulting in an entertaining weekend for you birdie lovers.

THE COURSE

Colonial Country Club will play host to its 64th PGA Tour event this week. A historic course on Tour and one loved by many pros, Colonial is a spectacular venue to hold a golf tournament. The course plays as a Par 70 measuring 7054 Yards. This topic does not come up very often, but with wet conditions expected early in the week, the possibility of a 59 being shot is not out of the question. 6 Players have fired 61 at Colonial and share the course record. Chad Campbell was the most recent player to fire 61 and he did it in 2004.

Last year the players really took advantage of Colonial. On Tour the players played at 14 Par 70 golf courses, with only two checking in easier than Colonial. With the golf course being so generous, the tournament will be decided by one thing, putting. The player who gets the flat stick going on Thursday and continues that until Sunday afternoon will most likely hold the trophy. To illustrate this point, the top six players in last year Crowne Plaza Invitational all finished in the Top 15 in distance of putts made.

Holes 3, 4 and 5 are known as the Horrible Horseshoe around the hallowed grounds at Colonial. Last year they played as the 3 hardest holes on the golf course, and players are always thrilled to walk to the 6th tee on a 3-hole par streak. Pay attention to the demanding and precision shots facing the players through this tough stretch, and be thankful your home course doesn’t have the same.

THE PLAYERS

This week will feature some of the Top Fed Ex point players and 16 past Major champions. 12 past champions will be in the field, a group that includes household names like (Zach Johnson (2010), Kenny Perry (2003 and 2005), and Sergio Garcia (2001)).

Colonial is a course players tend to play well on multiple times. Due to the fact a premium is put on putting, course knowledge is essential. Look for the leader board to be filled with players who have had success here in the past.

This week has only 1 player in the Top 10 World Golf Rankings (Matt Kuchar 10th), but I fully expect an entertaining golf tournament. Players tend to raise their level of play when many of the big name players are out of the tournament. That may seem like an oddity, but it has been a common trend on the PGA Tour.

STEVES SIX PACK

Zach Johnson 19/1 – Zach enters this week playing excellent golf. The defending champion at Colonial finished T12 at The Players, to go along with a T6 at Quail Hallow. Johnson won this tournament last year by shooting a ridiculous 64-64 weekend. Look for a player who ranks 13th on Tour in putting from 5-15 feet to be rolling them in all week.

Steve Marino 42/1 – Marino has a solid track record at Colonial. In 2008 he finished T10, and in 2009 he finished 2nd, losing in a playoff. Marino finished T19 last week at The Players and enters with back-to-back Top 25s. With course knowledge, hot play and a drive to win a golf tournament, you have to like Marino’s chances this week.

Pat Perez 45/1 – A somewhat unfamiliar name to people who are not huge golf fans. Perez is one of those players who tend to have flashes of brilliance 5 times a year. Lucky for us, he loves this tournament. Perez finished 6th in 2008 and followed that up with a T10 performance in 2010. Perez ranks 7th on Tour in the Par 4 birdie or better stat, something he will use to his advantage this week. Bring us a Payday Pat!

Jeff Overton – 55/1 – ‘Boom Baby!’ Here is to hoping we hear a few of those from Jeff this week. I was extremely surprised with the odds on Jeff this week as I pegged him at about 35/1. Overton finished T26 at the Players last week (played well all four days) and has fared extremely well at Colonial in the past (T3 (2010), T13 (2009)). Jeff has started 2011 very slowly, finishing in the Top 10 only once. Look for him to change that in a big way this week.

Brian Davis – 75/1 – The Englishman finished 2nd here last year and posted a T26 at The Players last week. Brian tends to be the type of player who starts the week fast and collapses on Sundays. I just do not see that happening on this course. He has played well on difficult courses so far this year, and it’s about time he rips apart one of the easier ones. I like him to build off last years excellent showing and be near the top of the leader board again.

Paul Goydos – 95/1 – What a week it was for Goydos again last week at The Players. Goydos finished in solo 3rd and seemed to gut out his excellent play on the weekend. Paul finished T10 here in 2008 but I like him for the fact he is a very streaky golfer. The fact that he shot 59 outlines that point perfectly. Look for Paul to manage the golf course very well and post another excellent finish.

A side note – Extra money on Perez, Overton, Marino and Johnson. Davis and Goydos only warrant small plays but still are solid long shots.

Good luck to everyone this week and enjoy the golf!

Steve

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Since I was young I’ve spent as much time on the golf course as the weather will allow me to. As I began to bet on sports I figured I would try my luck at the sport I know the best - golf. I began hitting winners on a regular basis and have turned it into a really solid part time income profiting in 8 of the last 9 years.

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