PGA Tour Odds and Predictions: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
by Alan Matthews - 5/18/2011
Remember when the Colonial was a big deal on the PGA Tour? And I’m not at all talking about 2003 when Annika Sorenstam played in the event to big hoopla. Colonial, known as “Hogan’s Alley,” used to draw excellent fields. But because of where the tournament is now on the schedule, the field is incredibly watered-down.
In fact, it’s so watered-down that I pondered instead previewing the Volvo World Match Play Championship that is over in Spain this weekend. But that tournament, while it does have the top three players in the world and six of the top nine (all Europeans), starts early in the morning U.S. time on Thursday and all the big books still have many more props available on the Colonial. So let’s stick with that event even though it has just one Top-10 player in Matt Kuchar and only six of the Top 25 in the world.
So why the lousy field? Well, as mentioned all the top Europeans are in Spain. Plus, the Colonial recently switched with the Byron Nelson in which Colonial is now first in line on the schedule. Because of that some players like Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker, regulars and past champions of Colonial, passed this week because they didn't want to play three straight weeks: Almost all of the big-name Americans played the past two weeks at the Wells Fargo and at the Players Championship. And the majority of top Europeans won’t come back across the pond until after the de facto European Tour Players Championship: the big-money BMW Championship at the end of this month.
The defending champion of this event is back to defend at PGA Tour odds of 22/1 to win this week at Bodog. Zach Johnson won his seventh PGA Tour title at Colonial in 2010, shooting 65-66-64-64 for a tournament-record 21-under 259 total. Brian Davis was second, three strokes back. Johnson might not be a terrible bet, according to my predictions, as he hadn’t been contending, but then he followed a T6 at the Wells Fargo with a T12 at the Players that included a stellar final-round 66. Plus, Johnson has never finished outside of the Top 30 at this tournament and is on a run of 10 straight rounds in the 60s at Colonial CC.
The co-favorites this week are Hunter Mahan and Jason Day at 18/1. Mahan played well last week, finishing at T6. But not sure why he’s the favorite, despite a strong year, as he has yet to make the cut at this tournament in seven tries. Day, I can understand. Of course, the Aussie was in the mix on the back nine Sunday at the Masters, and that began a run of three straight Top-10 finishes. Day has a high of fourth in three tries in this tournament and did win in Texas last year at the Byron Nelson.
It would almost be sweet justice if David Toms (33/1) could win this week after choking in the playoff at the Players last week. In 13 career starts at the Colonial, he's notched four top-10s. Jeff Overton at 40/1 is good value. He has the highest average finish at this tournament of anyone who has played it at least twice (a T3 last year, T13 the year before). Overton has missed only one cut this year so he should be around for the weekend, where anything can happen.
If you really want to make a good long-shot bet, take a flier on a Champions Tour player. A whopping eight members of the Champions Tour will play in this week's tournament, which is a lot for a non-major. But this event always welcomes back past champs and seven of the eight who are playing have won it: Olin Browne, Keith Clearwater, David Frost, Tom Lehman, Corey Pavin, Kenny Perry and Tom Purtzer. It might be a worth a roll of the dice on Perry, the 2003 and 2005 winner of this tournament, at 80/1. He hasn’t done much on the regular tour this year but did finish T39 last week at the Players. And he has played this tournament 20 times, including a T22 last year.
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