PGA Tour Picks: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/21/2014
I'd like to say I played golf once with Todd Brendon, err. Brendon Todd. That I knew him well and also knew the day was coming soon when he would win his first PGA Tour event. I'd like to say that. I've never heard of Brendon Todd.
Todd deserved the victory at last week's Byron Nelson Championship, leading the field in scrambling and beating out a pretty good leader board with a final-round 66 -- the only bogey-free round of the contenders -- to edge former Masters champion Mike Weir (wow, where's he been?) by two shots. Todd, who was playing his 77th Tour event, has never played in a major before, but that will now change as he will at worst compete in next year's Masters. He's the fifth former University of Georgia player to win this year. Meanwhile, it was Weir's first Top-25 finish since 2010.
I took a hard look on Aussie Marc Leishman to win last week at 33/1, and he finished tied for third at 10-under, four back of Todd. Leishman wasn't available for a Top-10 prop at Bovada, but he paid off at 9/4 for me as the top Australian and at -115 head-to-head over Ryan Palmer. I did hit on Matt Kuchar at +110 for a Top 10, because that's all the guy does. He was T7. So was Gary Woodland, and I got him at +240 for a Top 10. The only one I didn't was Keegan Bradley, whom I unfortunately picked to win. He finished T29. Finally, I nailed Paul Casey as the top European at 9/2, Charl Schwartzel as the top South African at 5/4, Kuchar (-115) over Jordan Spieth and Bradley (-115) over Jimmy Walker. So all in all a great tournament outside of a winner, which continues to be my white whale this year.
Before I touch on this week's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth, let's address the world No. 1 ranking. It now belongs to Adam Scott despite not playing last week. He became No. 1 for the first time Monday because of the Tour's archaic and impossible-to-understand points system. Scott is playing this tournament but could lose the ranking. No. 3 Henrik Stenson is playing in the biggest non-major on the European Tour, the BMW PGA Championship, so that offers more world rankings points than Colonial. Essentially Stenson likely only needs to finish higher there than Scott does in Texas to take No. 1. Kuchar, currently at No. 4, would be No. 1 if he wins the Colonial. Obviously, the longer Tiger Woods sits, and judging by his comment this week it might be until the PGA Championship, he's going to slide further.
Colonial is the longest active annual stop on the circuit as the Tour has held an event there every year since 1946. Ten of the world's Top 25 are set to play as are 15 of this season's 21 tournament winners overall. Boo Weekley is the defending champion, beating Kuchar out by a shot in 2013. The only player to repeat here was the legendary Ben Hogan, who won it five times overall. An American has won this event every year but one since 2003.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Favorites
Kuchar is the 12/1 favorite at Bovada. He has never missed a cut in seven tries here and had that runner-up a year ago. Kuchar leads the Tour in scoring this year at 69.4 and has six Top-10s in his past seven tournaments. The guy is a machine.
Zach Johnson is 14/1. He absolutely loves this course. Johnson won this event in 2010 and 2012, was third last year and fourth in 2011. Johnson isn't playing all that great right now, with no Top-10s and one missed cut in his past four events.
Scott is 16/1. He's the first world No. 1 to play this tournament since 1995. Scott hasn't played here since 2011. He's looking to become the first player to complete the Texas Slam. Scott won in the Houston Open in 2007, the Byron Nelson the next year and the Texas Open in 2010.
Jim Furyk and Spieth round out the favorites at 16/1. I thought Spieth might have a bit of a letdown last week, and he did. You know the Dallas native will be focused this week with one more chance to play well near his hometown. He was seventh here in 2013. Furyk has finished second in his past two tournaments this year and has been second here twice.
PGA Tour Picks: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Predictions
If a first-time winner comes through this week, it would mark a first-time Texas Slam this season. Steven Bowditch won the Valero Texas Open and Matt Jones the Shell Houston Open before Todd last week. No player has taken his first victory here since Sergio Garcia in 2001. He had won overseas, but it was Sergio's first in the USA.
I'll just keep reminding you: I'm going to take Kuchar for a Top-10 every week unless there's some course he just plays terribly at. He's +115 this week. I like Johnson (+115), Spieth (+125) and Furyk (+125) as well. I believe Scott struggles a bit. This tournament has been decided by one shot three years in a row, so take that at +250. Stick with Leishman again at 9/2 as the top Aussie and Casey at 5/2 as the top European again because all the good ones are playing across the pond. Head-to-head I like Spieth (even) over Scott (-130), Furyk (-130) over Dustin Johnson (even), Leishman (-115) over Bill Haas (-115), Ryan Palmer (-115) over Jason Dufner (-115) and Chris Kirk (-115) over Kevin Na (-115).
Palmer, a Texas native, is good value at 40/1 to win. He has been Top 15 here each of the past two years and played really well last week for the first two
rounds. Rickie Fowler is tempting at 40/1 as well. He has 68.9 scoring average in four times playing this tournament and hasn't missed a cut. Fowler has
been scuffling lately or he'd be at shorter odds. However, I can't possibly go against Zach Johnson, whose worst finish here since 2009 is ninth.
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