I usually pick Jim Furyk to win a couple of tournaments a year. He's a great player who always seems to be in contention -- in recent years, however, he would get uptight with a final-round lead and falter. That wasn't the case last week at Hilton Head as Furyk won the RBC Heritage in a playoff for his first tournament title in nearly five years, spanning 100 events. Over that winless stretch alone, he still made more than $14.8 million. Is it too late for me to become a pro golfer?
Furyk beat a guy I had barely heard of, Kevin Kisner, with birdies on both playoff holes. It was his second RBC Heritage win, also in 2010 -- the year he was the FedEx Cup winner as well. Furyk's 8-under 63 was the best round of the day Sunday as he won career title No. 17 in rallying from a four-shot deficit. Harbour Town Golf Links was a perfect track for Furyk's game as he's not a big hitter. I guess it was good he didn't lead after three rounds as he has lost nine consecutive tournaments in which he's held the 54-hole lead.
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Kisner forced a playoff with birdie on his 72nd hole and he shot a 64 Sunday. Kisner never really had come close to a PGA Tour win in 90 starts. I thought Jordan Spieth would struggle a week after his Masters win, but he finished T11 after a final-round 1-under 70 (that finish largely off his second-round 62 after an opening 74).
My pick to win was Zach Johnson, whose game is also tailored to Harbour Links, but he surprisingly missed the cut (so did Patrick Reed, who I thought would contend). I did get Furyk at +165 for a Top 10 and a Top 20 for Matt Kuchar (-125). Also hit on two props on Luke Donald: as the top European as well as the highest-placed finisher against Reed, Webb Simpson, Bill Haas and Brandt Snedeker. Ditto Donald at -115 head-to-head over Charley Hoffman, Furyk at -110 over Ian Poulter and Billy Horschel at -115 over Russell Henley.
This week the Tour heads to the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, and normally you might expect a weak field because the next two events are big-money tournaments: the WGC-Cadillac Match Play and then the Players Championship. But it's a pretty solid group at TPC Louisiana. Five of the Top 20 are set to play. Jason Day and Dustin Johnson are making their first starts at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans since 2009 and 2008, respectively.
It's the last chance for golfers to earn a spot in the Players Championship by moving into the Top 10 in the FedEx Cup points or Top 50 of the world rankings. Next week's winner also gets a spot if not already qualified. You may want to consider a player to get his first career win here as it has happened in seven of the past 10 years. In 2014, Seung-Yul Noh went wire-to-wire, winning by two shots. Noh never fell out of first on Sunday but briefly did drop into a tie with Keegan Bradley before Bradley bogeyed No. 5 and tripled No. 6. Noh had made 77 previous PGA Tour starts, never finishing better than tied for fourth. He didn't have a bogey in the first three rounds. Andrew Svoboda and Robert Streb tied for second.
PGA Tour Odds: Zurich Classic of New Orleans Favorites
Johnson is the 8/1 Bovada favorite. I generally don't like guys who haven't played a course in a while. Johnson has been either spectacular or not good this season with five finishes of T6 or better, including his last time out at the Masters, and two missed cuts. He missed the cut here in his only visit seven years ago.
Justin Rose is 10/1 . He hadn't played well on the PGA Tour this season before his T2 at Augusta National. He has been in the Top 15 in his past three trips here with a best of T8.
Day (11/1), Rickie Fowler (16/1) and Bradley (20/1) round out the favorites. Day was my Masters pick, but he finished T28 after a good first round. My worry with him this week is the same with Johnson. Fowler has been very disappointing this season with not a single Top 10 in 2015, but he was T12 at the Masters, so maybe he's close. Bradley had that strong tournament here last year. He only has two Top 10s in 2015.
PGA Tour Picks: Zurich Classic of New Orleans Predictions
On Top-10 props, I like Fowler at +135, Rose at -115 and Bradley at +150. I'll do Top 20 on Johnson (-275) and Day (-225). Take DJ at "over" a finish of 7.5 as well as Day over 13.5. "Under" 22.5 on Fowler, 14.5 on Rose and 24.5 on Bradley. Take Fowler at 11/1 as the top American, K.J. Choi at 10/3 as the top Asian, John Senden at 7/1 as the top Aussie and Rose at 5/4 as top European.
Head-to-head go with Rose (-115) over Johnson (-115), Fowler (-115) over Day (-150), Bradley (-125) over Harris English (-105), Brendan Steele over Steve Stricker (-115), Fowler (-135) over English (+105), and Day (even) over Johnson (-130).
Horschel is worth a look at 30/1 as he won here in 2013, but I like Fowler. True it wouldn't be his first career win but first since 2012 and only second overall, which seems impossible.
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