Apparently I picked Sergio Garcia to win a tournament a week too early. The Spaniard was my choice to win the Players Championship two weeks ago but couldn't manage that. Garcia did take home the AT&T Byron Nelson on Sunday, beating Brooks Koepka in a playoff. Those two finished at 15-under 265. Koepka handed the win to Sergio by driving into the water on that first playoff hole.
The win was Garcia's ninth career on the PGA Tour, tying him with his hero, the late Seve Ballesteros, for most by a Spanish-born player. Five of Ballesteros' wins came in majors -- Sergio still hasn't gotten one of those. It ended Sergio's four-year victory drought on Tour -- he had six runner-up finishes in that stretch -- and was the second time he won the Byron Nelson, also doing so in 2004 in a playoff. It's clearly a special place for Sergio as his first PGA Tour event was also there 17 years ago. Garcia was three shots behind Koepka as Sergio headed for the 15th hole on Sunday. Koepka bogeyed Nos. 14 and 15 and couldn't match Garcia's birdie at the par-5 16th.
It looked like Justin Spieth would finally win a pro event in his native state following rounds of 64-65-67 but he ballooned to a 74 on Sunday for a T18 result. I wrote last week that I didn't like him for a Top 10 because he seems to press in Texas events, and that looked like the case in the final round. I split my money to win on Marc Leishman (+3300) and Ryan Palmer (+4000). That was unwise as both missed the cut. I also failed on Top-10 picks for Dustin Johnson (missed by one shot) and Zach Johnson (T66). At least I got DJ (-105) over Spieth (-125).
This week the Tour stays in the greater Dallas area -- Fort Worth to be precise -- for the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at storied Colonial Country Club, which is a par-70. It's the final Tour event of the season in Texas, and thus obviously Spieth's final shot for that first Lone Star State win this year. Colonial is the longest running regular Tour site on the circuit as it has hosted a tournament every year since 1946. It's probably most remembered in modern history as the tournament that former LPGA star Annika Sorenstam played in 2003. By the way, Dean & DeLuca is an upscale chain of grocery stories. I had to look that up as I never heard of it. Sounds like a law firm.
Chris Kirk won here last year when it was called the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. He made a 7-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to finish at 12-under 268 and avoid a playoff with Spieth, Brandt Snedeker and Jason Bohn. Kevin Na led after each of the first three rounds but shot a final-round 72 and finished T10. A 54-hole leader hasn't won Colonial since Phil Mickelson in 2008. Only one man has won back-to-back at Colonial: Ben Hogan twice.
Golf Odds: Dean & Deluca Invitational Favorites
Spieth is the +650 Bovada favorite. Not sure if you have noticed, but he has really struggled on Sundays of late. He hasn't broken 70 on a Sunday since Pebble Beach in February. Spieth has played well here, though, with that runner-up last year and two other Top-15 finishes.
Adam Scott is +1100. He completed the career Texas Slam with a playoff victory here in 2014 when the Aussie was No. 1 in the world. Scott hasn't had a Top-10 on Tour, however, since his two Florida wins.
The favorites are rounded out by Matt Kuchar (+1200), Charley Hoffman, Kevin Chappell and Zach Johnson (all +2200). Kuchar is back to his Mr. Top 10 form with three of them in his past four events. He was second here in 2013. Hoffman has been at least T18 here three of the past four years. Chappell is having a great season but hasn't won yet. His best result here is 10th in 2014. Johnson won here in 2010 & 2012 and is the all-time money leader at the event. He's not playing very well at the moment but this course suits him.
PGA Tour Picks: Dean & Deluca Invitational Expert Betting Predictions
I like Spieth (-165), Kuchar (+110) and Johnson (+200) for a Top 10. Head-to-head, go Spieth (-160) over Scott (+125), Kuchar (-140) over Hoffman (+110), Johnson (-140) over Chappell (+110), Na (+110) over Kirk (-140), Patrick Reed (-130) over Louis Oosthuizen (even), Snedeker (-115) over Jason Dufner (-115), and Jimmy Walker (-115) over Colt Knost (-115). Lean Scott at -200 for top Aussie, Fredrik Jacobson (+325) as top European and Oosthuizen (even) as top South African.
Since 2002, champions here have averaged more than eight visits before securing their first title. Obviously, Spieth doesn't fit that category, but I'm sure he's played here as much as anyone. He's my guy, although I'm throwing a few dollars on Johnson too.
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