The two-week Texas Swing wrapped up Sunday at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, and I hit on my fourth winner of the season in Kevin Kisner. He was priced at +2500 at Bovada to win entering the tournament.
My reasoning for picking him was: "He's a good shot-maker and this is a shot-makers' course. Prior to the T10 last year he was T5 in 2015 and is averaging 67.75 in his past eight rounds at Colonial." This time, Kisner was first in the field in fairways hit (40 of 56) and second in greens hit in regulation (53 of 72).
Kisner was three shots back of leader Webb Simpson to start the final round but put up a 4-under 66 Sunday, including a clutch par save on 18 after a misplaced tee shot to finish at 10-under 270 and a stroke ahead of Jordan Spieth, Sean O'Hair and Jon Rahm. It was the 33-year-old Kisner's second Tour title following his breakthrough victory at the 2015 RSM Classic. He also has been runner-up six times in the past three seasons, including twice already this year.
Spieth, who entered the tournament off back-to-back missed cuts, was trying to become the only player other than Ben Hogan to win consecutive Colonials. Rahm just missed a birdie putt on No. 18 to force playoff. The final group of Simpson (71), Paul Casey (73) and Danny Lee (70) combined to shoot 4-over par Sunday. I also hit on Speith at even money for a Top 10, but both Jason Dufner (MC) and Colonial member Ryan Palmer (T70) disappointed.
Now the PGA Tour heads to one of the truly great courses in the United States, Muirfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, for Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament. The Golden Bear is not just the tournament host but also designed the course. This is one of those special invitationals, which means it's a slightly smaller field than a typical 156-man event and you had to accomplish something to get in.
It's a very good field, as it usually is to honor Jack and play this course, with seven of the world's Top 10 in action. World No. 2 Rory McIlroy is not one of them. He suffered that rib injury in January that cost him several weeks and reaggravated it at the Players Championship. He had to pull out of a flagship European Tour event last week and then this one. His status for the U.S. Open is very much in jeopardy. McIlroy was T2 here last year. Tiger Woods idolized Nicklaus and has won this event a record five times but is of course done for the year. That didn't keep Tiger from the news, however, as he was arrested for DUI on Monday morning near his home of Jupiter, Fla. His fall from grace continues; hire a driver dude! You think he would have learned from his infamous 2009 incident.
The defending champion is American Buddy McGirt. He and Jon Curran each finished at 15-under 273, and McGirt beat Curran on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff - both on 18. They both parred the first time but Curran bogeyed the second. McGirt had to two-putt from 65 feet on the final hole of regulation to get into the playoff. It was his first career PGA Tour win in his 165th try. It was also the third straight year the Memorial was won by a first-time PGA Tour champion, following David Lingmerth and Hideki Matsuyama. Finally, it was the third straight time it went to a playoff. Nicklaus honors a big name (or two) each year at this tournament, and this time it will be Greg Norman.
Golf Odds: The Memorial Favorites
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is the +600 favorite. He took last week off and is "slacking" a bit as DJ hasn't finished in the Top 10 in his past two events. Johnson missed the playoff here by one shot last year. He also was fourth in 2011.
Spain's Rahm is +1100. He had that co-runner-up last week and plays this tournament for the first time. Aussie Jason Day and Jordan Spieth (both +1200) are the only other players priced below +2000 (Matsuyama).
Day is a member at this course because his wife is from that area. But Day has yet to crack the Top 25 in this event. He was second two weeks ago at the Byron Nelson. Spieth has one Top 10 in four trips to the Memorial: third in 2015. Matsuyama won here in 2014, was fifth the next year but missed the cut in 2016.
Golf Odds: The Memorial Picks
For a Top 10, I like Johnson (-185), Matsuyama (+135), Adam Scott (+160) and Matt Kuchar (+250), who always plays well here and won in 2013. Go Matsuyama at +110 as top Asian, Kuchar at +1800 as top American and Scott (+200) as top Aussie.
Head-to-head, I like Patrick Reed (-120) over Kisner (-110), Matsuyama (-105) over Day (-125), Phil Mickelson (-115) over Billy Horschel (-115), Rahm (-115) over Spieth (-115), Justin Thomas (-115) over Brooks Koepka (-115), and Scott (-120) over Fowler (-110), who has missed the cut in three straight trips here.
Since Nicklaus is honoring Norman, let's call it karma that Scott is the first Aussie winner of this event since the "Shark" in 1995. Scott was a season-best T6 at the Players, is thus well-rested and was fourth his last trip to the Memorial in 2014. But the better bet is Matsuyama, Scott and Fowler (wish it wasn't Fowler but Kuchar) at +700 vs. the field (-1400) because I like Hideki to contend this week as well.
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