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Crowne Plaza Invitational
by Matt Fargo - 05/21/2014
The PGA Tour remains in the Lone Star State for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. After coming directly after THE PLAYERS Championship three years ago, this is the second straight year the Colonial comes two weeks after and a week after the HP Byron Nelson Championship. The Colonial has had it share of exciting finishes as in the last eight years, three have been decided by a sudden death playoff with four others decided by just one stroke. Don't be surprised to see another close finish this year.
Colonial Country Club has hosted this event since the tournament's inception in 1946, making it the second oldest PGA Tour event still being played at its original site with the Masters at Augusta National being the oldest. Colonial remains a shot-maker's course. A long drive is nice, but to win Colonial, a golfer must have a skillful touch on his approach and on the greens. Ben Hogan, who is memorialized all over Colonial, once said, "A straight ball will get you in more trouble at Colonial than any course I know."
After playing holes no. 1 and 2, Colonial jumps into a three-hole stretch referred to as the "Horrible Horseshoe", the three most difficult holes on the golf course that are shaped, well, like a horseshoe. After this, the track lightens up and players can go low here. Over the last eight years, the winner has achieved -12 or better with the four-day record being -21. Last year it was ranked the fourth easiest par 70. Given the fact that there is a two-week break between THE PLAYERS and the Colonial, the field this week is strong.
It comes as a surprise that Jim Furyk (+1,200) has not won a tournament in four years but he has certainly been close. He has five runner-up finishes since his last victory including two this year which happened to be in his last two starts. He has had a lot of success here as he has seven top tens, the latest being a solo fourth in 2010. Despite the lack of recent wins, being a favorite is not shocking.
Graham DeLaet (+2,900) continues to tease us week in and week out as his T7 last week at the Byron Nelson was another excruciatingly close call. It was his sixth top ten of the season which includes two second place finishes and still in search of his first win, everything seems to set up well again. He is ranked first in greens in regulation and ball striking, two huge assets to tame this course.
It has been a quiet year for Jason Dufner (+4,500) and part of the reason is he has made only 10 starts. He has three top tens but none since March and that is adding to the value of his odds. He is off back-to-back T48 finishes so he is certainly due. He finished T46 here last year but was solo second in 2012 so he knows his way around Colonial. If his putter gets hot again, he could surprise many.
We used Ryan Palmer (+4,500) last week and while he played well, an average weekend ended with a T22 finish. He has missed only two cuts all season and in 11 starts that he played the weekend, he finished in the top ten four times including a pair of runner-ups. After missing the cut in 2010 along with 11 other tournaments, his last three starts at the Colonial have been T31, T5 and T14. And he is a member here.
Chris Kirk (+5,000) will be our longshot this week but he is no longshot. He won early in the season at The McGladrey Classic and in 16 starts this season, he has hung around for the weekend in all 16. A Sunday 74 hurt him here last year as he finished T35 but that followed a T5 in 2012 and a T16 in 2011. He has shot par or better in three of four rounds in each of those years so making it 4-for-4 this year could be the difference.
Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial - All for 1 Unit
Jim Furyk (+1,200)
Graham DeLaet (+2,900)
Jason Dufner (+4,500)
Ryan Palmer (+4,500)
Chris Kirk (+5,000)
2014 Record to date after 18 events: -37 Units
Sony Open in Hawaii -5 Units
Humana Challenge -5 Units
Farmers Insurance Open -5 Units
Waste Management Phoenix Open -5 Units
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am +22 Units
Northern Trust Open -5 Units
WGC - Accenture Match Play +23 Units
Honda Classic -5 Units
WGC-Cadillac Championship -5 Units
Valspar Championship -5 Units
Arnold Palmer Invitational -5 Units
Valero Texas Open -5 Units
Shell Houston Open -5 Units
The Masters -7 Units
Zurich Classic -5 Units
Wells Fargo Championship -5 Units
THE PLAYERS Championship -5 Units
HP Byron Nelson Championship -5 Units