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BlogColonial Invitational Preview and Picks

Colonial Invitational

May 24th – 27th, 2018

Colonial C.C.

Fort Worth, TX

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,209

Purse: $7.1 million

with $1,278,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Kevin Kisner

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 42 of the top 100 and 20 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with four players from the top-ten #3 Jordan Spieth, #4 Jon Rahm, #5 Justin Rose and #6 Rickie Fowler. The other top 50 players are #11 Brooks Koepka, #20 Webb Simpson, #22 Matt Kuchar, #23 Xander Schauffele, #25 Pat Perez, #26 Brian Harman, #27 Kevin Kisner, #29 Satoshi Kodaira, #30 Charley Hoffman, #35 Patrick Cantlay, #36 Louis Oosthuizen, #39 Bryson DeChambeau, #41 Cameron Smith, #42 Siwoo Kim, #43 Charl Schwartzel and #45 Adam Hadwin.

Last year there were 18 top-50 players in the field

The field includes 11 of the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2018.  Those players are  #4 Jon Rahm, #5 Pat Perez, #6 Adam Hadwin, #7 Jordan Spieth, #10 Brian Harman, #13 Sergio Garcia, #14 Marc Leishman, #15 Billy Horschel, #17 Kevin Kisner, #18 Mackenzie Hughes, #19 Wesley Bryan, #22 Si Woo Kim and #23 Cameron Smith.

The field includes 9 past champions: Kevin Kisner (2017),Jordan Spieth (2016), Chris Kirk (2015), Adam Scott (2014), Zach Johnson (2010, ’12), Steve Stricker (2009), Rory Sabbatini (2007), Tim Herron (2006) and Keith Clearwater (1987).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the Fort Worth field is our performance chart listed by the average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the Fort Worth in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the Fort Worth.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the Fort Worth Invitational

Player Byron Nelson The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Valero Texas RBC Heritage Masters Houston Open WGC – Dell Match Play Corales Arnold Palmer Valspar WGC Mexico
Webb Simpson
(327.33 pts)
DNP Win
(198)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
T20
(20)
DNP T29
(10.5)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
T37
(6.5)
Jimmy Walker
(307.33 pts)
T6
(60)
T2
(150)
DNP T25
(16.67)
4
(53.33)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP DNP DNP T73
(0)
T28
(7.33)
DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(246.67 pts)
DNP T2
(150)
T9
(45)
3
(60)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T36
(7)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T49
(0.33)
T48
(1)
Aaron Wise
(227.67 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP T2
(100)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP DNP T41
(3)
T68
(0)
DNP
Chesson Hadley
(210.17 pts)
DNP T11
(58.5)
T16
(34)
T4
(53.33)
T20
(20)
T7
(36.67)
DNP T18
(10.67)
DNP DNP T49
(0.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Bryson DeChambeau
(199.17 pts)
DNP T37
(19.5)
4
(80)
DNP DNP T3
(60)
T38
(8)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(33.33)
WD
(-1.67)
DNP
Xander Schauffele
(195.17 pts)
DNP T2
(150)
T72
(0)
DNP T73
(0)
T32
(12)
T50
(0.67)
DNP T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(16)
Jason Dufner
(179.5 pts)
DNP T5
(105)
T42
(8)
2
(66.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T64
(0)
T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T55
(0)
Nick Watney
(170.17 pts)
DNP T37
(19.5)
T2
(100)
T31
(12.67)
T20
(20)
T32
(12)
DNP T32
(6)
DNP DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP
Jordan Spieth
(157 pts)
T21
(29)
T41
(13.5)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 3
(60)
T3
(30)
T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T14
(18)
Justin Rose
(146.33 pts)
DNP T23
(40.5)
DNP T19
(20.67)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
T52
(0)
DNP DNP 3
(30)
T5
(23.33)
T37
(6.5)
Patrick Cantlay
(133.67 pts)
DNP T23
(40.5)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T7
(36.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP DNP T30
(10)
Matt Kuchar
(129.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T17
(49.5)
DNP T28
(14.67)
T51
(0)
T23
(18)
T28
(14.67)
T8
(16.67)
T9
(22.5)
DNP DNP T40
(3.33)
T58
(0)
Rory Sabbatini
(127 pts)
T13
(37)
T30
(30)
T27
(23)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T23
(18)
DNP T70
(0)
DNP T43
(2.33)
DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP
Adam Scott
(123.17 pts)
T9
(45)
T11
(58.5)
T76
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T32
(12)
DNP DNP DNP T41
(3)
T16
(11.33)
DNP
Brice Garnett
(119.17 pts)
DNP T41
(13.5)
75
(0)
T4
(53.33)
80
(0)
T42
(5.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP Win
(44)
DNP T31
(6.33)
DNP
Emiliano Grillo
(118.83 pts)
DNP T37
(19.5)
T9
(45)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP T3
(30)
DNP T50
(0.33)
T26
(8)
DNP DNP
Scott Piercy
(112.33 pts)
T32
(18)
CUT
(-15)
DNP Win
(88)
CUT
(-6.67)
T16
(22.67)
DNP T24
(8.67)
DNP T60
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Zach Johnson
(111 pts)
DNP T75
(0)
DNP T15
(23.33)
5
(46.67)
T42
(5.33)
T36
(9.33)
DNP T36
(7)
DNP T26
(8)
T16
(11.33)
DNP
Kevin Kisner
(106.83 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
T15
(23.33)
DNP T7
(36.67)
T28
(14.67)
DNP 2
(50)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP 29
(10.5)
Si Woo Kim
(106.5 pts)
DNP T63
(0)
DNP DNP T45
(3.33)
2
(66.67)
T24
(17.33)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T59
(0)
DNP
Peter Uihlein
(105.33 pts)
T21
(29)
DNP T5
(70)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T17
(16.5)
DNP T66
(0)
DNP T37
(6.5)
Adam Hadwin
(103 pts)
DNP T57
(0)
T16
(34)
DNP DNP DNP T24
(17.33)
DNP T17
(16.5)
DNP DNP T12
(12.67)
T9
(22.5)
Rickie Fowler
(101.5 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
T43
(2.33)
DNP DNP T14
(12)
DNP T37
(6.5)
Louis Oosthuizen
(100.83 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
3
(60)
DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T16
(11.33)
T30
(10)
Sean O’Hair
(100.17 pts)
DNP WD
(-7.5)
T63
(0)
T25
(16.67)
T2
(66.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T64
(0)
DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
T12
(12.67)
DNP
Joel Dahmen
(97 pts)
T16
(34)
DNP T16
(34)
T25
(16.67)
T75
(0)
DNP DNP T76
(0)
DNP T13
(12.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Beau Hossler
(92.67 pts)
T32
(18)
T46
(6)
T34
(16)
DNP T51
(0)
T16
(22.67)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP DNP T66
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Andrew Putnam
(90.67 pts)
T42
(8)
DNP T82
(0)
T15
(23.33)
T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP T32
(6)
DNP T5
(23.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Andrew Landry
(81.67 pts)
DNP T67
(0)
WD
(-5)
CUT
(-6.67)
Win
(88)
T42
(5.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Trey Mullinax
(80.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
T31
(12.67)
T2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T22
(9.33)
DNP T8
(16.67)
DNP
J.J. Spaun
(77.67 pts)
T3
(90)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T26
(16)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Satoshi Kodaira
(74.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
T28
(14.67)
DNP T59
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP 54
(0)
Charley Hoffman
(71.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP T31
(12.67)
T64
(0)
T23
(18)
T12
(25.33)
DNP T36
(7)
DNP T14
(12)
CUT
(-3.33)
T20
(15)
Cameron Smith
(70 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T32
(12)
T5
(46.67)
DNP T5
(35)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T46
(1.33)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the Fort Worth Invitational

Player Byron Nelson The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Valero Texas RBC Heritage Masters Houston Open WGC – Dell Match Play Corales Arnold Palmer Valspar WGC Mexico
Smylie Kaufman
(-40 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Ben Martin
(-33.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T45
(3.33)
T55
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T46
(1.33)
DNP
Wesley Bryan
(-29.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T42
(5.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Scott Stallings
(-28.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T55
(0)
DNP T80
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T31
(6.33)
DNP
Robert Streb
(-27 pts)
T53
(0)
CUT
(-15)
T42
(8)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Benjamin Silverman
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP T80
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
Mackenzie Hughes
(-26.67 pts)
DNP T57
(0)
T59
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP
David Lingmerth
(-24.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T51
(0)
T74
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T28
(7.33)
T64
(0)
T64
(0)
DNP
Ryan Armour
(-22.67 pts)
T59
(0)
CUT
(-15)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T55
(0)
DNP T43
(2.33)
DNP DNP 77
(0)
T40
(3.33)
DNP
Sung Kang
(-22.67 pts)
T42
(8)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
36
(9.33)
CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP T58
(0)
73
(0)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

As we have said before Colonial is one of golf’s treasured layouts that can’t keep up with technology.  The course sits next to the Trinty River on the north and houses on the East, South, and West of it, so there is no way to add any yardage.  So the course is at the mercy of mother nature if it gets windy like it did last year the course will play tough, but if not it’s easy.  We go more into detail on this later.

A new star is born?

So it will be interesting to see if Aaron Wise is going to be a star in the future or just an another past NCAA Champion that is good, but just not a superstar.  All of these guys have won the NCAA Individual championship and also won on the PGA Tour: John Mahaffey, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Curtis Strange, Jay Haas, Gary Hallberg, Jay Don Blake, Billy Ray Brown, Scott Verplank, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Tiger Woods, Charles Howell III, Luke Donald, Ryan Moore, Kevin Chappell and Bryson DeChambeau.

Now guys like Crenshaw, Mahaffey, Kite, Strange, Haas, Mickelson, Leonard, Tiger and Luke Donald made great careers and turned into superstars.  As for the others, they had their moment of fame, but on a week to week basis just never have achieved stardom.

So which direction will Wise go?  I don’t think he will be a superstar as Tiger or Mickelson, but I think he’ll win a half a dozen PGA Tour events and could get lucky in a major.  The big thing to watch will be what happens next.  Will Wise start enjoying the fame and financial stability that the victory gives him or will he continue to work harder and try to reach the next level? As we see the struggles that some of our stars like Jordan Spieth is having, this all shows how tough golf is and to maintain that winning edge, week in and week out like Tiger did for a decade.

One thing for sure, Wise has achieved a lot.  We showed you the names of past NCAA champions that became successful and have made a lot of money playing golf for a living.  However, has anyone ever heard of these guys, Warren Schutte, Nick Gilliam, James Lepp and Jonathan Moore?  These are past NCAA champions, but they never made it in golf, again showing how hard this game is.

So it’ll be interesting to follow Wise’s career and see if he can go to another level and do it quickly.

Hard to believe, where has the time gone?

In just 24 days we’ll have the start of the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.  In just 59 days it will be the British Open and gosh just in 80 days from now, we’ll be in St. Louise for the PGA Championship.  After that in 124 days, we will be in Paris for what could be one of the best Ryder Cups of all time.  Boy time flies by fast, doesn’t it?  It seems like only yesterday that the season was beginning in Napa.

Things you need to know about The Fort Worth Invitational and Colonial:

The 70th year of Fort Worth Invitational. Commonly referred to as the Colonial National, it’s not the oldest event on the PGA Tour in longevity records at Augusta National, and the Masters can claim to have been played on the same course longer on the PGA Tour.  The club does have one distinction it’s the only one in America that has hosted the U.S. Open (1941), the Players Championship (1975) and the U.S. Women’s Open (1991).

The tournament got started in 1946 when it was apparent that the USGA wasn’t going to make Colonial an annual stop.  The event was the inspiration of John Marvin Leonard, who operated a store in downtown Fort Worth and wanted to see the best golfers in the world play on his course.  Having Ben Hogan win its first two events, gave the event and the course the recognition that it needed.

Hogan went on to win five times at Colonial, and the course got the name “Hogan’s Alley.”  At one time, Hogan practically held every record of the tournament.  In the 21 times Hogan played at Colonial, his highest finish was a T-56th in his last appearance in 1970 at the age of 58.  Over Hogan’s career, he won 54 tournaments, with the last victory coming in the 1959 Colonial.  One of Hogan’s most enduring records at Colonial was the 65 he shot in the 3rd round in 1948.  It took seven years for someone to tie the record when Chandler Harper did it in 1955, and it took 22 years for someone to beat the record when Dale Douglass did it with his 63 in 1970.  Hogan loved Colonial and became a due paying member of the club.  It only fitted that the greatest of Ben Hogan’s life and golf career is celebrated in the Hogan Room with an audio-visual presentation of his career and some memories of his career including clubs and replicas of all the trophies and medals.

Now the history of Ben Hogan and Colonial didn’t start with his win in 1946.  It was started in the early 1930s when a young Ben Hogan decided to play on the PGA Tour. He received financial backing from Marvin Leonard, the man who built Colonial.  Hogan wasn’t a big success; many times were forced to drop off tour and take a job to earn enough money to rejoin the tour.  However, as soon as Hogan began making money on tour he offered to settle his account with Leonard, who told him to forget about the money.  However, in the 1950s Hogan was able to pay back Leonard in an even bigger way.  After Hogan launched the Ben Hogan golf equipment company, he offered Leonard the opportunity to purchase 50 percent of the company.  Leonard seized the opportunity and along with Hogan made a handsome profit when the company was sold to AMF in 1960.

The Colonial Country Club was the vision of Leonard, a native of Fort Worth.  He was considered a “workaholic” in the 1920s when his doctor told him he needed to slow down his pace.  Leonard turned to golf and joined Glen Garden Golf Club and Rivercrest Country Club, the best courses of the time in Fort Worth. As Leonards interest in golf grew, he became more interested in all aspects of the course, including the types of grass.  In the south, Bent grass was thought to be impossible to grow, so all of the courses in Texas were Bermuda, which tended to be bumpy.  Leonard thought it would be a good idea to have bent grass and in trying to get Rivercrest to change the club president got tired of the requests and told him, Marvin, if you’re so sold on bentgrass, why don’t you go build your own golf course and put it in that course?”  So in 1934, Leonard did just that.

He acquired 157 acres in Southwest Fort Worth and hired golf architect John Bredemus to build him a championship course.  On January 29, 1936, the course was opened, and many thought it could be one of the most magnificent courses in the world. In the late 30s, Leonard also felt that Colonial was the best and lobbied the USGA to hold the Open at Colonial.  Even though the U.S. Open was never played in the South, when Leonard offered $25,000 to hold the event at Colonial it was given the 1941 Open.  To make sure that the course withstood the challenge of the best players in the world in 1940 he called in Perry Maxwell to redo holes 3, 4 & 5.

Even with the rain that hampered the Open it was a big success and plans to start a yearly tournament at Colonial were talked about but plans were put on hold because of World War II.  When the war ended, the club decided to hold the Colonial National Invitational and to add some prestige offered a purse of $15,000, the third largest sum on the PGA Tour.  With the first-place check of $3,000 awaiting the winner, a field of 32 players teed off with Ben Hogan winning.  Since then 68 Colonial’s have been held with the course pretty much the same as it was in 1941, with some minor revisions that were implemented in 1969 when several holes along the Trinity River were damaged by flooding.

Now, this event almost was lost when tournament host Dean & Deluca begged out of their sponsorship a few years early.  Frankly, when I heard that Dean & Deluca was sponsoring a tournament in Texas, it made no sense.  You see Dean & Deluca is a bunch of high-end stores like Whole Foods or Wegmans, but they are mostly in the New York area.  They were planning on putting one in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but when those plans went away, so did Dean & Deluca on the PGA Tour.  As we can see with tournaments like Houston, you could be rolling along in great shape, but then your sponsor decides it’s not worth the $10 million a year investment.  So they leave and finding a new one is tough.  The good news, the Fort Worth Invitational will have a new name next year as Charles Schwab will sponsor it.  The bad news, Houston still hasn’t found not only a sponsor, but they also need to find a new home.  Rumor has it that the deadline for this to happen in June 1st and if they can’t find anyone or come up with some creative way to stay alive, the Houston Open will be gone which would be a real shame.

Course information:

  • Colonial Country Club
  • Fort Worth, Texas
  • 7,204 yards     Par 35-35–70
  • The Colonial has a 75.1 rating and slope rating of 138 from the championship tees. The course is very private. The tees, Fairways and rough are BermudaGrass while the greens are Bent.  The scoring average of the field at Colonial last year was 71.15 (lot’s of wind every day) making it the 7th hardest course on Tour as the course played over a shot a round over par. In 2016 Colonial was the 18th hardest course as it played to a 70.20 average.  In 2015 it was the 21st hardest course on the PGA Tour with a 69.78 scoring average.  In 2014 it was the 19th hardest course on the PGA Tour playing to a 70.273 average which is a quarter stroke over par.  In 2013, Colonial was the 24th hardest course playing to a 69.895 average which is just a little bit under par.
  • It was designed and built by John Bredemus, with Perry Maxwell doing some touch-up work and opened in 1936.  There were some minor revisions in 1969 to some of the holes to prevent flooding from the nearby Trinity River.
  • In 2000, the club completed a two-year course renovation, which started in November of 1998 when they installed a new irrigation system.  The primary work was done in rebuilding all 18 greens with new A-4 bentgrass.  They also redesigned and rebuilt all the 84 bunkers, giving them a new definition so that they will be seen from tees and fairways.
  • All of the green and bunker work were done three weeks after the 1999 tournament ended with the membership not having the full course reopen until April 1st of 2000. Club has also planted close to hundred trees that won’t be in play but in years to come will help define the holes.
  • We usually don’t talk about technology in golf but when we talk about Colonial one of the reasons for it losing its fear factor is technology.  This course for years was feared by all the touring pros; if you look at the winning score pre-1996, you saw years in which the winner was 7, 8, 9 and 10 under.  However, starting in 1997 every year but one (8 under in 1999) saw scores in the double digits for the winners showing how easy the course got.
  • A couple of reasons, first the course has no room to add yardage like other classic courses have done.  Now, most of the holes at Colonial are doglegs so the driver is taken out of the hands of players which means most of the holes you have to lay up meaning more players hit more fairways.  Also, many players are starting to talk about playing Colonial, two past champions Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson have not played in past years because they don’t like the driver taken out of their hands. We have seen bits and pieces of the proud history of this event crumbling,  I expect that Colonial will again get torn to pieces by players unless wind pops up.

Let’s take a look at vital stats that are important for those playing at Colonial

This is based on the most important stats for Colonial, based on data from last years Fort Worth Invitational, and using data from all the players in the field with stats from 2018. What we do is take their rank for each stat and then add up the four categories.
The scoring average of the field at Colonial in 2017 was 71.15 (lot’s of wind every day) making it the 7th hardest course on Tour last year as the course played over a shot a round over par. In 2016 Colonial was 70.20 making it the 18th hardest course on the PGA Tour, a quarter of a shot over par and almost a half a shot harder that the course played in 2015 when it was 69.78 and the 21st hardest course to score on in 2015. So why the difference? Rain and wind, in 2015 they had flooding conditions the week before the tournament and the course was very wet. On top of that winds averaged between 10-15 mph. In 2016 the course didn’t have as much rain and winds blew up to 20 mph the first three days and calmed a bit for the final round. But last year winds blow each day at around 20 mph which made the course play very tough, a matter of fact the hardest it’s played since 2002 when the course played to a 71.21 average and ranked 6th on tour.
Colonial Country Club is a relic to a bygone era in which accuracy off the tee, precision shot-making to the greens is important. On top of that when the course is dry and runs, put in some wind and it can play really tough. But with no wind, wet conditions you will see a lot of birdies and eagles and that’s what has happened over the years. You can’t overpower this course, that’s why you won’t see long ball hitters like Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Bubba Watson, Tony Finau, Gary Woodland, Luke List and J.B. Holmes here.
Every great shotmaker from the last 71 years has won at Colonial including Hogan, Nicklaus, Snead, Boros, Littler, Wadkins, Price, Trevino, Casper, Watson, Scott and Mickelson to name a few. Most important stat to look at is Ball Striking, looking at the list for 2018 the odds are a player in the top-30 of that list
http://www.pgatour.com/stats/stat.158.html
So who will win this week? Tell you this, it will be a guy with a lot of fitness and a sharp iron player. So why is this so important in a time when overpowering courses is the norm? There is no room to add yardage to Colonial. Since the course opened in 1946, only 169 yards have been added. With 12 of the 14 par 4s and 5s being doglegs, players have to throttle back and hit fairway woods and irons to keep it in play, especially when the course is dry with a lot of run. So hitting it long gives you no advantage because length means nothing when you have to lay up, so short drivers will be in the same part of the fairway as long hitters. That is the reason why players like Corey Pavin, Rory Sabbatini, Steve Stricker, David Toms and Zach Johnson have won this event. Look at Steve Stricker for example, he has passed on playing the Senior PGA Championship because he feels he can win at Colonial, that just shows what kind of winners Colonial produces.
In looking at our four categories, Fairway Accuracy is important, last year Colonial was the 9th hardest course to get into the fairway, while last years winner Kevin Kisner was T-1st in fairway hit. Our second stat is greens in regulation, last year Colonial ranked T-10th while Kisner rank 2nd in this stat hitting 53 of 72 greens. Our third stat is Par Breakers, last year Colonial ranked 6th overall why Kisner was T-9th in this stat. Our last stat is Strokes-Gained Putting as Kisner was 3rd in this stat. As for Colonial, they don’t keep track of that stat tournament wise, but I can tell you this, six of the last 16 winners have led in a total number of strokes so putting is very important.
Now another important element for this year is the weather, last year it was very windy, but for this week coming up will see temperatures in the low 90s but each day will have below 10 mph winds, so look for easy conditions and scoring going down.

 *Fairway Accuracy: percentage of times a drive is in the fairway.

*Greens in regulation: Tells us which players hit the most greens during the week

*Par Breakers: The course allows a lot of birdies and eagles to be made, so par breakers are the percent of time scores are under par.

*Strokes Gained-Putting: The number of putts a player takes from a specific distance is measured against a statistical baseline to determine the player’s strokes gained or lost on a hole.

The 110 of the 121 players from this year’s field with stats from 2018:

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

Here is the link to the other 99 starts for 2018

 

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Jordan Spieth – $11,700
  • Jon Rahm – $11,000
  • Justin Rose – $10,600
  • Rickie Fowler – $10,400
  • Webb Simpson – $10,200
  • Aaron Wise – $9,600
  • Jimmy Walker – $9,500
  • Matt Kuchar – $9,300
  • Brooks Koepka – $9,200
  • Adam Scott – $9.100
  • Patrick Cantlay – $9,000

I can say this, many players that are good, but not for this week because most of these players are way overpriced.   First is Jordan Spieth at $11,700 sorry but that is a lot of money and for us to spend that much on a person struggling with the putter is not right, I would take a pass on Spieth.  Jon Rahm at $11,000 is another puzzling pick, yes he won last month in Spain but the field was terrible.  Other than his win at the Career Builder, runner-up at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and 4th at the Masters, it’s been a terrible year for Rahm.  However, is that fair?  Yes, you look at last year Rahm was in contention a lot and only missed two cuts.  This year he has had his share of poor starts, was 63rd at the Players, was terrible at the Match Play finishing T-52nd and he was T-20th at the WGC-Mexico.  The problem, he hasn’t been very consistent this year and probably will not be a winner this week.  I do like Justin Rose at $10,600.  He has some good starts in every key stat and is putting well; I like him a lot this week.  Rickie Fowler at $10,400 is another too high of a price for a player that hasn’t soon us much in 2018.  I would take a pass on him; even his key stats are not very good.  On Webb Simpson at $10,200, I can go in either direction.  One problem, he may have is keeping up the excellent play from the Players.  However, he comes to a course that he has played well and is worth the price.  Aaron Wise at $9,600 is a big pass, sorry he has to come down from winning last week so don’t take him this week.  Jimmy Walker at $9,500 is impressive, he doesn’t show us much with his record at Colonial but is playing great right now, I would take him.  As for Matt Kuchar at $9,300 and Brooks Koepka at $9,200 these two are easy, take a pass on them.  Adam Scott at $9,100 is a buy, I like him because his play of late is good, but also he plays well at Colonial.  Also a significant buy on Patrick Cantlay at $9,000, the course is right for him, and he is playing well.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

I like Steve Stricker at $7,900, and the reason is that no matter that he is in his 50s, he feels that he can win on this course.  He has taken a pass on playing the PGA Seniors because he feels that he can will this week, so he is a top choice.  Also like Bryson DeChambeau at $8,800, has all of the vital stats and playing well.  Also like Jason Dufner at $8,700, the course is right for him.  Also, like Emiliano Grillo at $8,600 and Zach Johnson at $8,500.  Xander Schauffele at $8,200 is good, and his game is improving. Also, an excellent buy is Brian Harman at $7,800.  Another person to look at is Chris Kirk at $7,600, he is a past champ and showing some signs of playing well.  Also, last but not least in this price range, Rory Sabbatini at $7,600 is one that could also be good this week.

Any bargains out there?

Looking for those diamonds in the rough?  Try out Brandt Snedeker at $7,500, Austin Cook at $7,400, Pat Perez at $7,300 and Sam Saunders at $7,100.  Our deep sleeper pick of the week is Brian Stuard at $6,900 based on hitting the ball straight and showing some signs of playing well.

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the Fort Worth Invitational:

Key stat for the winner:

Experience at Colonial seems to be an essential part of winning.  Since 1996, 18 players have won at Colonial and have a total of 213 victories, so that means an average of 11.83 wins for each of the champions.  Last year’s winner Kevin Kisner won for the 2nd time, 2016 champion Jordan Spieth won for the 8th time, in 2015 Chris Kirk won for the 4th time, but in 2014 Adam Scott won for the 11th time.  In 2012 Zach Johnson won for the 8th time in his career as winners range from Tom Watson with 34 wins and Nick Price with 18 to Sergio Garcia who made Colonial his first PGA Tour win in 2001.  The fact is rookies don’t win at Colonial.  Yes, Sergio Garcia got his first PGA Tour win at Colonial but he had won in Europe.  The same with the next first-time winner Ian Baker-Finch in 1989, he had won in Australia.  The same with Boo Weekley in 2013.  In looking at the 69-year history of the Fort Worth Invitational, only eight first winners have done the deed, that tells us to look for an experienced person to win.

Another key:

Look at all of the champions; you will see one thing in common, they are accurate drivers of the ball, which historically has been very important in winning at Colonial.  The bottom line is wild drivers don’t win here.  Now, of course, there is always an exception to the rule, in 2016 Jordan Spieth only hit 38 fairways and ranked T-54th.  The previous year Chris Kirk only hit 28 fairways and ranked T-60th while in 2007 Rory Sabbatini only hit 29 fairways and ranked T60th.   However, last year Kevin Kisner hit 40 fairways and ranked 1st getting us back to the era of between 1998 and 2005 when all the winners didn’t rank higher than 9th in fairway accuracy, with seven of them being in the top-five. Driving accuracy is still critical in winning this event.

An important stat to look at to gauge the champion this week is strokes gained tee-to-green.

Look at this list of players for 2018 in strokes gained tee-to-green, I feel that one of those in the top-50 of this list will probably be the winner this week.  2nd on the list is Jordan Spieth, 6th on the list is Patrick Cantlay, and 8th on the list is Adam Scott, a past champion and someone that many will favor this week.

What makes this course so terrible of a driving course?

  • All of the doglegs, there are 12 of them and the fact that since the course only plays 169 yards longer than it did in 1946, players have to throttle back and hit fairway woods and irons to keep it in play.  One of the reasons that you don’t see players like Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy and J.B. Holmes here is because of that; it takes an individual player to keep it in play.  So in a way strategy plays an integral part in playing Colonial and length on many holes is a disadvantage.
  • Shot-making is almost a lost art, and if you look at all of the champions in this millennium, all of them were great shotmakers.
  •  Hitting greens will be at a premium, just like in a U.S. Open hitting lots of greens goes a long way in this event.  Look for the winner to hit globs of greens this week.  Now there is another way, if you don’t hit greens, that is scrambling.  Last year Jordan Spieth may not have been among the leaders in greens hit, but he led in scrambling. Look at the chart below of the last ten winners, in looking at the two stats hitting greens or scrambling, and you will see a key for winning.

Winner                            Greens hit    Rank    Scrambling    Rank

2017-Kevin Kisner           53 of 72       2nd         15 of 19        2nd

2016-Jordan Spieth          51 of 72    T-17th       18 of 21        1st

2015-Chris Kirk                 46 of 72    T-62nd     17 of 26       39th

2014-Adam Scott              52 of 72      T10th       14 of 20       16th

2013-Boo Weekely            54 of 72        T5th       11 of 18       40th

2012-Zach Johnson           45 of 72       T37th     21 of 27        1st

2011-David Toms               52 of 72         T4th     14 of 20       12th

2010-Zach Johnson           61 of 72           1st       10 of 11          1st

2009-Steve Stricker           56 of 72         T-6th    12 of 16      T14th

2008-Phil Mickelson         52 of 72          T5th     14 of 20     T16th

2007-Rory Sabbatini         48 of 72        T55th     19 of 24       3rd

 

Now I don’t want to jinx the tournament, but weather in Texas can sometimes be iffy in May.  Last week was celebrated in Dallas until Sunday, and after some morning thunderstorms it cleared up so that the event could finish barley. Things will be about the same this week, except there won’t be any rain or thunderstorms.  However, it will be sweltering, humid and with very little wind.  For those that know Colonial well, this means scores will be very, very low this week.

 

 

 

Who to watch for at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational

Best Bets:

Justin Rose

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T71 T34 T45

This is a perfect course for his game, it’s high time he won and it could be this week.

Jon Rahm

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T2

His game has not been as sharp in ’17 as in ’16, still he has won twice and can win again on this course, a course he played great on last week.

Patrick Cantlay

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
WD

Another of those quiet guys that are playing this week with a good reason, because their game is perfect for the course.

Best of the rest:

Brian Harman

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T7 T25 T10 T30 CUT

Is game is perfect for the course, he has driven it well this year, hits lots of greens and putts well. Should win by a mile, right?

Webb Simpson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
5 T3 CUT CUT

Coming to a course he can do well on at the perfect time, He showed a lot with his Players win and I expect him to win again this year, could be this week.

Zach Johnson

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T63 T17 T19 73 3 Win 4 Win T9 T30

Short hitter that has a great advantage on this course. Watch him and back him, he will not let you down.

Steve Stricker

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T7 T47 T27 T38 Win CUT T24

Can’t say enough good things about him. Giving up a spot in a senior major because he feels he can win this week, course has been good to him in past years.

Solid contenders

Adam Scott

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T55 T24 Win T65 T64

Watch him this week, his game seems to have improved each week he plays. Also on a mission, doesn’t want to qualify for the U.S. Open. Oh, do I need to remind you he is a past champion of this event.

Jimmy Walker

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T29 T65 T10 T56

Another player coming from the depths of poor play and doing well in the last couple of weeks.

Jordan Spieth

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T2 Win T2 T14 T7

I know that he is everyone’s big pick, but I worry about his putting.

Rickie Fowler

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T54 T5 T16 T38

Honestly I don’t even think he is worth the 20 words written about him, his game may not be ready for this week.

Jason Dufner

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT T6 T43 2 T46 2 CUT T59 CUT

Have a feeling about him, showed something at the Players and I think that good play can carry over.

Long shots that could come through:

Emiliano Grillo

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T24 T55

This could be his week, very good driver and hits a lot of greens, all that and a solid putter spells a good week for him.

Beau Hossler

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
CUT

May not be the best of drivers, but hits a lot of greens and can putt well.

Chez Reavie

2018 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06
T48 CUT T11 CUT T5 T71 T64

Hits lot’s of fairways, if he can get his putter going could do very well.

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