As Columbus boys, this week we are getting more jacked up about the Memorial Tournament next weekend than this high-class Kroger invitational. However, playing host to the formal Crowne Plaza Invitational, Colonial CC is in its eighth decade of hosting a PGA event so there is a rich tradition with this tournament, even if the name has changed. Accuracy is the name of the game, as we’re looking at driving accuracy, and proximity to the hole, rather than who can freak-bomb it off the tee. And what would a golf course be without a snazzy nickname for a 3-hole stretch of disaster. Augusta has Amen Corner, Quail Hollow has The Green Mile, and Colonial CC has The Horrible Horseshoe ending with hole-5 along the Trinity River. Without further ado let’s get to it.
Jon: My pick of the week is going “The Baas,” Charl Schwartzel. CS has played 9 events missing the cut once, and notching 5 top-25’s, including a win. I love this play for a few reasons: The rust should be gone as last week he played his first tournament since The Masters. He is top-50 in our key stats, including 9 in strokes gained tee-to-green, and a nice 12 ranking in par-4 scoring average. He’s a birdie buster, who can get it done. The only thing that doesn’t bode well for Charl is his course history, which is not exactly stellar. At $9,000 though, you can fit Charl into just about any lineup.
The Fade Train
Jon: Kevin Chappell is my fade of the week. All I’ve been hearing is how this is Chappell’s tournament to win, and how everyone is all aboard the Chappell hype train. I get it, he’s a great player, and has been playing the best golf of his career. However, the $9,600 price tag and “Kevin Chappell” just don’t add up. His average price throughout the year is $7,800 and people are all aboard paying up for him. I just don’t see it. By all means, he could come out and win, but more likely I’m thinking high price for and a high ownership percentage for an average finish.
Top End Plays
Adam Scott – Course history and pretty much tops in every statistical category you could want, save for driving accuracy, but you know what? It doesn’t matter much because he is pretty dang good making GIR’s from the rough as well. A winner at this event also suggests he knows what he’s doing.
Matt Kuchar – Okay, so the disappointment continues with Kuuuuuch, a crowd favorite who you really count on to win at least once every season. But the results are coming back for Kuchar. He is getting back in contention, with the obvious highlight of back to back T3 finishes started at the Players. With Kuchar in form, there is no reason to fade a guy who can be as consistent as the best.
Zach Johnson – Your course-horse ladies and gentlemen. ZJ knows this course real well. He’s a multiple winner with multiple top 10’s and has never been cut here. If you want your cash game play, well you’re looking at him.
Kevin Na – Course history is there, and statistically he should be highly favored. He’s got a nice par-4 scoring average. As long as he doesn’t get in his own head Na should be a safe play to contend. If he starts making mistakes though, then lookout.
Colt Knost – Knoooost! Colt has been making cut after cut after cut. He currently ranks 9th in our model, and would look to be a nice cash game play. I like the T3 at The Players — another course that demands management — and it looks like that got his confidence going. Couple that with a top-10 finish at Colonial CC in 2015 and I would say Knost is trending in the right direction.
Ryan Palmer – Another guy with multiple top-10’s at a course where history matters. He’s quietly had himself a decent season, and putting him back in his home-state of Texas can only mean good things for the Aggie.
Jimmy Walker – A mild contrarian play. Jimmy hasn’t been playing well as of late. But to drop him down to $8,500 is a real discount. This is a guy who was ranked in the top-10 of the World Golf Rankings in February. He has a recent top-10 at Colonial in 2014, and his stats are there. If he uses last week as a bounce back, I think Jimmy can contend here.
Smylie Kaufman – The rook! Smylie should in theory be another nice contrarian play. The worry here is his accuracy off the tee. If he can control his driver, then you can just let the Draft Kings scorer do his thing, as he has admitted that his putter is one of the strongest parts of his game. I like Kaufman to be a sneaky GPP play.
@SmylieKaufman10 What do you feel the strongest part of your game is?
— FantasyGolfMetrics (@FGMetrics) May 23, 2016
@FGMetrics typically driving distance and putting
— Smylie Kaufman (@SmylieKaufman10) May 23, 2016
Daniel Summerhays – Though not a household name, DFG players and PGA Tour followers have come to know Summerhays as a guy who consistently appears on leaderboards. He has never won on tour and never broken through into consistent major and FedEx Cup event invitations, but when he gets on a streak he can be as consistent as anyone to make a cut. I see Summerhays as the “poor mans Colt Knost” this week. Not only is he much cheaper, I think he will be lesser owned than some other guys at the 7k price, such as William McGirt and Cameron Tringale.
Sean O’Hair – O’Hair is like that friend you have who is typically really funny, but every once in awhile, they try too hard and you have to apologize for them. When O’Hair is on, he’s just on, and when he’s off, you can pretty much forget about him. I like him to have a good week, as he’s got a high par-4 scoring average, and can scramble to make his pars. Bogey avoidance should be the name of his game, and I think it works out this week.
Adam Hadwin – My not-so-sneaky play of the week. I’ve had Hadwin in my lineups since the RBC, and maybe it’s because I haven’t felt him burn me with a cut, but I freaking love this Canadian. His ability to go low is what keeps him in my lineups; when his putter gets hot — and it will get hot — he starts raking in points. His stats don’t make your eyes light up, but the dude also has a nice top-5 finish here last year following 4 consecutive missed cuts. I’ll take him this year, where he is routinely shooting in the 60’s.
David Hearn – FeelTheHearn! As stated above, accuracy is the name of the game, and Hearn is ranked deceptively high coming in ranked 26 in driving accuracy, and 29th in our total proximity model. It helps that he’s not to shabby in the strokes-gained categories either. I like Hearn as a nice GPP play.