Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Preview
Pick to Win:
Jordan Spieth (5/1): Spieth has been playing really well this season, but comes into this tournament on a little bit of a slump: A first round exit in the WGC Cadillac Match Play, and a missed cut at THE PLAYERS. In his career, Spieth has missed 12 cuts (not including last week’s. He is 12/12 making the cut succeeding, with nine top-25s (since 2012, worst has been a T-32nd in nine tries). Spieth gets really mad after he misses the cut, so it is not surprising that he performs so well the tournament after one. He also has finished 14th and seventh at this tournament in the last two years.
Keep your eyes on:
Ryan Palmer (20/1): Palmer is a member at Colonial, and during the off-season plays 2-3 times a week. He also plays 1-2 times a week during the season when he isn’t scheduled for a tournament. This week, course history (and knowledge) is very important, and nobody knows this course better than Palmer.
Shawn Stefani (66/1): In his last six starts, Stefani has one missed cut, with the rest being T-26th or better. This week, being able to pick your spots is crucial, and Stefani is one of the more accurate players on tour, ranking 18th in Ball Striking. I’ve gotten a little tired of Strokes Gained: Putting, as I personally don’t think it’s a great measure of how good a putter a player is. Stefani is ranked 26th in 3-putt avoidance, and 12th in putting from inside 10ft (11th in putting from 4-8ft.). To me, that should make him much higher than his 52nd ranked spot. For comparison, Carlos Ortiz is ranked 90th in 3-putt avoidance, 127th in putts from within 10ft, and 112th in putts from 4-8ft… yet is ranked 45th in Strokes Gained: Putting. Carlos Ortiz is a much better putter from outside of 20ft, which seems to have a large impact in being positive in strokes gained putting (more so than a 3-putt, or a short miss has negative impact).
Hunter Mahan (50/1): Mahan is a really solid player. He’s going to hit the green a lot of times, and most of the time two putt for par, with some birdies every now and then. Mahan is a good putter from short range, and his driving is elite (58th in driving distance and 75th in driving accuracy). He has made the cut here the last four years, and is 12/13 making the cut this year. He should be around for the weekend.
John Peterson (66/1): Peterson has the highest percentage of made cuts on the PGA Tour this year (15/16). He hits the green at a high percentage, is good at driving accuracy, and therefore is good at Ball Striking as well. Should be another payday for Peterson.
Hudson Swafford (100/1): If you are looking for someone with bad odds to make the cut, I’d suggest going with Martin Laird (100/1) or Fredrik Jacobson (125/1). Swafford is a risky pick, but his upside is tremendous. He has dominanted at hitting his spots, ranking 10th in ball striking. He is an outstanding driver as well, ranking 28th in driving distance and 53rd in driving accuracy. He is also 32nd in GIR%. The main concern for him is the low percentage of one putts, but at this tournament, a winning score doesn’t require an excessive number of birdies.
Edited by Emily Berman.
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