Dean and Deluca Invitational 2017 Preview

Wells Fargo Championship 2017 Preview

Our golf scribe previews this week's PGA Tour event, the Dean and Deluca.

Billy Horschel’s emotional victory at the Byron Nelson exemplified the level of dedication and sacrifice that these players put in, showing that these millionaire sharpshooters are just as vulnerable to the vagaries of life as anyone. The players head to Colonial this week for the Dean and Deluca Invitational. The Colonial has played host to the event in its different guises since 1946, making it the second longest running event played on a single course (after the Masters) on the PGA Tour. So it’s fair to say that this is a tournament rich with history. Ben Hogan actually won the first two renewals, before going on to win a further three times in the 50’s - explaining why Colonial is often affectionately referred to as ‘Hogan’s Alley’.

The two players leading the markets this week will both have plenty to prove. Jordan Spieth has missed two consecutive cuts for only the second time in his career. The defending champion here has already won this season, but seems to be struggling with his new putter of late. Jon Rahm had the old (MDF) on his card last time out, meaning that he made the cut but failed to finish the tournament. The hugely talented Spaniard, once beloved by punters when he existed on the periphery, has now tasted too much success and is going to be hard to fancy unless the context is just right.
Colonial is a tight, tree-lined course designed by John Bredemus in 1936. It has 12 dog-legged holes and water is in play on six of them. This is by no means a course for bombers as players often favour irons from the tee-box in search of position. Ten of the last eleven champions have finished inside the top six for Putting Average, whilst scrambling stats also seem vital. So it’s going to take someone reasonably straight from the tee with the ability to hustle around greens that are uncharacteristically tight.

Dean and Deluca Invitational |  Thursday 25 May - Sunday 28 May | Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas

Past Winners
2016: Jordan Spieth (-17) | 2015: Chris Kirk (-12) | 2014: Adam Scott (-9)*playoff | 2013: Boo Weekley (-14) | 2012: Zach Johnson (-12) 

To Win Outright
Jordan Spieth 10/1 | Jon Rahm 12/1 | Sergio Garcia 12/1 | Paul Casey 25/1 | Matt Kuchar 25/1

Value Bets
Kevin Kisner - To Win 28/1 & To Place 6/1
Kisner has been the standard bearer of consistency this season. He has long been considered one of the best wedge players on tour, an attribute that will certainly help on these relatively small bentgrass greens. He already has two top 10 finishes at Colonial in his three starts. It’s a course that suits his game: he is straight off the tee and has deft touch around the green. He has already been second in both the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, and I expect him to go close here. Wind should be no problem for a player who seems to lift his game in obdurate conditions.

Adam Hadwin - To Win 33/1 & To Place 7/1

Canadian Hadwin has gone a little quiet after a blistering start of the season that saw records tumble. He shot that outrageous 59 at the CareerBuilder Challenge en route to a runner-up finish, six starts before he captured the Valspar. So it makes sense that after six-run of the mill outings that he should contend again. He has finished fifth and 22nd in his only two outings here before, indicating that he has what it takes to be competitive on this tight, tree-lined course. He has also finished 18th and eighth in his only two appearances at the John Deere Classic, at a course which defiantly shares some similarities with Colonial.
Nick Taylor - To Win 80/1 & To Place 17/1
This is most assuredly one for the speculative category, but then again stranger things have happened in the wonderful world of golf (see Si Woo Kim at Sawgrass). As if picking one Canadian isn’t enough, I feel that Taylor is building up nicely for a shout in the place markets. He isn’t an exceptionally long hitter, though that stat is less meaningful at Colonial than pretty much any other course, with irons regularly used from the tee. He has four straight top 25 finishes, including back to back top 10’s. His excellent scoring on par 4’s will stand him in good stead on a course with punitive par 4’s.

The Man to Beat
Ryan Palmer - To Win 35/1 & To Place 15/2
Good old homespun knowledge is always one of the more deceptive indicators of potential performance in these tournaments. However, Colonial Country Club member Ryan Palmer looks a good bet to actually deliver on that much-vaunted home knowledge. This is his favourite course and he possesses four top 15 finishes at Colonial. In that run, he boasts three top five’s, including his tie for third at last season’s Dean&Deluca Invitational. This historical data is also complimented by recent form, with the big-hitting Texan picking up three top 11 finishes in his last five outings, including a T6 at San Antonio and a solo forrth at Avondale.

Written by Damien Kayat for @Hollywoodbets

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