2014 Zurich Classic preview, picks + predictions, plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #DownInTheBayou

After the craziness that was last week’s finish at Harbour Town with Matt Kuchar finally clawing his way back into the winner’s circle, the PGA Tour heads to the bayou for the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana.  The track measures a stout 7,425 yards, but last year averaged an all-time low scoring average of 70.75, making it the 7th easiest par 72 on Tour.  Bombers and bashers rejoice!

Last year, Billy Horschel exploded into the winner’s circle for his first ever PGA Tour victory, which followed Jason Dufner’s breakthrough victory from the prior season.  Something tells me we may be in store for another first-time winner this week.

This year’s field is a bit light in terms of star-studded power, but does boast Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Keegan Bradley, Patrick Reed, the aforementioned defending champ Horschel and a host of others.

Now, let’s hop into some picks:

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: Stroud t-48th, Stadler t-38th)

Graham DeLaet
Graham DeLaet
– Graham would seems to fit into that previously mentioned first-time winner pack from the past two years here quite nicely, eh?  No doubt, I can already see Dufner, Horschel and DeLaet listed as three-in-a-row first-time winners at this event once this weekend is in the books.  DeLaet simply has WAY too much talent to not break through at some point and has past success here (t-4th in ’12).  So, I’m downright predicting it’ll be this week for the grizzly Canadian, eh? (just like I correctly predicted Dufner’s victory here in ’12).

George McNeil
George McNeil
– George might be the best golfer that somehow even avid golf fans have either never heard of or know very little about.  Well, let me tell you that you’ll soon know more about him, as finishing t-6th at Riviera, t-12th at Honda, t-19th at Puerto Rico, solo 7th at the Valspar and t-14th at Bay Hill in his past five starts is hard to ignore.  Throw in his t-24th in ’12 and t-6th in ’11 here at TPC Lousiana and he’s the most solid sleeper on the board this week.

SEMI-FLIER (Last Week: Haas WD)

John Senden
John Senden
– Senden may have posted the quietest t-8th in Masters history just two weeks ago, which was just a couple tourneys removed from his victory at the Valspar Championship.  The Aussie is hands down one the best ball strikers on Tour, and is well-rested heading into this week.  I could easily see another snoozy top 10 by him this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last Week: Spieth t-12th)

Billy Horschel
Billy Horschel
– You might think that Billy would find comfort in returning to the site of his first ever PGA Tour victory, but first he should work on finding a putting stroke first, as he ranks a dismal 110th on Tour in Strokes Gained-Putting.  His best stroke play finish since January is a t-37th at the Masters, with a couple of missed cuts and a plethora weak barely-made-the-cut finishes in there as well.  Last year coming into this event, Billy was red hot and finally broke through.  This year, he-of-the-octopus-pants is ice cold and will struggle just to play the weekend.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last Week: Kelly t-31st)

John Peterson
John Peterson
– With only five cuts made in 14 attempts, JP is not having the rookie season that I, nor others thought that he would have thus far.  Nevertheless, this kid is an electric young talent who will inevitably find his groove on the big stage sooner than later.  Last year he finished t-8th here nearly out of the blue, which sparked some big things in his Web.com summer tourneys.  This year, the local LSU grad who loves this track will use this as motivation to play hard this week to work towards keeping his card for next year.  Roll the dice on John this week, and thank me later.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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