2015 Zurich Classic picks + predictions, plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Following a scintillating, albeit tape-delayed finish to last week’s RBC Heritage that saw Jim Furyk capture his first victory in half a decade, the PGA Tour makes its annual trek to the bayou for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.  The TPC of Louisiana is the host track this week, and at 7,425 yards with its highly undulating and sectioned greens it places an added emphasis on precision with the approach shot.  The tourney has been host to first-time winners galore of late: Jason Dufner, Billy Horschel, Seung-Yul Noh.  Something tells me we may be in for a perfect connect 4 of first-timers following this week.

Last week at the RBC Heritage all of my picks again made the cut, but were relative disappointments in that only one of them (Brendon de Jonge t-18th) cracked the top 25.  It was good to see my Lockzilla Brandt Snedeker rally back from a horrendous opening round 77 to finish t-26th after closing 64, 67, 69.  But again, overall not a standout week by any means.

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: Webb t-51st, Snedeker t-26th)

Jason Day
Jason Day
– Unquestionably disappointed with his t-28th at the Masters in which his flatstick majorly let him down, I expect “Jase” to come roaring back with a contention and possible victory this week.  As if he needed any further motivation, all this talk of Rory + Spieth has lit a fire under his Aussie belly.  It’s time to get some, JD.

Morgan Hoffmann
Morgan Hoffmann
– “The other Hoffman” (except that he has two of the letter “n” in his name) won’t be the other Hoffman for long, as Morgan and his Okie St talent are really starting to shine through of late.  First, there was the solo 4th at Bay Hill where he was the 36 hole leader who was eating buffalo meat and raw veggies barehanded while walking down the fairway (true story- he loves to cook his own meals and eat them on the course), then there was the t-28th at the Masters, a respectable finish in his Augusta debut.  Then, last week at the RBC Heritage he peppered the course with consistency, going 68-68-69-68 for a solid t-9th finish.  Morgan is 2/2 at the Zurich, and will be 3/3 as he continues to ride the hot momentum this week.  Did mention that this tournament has a history of first-time winners?

SEMI-FLIER (Last Week: de Jonge t-18th)

Steve Stricker
Steve Stricker
– The Masters required a wait-and-see approach for “Stricks’” first start of the year, but with a t-28th finish in his first action since December, it’s safe to call it more than just a minor success.  Despite being just a short par 4 away from the Champions Tour, there’s still a plethora of birdies left in the 48-year-old’s tank, particularly at a venue where sans a MC in ’08 he hasn’t missed finishing outside the top 25 in his seven starts since ’05, including a solo 6th place finish in his most recent effort in ’12.  Load up on some Stricks this week while others make the mistake of one more wait-and-see.

**Also keep an eye on Bo Van Pelt this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Spieth t-11th)

Seung-Yul Noh
Seung-Yul Noh– Noh question about it, it’s been a battle this season for defending champ SYN (see what I did there).  His best full field finish all season has been a t-22nd at the Northern Trust Open way back in February, which highly clashes with his form entering the Zurich last year, in which he came in on the heels of 11 out of 12 made cuts before notching his first career PGA Tour victory.  I spot on nailed Billy Horschel as a BUST missing the cut here in his title defense last year and I fully expect Noh to also play his way into a weekend off.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last Week: Streelman t-55th)

John Peterson
John Peterson
– I’ve been mighty high on Peterson’s talents ever since he was an LSUer putting with his putter headcover tucked into the back pocket of his trousers.  His rookie year on Tour was a season full of acclimation and close calls on missed cuts, whereas this year raw talent has busted through and is grabbing his sophomore year right by the throat.  How’s 13 out of 14 cuts made, including 5 top 25s sound?  Most recently, Peterson finished t-11th at the Valero and t-18th at RBC Heritage in his past two starts.  Oh yeah, and did I mention that the Zurich Classic is a home game?  Disregard that MC here last year when he was still getting acclimated on Tour and go back to that t-8th here in ’13 and yeah, more of that to come baby.  Absolutely love me some Peterson this week.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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