2017 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Picks, Including the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

Following Jhonattan Vegas’ title defense last week at the RBC Canadian Open, the PGA Tour treks onward to Akron, Ohio, host city for this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone CC.  Here are some things that dance through my head as we enter into this week:

  • How on Earth is it August already?
  • Is there really only one major left this season?
  • Will I ever stop sweating?
  • Is Renato Paratore a pasta or a golfer in this week’s field?
  • Is Tiger Woods still alive?

Quickly about the course- at 7,400 yards, tree-lined, hills, thick rough and deep bunkers galore, yeah, a driver-pitch-and-putt it most certainly is not.  With today’s technology advances it’s becoming a rare occurrence when the longest of the long hit driver off the tee a double digit number of times in a single round, but such is the case for our own viewing pleasure this week. #bombandgougefest

My picks last week at the RBC Canadian Open were a mixed bag, as I continued my solid run in the Semi-Flier spot nailing Gary Woodland en route to his 4th place finish, but while the others made the cut (Furyk, Hoffmann), they disappointed over the weekend.

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

LOCKZILLA (Last week: Furyk 75th)

Justin Thomas
Justin Thomas
– Lots of big names in the field this week, making it easy to forget about a guy like JT.  He’s missed three straight cuts following his record-setting performance during the third round of the U.S. Open in which he shot 9-under 63.  But, don’t let that fool you as he was in good form two weeks ago at the British Open opening with 67 before imploding on one hole on Friday, derailing his round in the bad weather en route to an 80 and a MC.  Only one appearance here so far in his young career, which was a t-33rd last year, but that’s misleading as he opened up solidly with rounds of 70-69-70, then imploded on Sunday to a 76.  Long story short, he’s got major upside this week and will be overlooked by many.

SEMI-FLIER (Last week: Woodland 4th)

Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed
– Don’t let that MC at the British Open two weeks ago throw you off his scent, as Mr Top 5 has been steadily producing since April, with a whopping EIGHT top 25s in 10 events during that span, including a t-5th at the Travelers Championship the week after the U.S. Open in June.  He also notched a t-19th finish on the Euro circuit last week and has some experience here at Firestone too, finishing t-4th in 2014 and t-15th the following year.  Yep, lovin’ me some PReed this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Hoffman P2)

Alex Noren
Alex Noren
– Picking a BUST in a no cut, 78 player field is somewhat silly, but just make sure to consider it relatively.  Even though I’m high on Noren’s long-term game on the PGA Tour, he has yet to have any success on this side of the pond and on a beastly long golf course like Firestone, it won’t be happening for the Swede this week.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last week: Hoffmann t-67th)

Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood
– The 44-year-old Brit is in the twilight of his top-10s-galore-due-to-fabulous-ball-striking-but-can’t-putt-so-he-never-wins career, but he’s remained as consistent as ever, with seven top 20s this season worldwide, along with a t-27th two weeks ago at the British Open.  He’s no stranger to Firestone, as this is his 14th appearance, in which he’s notched seven top 15s, including a pair of runner-ups in ’08 and ’10.  He won’t win, but I expect him to contend this week.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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