Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Preview, Picks + Predictions Plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week

Just a Gary Woodland-like booming drive away (31 miles) from last week’s HP Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, the PGA Tour heads to the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.  As anyone with a golfing pulse surely knows, Colonial is dubbed as Hogan’s Alley, as Mr Hogan himself was a five-time champion.

Colonial CC just oozes tradition and shot-making, as the par 70 7,200 yard course is demanding tee to green.  Finding fairways and proper placement on the greens is of the utmost importance this week, something which the past five past champions Zach Johnson (twice), David Toms, Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson thrive on.  Throw in notable all-timers like Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw, Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan and yeah, safe to say there’s more than just a couple of lob wedge scoops of history here.

Now, onto some picks:

LOCKZILLAS: (Last week: Day t-27th, Dufner t-33rd)

Kevin Streelman
Kevin Streelman– How do you follow up your first career victory  from just a few weeks ago at the Tampa Bay Championship?  Well, Kevin says by finishing t-3rd, t-6th and t-2nd in his past three events, that’s how.  Streels’ is red hot right now and fits the model of the high quality ball-striking needed to play this course well.  Kevin also finished t-10th here in 2011.  Yep, Streels is a lockzilla pick this week.

Charley Hoffman
Charley Hoffman– Hogan likely would not have been fond of Charley’s long hair, but that just seems like a story waiting to be written when he’s in contention this week.  Charley finished a quiet t-8th last week at the Nelson, which was his third top eight in his past five starts (also t-3rd at Valero Texas Open and t-6th at RBC Heritage).  Charley also finished t-13th here last year.  Put that scraggly long hair on your roster this week.

SEMI-FLIERS: (Last week: Crane t-57th, Palmer t-33rd)

Harris English
Harris English– Harris has three top 10’s this season, finished a t-17th last week at the Byron Nelson and a t-5th here in his debut at Colonial last year.  Love Harris to sneak onto that leaderboard this year.

Martin Laird
Martin Laird– Maaaaawwwwwwtttttin has never shot over par at Colonial.  Ok, he’s only played here two separate times (8 rounds), but has finished in the top 10 in each appearance.  Throw in a t-5th at the PLAYERS Championship plus a win at the Valero Texas Open and I’m liking the Scot’s chances this week.

HOSEL-ROCKETS: (Last week: Oosthuizen WD after 3rd round, Schwartzel 3rd)

Henrik Stenson
Henrik Stenson– I’m a huge Henrik fan, but am cold on his chances this week.  First, he’s flying back from Bulgaria following the Volvo World Match Play Championship.  No one has ever flown back from Bulgaria and played well at Colonial that week…of course no one has likely ever actually flown back from Bulgaria and played at Colonial but I’m willing to take my chances in this stat holding true.  Henrik’s game matches up perfectly for this course, as he’s a stunning first in both driving accuracy and GIR on Tour.  But, tourneys aren’t won on paper, as Henrik would certainly have more than zero wins this year if they were.  Henrik has played here three times in the past, with a t-27th in 2010 his best finish and a MC last year.  Pgatour.com has picked Henrik as their #1 player in their Colonial Power Rankings for this week, I’m going the other way.  Stay away from the mustached Swede this week.

Zach Johnson
Zach Johnson– Yep, I got pretty bold with both Hosel-Rocket picks this week.  Zach won here in both 2010 and 2012, and finished solo 4th in 2011.  So, how do I go against such great momentum at this tournament?  Simple- current form.  Sans a t-19th at the PLAYERS Championship, which was primarily buoyed by an opening round 66 (didn’t crack 70 the rest of the week), Zach’s best finish since January is a t-34th at Bay Hill.  Zach has greatly been struggling with his driving accuracy this season and seems to be struggling throughout the rest of the bag as well.  He’ll make the cut, but don’t expect anything better than a sloppy t-30th-ish finish for the Iowa native this week.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK: (Last week: Driscoll t-33rd)

Brendon de Jonge
Brendon de Jonge– Yep, I’ve been on this guy’s ball-striking train all year.  Brendon simply makes way too  many birdies to not burst through into the winner’s circle eventually (was first on Tour in total birdies last year), and I very well believe that this could finally be his week.  Brendon is 16th in GIR on Tour, has never missed a cut at Colonial in three appearances and has three top 15s in his past six events, the most recent being a t-15th at the PLAYERS Championship.  Finally, it’s time for Brendon to break through, he is my BOLD play of the week.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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