Humana Challenge preview, picks + predictions, plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #BirdiePlethora

The PGA Tour heads back to the mainland for this week’s Bob Hope Classic…..errrrr, Humana Challenge.  Sorry Bill Clinton, but this tourney will always just be known as “The Hope” to lifetime fans like yours truly. 

The tourney is played on three different courses over a 4 day span (remember it was shortened to a 4 day tourney a couple of years back), including the Palmer Private course at PGA West, which each player making the cut will play twice (once Thurs, Fri, or Sat and again on Sun).  Remember that the cut for this week is after Saturday’s round, not on Friday like most traditional events.

This year’s field includes the likes of Harris English, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradley, Charles Howell III, Gary Woodland, Billy Horschel, Rickie Fowler and others.  This tourney annually yields oodles of birdies- case in point when last year three players completed regulation at a salty good 25-under for the four rounds (Howell, Lingmerth + Gay).

Last week was a mighty solid week in picks (three players in the top 8 and correctly predicted Spieth MC’ing), here’s to keeping it rolling this week:

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: English 4th, Howell t-8th)

Webb Simpson
Webb Simpson
– I predicted before the season started that Webb would have a monster West Coast swing, and he got off to a blazing start with his t-3rd finish at Kapalua.  Webb is a birdie making machine with five straight top 7 finishes on Tour.  An absolute must pick this week.

Jason Kokrak
Jason Kokrak
– Soon to be a household name, Jason has really steadied his game lately finishing t-12th, t-10th and t-20th his last three events.  Hits it extremely long off the tee and has a huge upside to his game being a former Web.com Tour stud.  Finished t-8th here last year, love him to post another top 10 again this year.

SEMI-FLIER (Last Week: Every t-8th)

Brian Stuard
Brian Stuard
– Just heard of this guy for the first time last week?  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  When you realize that he has already logged three top 15s so far this PGA Tour season, including a solo 6th last week, plus the fact that he finished t-10th here last year and he’s a fantastically safe sleeper pick this week with lots of upside.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Spieth MC)

Jhonattan Vegas
Jhonattan Vegas
– The 2011 Humana champ has mightily struggled with his game ever since.  A likable guy, but without question a flash in the pan.  “Familiar surroundings” from his past win doesn’t make him a good sleeper this week.  Another MC coming for the 29-year-old.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Senden t-61st)

Ryan Palmer
Ryan Palmer
– Without question of the streakiest players on Tour, and we’re catching him right in stride following a t-8th finish at the Sony Open last week.  Throw in the fact that he finished solo 4th in ’11 and t-6th here last year and Palmer will guaranteed make some noise on the leaderboard this weekend.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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