The Dean and Deluca Invitational preview with Skeeter McGillicuddy
THE NIGHT IS YOUNG, THE SKIES ARE CLEAR, AND IF YOU WANT TO GO WALKIN’ DEAR – IT’S DELIGHTFUL, IT’S DELEAN AND DELUCA…SO THE COLE PORTER SONG GOES…BELIEVE IT BRO..
Otherwise known as the Colonial, The Dean and Deluca takes place at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
The PGA Tour reeks of history and this is the smelliest of the lot. This is Hogan’s Alley people and a serious testament to the mans game. You can make it here without needing to mash it but you better strike it nice and have your short game on song.
Look at the list of past winners: Zack Johnson (twice) Chris Kirk, Boo, Stricker, David Toms…the only recent outlier in last ten runnings is Adam Scott. Did I mention Steve Flesch and Tim Herron?
Chris Kirk of the slow straight-arm action prevailed here last year with four sub 70 rounds to finish on 12 under. Jordan effectively lost the tournament with a second round 73.
An examination of the 2015 top five tells it all. Kirk, Jason Bohn, Speith, Sneds and Pat Perez. None of them long.
The course is legendary and defies the test of time and relentless technological advance. The 7,200+ Par 70 has always been promoted as a ball striking course because of the type of winner it produces and of course the association with Hogan. Surprise then that Kirk won last year and was neither long, nor straight nor accurate tee to green. He was however awesome around the greens and on them.
What then of this week’s field?
Speith is the star here in the absence of Rory, Jason and Rickie, and is quite simply a chance by dint of turning up. He was in contention last week by virtue of his putting and when that left him for the weekend on Sunday it was a minor disintegration…and yet…and yet. The fact is Speith was starting to look more comfortable over the ball and he can contend when nowhere near his best. The field is not the strongest this week and he hardly hates it around her with a 2nd,a 7th and a 14th from three starts. Expect him to go very close.
Scott leads the tour in strokes gained tee to green and has won twice this year and naturally gone slightly off the boil since. His win aside the rest of his form around here looks distinctly ordinary.
Kuchar is a top ten machine but rarely wins. That being said consecutive 3rd places allied to a 2nd and a 9th in eight appearances here shouldn’t put anyone off – but at the price 12/1?
Kirk comes here off a WD, which was preceded by a 5th, and when viewed in the context of his win last year bode well. The WD is of course a worry.
Others with claims include Palmer (Ryan not Arnie) Chappell, Reed, Johnson, Hoffman, and Dufner. While we have sided with Patrick and missed him recently we will leave him and the gang alone for wagering purposes.
Having dismissed the chances of the main contenders (betting percentage wise) where to then for a winner?
Continuing with the stable approach we will once again take Colt out for a run. Third at the Players and fourth last week at the Byron Nelson with a closing 65 the lightly gaited silent K man is flying. Twenty-three under for his last 8 rounds his 63 in the second round at the players ignited something and it’s stuck with him for seven competitive rounds. Straight (73.46%) and accurate (66.67%) and with great strokes gained putting stats (0.534) the bare facts of his last two starts are underpinned with these impressive numbers. Throw in a 10th place here last year and the stars seem aligned for a strong showing.
Colt is flying and confidence is so much of the ancient game that he has to carry ours again.
1pt e/w at $41 with
No this isn’t last week’s column – we are still keen. And why? For the very same reasons as last week. Yes he’s missed three straight cuts and he’s new here. Last weeks missed cut though was by one shot and he did open with a 66 so his form is hardly in the can. Remember the stellar amateur career? The 21st in the Masters? The 4th at the Heritage on debut? Nearly winning the Australian Masters as an amateur? Wake up a smell the Chambeau people!
To make a case for DeChambeau on recent form is difficult but not impossible. To make a case based on potential is easy.
1pt e/w at $67 with