Off to New Orleans and plenty of vox pops about the music and food (they might not mention the floods). The event has pedigree to going back to pre WW2. Some serious legends have won this. The modern incarnation fails to attract the top players like it did but this is more to do with the expanded schedule – there are simply many more opportunities to peak and the top guys can’t turn up every week. At least this week we have the worlds’ number one Jason Day. I suspect Jordan is still licking his wounds though he was probably scheduled to play in the Players next anyway.
The course at a stupidly long 7,400+ looks on paper a bombers paradise and while Bubba won in 2011 the typical winner is a more accurate player.
Perhaps of more historical interest are some of the notably tidy winners: Chip Beck, Brad Faxon, David Toms and Jerry Kelly amongst them and while Kelly aside their wins preceded the current course the suggestion is that accuracy works at this event. Jason Bohn and Rose spring to mind as recent winners at this venue and the places are littered with similar type players.
Last year this layout ranked easiest amongst the Pa2 72’s with a sub 70 field scoring average. The suggestion is you need to be able to putt
Day and Fowler head the market and as usual you might not want to lay them at the prices but backing them doesn’t appeal either. Day looked spent at the Heritage and while he came 4th last year this event looks like a stepping-stone to honing his game for bigger things. Fowler has a top 10 here 4 years ago but missing the cut at Augusta with an 80 was perhaps a surprise and you’d want to see some form before weighing in at the price.
Where to then?
Badds. We are going to give the man with too many a’s another chance. He started slowly last week and got to within 4 of the lead with progressive scoring including a 66 on Saturday before fading on Sunday when out of contention. The point is that while 29th hardly looks impressive he is heading very much in the right direction. In a tough event Badds hit 5 out of 8 greens on average. We are banking on his short game no doubt and his strokes gained putting continues to impress with .891, 1.863 and .903 his last 3 numbers. He’s played sporadically in this event with his last 2 attempts spread over 3 years producing 2 missed cuts but he was in the doldrums so we’ll forgive him that. As mentioned he does know how to win and is a freak putter and we know the guy who wins always putts. Four top 10’s from 14 starts attest to his comeback.
Patton Kizzire: In just his second full year on Tour Kizzire has already settled in. A 2nd and 4 top tens from 12 starts, over a million in prize-money, 42nd in the Fed Ex and ranked 58th in the world Kizzire has progressed well from the Web.com Tour. He headed that Tour last year with 2 wins so winning is not alien.
I like his 70.212 scoring average and while he’s not long he’s long enough (289.1) and hits enough fairways (64.86%) gaining .335 strokes on the field tee to green.
The big bonus is he can putt. Ranked 8th in this category with .745. Coming off a 14th at the Heriatige, Kizzire has all the credentials to progress to the winner’s enclosure.