The tour stays in Texas for one more week and heads down to Ft. Worth for one of the oldest events on tour. The Dean and Deluca (Colonial) is an invitational event which means the field is set at around 120 players this week and will include a few “surprise names” like Tom Purtzer and Long Drive Specialist Jamie Sadlowski (don’t play either). For DFS purposes this means that getting 6/6 players through the cut will be at least statistically easier and probably more vital than it was last week for your cash game lineups. One big note this week is that high winds are expected, especially for the first two days, so looking at tee times later in the week may be crucial.
Course History: Colonial is one of those places where players genuinely seem to do better after they have played here a couple of times. While course history should never be your sole area of research it is something I would emphasize more this week, especially when looking down at the value plays under 7k. Power is definitely something that gets deemphasized on this course and taking note of who and which players have come to grips with the style of play here is worth noting.
Wind Factor: The wind forecasted for the first two days is supposed to reach gusts of nearly 30 mph which should make scoring worse than normal for the tournament as a whole this year. Of note is the fact that Thursday morning players may see the calmest conditions of them all as they are slated to start in winds of only 10 mph (as of writing… remember this can change fast). Using Thursday AM stacks in large gpps may be an option and also targeting strong wind players or players with good records in Texas is a decent idea too. Either way make sure to check the forecast Wednesday night as stacking one wave over the other may be a very necessary strategy this week.
Sergio Garcia ($10,800): This was a tournament Sergio sometimes struggled with when he was younger (although he did win here in 2001) but his newfound confidence after winning at Augusta has me thinking he might be ready to nab his second win in Texas in two years. Garcia hasn’t been at the absolute top of his game since Augusta, but he hasn’t exactly struggled either, as he put in back to back rounds of 64 and 65 last week to get himself into contention for Sunday. The fact he didn’t come through isn’t concerning considering we know he can close and it should help motivate him for this week. He’s clearly the best value amoung the top three players on DK and the stud worth owning to me.
Paul Casey ($10,200): I feel like I am beating the drum week after week here with Casey but he really has been excellent over his past few starts. Casey hasn’t missed a cut in nine starts overall, and while the lack of high finishes remains concerning his high ranking in par 4 scoring, scrambling and approaches make him an excellent target for this week’s slate on DraftKings. Given the potentially high winds I do think this is a field in which you can potentially fade the top three options and still field a winning gpp roster and Casey might be the man to target if you are going after that strategy.
Marc Leishman ($9,300): After a brief hiatus after the Masters to rest a sore back, Leishman looked on point last week at the Byron Nelson with a strong T13 finish, where he ranked second in the field in SG: Tee to Green and third in approaches. Leishman’s putter has cooled off but seeing his long game in good form is a great sign ahead of this week for an event where he’s never missed a cut in six tries. He’ll have every chance to pick up his second win of the season this week in a thin field and makes for a great DFS pick given his consistent number of top twenty finishes.
Others: Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner
Pat Perez ($7,600): I won’t spend a lot of time on Perez this week. He’s a clear mis-price, plain and simple, as his actual odds of winning don’t reflect his DraftKings salary. Perez has seen a resurgence ever since the end of 2016 when he won the OHL Classic and hasn’t missed a cut in eight straight starts now. The 41-year old has never won at Colonial but he’s been close with four top finishes at this venue over his last eight starts. His improved putting and short-game could easily lead to his second title of the season here.
Sean O’Hair ($7,500): O’Hair showed up last week with a T5, and while that was largely a result born out of a hot putter (5th in SG putting last week) there’s reason to believe another big week is coming. O’Hair has generally been a strong par 4 scorer and sand player for his career (was first in 2016 in Sand Save %), both attributes which are important at Colonial. While O’Hair has never really been in contention for the win at this event, the high winds forecasted for this week should also play in his favour as he’s often come through with his best results in tough conditions. Putting on similar-styled bentgrass greens again at Colonial, O’Hair could follow up on his big week with “another one” here.
Nick Taylor ($7,400): I buy whatever Nick Taylor is selling these days. The Canadian has now played extremely solid golf over his past four starts and rode a hot putter in the final round at the Byron Nelson last week which led to his second straight top ten finish. He’s also made the cut in each of his first two starts at the Colonial and the fact he ranks much higher in around the green stats and putting than similar priced Kyle Stanley allowed me to give Taylor the nod over him.
Ben Martin ($7,200): Martin’s been coming around of late with a T18 and a T30 in his last two starts. This has been a great venue for Martin over his career thus far and definitely the sort of “less than driver off the tee” course that should suit his skill-set. Martin has finished no worse than 29th at Colonial in three appearances and has been 19th and 10th in SG: Tee to Green over his last two starts. He’s a definite target for me this week.
Others: Sung Kang, Zac Blair
High-upside GPP Picks
Zach Johnson ($9,800): Simply put, I don’t think anyone is going to want to pay up to $9,800 to play Zach Johnson this week, despite his great record at this event. Johnson has endured a tough start to 2017 but his form over his last two starts has been much improved. Of note is the fact that even though he hasn’t hit it great in 2017, Johnson’s around the green and putting stats are both still inside the top 50 for the year, two factors which often pay huge dividends around Colonial. We’re not exactly buying low here but we are buying for lower ownership which I think makes sense given Johnson’s history at this event. He’s a great gpp pick in my eyes this week.
Chris Stroud ($6,900): Let’s get bold this week. Yes Stroud has missed four out of his last five cuts, but the misses have almost been entirely due to a wonky putter. If you watched Billy Horschel last week you know how fast that can change. Stroud still ranks top 50 in SG: Tee to Green and on Approaches and is even 19th in GIR. What we should really like about him this week though is his course history as Stroud has finished 14th or better in four of his last five trips to Colonial. He’s a great gpp pick this week.
Brian Gay ($6,500): Gay has had an interesting 2017 as he’s secured his own playing status off a medical exemption and even helped another tour pro secure his (see Ian Poulter). The 45-year old is a Fort Worth native who has a strong history at this event, which includes a playoff loss to Sergio Garcia in 2001. His comeback this year has been littered strong results already and while he sometimes lives and dies by his putter, this venue has proven to be very accommodating to players who don’t hit it far but have the knack for sinking timely putts. At $6,500 he’s a perfect gpp target for stars and scrubs lineups this week.
Other: Chris Kirk, Boo Weekley
Players to Consider (in no order)
– Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey, Marc Leishman, Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner, Pat Perez, Nick Taylor, Sean O’Hair, Zac Blair
– Sung Kang, Ben Martin, Brian Gay, Chris Stroud, Zach Johnson, Chris Kirk, Boo Weekley
Ben Martin 110-1
Sean O’Hair 125-1
Chris Stroud 250-1
(may add more Tuesday after tee times)