DEAN & DELUCA Invitational
Defending Champ: Chris Kirk
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DEAN & DELUCA Invitational Field
122 Players | Top 70 & Ties Make the Cut | First Tee Time 8:00am EST
Much like last week’s Dallas-area sister event, the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, or The Colonial, for our purposes, is a victim of the weird 2016 scheduling. With the addition of golf in the Olympics, there are three Majors approaching more rapidly than Winter. Fuse that with the Euro flagship BMW PGA Championship happening overseas this week at Wentworth, and the strength of the 10th oldest PGA TOUR event has been quite diminished. It’s not to say the Colonial is devoid of talent, it’s not. However, the depth of this field, it’s thinner than Jordan Spieth’s hairline.
Thankfully, Colonial is an invitational event, which shrinks the field to 122 players from the 156 entrants we had last week, keeping out a lot of the bottom end riffraff, but there’s still a dearth of overall talent. Eleven of the world’s Top 30 players will be in action: Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Louis Oosthuizen, Brandt Snedeker, Zach Johnson, Charl Schwartzel, Matt Kuchar, Kevin Kisner, Jim Furyk, and Kevin Na. TOUR mid-carders Jason Dufner, Bill Haas, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell, Charley Hoffman, Danny Lee, and defending champ Chris Kirk will be lacing up their spikes too.
Bryson Dechambeau got his spot through one of the two Champions Choice invitations, so it will not count against his special exemption invites. Web.com Tour rookie, Kramer Hickok, and Texas native, received the other invitation.
DEAN & DELUCA Invitational Key Stats
DEAN & DELUCA Invitational Course Details
Colonial CC | Par 70 | 7,204 Yards
As is the case for most Par 70 layouts, making the easy birdies on the Par 5s will be essential to collecting a novelty check, but Par 4 scoring becomes a far more important factor. Especially when you look at the length of the Par 4s. Seven of the 12 on course measure between 400-450 yards. Normally, that’s counterbalanced with some more difficult, lengthier Par 4s, but that’s not the case at Colonial. There are only three longer than 450 yards, leaving birdie making opportunities at No. 2 (389 yards) and No. 17 (387 yards), two of the easier holes on the course. The field can also vault up the leaderboard if they’re dominant on Par 3s from 190-200 yards. Three of the four Par 3s fall in that specific range. Overall, any style can win at Colonial, but seeking out players who are particularly good from those key ranges will be the best way to predict a winner. Unless, they fall victim to the “Horrible Horseshoe,” that is. Holes 3-5 can cripple any player. NO ONE IS SAFE!!!!!!!!!!
Since 1983, the Horrible Horseshoe has played to a combined score-to-par total of +6,613 while the other 15 holes have played to -769. In 2015, Hole No. 3 was the second most difficult on the course (+0.124), No. 4 was fourth (+0.41), and No. 5 was the toughest (+0.263). For some context: 91 bogeys, 16 double bogeys, and 4 “others” were made at No. 5 against 29 birdies last year. And, of 11,802 rounds played at Colonial, just 1,623 of those rounds have played holes 3-5 under par. There are only 21 players to have a career relative to par score under par on the Horrible Horseshoe.
DEAN & DELUCA Invitational Picks
Adam Scott – I suppose you could stack Scott and Jordan Spieth in the Yahoo! A-List if you wanted, but I’ll just back the Aussie this week. The No. 7 player in the world is a former champion at Colonial, has two wins this season, made every cut, and has just two finishes worse than T17 in his last eight starts.
Chris Kirk – Kirk entered Sunday three strokes back and became the seventh-consecutive player to come from behind in the final round to claim the ridiculous plaid jacket. It’s unlikely he repeats as champion, but he’s been ascending in results prior to a disastrous PLAYERS Championship finish (T23/T13/T5/MC), and has the balanced style of game that has produced many winners in the past.
Charley Hoffman – Always back Charley in Texas. It’s a lazy narrative, but it keeps churning out results. Hoffman didn’t finish worse than T11 in any of his four Lone Star starts in 2015, and hasn’t dropped lower than T12 in 2016.
Patrick Reed – With Zach Johnson (course record holder) and Brandt Snedeker (T2 last year) likely to be more popular selections, you can get the higher upside Reed at an ownership discount. He’s never produced a top finish at Colonial (T46/T33), but he’s also never missed a cut. His elite scrambling (3rd) will keep him out of trouble on the harder holes and his Tee-to-Green (23rd) is among the best in the field. Reed just needs the flat stick to show up.
Kevin Chappell – Chappell simply seems set up for a break through. He’s posted T10s in four of six events, earning those big paydays on the back of his prowess on Par 4s (17th Par 4 Birdies or Better) and his Tee-To-Green game (10th).
Jason Dufner – Duff daddy has been playing some uninspired golf lately. While he’s only missed one cut in his past 10 starts, he’s only posted one T20 in that stretch. However a return to his one of his favorite courses should have him pop back up this week. The past four years, Dufner has two runner-up finishes at Colonial, making the cut every time.
Matt Kuchar – I worry about this being a let down spot for Kuch, but his game is on cruise control at the moment. Like Chappell, he’s carded four T10s in his last six starts, and actually rates higher in the key Par 4 range. Plus, Kuch knows the layout, he’s made eight of nine career cuts at Colonial with a pair of T10s.
Ian Poulter – You can go a bunch of directions with the last spot (Charl Schwartzel, Kevin Na, and Emiliano Grillo are all great options), however I’ll go with a sleeper and grab Poulter. The Brit needs to start pumping out top finishes to get on the Ryder Cup squad and returns to a track where he’s experienced a lot of success over the seasons. In four career appearances in Dallas, Poulter’s 4/4 in cuts with two T10s, including a T5 in 2015.
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