Yahoo Fantasy Golf Contest Tournament Preview- Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial

Fantasy Golf Insider Staff
By Fantasy Golf Insider Staff May 18, 2015 13:03

The next stop on the PGA Tour is Fort Worth Texas and Colonial Country Club for the Crowne Plaza Invitational. This tournament, although under different sponsor names, is the longest running non-major PGA event held at the same course. Colonial features really tight fairways and doglegs, and water hazards, including the Trinity River. Like last week’s “Green Mile” Colonial features another cleverly named three hole-stretch called the “Horrible Horeshoe” (Holes #3-5). Colonial is a Par 70 and measures 7,204 yards long, which ranks it as an average length course on tour.

The field will not include a lot of the top ranked players in the world, including Rory McIlroy as they will be playing in the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour in England. The field will include world #2 Jordan Spieth, defending champion Adam Scott, and eight other players from the Top 35 in the world rankings. Spieth has played well in Texas thus far this year with runner-up finishes in San Antonio and Houston, but he has yet to win in his home state.

Last year, Scott bested Jason Dufner in a comeback victory just days after ascending to world No 1. Scott started the final round two shots off the lead and trailed by three at the turn, but turned it on over the back nine to finish with a 4-under-par 66. Scott and Dufner matched pars on the first playoff hole and birdies on the second before Scott hit a 7-foot birdie on the 18th green to win. It was Scott’s 11th PGA Tour victory.

Unlike last week at Quail Hollow, driving distance will not be a very important factor this week. The length of Colonial is significantly less, plus there is much more of a penalty for inaccurate drives. The narrow fairways at Colonial need to be navigated carefully, thus driving accuracy is much more important. In addition to driving accuracy, we are going to be favoring greens in regulation. Course history has shown that those who have had success hitting fairways and greens have had the most success overall. Last year, champion Adam Scott ranked 8th in fairways hit and 10th in greens in regulation. As always, we analyze, the statistic Strokes Gained, especially tee-to-green, as it is the most predictive of success of any statistic available. See our articles: Do Statistics Really matter in Fantasy Golf.
One of the most important factors that needs to be analyzed this week at Colonial is tournament history. Players tend to have success at this tournament more consistently than they have in a lot of other tournaments. For a complete tournament history for every player at The Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, check out our tournament history page.

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The A-list this week is short and only includes six guys, who are playing at the Crown Plaza Invitational, most of which are not real enticing. Our top pick this week is going to be Ryan Palmer. We believe course familiarity is going to lead to success for Palmer this week, as it did for Webb Simpson last week at Quail Hollow. Palmer is a member at Colonial and could play the course in his sleep. In this tournament he has competed eleven times with four Top 15s in the past seven years, including a 5th last year, 14th in 2013, and a 5th in 2012. This season Palmer started out red-hot with six Top 25s in his first seven tournaments. His last few appearances however, he has cooled off a bit, with a missed cut at The Players, a disappointing performance at The WGC match Play going 0-3, and a T33 at The Masters. The statistics that we like for Palmer include 39th in greens in regulation, 12th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, and 7th in Total Strokes Gained. The statistic that we do not like for Palmer is 157th in driving accuracy this season. Over the past three seasons however at Colonial, Palmer has been able to deliver a bit above average driving accuracy ranking 42nd last year, 53rd in 2013, and 46th in 2012. We look for Palmer to have another solid showing at his home course this week. Adam Scott is the defending champ and of course will garner a lot of attention this week, but he is playing absolutely terrible right now. Going into last week his ball striking was very good, but his putting was his down fall. Well last week his entire game was his downfall as his Tee to Green game obviously became affected by his putting quandary. That said, there are not a lot of options this week in the A-List so Scott becomes a candidate by default. With two runner-up finishes in the last two years Jason Dufner also becomes a viable option, although his current form since becoming “skinny Duf” is not good. He only has three Top 25s all season (12 events played).

Our picks: Palmer, Scott, Martin, Stricker, Dufner



The Favorites:

Z Johnson

Jordan Spieth, the world #2 and the guy who we have probably recommended the most in our previews deserves a spot on our roster this week. If you are concerned about using him up, we do not think you should set him aside this week. The field is simply too weak and he has the clear edge. The Texas boy already has two runner up finishes in his home state this season at the Valero Texas Open and Shell Houston Open. Most recently he inexplicitly missed the cut at The Players Championship, which shocked everybody. Every once and a while Spieth does that and it does not seem to affect his ability to bounce back from it, think Farmers where he missed the cut and bounced back with a T7 at Pebble Beach the following week. In his two appearances at Colonial Spieth has produced a 14th in 2013 and 7th last year. He ranks 101st in driving accuracy, 96th in greens in regulation, 9th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 6th in Strokes Gained Putting, and 2nd in Total Strokes Gained. Zach Johnson easily has the best tournament history of anybody, Johnson has owned Colonial over the past decade. In nine career appearances, he has five Top 10s including a 3rd place finish in 2013 and championships in 2012 and 2010. Last year Johnson did not perform up to his expectations as he placed 73rd. Early this season, Johnson was really struggling with his putter, but he seems to have regained at least a semblance of his ability with the flat stick over the past month. Johnson is not long off tee ranking 163rd in driving distance. He does however have good accuracy, which is key at Colonial. Johnson ranks 27th in driving accuracy, 83rd in greens in regulation, and 20th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green. The poor putting is reflected in his Strokes Gained Putting, where he ranks 158th on tour, but as we mentioned that has been improving lately. This can also be seen in his results as lately he is playing much better than he did earlier this year. Over his last six events, Johnson has five Top 20s, including T13 at The Players, T17 at WGC Match Play, mc at Heritage, T9 at The Masters, T20 at Valero, and T9 at Arnold Palmer. A combination of his tournament history at Colonial and his recent strong play are enough for us to give him the nod this week. Probably the guy we like third best is Jimmy Walker. Another Texas boy can get the job done as he showed once again by winning the Valero Texas Open. In his last appearance he shocked everybody and missed the cut at The Players, his only missed cut of the season. He has five Top 10s including two wins (Valero and Sony). Walker ranks 16th in driving distance, 40th in greens in regulation, 17th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 1st in Strokes Gained Putting, and 4th in Total Strokes Gained. The only statistic that concerns us at Colonial is driving accuracy, where he ranks 186th. Last year at this tournament Walker was able to rank a respectable 71st in fairways hit, enroot to a 10th place finish. His only other appearance at Colonial was a 56th in 2011. Look for Walker to be in contention on Sunday and battling Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson. Ian Poulter is electing to not play in the BMW championships, but instead play here this week on the PGA Tour. His game fits the course as he ranks 54th in driving accuracy and 37th in greens in regulation. He hasn’t played here since 2010, but then he played it between 2008-2010 and had two Top 15s. If you are looking for a guy who could surprise that might set your lineup apart, check out Daniel Berger. He already has nine Top 25s and four Top 10s in 19 events played. Most recently he had a T28 last week at Wells Fargo, missed the cut at The Players, T6 at Zurich, T72 at RBC Heritage, and T25 at Shell. Berger ranks 12th in driving distance, 115th in driving accuracy, 17th in greens in regulation, 24th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, and 29th in Total Strokes Gained. A possible sleeper this week is John Senden. Last year was such a great year for Senden, with 22 made cuts in 27 events played, including 9 Top 25s that we are a bit surprised he has not played better this season. So far this year, Senden has missed five cuts already this calendar year including four in the past two months. In his last two events however he has shown signs of returning to the success of last season with a nice showing at the WGC Match Play and a T8 at The Players two week ago. We know this is not long stretch of success but sometimes you need to get on board a player getting hot before everybody else does, especially in GPPs. Statistically Senden does not drive it long, but as we stated before that is not necessary at Colonial. What is important is control and he ranks 63rd in driving accuracy and 65th in greens in regulation. He also ranks 79th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green. He has played at Colonial a bunch (12 times to be exact), which we believe is important. He has also had some really good success with three Top 10s, including a 5th here last year. We are definitely not going all in on Senden this week, but we think we will take a shot that he is going to be headed on an upward trend.

Our picks: Spieth, Z Johnson, Walker, Poulter, Kirk, Kisner, Snedeker

Possible Sleepers: Senden and Leishman



The Favorites:


The C-list this week is long, but not necessarily full of good options. We have loved Kevin Na for a couple of months now and what is not to love. He is playing some of the best golf on the PGA Tour right now, and we are hoping most other people forgot about how dominate he has been since he pulled out of last week’s Wells Fargo. Here are his results from his last six stroke-play tournaments played-T6 at The Players, T12 at The Masters, T20 at Valero, T6 at Arnold Palmer, T10 at Valspar, T9 at WGC Cadillac Na missed the cut at Colonial last year, but prior to that he had some solid appearances including a 13th in 2012, 40th in 2011, 22nd in 2010, and 9th in 2009. Na currently ranks 26th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 62nd in Strokes Gained Putting, and 22nd in Total Strokes Gained. He has not been all that great in driving accuracy, ranking 115th or greens in regulation, ranking 141st. It is Na’s ability to scramble and score that is fueling his tremendous run lately. We are hoping the week off served him well and think that he will continue his solid play this week. What to do with Patrick Reed. After the first round at Quail Hollow last week, we thought for sure he was going to be in contention, but then the next three days absolutely nothing and he finished with a higher score than he did after day 1 and in 58th place. Yuk. He is the type of streaky player that can get hot at any time so we still like him this week, especially in a low talent group like the C-List. A guy who we absolutely love this week is Russell Knox. He was looking great through the first two rounds last week shooting a pair of 69s, bit then blew up on Saturday with a 77 and put him out of contention. He ended up finishing T58. Before that Knox had a T17 at The Players, T43 at Zurich, T18 at RBC, mc at Valero, T29 at Arnold Palmer, T33 at Valspar, and T3 at Honda. His only appearance at Colonial was last year, when he too 21st. Knox is not long off the tee ranking 142nd in driving distance, but ranks 21st in driving accuracy, 9th in greens in regulation, 34th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 76th in Strokes Gained Putting, and 31st in Total Strokes Gained. Those are exactly the stats we want to see, which is why he is one of our favorite plays this week. How about for a sleeper type pick look no further than John Peterson. This season Peterson has made 15 cuts in 16 tournaments, including six Top 25s. Last week he produced a T20. Before that he had a T48 at Zurich, T18 at RBC Heritage, T11 at Valero, and T35 at Arnold Palmer. Peterson also checks out in the statistical categories that we have deemed most important this week which include 22nd in driving accuracy, 45th in greens in regulation, 28th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, and 48th in Total Strokes Gained. The only thing that our boy doesn’t bring to the table is putting, where he actually loses strokes to the field ranking 143rd. He has played in this event one time before in 2013 and he took 26th. The Fort Worth native heads back home this week and we expect him to continue to produce for us as he has all season. Another option that might not be on people’s radar’s is Sean O’Hair. Last week at Quail Hollow O’Hair got back on track with a T20 after missing the cut at The Players. That missed cut was not unexpected as it was played on a long course and O’Hair is more suited for shorter tracks. As we mentioned before, Colonial is a shorter course, which surprised us when we looked back and saw that O’Hair’s tournament history is that great. He had a 63rd last year, missed cut in 2013, 16th in 2011, missed cut in 2010, 18th in 2009, and 26th in 2008. You have to consider that he was playing very poor golf over the last several years however. This year he has shown a revival and has 13 made cuts out of 16 events played including two Top 10s (runner-up at Valspar). Statistically, O’Hair does not offer much to talk about, 118th in driving accuracy, 147th in greens in regulation, and 93rd in strokes Gained Tee-To-Green. He is a Texas guy and has been playing well lately, so look for a Top 25 this week. Shawn Stefani is another Texas guy who lives in Houston and went to Lamar University. He has been playing well lately and shook off a missed cut at The Players with a T9 at Wells Fargo last week. Before then he was rock solid with Top 30s in all four of the events before that. 30th in driving distance, 105th in driving accuracy, 35th in greens in regulation, 53rd in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 52nd in Strokes Gained Putting, and 35th in Total Strokes Gained round out Stefani’s important stats. He only has one appearance at Colonial which was two years ago and he took 42nd. He is a good choice this week to give you a Top 30.

Our picks: Na,  Knox, Reed, Stefani, O’Hair, Hoffman, Peterson

Possible Sleeper Picks: Van Pelt and Scott Brown


As always the best of luck to all of you and keep up the great work!

-Fantasy Golf Insider

Fantasy Golf Insider Staff
By Fantasy Golf Insider Staff May 18, 2015 13:03

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