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PGA Tour Crowne Plaza Invitational Betting Preview
At least the PGA Tour professionals don't have to worry about world No. 1 Rory McIlroy this week. After a dominant performance last week in winning the Wells Fargo Championship for the second time in his career, the red-hot McIlroy is playing on the European Tour this week. So it's a fairly wide-open field for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, the start of a two-week Texas Swing.
Need To Know
The Tour has visited historic Colonial in Fort Worth each year since 1946, making it the longest-running host site on the circuit. Colonial also staged the second edition of the Players Championship in 1975, the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open and Annika Sorenstam’s historic venture a dozen years ago as the first woman to play a Tour event since World War II.
Masters winner Jordan Spieth and Jimmy Walker, Nos. 1-2 in the FedExCup standings, join defending champion Adam Scott and eight others from the Top 35 in the world rankings. Englishmen Ian Poulter and Paul Casey will both tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2009, bypassing the European Tour’s flagship BMW PGA Championship event in the process.
The defending champion is Aussie Adam Scott, who is not playing well right now. Scott, just days after ascending to world No. 1, beat Jason Dufner on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff. Scott began the final day two shots off the lead and trailed by three at the turn, but found his groove on the back nine to finish off a 4-under-par 66. Scott and Dufner matched pars on the first playoff hole and birdies on the second before Scott drained a 7-foot birdie on the 18th green to win it. Scott became the first player to complete the “Texas Grand Slam,” combined with wins at the Shell Houston Open (2007), Byron Nelson Championship (2008) and Valero Texas Open (2010).
Since Sergio Garcia broke through as a first-time winner in his debut at Colonial in 2001, the average age of the winners is about 38 1/2. At 31 years old in 2007, Rory Sabbatini was the youngest of the lot. Five of the champs were 42 or older, including Kenny Perry twice (42 and 44 in 2003 and 2005, respectively).
Jordan Spieth (+500): Coming off a rare missed cut at the Players, Spieth will have plenty of support from the Texas crowds. Both of his first two trips to Colonial netted top-15 finishes, highlighted by a T-7 finish in 2013, and six of his eight rounds have been in the 60s. Spieth, a Dallas native, has yet to win a pro tournament in the state. He can’t come much closer – runner-up at both San Antonio and Houston earlier this spring, the latter in a playoff to J.B. Holmes.
Zach Johnson (+1200): Last year, a four-year Colonial run ended in which Johnson won twice and didn’t finish worse than fourth. Modest form includes a nice T-13 at The Players. Top 20s in five of his last six starts this season.
Jimmy Walker (+1600): Walker won earlier this year in the Lone Star State at the Valero Texas Open, and he tied for 10th at this event last year. Walker has slowed somewhat since that win in San Antonio, but he still leads the Tour in strokes gained putting and ranks second in birdie average.
Ryan Palmer (+2200): Palmer, a Colonial member, seeks a home-course triumph after top-15 finishes in each of the past three years. He tied for fifth last year and in 2012, sandwiched around a tie for 14th two years ago.
Paul Casey (+2500): He got sick at the wrong time at TPC Harding Park, and he was unable to shake the bug at TPC Sawgrass. With another week to rest, Casey should be a factor on a course where finished fifth (2009) and T-13 (2010) in his first two appearances.
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