Colonial experts' picks

May, 20, 2014

Each week of the season, our experts share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week, the PGA Tour is at Colonial Country Club for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, senior golf analyst: Zach Johnson
You know how guys say things like, "This course really fits my eye." Well for Johnson, this might be one of those courses he'll have success on through his 50s. Since 2009, his worst finish is ninth! In 14 events so far this year, he's made every cut but one, so expect a top-5 finish this week.

Richard Durrett, writer: Zach Johnson
He's the Secretariat of this category. It's a shotmakers course built for Johnson's game and if his putter is on, he'll be in contention. He won in 2010 and 2012 and, in the last five years, he hasn't finished worse than ninth. He loves birdies and he loves plaid.

Farrell Evans, senior golf writer: Zach Johnson
At the 2013 Crown Plaza Invitational, the former Masters champion took third place, his fifth consecutive top-10 in the event. He was the winner here in 2010 and 2012.

Bob Harig, senior golf writer: Zach Johnson
A two-time winner of the event, Johnson has not finished worse than a tie for ninth in his past five appearances and also holds the tournament record of 259, 21 under par.

Kevin Maguire, senior golf editor: Zach Johnson
To play well at Colonial, straight and accurate off the tee is required, which might be why the 2007 Masters champion has an average finish of just north of second place in the last four years (including wins in 2010 and 2012.)

Birdie Buster

Collins: Rickie Fowler
Not the year that he was hoping for so far with only three top-10s in 15 starts while missing five cuts. Even still, he has managed a sixth-place finish at Houston and a fifth at the Masters. I would venture to say he's extremely comfortable at Hogan's Alley with a 68.9 scoring average and no missed cuts in the four times he's played here.

Durrett: Graham DeLaet
He finished in a tie for seventh at the HP Byron Nelson Championship and played well at Colonial last year. He has had a solid season and there's no reason to think that can't continue in Fort Worth this week.

Evans: Paul Casey
The 36-year-old former European Ryder Cupper doesn't have a top-10 this PGA Tour season, but his recent play demonstrates he is making a resurgence after a couple of difficult years. In his last three tour starts, the Englishman has had a tie for 18th, a tie for 11th and a tie for 16th last week at the Byron Nelson, where he shot a 63 in the second round.

Harig: Jim Furyk
He's gone nearly four years without a victory, but Furyk has been solid lately, with a couple of runner-up finishes in his past two starts, fueled by low final rounds at Quail Hollow and the Players Championship. He's also had a lot of high finishes at Colonial.

Maguire: Matt Kuchar
The RBC Heritage winner has finished outside the top seven only once in more than two months, so expect one of the tour's most accurate drivers to be the same guy who finished second in Fort Worth last year.

Super Sleeper

Collins: Josh Teater
It's been a bit of a trying season for the Moorehead State alum in making 10 of 18 cuts with his best finish being a 23rd in Mexico in November. That being said, he comes to an event where he finished seventh last year. Most importantly, when I saw him come off the course last week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, I got a feeling that something good was about to happen. I'm trusting my vibes.

Durrett: Kevin Kisner
You want a deep sleeper pick? This is it. He's making his Colonial debut, but he was tied for 16th at the Nelson and he has putted well, a key at Colonial. Kisner has done well at the greens in regulation stat, another indicator of possible success. Oh, did I mention he played golf at the University of Georgia? This is the year for Bulldogs.

Evans: Scott Stallings
Since winning at Torrey Pines in January, the 29-year-old Tennessee native has missed seven of 10 cuts, but when he gets into contention, he knows how to win. Last year at Colonial, he finished in a tie for fourth.

Harig: Paul Casey
The Englishman is slowly but surely finding his form after a low period in 2011 and 2012 that saw him lose his PGA Tour card and fall out of the top 50 in the world. He shot 63 last week and comes in after three straight top-20 finishes.

Maguire: Billy Hurley III
Coming off his best finish since the Honda Classic (a T-16 at the Byron Nelson), Hurley's accurate tee ball will do well for this week.


Collins: Matt Kuchar
Talk about a guy having a solid year. He's 12-for-13 in cuts made, including a win and a runner-up finish -- all within the last two months. When you're on, you're on, and this man is on. This will be his third start in a row and the last time he did that, it ended up as a win in Hilton head.

Durrett: Jim Furyk
Why overthink this? He was runner-up at the Players Championship and has seven top-10 finishes at Colonial. He's playing well on a course he likes. That's a good combination.

Evans: Matt Kuchar
At the Byron Nelson, Mr. Consistency got his ninth top-10 of the year. Nothing short of a cancellation of the Colonial will keep him from making it to the top of the leaderboard this week. Last year, Kuchar finished a shot back of Boo Weekley in second place.

Harig: Graham DeLaet
It is just a matter of time for the Canadian, and perhaps this week is it. One of the best ball strikers on tour, DeLaet leads the PGA Tour in greens in regulation. He tied for seventh last week at the Byron Nelson.

Maguire: Jim Furyk
Furyk's been knocking on the door in his last two starts (second place at both the Players Championship and at Quail Hollow), so it's time he kicks down that door this week at Colonial for his first victory since the 2010 Tour Championship.





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