The Colonial Country Club is one of our personal favourites, with tight fairways and small greens, it brings the best out of everyone in the field. Emphasis will be on accuracy off the tee more than ever this week with even the best tee shots leaving tricky approaches.
Last week saw Brendon Todd take home his maiden PGA title quite comfortably in the end. He ranked 1st in driving accuracy, strokes gained-putting and scramling. With stats like that you would not put it past him doing the same again this week. The field sees Adam Scott swing a club for the first time at the top of world rankings while cases can be made for Spieth, the Johnsons, Kuchar, Furyk and Walker winning in Texas.
The course as we mentioned relies heavily on control off the tee, distance is not required. The small bentgrass greens mean putting and scrambling are arguably the key factors to winning this week. And with 12 par 4’s out there it will be good to see how players rank on par 4 performance.
One thing to consider is that this week is last chance saloon time for anyone hoping to qualify for the US Open. The world’s top 60 players at the end of this week will guarantee themselves a spot at Pinehurst. Here are the people at Colonial who have not yet booked their spot at Pinehurst:
47. Matt Every 48. Chris Kirk 55. Kevin Stadler 60. Chesson Hadley 62. Marc Leishman 63. Brendon Todd 69. Scott Stallings 70. Kevin Na
Jim Furyk (16/1 Various)
We know that 16’s is very short for someone who has not won since late 2010 but we strongly believe this week could finally be the one. If there’s one thing we know about Furyk’s crazy swing, it’s that it will find the centre of the fairway almost every time. He ranks 10th in driving accuracy on the tour this year and it is a swing that has brought him a major, a Tour Championship and 14 other PGA Tour titles.
Jimbo has narrowly missed out on a victory in his last 2 starts this year coming 2nd to Kaymer and Holmes respectively. But what this tells us is that the 44 year old is firmly in the grove and he will be looking to replicate Kuchar who himself overcame 3 narrow defeats by winning at the RBC Heritage.
Colonial is a track that has yielded 4 top 10’s for him since 2003, best of which being a play-off defeat to Rory Sabbatini back in 2007. He ranks 56th GIR, 1st scrambling and 22nd par 4 performance. As long as Furyk doesn’t leave the putter at home, as he often does, we can definitely see him donning the tartan jacket come Sunday.
Kevin Na (50/1 Paddy Power)
Kevin is someone who has enjoyed a relatively successful season so far ranking 18th in the FedEx and recording 4 top 10 finishes. And he is a man who ticks every box for us this week. He comes into it striking the ball well only missing 1 cut in the past 4 months. And Colonial has treated the 30 year old well having never missed the cut here whilst bagging 2 top 10 finishes.
His stats read well for the course ranking 75th driving accuracy, 14th strokes gained-putting, 2nd scrambling and 7th par 4 performance. If he can keep doing what he has been doing on a track that is familiar to him, he could go close. Na also lies 70th in the world rankings meaning a victory would do very nicely for a place at the US Open.
John Senden (50/1 Coral)
We really thought that the Aussie had won his only trophy for another few years after his victory at the Valspar Championship a couple of months ago. But his performances in recent times have led us to believe he might have another win in his locker. His T8 at the Masters has been followed by some solid golf including a T11 last week. And at the Byron Nelson he ranked 2nd driving accuracy and 4th putting average showing he is still on top of his game.
Senden has recorded 2 top 10’s in the past ten years around Colonial and has the perfect game to pick apart this track. He ranks 41st driving accuracy, 31st strokes gained-putting and 63rd scrambling on the tour this year.
Boo Weekley (60/1 Bet365)
Can he win back-to-back titles here? Well we think he can. Having racked up to consecutive tartan jackets at the Verizon Heritage (now the RBC) in ’07 and ’08 he will be looking to emulate that feat this week. The course has Weekley’s name written all over it as you will struggle to find a more accurate guy off the tee than Boo. Although Toms, Clark, Durant, Hicks, Z.Johnson and Slocum would beg to differ as they rank above him in driving accuracy this year.
One thing that would always turn us away from Weekley is his short game but after his performance last year and recent displays, we can see everything fitting into place for Colonial. Last week he ranked 1st in scrambling and holed plenty of putts to suggest on greens he has won on, he will be dangerous. One thing we know is that Boo will bring accuracy to the course it’s just whether his short game comes with him.
David Hearn (80/1 Various)
We feel like the Canadian is really good value at 80s. Hearn seems to be a man for the tougher courses having recorded top 10’s at both the Honda Classic and the Valspar Championship, not to mention his 6th two weeks ago at Sawgrass. But like his fellow countryman Graham DeLaet, has yet to win his first PGA title. But as we see year on year, maiden titles are won very often and David could certainly bag his first this week.
He comes into this week ranking 31st driving accuracy, 35th strokes gained-putting, 50th scrambling and 79th par 4 performance. Off the back of his 6th at the Players, he will be brimming with confidence.