Zurich Classic 2013
After we endured our inevitable slump last week after success at the Masters, we move to New Orleans now for the Zurich Classic. Played on TPC Louisiana, the course is 7,425 yards and is one where you can’t pinpoint one particular attribute that will get you round this course. Jason Dufner who won here last year did not excel in any category other than putting. Dufner was 9th in putts per GIR and T2 in putts per round. So anyone who’s hot with the putter right now will be one to look out for. The 2012 leaderboard tells the story, Luke Donald and Steve Stricker represented the ball strikers whilst J.B.Holmes and Ryan Palmer, two of the bigger hitters, made it into the top 15. But someone in a bit of form, hits it at least 290 yards off the tee (Dufner averaged 291 yards for the week in 2012) and is hitting his irons well will go well this week. The winning score last year was -19, so birdies will be a must this week also.
As with any Pete Dye layout, course management is vital as well as distance control. The place has a very similar feel to Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course, with wind going to be prevalent all week. For that reason also, it might be worth a quick look back at the 2012 PGA Championship which was held on that course.
http://www.pga.com/pgachampionship/scoring/leaderboard – 2012 PGA Championship Final Scores
Bet Victor and Stan James are again paying 6 places this week, so keep an eye on them.
Rickie Fowler (22/1 Coral)
We can’t believe that Rickie only has 1 PGA title to his name so far, and yet he is regarded as one of the best in the game. So it’s definitely about time he picked up his 2nd. We have been watching quite a bit of Rickie of late, and he’s ready this week for sure. He is currently 22nd in strokes gained-putting, 16th scrambling, 15th all-round, 46th total driving and 9th sand saves for those 71 bunkers out there. His form is respectable all round, 38th at Augusta and then 3rd, 35th and 13th the weeks before that. Around here he has gone 26th and then 10th in 2012. Other than his last PGA Championship performance, Rickie fits the bill this week.
Thorbjorn Olesen (33/1 Coral)
It feels so good to be finally backing undeniably one of our favourite players in golf. And it certainly feels like the right time to do so. He was our number 1 Player to Watch at the beginning of the season and he certainly has not disappointed. I’m sure most of you saw his rapid climb up the leaderboard in Augusta 2 weeks ago. The Dane went from +6 on day 1 to -4 at the finish, tying for 6th spot with Brandt Snedeker. Olesen has 4 top 10’s in 8 starts this year now. We never expected him to push this quickly, but we definitely want to get on board this week. He is 24th driving distance (296 yards), 21st driving accuracy whilst also being 8th in GIR < 100 yards. Olesen has all the attributes to close this week and it is very exciting.
Graham Delaet (80/1 Coral)
The Canadian if we’re honest should really be our number 1, we really fancy him this week. Barring a missed cut last week on a tough course, Delaet has gone 31st, 50th, 17th, 18th and 9th in 5 starts. He was also 4th in this last year which is very interesting. But not only is his form impressive, his stats are too. 10th driving distance (300 yards), 3rd GIR, 3rd total driving, 24th scrambling, 43rd scoring av. 8th par 5 performance and 29th rounds in the 60s (13). Not much else to say, he ticks every box.
Brendon De Jonge (40/1 Coral)
The Zimbabwean is one of the most consistent performers on the tour this year, but has yet to find that elusive win. He impressed us a lot in the RBC Heritage where he ended up T9 in conditions that could be very similar to this week. He was T2 for GIR that week. 9th, 22nd and 10th have been his last 3 finishes on the tour whilst he has a very respectable 18th and 26th on his last 2 tries in Louisiana. Hoping for at least a place this week from Mr consistency.
Matt Jones (125/1 Coral)
Our outsider this week comes in the form of Matt Jones. The Australian will hope to keep his country’s great form going after good weeks for Scott, Day and Leishman. For someone with his odds, his form is really respectable. 30th, 38th and 50th have been his last 3 starts on tour. Whilst his course form reads 45th, 6th and 10th. A course he definitely plays well at. Statistically we can’t complain either. 40th driving distance, 4th total driving, 59th GIR, 74th strokes gained putt, 29th scrambling, 34th scoring av, 19th par 5 performance are all great figures. Really do think he probably deserves lower odds than this, so take advantage of the three figures while you can.