GOLF Guru Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) delivers his expert opinion on this week’s action from Texas.
Dean & Deluca Invitational | Thursday-Sunday | Sky Sports
I would think most of us are glad to see the end of May. A couple of huge-priced winners combined with Sergio Garcia finally coming good after five years was always going to be a difficult betting month for most.
Missing Jason Day winning The Players is a huge regret of mine – I have consistently underrated the Aussie. I’m not sure how that is possible for a guy who has won seven of 17 tournaments but we all have our blind spots. Day is certainly mine…
The next three weeks sees the stars of both Tours preparing for the US Open at Oakmont. If, like me, you prefer to see really difficult courses where par feels like a birdie, you will adore the next Major of 2016.
Some of the fastest greens in the world combined with tight fairways and penal rough will see a score under par having a great chance of winning.
We start the approach to Oakmont with another event in Texas that promises to be heavily disrupted by weather conditions. There are winds of 20mph forecast and Thursday and Friday have 80% and 100% chances of thunderstorms. Prepare for a Monday finish.
Known for many years as the Crowne Plaza Invitational, Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth continues to host. A classical tree-lined par-70, Colonial is not long at 7,204 Yards but this is a course that cannot be overpowered by simple length off the tee.
Only one of last years top-10 was in the Top 20 for driving distance. No, Colonial is very much a plotters course. That’s why we have ended up with winners like Zach Johnson and David Toms in recent year.
The demands here really are based on good course management, great scrambling and that pre-requisite of any Tour winner these days, a hot putter. Chris Kirk won here last year with the hottest putter in the field and ranked nowhere in every other stat.
Hitting 50% of fairways, as Kirk did in 2015, will rarely bring you victory. Kirk won because he holed everything. In contrast, Boo Weekly hit 71% of fairways on his way to winning in 2013.
What normally pays off at Colonial is experience. Not just of the course but in general. Very few under 30s have ever won here. There are a number of players in the field who fit the model of accurate drivers with a good short game and experience of Colonial.
What could make a difference to any betting strategy this week is the rain. We have had preferred lies for the last couple of weeks. That means players able to lift, clean and place balls on the fairway.
What that does is really give an awful lot of players a chance to fire at pins. Winning scores recently have been -9 to -12 but the first of Zach Johnson’s two victories were achieved with a -21 total. I have a feeling we may see something similar to last week with a -15 or -16 being enough.
Adam Scott finished 24th last year defending his 2014 title. Speaking this week, Scott seemed to know what is required as he spoke about enjoying the fact that he is going to have to hold back a little off the tee and play smart.
The Aussie has gone off the boil a little since his back-to-back wins in February but he showed up really well at Sawgrass a couple of weeks back – 12th and 17th places from his last two starts show that he is not far away.
Once you strip away the top of the betting in Jordan Spieth and the eternally disappointing Matt Kuchar, this is not the strongest field you will ever see.
Kuchar is a frustrating type. Two top-3 finishes recently normally signal Kuchar is on a run, but he’s been so difficult to get over the line recently. If I am going to back Kooch it has to be at bigger odds than 14/1. He’s probably a safe top-5 bet though.
I was fairly sweet on Spieth earlier in the week. He has driven the ball terribly since Augusta but you can normally rely on his putting. Spieth is the best in the world with the short stick but last weekend he was awful in every aspect of his game.
He will bounce back quickly but I am leaving him this week and going with Scott at 12/1 (BetBright).
Boo Weekly is an old favourite of mine. The good old redneck went round TPC Four Seasons in 62 on Friday last week and won here in 2014.
Boo has recently been on a health kick which has seen him looking a lot healthier. Considering that the standard Boo look has been that of a man that eats roadkill and drinks only in gallons, that’s a huge benefit to a man that has always had a delicate touch that belies his appearance.
Sixteenth at Sawgrass was an incredibly good return and 80/1 stands out as a stellar each-way punt on Weekly (Ladbrokes).
I am going on a slightly different path this week as I have more selections than normal. I like the chances of Scott in this field but there are a couple of standout prices fairly down the field that will give us a great run for our money at silly odds.
I would advise these as small stakes plays but rather than mucking about with 28/1 shots lets have a good look at something a bit more tasty.
Roberto Castro is available at a frankly overpriced 100/1 (Bet365). Currently ranked 25th for hitting greens in regulation, Texas-born Castro was 19th on debut here in 2013 and a runner-up to James Hahn just three weeks ago when he lost the play-off. Castro is in really good form.
Scott Stallings has a fourth-place here in the middle of three missed cuts – to be honest, he’s that kind of golfer. He’s very difficult to catch right but always worth investing at odds of 150/1 (888).
He’s exactly the type to win here and has had an 11th and 13th-place in the last month and showed up well for three rounds last weekend. In good form, he is your typical 62 or 82 type but well worth a pound of anyone’s money.
Finally, I cannot look away from the 40/1(BetVictor) available on Danny Lee. He really should be one of those 28/1 shots I mentioned earlier.
Recent form is pretty good – Lee’s last three starts reading 9, 35, 18 and his third start here last year returned a 10th-place, which was the start of a really nice run for the Kiwi bringing him his first Tour victory.
When he has a great week with the putter, he will win. No question. Lets hope it’s this week.
Dean & Deluca Invitational – Adam Scott to win (12/1 BetBright)
Dean & Deluca Invitational – Danny Lee to win (40/1 BetVictor each-way)
Dean & Deluca Invitational – Boo Weekly to win (80/1 each-way Ladbrokes)
Dean & Deluca Invitational – Roberto Castro to win (100/1 each-way Bet365)
Dean & Deluca Invitational – Scott Stallings to win (150/1 each-way 888)