The PGA TOUR takes a short trip from Irving to Fort Worth as they prep for Colonial Country Club this week.
The course is a classical design that puts everyone on an even playing field off the tee. With plenty of doglegs and trees lining the fairways, golfers are often clubbing down and then hitting from the same spots into greens.
How often will golfers club down? Historically, there are six holes here where the field averages less than 275 yards off the tee. Besides the trees and doglegs, that is also partially due to the amount short par 4s the golfers will face. There are FIVE par 4s under 410 yards, which allows golfers to take it easy off the tee but aggressive bombers can still take some high-risk, high-reward target lines, meaning distance shouldn’t be ignored entirely but it is a smaller factor compared to most weeks.
For a second straight week, we see a par 70 with bentgrass greens, and we’re still in the state of Texas. That means wind should remain a factor and the early forecast supports that idea.
Speaking of the greens, they are some of the smallest greens on TOUR which means scrambling will be a key stat for me. If you want to keep it to strokes gained stats, then a combination of around-the-green AND putting (Strokes Gained Short Game) should be useful. Golfers in the field trending well in this category: Sung Kang, Cam Smith, Pat Perez, Zac Blair, and Seung-yul Noh.
My second stat after scrambling would be distance from edge of fairway. Golfers that grade out as elite in both of these stats are Zach Johnson and Zac Blair.
Course experience typically matters here. Looking at the last 11 winners, 10 of them have secured a top 15 at this event before winning and all 11 winners had played the event two or more times before winning. Rahm backers shouldn’t worry too much, his compatriot Sergio Garcia won here in his 2001 debut so it’s definitely possible, just not likely.
If a golfer doesn’t have much experience here, the next best thing is form at correlated courses.
Correlated courses that pop up include: TPC Sawgrass, Waialae CC, Harbour Town GL, TPC Boston, Innisbrook, and TPC Four Seasons.
Check out the Fantasy Golfanac for more tournament angles and golfer quotes.
Players to Watch
Paul Casey…If we’re treating this as a second-shot course, the Englishman has gained 4+ strokes approaching-the-green in four of his last five starts. His last two trips here are MC and T43 but before that he posted T13 and solo-5th finishes back in the day.
Jon Rahm… Making his tournament debut, so it’s yet to be determined how it will fit his eye. Going in his favor, he ranks first in DraftKings scoring on par 4s under 410 yards, which is the yardage I mentioned FIVE of the par 4s fall under. The rest of the top 10 DK scorers from this range include: Spieth, Garcia, Moore, Bryan, Summerhays, Leishman, Palmer, Kisner, and Bohn.
Tony Finau… Curious to gauge his popularity as the week progresses. He’s a bomber so he doesn’t profile as a true course fit. That may lower his ownership. However, he’s in great form and is on the record saying he can pull more drivers that you’d expect here at Colonial, taking some more aggressive lines. That means BOOM or BUST. Don’t mind that in GPPs.
Sang Kang… Not elite with his iron play, but he’s dialed in around the greens and playing near home for a second straight week.
Danny Lee … Kind of the opposite of Kang. He’s dialed in with his irons but needs to find some short-game form. Like Kang, he’s got the semi-local knowledge as an Irving resident.
Charley Hoffman… He is the King of Texas (of golfers in the field, only Spieth has gained more strokes in Texas since 2014) but this week’s track is the venue where he has the least success (only one top 10). However, he is still 8-for-8 here with a trio of top 25s. With wind in the forecast, I think we see a fourth top 25 added to his resume.
Jason Dufner… Finished sixth here last year despite being field average in putting. Was the 54-hole leader in 2012 before fading on Sunday. Played the role of chaser just two years later (starting R4 in T11 and finishing solo second after a 4-under 66). Overall, he’s positioned himself T11 or better after 12 of his 28 rounds here at Colonial. That is a solid strike-rate and he enters with some juicy form (top 15s in four of his last six starts).
Chris Kirk… Just missed out on the top 25 due to his recnet form but he’s 7-for-7 here with a WIN and T5 on his resume. Just finished T12 at a correlated PLAYERS, but outside the top 60 in six straight starts before that. Tough to trust.
Chad Campbell… Not the most fantasy-friendly option in terms of DraftKings scoring but he has four top 15s this year so he’s not afraid to pop. Said this about Colonial a few years back, “It’s one of my favorites all year, I come out here and play quite a bit during the year even when I’m home. So I’m pretty comfortable on it, and I obviously enjoy playing here.”
Ryan Palmer… Taking that course knowledge one step further, we have Palmer who is a member at the course, knowing the layout better than anyone in the field. The biggest weakness in his game right now is putting but the course knowledge seems to help him on the greens here, gaining strokes putting in five of his last six appearances at Colonial. Not the best fit on paper, but his familiarity with the course gives him a nice boost this week.
My Top 25 for the 2017 DEAN & DELUCA
1. Paul Casey
2. Sergio Garcia
3. Jason Dufner
4. Jon Rahm
5. Jordan Spieth
6. Charley Hoffman
7. Matt Kuchar
8. Tony Finau
9. Ryan Palmer
10. Marc Leishman
11. Sung Kang
12. Zach Johnson
13. Kevin Kisner
14. Nick Taylor
15. Chad Campbell
16. William McGirt
17. Kyle Stanley
18. Ollie Schniederjans
19. Bud Cauley
20. Webb Simpson
21. Brian Harman
22. Danny Lee
23. Emiliano Grillo
24. Pat Perez
25. Phil Mickelson