The Confidence Factor: Fort Worth Invitational

Look, it’s “Colonial”, ok?

This is one of those weeks where the venue > all and I’m old-skewl so that’s what I’m calling it, just like I call Riviera “Riviera”.

Funny how both of those tracks are “Hogan’s Alleys” as well…

As usual, I’ll be back just after lunch time with my selections for the week but this will more than get you started!

UPDATE: 2:11 pm — my selections added

UPDATE: 2:54 pm — Jimmy Walker added (thanks Mal)

Fort Worth Invitational

Colonial Country Club

Fort Worth, Texas

 

Colonial Country Club Cheat Sheet

Yards (per official scorecard) 7,209
Par 70 (35-35)
Greens Bentgrass; 4,500 sq. ft. on average
Stimpmeter 12′
Rough Bermuda at 3″
Bunkers 85
Water Hazard 4
Architects Perry Maxwell and John Bredemus (1936); Keith Foster (2008)
Purse $7.1 million/$1.278 winner/500 FEC Points
Defending Champion Kevin Kisner (-10, 270)

 

Notes:

  • Invitational field of 121.
  • Top 70 and ties will play the weekend.
  • Formerly DEAN & DELUCA INVITATIONAL and Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and…
  • Charles Schwab will be the title sponsor next year.
  • Colonial hosted the first U.S. Open in the South (1941), a PLAYERS Championship and the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open.

 

2017-18 Winners

*First-time winner

**First-time winner AND rookie winner

Event Winner
Safeway Open Brendan Steele
CIMB Classic Pat Perez
WGC-HSBC Champions Justin Rose
Sanderson Farms Ryan Armour*
Shriners Hospitals for Children Patrick Cantlay*
OHL Mayakoba Patton Kizzire*
The RSM Classic Austin Cook**
Sentry TOC Dustin Johnson
Sony Open Patton Kizzire (2)
CB Challenge Jon Rahm
Farmers Insurance Open Jason Day
WMPO Gary Woodland
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Ted Potter, Jr.
Genesis Open Bubba Watson
Honda Classic Justin Thomas
WGC-Mexico Championship Phil Mickelson
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
Arnold Palmer Invitational Rory McIlroy
WGC-Match Play Bubba Watson (2)
Corales Puntacana Resorts Brice Garnett*
Houston Open Ian Poulter
Masters Patrick Reed
RBC Heritage Satoshi Kodaira**
Valero Texas Open Andrew Landry*
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy
Wells Fargo Championship Jason Day (2)
THE PLAYERS Championship Webb Simpson
AT&T Byron Nelson Aaron Wise**

 

The Confidence Factor is the weekly column I write for PGATOUR.COM and contains plenty of angles on the track and those who have aced this exam. Take a look here:

Previous Champions (since 2008 redesign)

*- playoff

Year Winner (multiple) Total (Par-70)
2017 Kevin Kisner 270
2016 Jordan Spieth 263
2015 Chris Kirk 268
2014 Adam Scott 271*
2013 Boo Weekley 266
2012 Zach Johnson (2) 268
2011 David Toms 265
2010 Zach Johnson 259
2009 Steve Stricker 263*
2008 Phil Mickelson (2) 266

 

Facts and Figures:

Tournament Record: 259; Johnson, 2010
Course Record: 61; Last: Chad Campbell (with 2 bogeys)
Defending Champion(s): Ben Hogan, twice
Multiple Winners: Only Johnson is playing this week
First TOUR Win: Sergio Garcia (last) 2001
First Win in First Appearance: Sergio Garcia (last) 2001
Low Round Last Year: 63; 50-year old Steve Stricker
Rookies of Note Last Year: Ollie Schniederjans T29; Curtis Luck (a) T34; Cody Gribble, J.T. Poston, T41; Xander Schauffele, Wesley Bryan, T48; Dominic Bozzelli, 69th.
Odd Fact: Adam Scott is the only player to win every TOUR event in Texas in his career.

 

Experience Required?

I looked back to 2010 at some of the best results of first-time/rookie performers in the field. An interesting mix…

Year Winner Result
2017 Jon Rahm 2nd
2016 Martin Piller T6
2016 Anirban Lahiri T6
2016 Tom Hoge T17
2015 Adam Hadwin T5
2014 Hideki Matsuyama T10
2013 Jordan Spieth T7
2012 John Huh T5
2012 Harris English T5
2010 Martin Laird T10

 

My Favorite Section: The 54-Hole Graveyard

These players either had the outright lead or co-led after 54 holes. Interesting to see the correlation between Colonial and TPC Sawgrass!

 

  • 2017: Webb Simpson led by two, finished T5.
  • 2016: Spieth took care of business.
  • 2015: Kevin Na (-11) and Ian Poulter (-10) were the final pairing and cashed for T10 and T5, respectively.
  • 2014: Four players, Chad Campbell, Hideki Matsuyama, Chris Stroud and David Toms all were tied. Toms was the medalist with 70 and cashed T5.
  • 2013: Matt Kuchar led by one, finished second.
  • 2012: Jason Dufner led by one, finished second two behind the winner AFTER Johnson was assessed a two-stroke penalty for not re-marking his ball.
  • 2011: Charlie Wi led by one, shot 69 and lost by one.

Looks like there’s enough pressure coming down the stretch to hit small-ish greens and keep the ball out of the tree line. There’s more than one reason why kids* haven’t won too many of these.

*- Spieth and Rahm are the exceptions, not the rules…

 

Favorites

In order of preference for this week and this tournament; LTO= LAST TIME OUT; LW= Last week.

Jordan Spieth: I don’t care if he putts left-handed, I’m in. Check his proximity numbers from last week if you’re curious about which club was giving him trouble. His stroke average here is 67.40.

Adam Scott: The Aussie just missed out on a spot in the U.S. Open last week as his three-way T9 needed to be a two-way T9. Or something. He’s playing well and he’s a former champion here. Ride it.

Jimmy Walker: He had two bad holes last weekend and that’s what kept him out of the top five at Trinity Forest but that’s not keeping him out of my lineup. He’s rattled off eight straight with three of the last four T6 or better. Imagine when he finds the strength to put four rounds together! I’m high on him this week as he plays on and doesn’t have to fire it back up, like Simpson will.

Webb Simpson: Golf is not played in a vacuum and neither is fantasy golf. I think Simpson here is too high as his win LTO surely would cool him off, right? This is the BEST PLACE minus Wyndham for him to get back at it as he’ll be dialed in again. He was the co-36-hole leader in 2016 and 54-hole leader last year. He hasn’t backed up a top-10 finish this year with anything great but I’m leaning on THE DAM HAS BROKEN, GET OUT OF THE WAY!

Zach Johnson: In the “old days” one of the toughest annual fantasy decisions were to use ZJ this week or at the Steve Stricker Invitational Presented by Zach Johnson (John Deere Classic). Some years it wouldn’t matter! He’s had one bad round this year, 78 on Saturday at TPC Sawgrass, so I’m not going anywhere.

Justin Rose: Any course. Any planet. Any time of year.

Jon Rahm: Part of me wanted to stick him at No. 1 this week so that should tell you all you need to know. He shot a million at THE PLAYERS last year before finishing T2 here. He shot a million at THE PLAYERS this year…

Jason Dufner: Remember when he was third in SG: Putting at THE PLAYERS and everyone killed him for the way he finished? Yeah…His love-hate with Colonial consists of a pair of seconds and a T6 in his last six.

Matt Kuchar: He might sneak in as my OAD this week (column coming later) because of what happened last week. Kuchar was caught on camera multiple times talking about his disdain for Trinity Forest. His streak of 30 cuts made was toast. He apologized publically about his attitude. I feel he’s a total pro and the only way to make amends is to ball-out this week. His record here is stout as well.

Brooks Koepka: Ball go far. Putts go in the hole. I’m trying to catch him before I have to catch him.

Kevin Kisner: The defending champ won’t win again, only Hogan has done that, but if there’s a track he’s going to bust this mini-slump, this is it. He’s 28-under the last three years (T5, T10 and WIN).

Chesson Hadley: This will be his fifth time at Colonial so the comfort level should be settled. His last six paydays on TOUR are T20 or better including T11 LTO with 67 in the final round at TPC Sawgrass. #Banker.

 

Next Tier

Just missed the list above because of a wart or two.

Aaron Wise: Look, he’s on fire but there can be NO BITCHIN’ if he ejects this week. None. We’ll see what he’s made of and I’m guessing plenty, but Colonial is probably the worst track to have to “prove it” again this week. I think he’ll make the weekend but I won’t blame him if is G.A.S. tank is empty on Sunday.

Adam Hadwin: Nothing to see here, just 14 in a row. Works the ball great, won at Innisbrook on a tough track, blah, blah, blah.

Danny Lee: He should probably be in the top 10 above but there’s only room for 10. He was on point at THE PLAYERS and has two top 10’s in his last three here including sixth here last year.

Rory Sabbatini: The 2007 champ has three other top 10’s to fall back on including two years ago. He’s 14-14 on his own ball in 2018 and his last four are T30 or better.

Steve Stricker: Dude/Dudettes, he shot 63 here last year at 50 and won in 2009. He was T23 at THE PLAYERS. Sorry to all who got burned by him in Houston but never game angry!

Patrick Cantlay: His only MC in the last two years was at the Masters.

Xander Schauffele: He’s seen it once (T48) and has made 10 of 11 in 2018. He’s on autopilot for the rest of this season after T2 at THE PLAYERS.

Kevin Na: Snapped out of his funk at THE PLAYERS (T46) and then pocketed T6 last week at Trinity Forest.

Scott Piercy: He finally figured it out here last year with T7 that included one of the very rare rounds OVER PAR for those in the top 10. He’s 11th in SG: tee to green and second in SG: approach the green.

Bryson DeChambeau: His two finishes outside the top four in his last five starts are at Augusta National and TPC Sawgrass AND he made the cut in both. He’s never seen the weekend at Colonial in two previous tries and I bet that pisses him off to no end.

Ryan Palmer: He’s a member who knows this place inside and out. Sadly his game has been stagnant since his P2 at Torrey Pines in January. It’s not surprising his only top 25 since was T23 at THE PLAYERS. His T3 in 2016 is sandwiched between MC and T70 so it’s not “automatic”.

Brian Harman: With two top 10’s in his last three here, I’m banking on him to break back into the bigger money. Too much class and talent on display here.

Chris Kirk: It’s his favorite course and favorite event, his words, not mine. He’s never MC in eight tries and half are T16 or better, including his victory.

 

Off the Beaten Path

Great flexibility for multiple games, formats; course horses, hot players, etc.

David Lingmerth: All four of his starts here are T33 or better including three inside the top 20. All four of his starts here he’s OVER par in the first round. His worst round on Sunday is 67! I’m not over-thinking this one folks!

Emiliano Grillo: He’s probably not high enough up the list as he doesn’t MC and is on fiyah. I like to hide a few guys to see who actually reads this. Start him everywhere and let me know how it went.

Chez Reavie: If these Bentgrass greens make putting easier, I’ll take the guy who’s in third in fairways and T25 GIR. He closed with 66 here last year as well but that’s not as good as his 62 in Round 1 in 2011 (T5).

J.J. Spaun: He’s healthy and had a great week last week. His ball-striking numbers suggest that’s not the exception to the rule. Nothing like getting back into the groove on massive fairways and greens? He’s T14 this season in proximity so his T11 LW is not a fluke.

Nick Watney: I can’t remember the last time he MC. That’s good, right?

Russell Knox: He’s played twice and hit the top 25 both times but hasn’t played since 2015.

Joel Dahmen: His streak is now at seven. His best is T16 the last two times out. He’s never played CCC so this might be the week or it might not! Ahhhhh, fantasy golf!?!?

Charley Hoffman: He’s 9-9 at CCC but doesn’t have a top 10 this year. Weird, I know.

Beau Hossler: People ask me who this year’s Schauffele is. I say him.

Brandt Snedeker: One of these weeks he’s going to pop out of this. He’s never missed in seven tries here but he only has one top-15 finish (T2, 2015).

Ollie Schniederjans: One of these weeks he’s going to pop out of this and grab some big bucks. He’s cashed his last seven events but nothing inside the top 30.

 

Proper Long Shots

Not ranked in the top 100 OWGR.

Kevin Streelman (No. 113): His ice-cold May has included MC-MC in his last two after back-to-back top-10 paydays. The more greens you hit…

Kevin Tway (No. 194): We’ll see what he learned from his T18 finish here last year. He’s in-form as well with seven checks from his last eight starts on his own ball.

Chris Stroud (No. 188): Texan has played five of seven weekends here with T14 or better four times. His 2018 has been a tire fire but this part of the column isn’t for the faint of heart.

Scott Brown (No. 153): His dire 2018 perked to life with four rounds under-par at TPC Sawgrass and picked up his first top 25 of 2018 (T23). I’ll ride the wave of his weekend 69-69 (nice, nice) and throw in he was T12 at Colonial last year.

Harris English (No. 222): He’s played five times and cashed in four of them, all coming T30 or better. He was second in 2016 and T5 in 2012. Delightful DFS selection.

Cody Gribble (No. 364): He broke a streak of seven MC in a row AT THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP (T30). Nobody breaks out of a slump there! He backed it up with T32 last week. The Texan should be flying comfortably under everyone’s radar.

Maverick McNealy (No. 740): He’s cashed checks in seven straight across both TOURS. I’m curious to see if he joins the club of first-time big finishers above.

 

Fades:

The road to success is filled with potholes. Be careful on backing players who had big weeks last week as these courses are about as diametrically opposite as we see on TOUR. If you couldn’t find fairways and greens LAST WEEK…

Rickie Fowler: After not firing at either Quail Hollow Club or TPC Sawgrass, two places where he’s won before, I’m not trotting him out here! I’d just like to congratulate Fowler on his win this week on Tuesday. #UrWelcome. Premium players for me are different because of their value. You’re playing Fowler to win this week, not to make the cut. That’s why I’m fading him because T32 does nothing for me in ANY format.

J.J. Henry: The TCU alum has teed it up here 16 times. He has one top 25.

Grayson Murray: WD after 28 holes last week at Trinity Forest with back issues. I’ll wait.

Bill Haas: I keep seeing folks talking about his “value”. I don’t break guys out of MC-MC-MC slumps.

Ben Martin: He’s never missed in four tries but he’s playing his last six rounds in seven-OVER. He has one top 25 in 2018. Caution.

 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out through Twitter or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

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