The Confidence Factor: 2019 Zurich Classic of New Orleans Preview

N’awlins!

Get it.

Zurich Classic of New Orleans

TPC Louisiana

Avondale, Louisiana

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,425
Par: 72 (36-36)
Greens: 5,255 square feet; Miniverde Bermuda over-seeded with Poa Trivialis and velvet Bent.
Stimpmeter: 12′
Rough:  TifSport Bermuda at 1.75 inches.
Bunkers: 101
Water Hazards: 5
Architect(s): Pete Dye, 2004.
Purse: $7.3 million; $1,051,200 both winners plus 400 FedExCup Points each.
Defending Champion: Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy (-22).
Notes: Field of 160; 80, two-man teams; top 35 teams and ties play the weekend.

Previous Winners:

Year Winner   Comment
       
2018 Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy -22 Led the field in par-breakers with 28.
2017 Jonas Blixt & Cameron Smith -27 Defeated Scott Brown and Kevin Kisner on the fourth playoff hole Monday morning.

2018-19 Winners

Event Winner
   
Safeway Open Kevin Tway**
CIMB Classic Marc Leishman
CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES Brooks Koepka
Sanderson Farms Championship Cameron Champ**
WGC-HSBC Champions Xander Schauffele
Shriners Hospitals for Children Bryson DeChambeau
Mayakoba Golf Classic Matt Kuchar
The RSM Classic Charles Howell III
Hero World Challenge* Jon Rahm
Sentry TOC Xander Schauffele (2)
Sony Open in Hawaii Matt Kuchar (2)
60th Desert Classic Adam Long**
Farmers Insurance Open Justin Rose
Waste Management Rickie Fowler
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Phil Mickelson
Genesis Open J.B. Holmes
WGC-Mexico Championship Dustin Johnson
The Honda Classic Keith Mitchell**
Arnold Palmer Invitational Francesco Molinari
THE PLAYERS Rory McIlroy
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
WGC-Match Play Kevin Kisner
Corales Punta Cana Graeme McDowell
Valero Texas Open Corey Conners**
83rd Masters Tournament Tiger Woods
RBC Heritage C.T. Pan**

(* unofficial event; **First-time winner)

Facts and Figures:

TPC Louisiana has hosted every year since 2005 with the exception of 2006 after Hurricane Katrina.

Tournament Record: 261(-27); Blixt & Smith and Brown & Kisner, 2017.
Course Record (last): 60; Lucas Glover & Chez Reavie and Zecheng Dou & Xinjun Zhang both Round 1, 2018.
Defending Champions since 2005: Nope.
Multiple Winners (entered) Billy Horschel (2013, 2018).
First TOUR win (recent): Too many too count! Last was Smith (with Blixt).
Odd Fact: Zecheng Dou & Xinjun Zhang followed up 60 with 80 in alternate shot and MC.
Odd Fact II: Format was changed to alternate shot on Sunday last year after fourballs in 2017.
Odd Fact III: There is no longer MDF.

The Confidence Factor was the weekly column I wrote for PGATOUR.COM. It has evolved into Horses for Courses. I’ve included the link here for you.

Trend or Not a Trend?

2017 WINNERS Runners-Up Third Place
Blixt & Smith Brown & Kisner Kraft & Tway
Total Birdies 23 28 25
Total Eagles 2 1 1
Bogeys 0 4 4
Total Score -27 -27 -23
Par-3 Scoring -3 -2 -5
Par-4 Scoring -12 -14 -10
Par-5 Scoring -12 -11 -8

 

2018 WINNERS Runners-Up Third Place
Horschel/Piercy Dufner/Perez Charl/Louis
Total Birdies 28 23 25
Total Eagles 0 1 0
Bogeys 2 2 5
Double Bogeys 2 1 0
Total Score -22 -21 -20
Par-3 Scoring E -2 -3
Par-4 Scoring -11 -10 -9
Par-5 Scoring -11 -9 -8

Horses for Courses

Player Cuts Top Top Most Best/Notes
  Made 10s 25s Recent  
           
Billy Horschel 5/8 2 2 Win (2018) 2013 champ
Scott Piercy 3/8 1 2 Win (2018) First time since 2015
Jason Dufner 8/8 6 6 2 (2018) The Course Horse
Pat Perez 2/5 1 2 2 (2018) First time since 2012
Louis Oosthuizen 2/2 1 2 3 (2018) 35-under in two trips
Charl Schwartzel 1/1 1 1 3 (2018)  
Chesson Hadley 3/3 2 3 T4 (2018) T20 2016, T8 2015
Brice Garnett 2/4 1 1 T4 (2018)  
Tommy Fleetwood 1/1 1 1 T4 (2018)  
Tony Finau 1/3 1 1 6 (2018)  
Russell Knox 3/5 1 1 T7 (2018)  
Martin Laird 2/5 1 2 T7 (2018)  
Patrick Cantlay 2/2 1 2 T7 (2018) T14 2017; 34-under
Patrick Reed 3/5 1 3 T7 (2018) T14 2017; 34-under
Tyler Duncan 1/1 1 1 T7 (2018)  
Adam Schenk 1/1 1 1 T7 (2018)  
Troy Merritt 5/7 2 3 T10 (2018) T24 2017; 3 2010
David Hearn 9/9 2 6 T10 (2018) T6 2015
J.J. Henry 8/12 2 3 T10 (2018) T24 2017; -31 last 2
Tom Hoge 2/4 1 2 T10 (2018) T24 2017; -31 last 2
Brendan Steele 3/5 1 1 T10 (2018)  
           
Jonas Blixt 4/6 1 2 Win (2017) MC 65-76 2018
Cameron Smith 2/3 1 1 Win (2017) T43 (-11) 2015
Kevin Kisner 4/6 1 2 P2 (2017) 42-under team game
Kelly Kraft 1/3 1 1 3 (2017)  
Kevin Tway 2/3 1 1 3 (2017)  
Ryan Palmer 6/9 2 3 4th (2017) T4 2012
Bubba Watson 8/9 3 5 T5 (2017) 2011 champ
Nick Watney 8/11 2 4 T5 (2017) 2007 champ
Charley Hoffman 9/11 2 4 T5 (2017) T11 2016, T5 2014
J.B. Holmes 3/5 1 3 T5 (2017) T11 2014, T13 2012
Patton Kizzire 2/2 2 2 T5 (2017) T8 2016
Brooks Koepka 2/3 1 2 T5 (2017) MC with Turnesa 2018
Chase Koepka 1/1 1 1 T5 (2017)  
Julian Etulain 1/1 1 1 T5 (2017)  
           
Brian Stuard 4/6 1 2 Win (2016) 29-under last 2
Jhonattan Vegas 2/3 1 1 T5 (2016) 30 under 3 events
Chris Kirk 2/5 1 2 T5 (2016) MC/MC last 2
Jason Day 4/6 2 2 T5 (2016) T4 2015; T34/MC last 2
Harold Varner 1/3 1 1 T8 (2016) MC/MC last 2
           
Cameron Tringale 6/9 2 4 2 (2015) T7 2012
Whee Kim 2/4 1 2 T8 (2015) T22/MC last 2
           
Robert Streb 3/5 1 2 T2 (2014) T24 2017
Keegan Bradley 3/8 1 2 T8 (2014) MC/MC last 2
           
Player Cuts Top Top Last Best/Notes
  Made 10s 25s    
           
Kyle Stanley 3/5 1 1 3 (2013) T29 2017
Lucas Glover 10/11 3 5 T4 (2013) T3 on debut in 2005
           
Ernie Els 2/3 1 2 2 (2012) T15 2013, MC 2014
           
Matt Jones 8/8 2 4 T6 (2011) T10 2010; -30 last 2
Andres Romero 4/10 2 2 T8 (2011) 2008 Champ in first try
           
Padraig Harrington 5/5 2 3 T4 (2008) T9 2005; T28 2018
Chris Stroud 9/12 1 6 T5 (2007) T28 or better last 4
Alex Cejka 7/10 1 4 T8 (2007) 25-under last 2 years
           
D.J. Trahan 1/5 1 1 T9 (2005)  

Thoughts

For the third time in five weeks it’s a Pete Dye Course.

For the second time in five weeks it’s not standard stroke play.

Nobody can say it’s boring and it’s tedious!

Remember when Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson were supposed to win this the last two years? Er, yeah, well that didn’t happen (T19, MC) so, just like Dustin Johnson shooting 77 from the lead on Sunday last weekend, ANYTHING can happen.

College teammates. Countrymen. National team players.

Sure. Yes. Why not!

Form dipped in a bit of course history and shaken through some class pixie dust should be my voodoo recipe for this week.

What’s yours?

This week is not for the faint of heart so find guys who can overpower this track and score for fun. The more fairways and greens the more chances at par-breakers and the most accurate should have the best of the chances.

The two formats will be night and day as the alternate shot will level out the ridiculousness of best ball. When your partner has 15 feet for birdie, time to it closer! But, when your partner leaves you under a tree off the tee, the strategy is much different.

They’re not going to over-think it so you shouldn’t either!

Have fun!

The Chalk

Patrick Squared: Young guys back together for the third consecutive year. Cantlay is on fire and Reed’s ability to scramble and putt makes this a formidable twosome.

Jon Rahm/Ryan Palmer: Palmer won’t have any problem playing with another premium world stud after hanging with Spieth the last two years. These guys won’t be hitting first much.

Adam Scott/Jason Day: Yeah, duh.

Tommy Fleetwood/Sergio Garcia: Insert Ryder Cup analogy. Insert teammate golf analogy about Euros. I don’t think they can make enough putts with the pencil grips.

Kevin Kisner/Scott Brown: If it’s not broke…Tough 54-hole bad beat last year but Brown is on better form and Kisner won four weeks ago.

South Africa I: They should knight Oosthuizen (or whatever they do down there) if he can snap Schwartzel back into any form/rhythm.

Billy Horschel/Scott Piercy: Shoe is on the other foot this year as Horschel comes in making cuts but Piercy has racked up a career-tying best five top-10 finishes and it’s not May.

Bubba Watson/J.B. Holmes: Driver. Wedge.

Henrik Stenson/Graeme McDowell: GMAC has put together a nice run lately, including a win, plus Stenson knows his way around here.

Tony Finau/Kyle Stanley: I should move these two up as they should lead the field in GIR.

Next Tier

Jonas Blixt/Cameron Smith: Good, good, good vibrations but they’ll have to keep the tee ball on the planet.

Koepka Bros.: Gamers won’t have to worry since this is Act II.

Brian Stuard/Russell Knox: Lovely balance plus a course horse always gets my attention.

Abraham Ancer/Jhonattan Vegas: Top 30 or better in the last five for Vegas plus a very steady Ancer should work.

Lucas Glover/Chez Reavie: Each year inching closer…

Jason Kokrak/Chris Stroud: I’d pair Kokrak with anyone right now but the experience that Stroud brings on this track and format helps greatly for the first-timer.

I Have No Idea

Jason Dufner/Pat Perez: Perez is coming off an injury and Dufner is lost at sea. This might be the best tonic for both to kick-start their 2019. Or it could blow up spectacularly. It’s interesting regardless.

Form/Long Shots/Course Horse/DFS

C.T. Pan/Michael Kim: Kim is one of the few to cash in the previous two of these. Pan needs no introduction after last week.

David Hearn/Seamus Power: Always play the hot guy (Power) plus Hearn’s course form is excellent. T10 last year.

Kevin Streelman/Vaughn Taylor: Streelman’s heater is plenty.

Troy Merritt/Robert Streb: Another nice form/course combo with ham and eggs to boot.

Roberto Castro/Cameron Tringale: Jackets.

Matt Jones/J.J. Spaun: The Aussie checks both of the boxes will Spaun flashed to life for three rounds last week at Harbour Town before 73 to close.

Charley Hoffman/Nick Watney: Third year pairing and Hoffman loves this time of year. Watney is the question mark.

Purdue Crew: Tyler Duncan and Adam Schenk T7 on debut. There are worse options. Much worse.

Danny Lee/Sung Kang: Kang can get low while Lee will pepper GIR.

Patton Kizzire/Brian Harman: They’ll lead the field in putting if they ever find a GIR. Gulp.

Horned Frogs: Henry and Hoge sounds like a sandwich joint on a pier somewhere but these TCU alums have cashed T24 and T10 in two tries.

Julian Etulain/Andres Romero: Never underestimate the power of countrymen! Both have had success here as well.

Bud Cauley Section:

J.T. Poston/Stephan Jaeger: Poston has MC once in 2019 and flashed last week but his partner only has seven rounds in the 60’s.

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

 

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