Crowne Plaza 2013 Preview

By Michael McGill ( @MickSportsNews )

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The PGA Tour stays in Texas this week as we head over to Fort Worth for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at the Colonial Country Club.

The Course is a Par 70, 7204 yard layout with 84 sand bunkers and 3 water hazards. The tees, fairways and rough are Bermudagrass while the greens are Bentgrass.

The Purse this week is US$6,400,000 with the Winners share being US$1,152,000. When Ben Hogan won the first of his five titles here in 1946 at the first edition of this tournament his winnings were US$3000. He went on to win the following year as well as 1952, 1953 and 1959.

Some big names have won this tournament over the years like Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Ian Baker-Finch and Nick Price.

This years field sees another good line up of players who will be out to stake their claim for the title. To start with just look at the Top 5 guys in betting!

*Zach Johnson 14/1. Won here last year as well as 2010. Looking for his third Crowne Plaza title.

*Charl Schwartzel 14/1. Playing some great golf this year with four top 5 finishes around the world already this season.

*Matt Kuchar 22/1. The world number 13 is looking to hit some form after his victory at the WGC Match Play Championship.

*Jason Dufner 25/1. Looking to regain the form that saw him win twice last season. Finished 2nd here last year.

*Rickie Fowler 25/1. Was 5th here last year and needs to find some form after starting the season with two Top 10 finishes.

Then you can add Past Winners of the Crowne Plaza Invitational like David Toms, Rory Sabbatini, Tim Herron, Steve Flesch and Corey Pavin.

We also have ten current 2013 PGA Tour winners like Brian Gay, John Merrick, Kevin Streelman and last weeks winner Sang-Moon Bae.

Not to be outdone are a host of International Players like Martin Laird, Marc Leishman, Henrik Stenson, Fredrik Jacobson, Angel Cabrera, Brendon De Jonge and Carl Pettersson.

So what does it take to win at Colonial I here you ask? Experience!

Experience counts for a lot here and looking at the list of Past Winners you will notice they are all seasoned pro’s who have a wealth of experience to count upon. Names like Toms, Johnson, Stricker, Mickelson, Perry, Price,Watson. You get the idea.

There are a lot of doglegs to contend with so being able to shape the ball both ways will be a big advantage. Being accurate off the tee will allow for you to have a better chance of hitting the greens with your iron play. Good Ball strikers play well at Colonial.

This week I have two selections to follow. One main bet and one long shot selection.

Kevin Streelman 30/1

Kevin was one of my selections for the Players Championship and wow didn’t he do us proud at 100/1 to finish T2nd!

When you are playing great golf your confidence is sky high. Streelman started 2013 ranked number 222 in the world. After his win at the Tampa Bay Championship he rocketed up to number 74.

His last three outings have seen him finish T3rd RBC Heritage, T6th Wells Fargo Championship and T2nd The Players Championship. He is now ranked number 36 in the world! Those three starts alone have netted him US$1.2 million.

Confidence and career best form are a winning combination.

Streelman has had four starts at the Crowne Plaza Invitational with his best finish being a T10th in 2011.

His stats this year are perfect for this course. 22nd in driving accuracy, 23rd in greens in regulation, 19th in strokes gained putting, 7th in scoring average, 9th in ball striking and 28th in scrambling.

He may not be the same odds as he was when we tipped him at Sawgrass however the field is no where near the strength of that tournament.

This week he represents an excellent each way selection.

Roberto Castro 200/1

After finishing T13th at the 2011 PGA Tour qualifying tournament Roberto had his rookie season on the PGA Tour last year. He managed to make 19 cuts from his 27 starts which is a pretty good effort in any ones book for a rookie season. Five of those starts ended up as Top 25 finishes.

This seasons 15 starts have produced four Top 25’s with the highlights being T16th Phoenix Open and a T19th at The Players Championship in a star studded field.

Last year he finished T19th at the Crowne Plaza Invitational and is no doubt ready to finish higher up the leader board this year.

His stats this year also point to a positive outcome for this week. 16th in driving accuracy, 28th in greens in regulation and 25th in ball striking. All these stats are what past winners have ranked highly in over the years.

Roberto represents a pretty good longshot shout this week and should also be looked at in Top 10 and Top 20 markets.

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