Crowne Plaza Invitational board

Crowne Plaza Invitational 2013 Preview

Following the shock victory of Sang-Moon Bae in the HP Byron Nelson Championship, the PGA Tour moves on to at Colonial Country Club for the Crowne Plaza Invitational. Colonial’s combination of tight fairways and doglegs does not suit every player but much of the attention this year will be on whether Zach Johnson can make it three wins in four years in the event.

Last year, Johnson defeated Jason Dufner by three strokes but suffered a two-stroke penalty on the final green for failing to replace his ball at the proper mark after moving it out of Dufner’s line. Fortunately this error did not cost him the title after he had outplayed Dufner over the final eighteen holes. His error was spotted by CBS reporter Peter Kostis and news reached Johnson before he had signed his scorecard, thus avoiding disqualification.

Dufner was seeking back-to-back tour wins after winning the HP Byron Nelson a week earlier. His game fell away in round four, hitting just 3 of 14 fairways having made 30 of 42 in the opening three rounds. Johnson and Dufner are among eight players ranked in the top thirty that are scheduled to start this week. Johnson holds the 72-hole record at 259 set in 2010 but has suffered from some wayward driving this season and is difficult to support with any confidence.

Louis Oosthuizen at eight and Matt Kuchar (12) are the highest ranked players in the tournament, although Oosthuizen withdrew from the Byron Nelson last week after three rounds with a neck injury. Charl Shwartzel (15) signalled a return to form with a third-place finish at that event including an opening round of 63. That has not gone unnoticed by the bookmakers but he is worth keeping on our side.

A player approaching his best form is John Huh who finished tied for eighth last week and was a creditable tied fifth here 12 months ago. That was a season’s best for last year’s Rookie of the Year and better can be expected. The Players’ Championship offers the best quality recent form guide and you have to consider Henrik Stenson a leading contender this week on the back of his excellent tied fifth finish at Sawgrass. Ryan Palmer is another who played well that week and showed that he can play well at Colonial with a top ten finish 12 months ago.

Stats: The last four leaders going into the final round have been beaten in this event. Prior to that, the 54-hole leader had gone on to win seven times in a row. Matt Kuchar has never missed the cut at Colonial in six visits.

Charl Shwartzel 133/10 Betfair
Henrik Stenson 29-1 Betfair
John Huh 56-1 Betfair
Ryan Palmer 47-1 Betfair