- 2018 – Justin Rose (-20)
- 2017 – Kevin Kisner (-10)
- 2016 – Jordan Spieth (-17)
- 2015 – Chris Kirk (-12)
- 2014 – Adam Scott (-9)
- 2013 – Book Weekley (-14)
All of these golfers are widely considered very accurate and precise iron players, and only Boo Weekly ranked outside the Top 100 in Strokes Gained – Putting on the PGA Tour in the year he won. These characteristics match what has driven scoring on leaderboards at Colonial since 2010. A higher proportion of a player’s score is driven by their putting and approach shots than on average on the PGA Tour.
Therefore, those who should be under consideration for a futures bet to win at Colonial are exactly those types of players – golfers who typically are regarded as those with a strong command on their irons and putters.
Here’s who I like this week (with odds courtesy of mybookie.ag).
Jordan Spieth – 14/1: Before we go any further, it needs to be pointed out that, statistically, the ball-striking for Jordan Spieth still isn’t there. He gained over 10 shots on the field with his putting and only gained two shots on the field tee-to-green on the way to a 3rd place finish at the PGA Championship. Over his last eight ShotLink measured events he’s lost 0.65 shots per round Tee-to-Green on the field, which is a far, far cry to the strong ballstriking numbers he showed in both 2015 and 2017.
But just going on the eye-test, he looks like he’s in a much better place than he was a few months ago. When I watched him for most of this year, he looked visibly uncomfortable almost everywhere on the golf course, whether he was staring at his ball on the tee, or in a bunker, or standing over a 6 foot putt. But at a golf course that was supposed to be uncomfortable for him, Spieth looked relaxed at Bethpage Black at least appeared to be striking the ball well all week, even if the stats don’t bear that out.
Spieth’s confidence and form seems to be peaking ahead of a major venue he’s probably had circled on the calendar for 3 years. If his ball-striking continues to improve and his red hot putter remains, it’s possible this weekend caps the return of the Jordan Spieth we all know.
Francesco Molinari – 16/1: Molinari was not very good at Bethpage Black last week, and it’s not a surprise. The golf course just didn’t set up well for him despite the stigma that accuracy would be paramount there. With his low ball flight, he didn’t stand much of a chance hitting tee shots that didn’t roll out in the fairways or sticking it close on elevated greens.
Despite all of this, he still gained over 1.7 shots per round on the field tee-to-green last week, which really surprised me when I went back and looked at everyone’s stats for the weekend. It was his putter that let him down for the week, not the big ball park of Bethpage Black.
This week, Molinari’s game tee-to-green should better suit his game. Colonial isn’t a driver heavy golf course, meaning he won’t be lagging behind his competitors off the tee as much. It’s also one that demands precise iron play, something that Molinari has been excellent at for well over a year now. And while his cold putting is a concern, the greens at Colonial are similar to that of Bay Hill and Augusta, which were some of his strongest putting weeks this year. If he fares better with the flatstick, there’s no reason why his second win of the season is out of reach.
Kevin Kisner – 35/1: Kisner put up some downright ugly numbers at Bethpage Black last week, which again isn’t that much of a surprise. On the week, Kisner lost almost four strokes to the field tee-to-green at the PGA Championship, and if he never visits Bethpage Black again I’m sure he won’t lose any sleep.
The 2017 winner of The Colonial now returns to his style of golf – one that doesn’t require 300+ yard drives and demands precision with the irons and the putter. Before the PGA Championship, Kisner had averaged over a stroke gained tee-to-green in his last four ShotLink measured tournaments, and the majority of that was on the strength of his approach shots. I sense not only a better showing at Colonial but possibly another plaid jacket in his closet by the end of the weekend.
Brandt Snedeker – 60/1: Snedeker was mentioned briefly in the DFS column, but I feel he’s trending up nicely ahead of a golf course that should bring out the best in him. Over his last four ShotLink measured events he’s averaged over 1.3 shots gained tee-to-green on the field, and he’s always been considered one of the best with his irons and the putter in his career.
Snedeker should not have played well at Bethpage Black, but he held his own quite nicely. That should be a nice confidence boost for him ahead of Colonial, where he is a former runner up back in 2015. Like Spieth, Snedeker is another golfer looking to add momentum ahead of a U.S. Open venue he’s had past success at. Expect him to be firing on all cylinders at Colonial this weekend.
Joel Dahmen – 66/1: Dahmen had two pretty good rounds, one so-so round and one awful round when he was caught up in the worst weather of the weekend at the PGA Championship. That ruined what had been a fairly good showing for him at Bethpage Black. Before last week, Dahmen was riding hot with good ball-striking performances at the Players Championship, the Wells Fargo and the Valspar. He also started to putt much better than he had in 2019, which helped him finish 2nd at Quail Hollow. If he can recapture some of that magic he had with the flatstick before the PGA Championship, then the rest of his game could help him to his first PGA Tour victory.
Matchups and Props
Rickie Fowler Top 10 – +162: Fowler played a lot better at Bethpage Black than his finished suggested, as he was caught smack dab in the worst weather conditions of the weekend and dropped like a rock down the leaderboard on Sunday. For most of the tournament, however, he performed exactly how I thought he would – good command with his ballstriking and putting over the first 54 holes. The weather will be quite friendlier for Rickie this weekend, and a solid Top 10 finish is well in his reach.
Jim Furyk -145 over Jhonattan Vegas: The reasons for why Furyk should fare well at Colonial was contained in the DFS column this week. As for Vegas, Colonial just isn’t a good golf course for him. While he ranks 29th on the year in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green, all of that is attributed to his performance off the tee and around the greens – skills not quite as important historically at Colonial. He also has not struck his irons or putted well at all this year, and there is little evidence any of that is trending up. Furyk should best him one-on-one at Colonial.
Kevin Kisner +1.5 Shots over Bryson DeChambeau (-105): The reasons to expect Kisner to play well at Colonial are listed above. As for Bryson, he’s firmly fixed in a slump. He’s both putting and hitting his irons very poorly over his last four ShotLink measured tournaments, and there is little indication that’s ready to turn around anytime soon. He also spent half the PGA Championship complaining about the setup of Bethpage Black, and given several temper tantrums both on and off the golf course over the last few months he doesn’t seem like he’s in a good place overall. Kisner getting strokes from Bryson at close to even odds is a very good proposition this weekend.