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Zurich Classic of New Orleans Expert Picks

Picks for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, an obvious star being overlooked?

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Zurich Classic of New Orleans
When: April 28th - May 1st
Where: TPC Louisiana
2015 Winner: Justin Rose (-22)


The format of this will go: I will select golfers based on the Yahoo format. I will select one A golfer, 2 B golfers and 1 C golfer that I think will do well as well as one dark horse pick, this should space out the selections and provide a vast field to select from for anyone who is in a format where you are limited to 10 starts per year.

TPC Louisiana - Opened in 2004 by Pete Dye, this course was created in partnership with Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson. This course plays along the Mississippi River with challenging wetlands and a healthy amount of bunkers and water traps. The greens and fairways are both deviations of Bermuda grass which can be punishing among the rough. This course is a signature Pete Dye course with a complement of risky shots which can bolster a score. The bunkers are not especially hard but there are a lot of them, the fairways are generous so most accurate golfers will be rewarded if they can keep it in line.


A: 
Rickie Fowler -Here is how Rickie has fared after the last 10 cuts he's missed: 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 30th, MC, 9th, 13th, MC, 6th, 3rd. That is 6 top ten finishes, two 10-30 finishes and 2 missed cuts. He missed the cut at the Masters and took the last two weeks off. He does a great job of evolving his game and improving so giving the previous information, the fact that he's missed the cut the last two years here doesn't concern me as much. This is a sneaky good potential pick for this tournament. 

B: 
Jamie Donaldson - The 16 year vet out of Wales has yet to miss a cut this year. Additionally he has 3 consecutive top 25 finishes at Dell Match, Shell Houston and the Masters. He's taken two weeks off and is headed back to where his only appearance was a missed cut in 2015. I might regret this as his individual stats aren't the best but he's playing so well and has the experience to hit the greens from 100-200 yards out and he is a solid putter.

Cameron Tringale - History here: 2nd last year, 17th in 2014, Missed Cut in 2013, 7th in 2012. I would roll the dice on that track record alone (75% of the time he's a top 20 finisher).

C:
Smylie Kaufman - Part of this is picking the awesome name but most of it is his great play. The second year vet out of Louisiana State University made a name for himself at the Masters battling his way until faltering on Sunday with an 81. He took the last two weeks off and is back at it in his home territory where he knows the terrain well. He has 3 top 30 finishes in his last 4 tournaments and has a strong deep drive. Accuracy can struggle and Putting isn't his strongest part of his game but his game around the greens is very well. If he hits the Bermuda grass, he should rebound well.

Sleeper Pick:
Daniel Berger -
He has 3 top 12 finishes in his last 4 tournaments. He's 25th in driving distance so he could be rewarded with hitting some risky shots. He's 40th in going for the green which is where his success may lie. This might be riding the hot hand too far but he's playing very well right now. He's not the best scrambler but his putting game is strong. He finished 6th here last year.

Last tournament results - RBC Heritage (132 total) - Picks: Day, Snedeker, Kelly, Casey and Fitzpatrick 
A: 23rd place
B: 99th place; 45th place
C: 83rd place
Dark Horse: 83rd place

YTD Avg: (Average field of 126 people)
A: 40th place 
B: 36th place
C: 51stplace
Dark Horse: 47th place

Fun factoid about this tournament: KJ Choi won in 2002 becoming the first Korean born player to win on the PGA Tour.