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Dean and Deluca Invitational: Expert Picks

Jason Dufner has a combination of made cuts and a history of success here.

Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

What: Dean and Deluca Invitational
When: May 25th-28th
Where: Colonial Country Club
2016 Winner: Jordan Spieth (-17)
Purse: $6.9MM ($1.2MM to winner)

Fun fact if you haven't already seen it promoted ad nauseam, this tournament will serve as the broadcasting debut for Tony Romo .

Course: Colonial Country Club -€” Opened in 1936 by John Bredemus and Perry Maxwell, this 7,209 yard par 70 course runs along the Trinity River. The course is long with some well-placed bunkers around the greens but by and large it is fairly flat with some generous fairways. Importance is placed on solid drive distances and good approaches to the green.

A.
Marc Leishman. The Australian native has done in his best in 2017 to put himself in contention for the FedEx Cup. He is currently in 14th place flying efficiently below the radar amidst nothing flashy in terms of shots gained in driving, iron shots or putting.  His last 6 tournaments this season: 13th, Missed Cut, 44th, 43rd, 9th and 1st. His last 3 years at the Dean and Deluca Invitational 2016 -€” 13th; 2015 -€” 27th; 2014 -€” 21st. He has not missed a cut here.

B:
Adam Hadwin. Jordan Spieth is the logical pick but he is tough to get a read on this season, he's zigging when he normally zags. Adam is obviously having a great season with 15 consecutive cuts made and 6 top 15 finishes over those 15 starts he is currently 6th in FedEx Cup rankings. He excels in approaching the green where he's 18th in strokes gained on tour. In addition to all of this, he's strong at Colonia Country Club where he has  22nd last year and 5th in 2015.

Matt Kuchar. Looking at his 2017 season is quite interesting, let's just review his last 6 tournaments: 9th, 82nd, 40th, 11th, 4th and a Missed Cut. That could be viewed a lot of different ways. He has finished in the top 15 in half of these tournaments, he's also finished worse than 75th in 33% of these tournaments. I'm selecting Matt because of his great track record here: 2016 -€” 6th; 2014 -€” Missed Cut; 2013 -€” 2nd; 2012 -€” 26th. In the words of Thorny in Super Troopers a la the Missed Cut "That little guy? I wouldn't worry about that little guy."

C.
Jason Dufner. Doing his best ‘Dufnering' impersonation, Jason sits among the C-Golfers due to poor performances last season but just when you ignore him, he comes through to surprise you. He has made 11 consecutive cuts this season, finishing in the top 15 in six of those 11 tournaments. Among five starts here, he has not missed any cuts and has placed in the top ten 60% of the time. Furthermore he has placed in the top three 40% of the times he has played this tournament!

Dark Horse:
Chris Kirk. The 10 year veteran out of the University of Georgia is not having a great season. He has missed the cut in half his starts and the other half are largely finishes above 30. With all of that said, he finished 12th at the Players Championship and has never missed a cut in 5 appearances at this tournament. I don't think this tournament really means much in his 2017 struggles but I think it will be a reprieve of familiarity for him.

Current Stats on picks so far this season:
A Golfers: Avg finish 40th (30th percentile)
B Golfers: Avg finish: 50th (39th percentile)
C Golfers: Avg finish: 50th (39th percentile)
Sleepers: Avg finish 50th (39th percentile)