Dean & Deluca Invitational: Count on Colt in Texas

Colt Knost looks ready to make the big breakthrough
Colt Knost looks ready to make the big breakthrough

Dave Tindall brings us his analysis and tips for this week's PGA Tour event - the Dean & Deluca Invitational at Colonial CC...


"Twelve months ago he really scored well on the par 70, shooting three 66s and only being undone by a Friday 73."

Main bet: Back Colt Knost @ 41.040/1

Each-way terms: ¼ odds, 5 places


Main Bet: Back Colt Knost e/w @ 40/1

This part of the PGA Tour is a pretty big deal for Colt Knost.

As a Texan, he's particularly keen to perform well in the back-to-back events at Byron Nelson and Colonial (or the Dean & Deluca Invitational as we should now call it). And he's been doing just that in recent years.

In 2015, Knost posted T10 in both and last week he added a fourth at the Byron Nelson after closing with a 65.

That followed his excellent third-place finish at Sawgrass, where he shot a second-round 63 (just as he did at the Byron Nelson).

Talking about his top three at the Players, Knost said: "It was a huge week for me, locked up my card, kind of gave me a little scope to relax a little bit the rest of the year even though I'm not going to just chill. I want to still push and try to get that first win out here.

"I've got so much confidence in what I'm doing. My game, it's great right now.

"If I can cut out a few little mistakes here and there I know I'll have a chance to win.

"Kind of want to keep carrying it over and give myself a good chance at Colonial next week."

He struggled at Colonial until last year but that was indicative of his struggles in general. Twelve months ago he really scored well on the par 70, shooting three 66s and only being undone by a Friday 73.

It should certainly suit him as, at a modest 7,204 yards, distance off the tee isn't crucial.

"It's no secret the strength of my game is not obviously overpowering golf courses so I have to make up for it in other areas," he said recently.

"I've always been a really good putter I feel, and ever since I brought on Gabe (former two-time Tour winner Garbriel Hjerstedt) I think my stats have improved quite a bit."

Well, he's currently 14th in Strokes Gained: Putting having been 29th last year so those words have validity while another standout stat is his second place in Driving Accuracy.

Much was expected from the Dallas-born 30-year-old when he won the 2004 U.S. Amateur and he did fail to make an impact for a lot of years.

But Knost is now fulfilling all that promise he had as an amateur and he recently moved to the glorious golfing facilities in Scottsdale to try and kick on further. "Just an experiment to see if I can take my game to the next level," he said.

It's working so far and, on recent form, the 40/1 could look a very nice price come Sunday evening.

Others a little bigger I considered were Bill Haas and Tony Finau at 50s.

Haas would be a price play. That's big for a six-time Tour winner, who has three top 25s (T21, T8, T13) here in his last four cracks and was runner-up at the Valspar and top 25 at Augusta National.

Finau, of course, won the Puerto Rico Open in March and was T19 on debut here last year.


Next Best: Back Kevin Chappell e/w @ 28/1

Kevin Chappell is turning himself into this year's Kevin Kisner.

In 2015, Kisner went from a player with obvious promise to a regular title contender. He finished runner-up three times before finally getting the job done in the RSM Classic.

Chappell is a couple of years younger but, apart from their shared first name, there are other obvious similarities.

Like Kisner, Chappell has blossomed and turned himself into a regular leaderboard presence via a run of three second places.

They came at the RSM (where he was runner-up to Kisner!), the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the recent Players Championship.

Two starts before Sawgrass he was also T4 at the Valero Texas Open which bodes well for his return to the Lone Star State.

Chappell will be playing at Colonial for the sixth time and his best two performances have come in the last two years. He was T10 in 2014 and T19 last year after a final-round 66 so he's certainly done enough at the course to suggest it's one where, in his current form, he could thrive.

In 2014, he was even on '59 watch' on Saturday before settling for a 63 and, as we saw again at Sawgrass when he had nine-hole stretches of 29 and 31, Chappell can get very hot.

The 29-year-old felt his short game held him back at Sawgrass and that was unexpected.

"I really didn't scramble that well this week, and I feel like that's been something I've leaned on this whole year," said the American.

"Just look at it as an anomaly, and got to get back to work and get at it again at Colonial. Got to scramble better to lift the trophy."

The 28/1 may put some off but I think it's fair on all exposed form.

Jordan Spieth, the 6/1 favourite, hasn't yet won in his Texas homeland and still looks as if the magic touch has left him for now so I'm not too keen to get with him at the moment.

The other players shorter than Chappell are Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Charley Hoffman, Zach Johnson and Chris Kirk.

Kirk, Scott and Johnson (twice) have won four of the last six between them so deserve plenty of respect but you pays your money and takes your choice and I think Chappell has the right mix of hunger and form to get my vote.


Best Outsider: Back Steve Marino e/w @ 150/1

I'll complete a hat-trick of players still knocking on the door for a first win by putting up Steve Marino at a massive 150/1.

The man from Florida had some excellent years on the PGA Tour and was tipped for great things given the obvious talent flowing out of him.

He comfortably kept his card after finishing 80th on the Money List on his rookie season in 2007 and climbed to 34th the following year.

In 2009, he took it on again when sharing the halfway lead at the 2009 Open Championship and also that season he lost a play-off at this week's course, Colonial.

In 2011 he added another pair of runners-up finishes and banked earnings of just under $2m but injury and loss of form then hampered him badly.

It was beginning to look like he was one of golf's what might have been stories but in March he came back into view again when making a play-off at the Puerto Rico Open. He lost out to Tony Finau, thus taking his tally of second places to five.

But there were obvious positives.

Reflecting on his last few years of struggle, Marino said at the Houston Open: "I kept a good head about me throughout that whole time and just tried to persevere and work through it, and I think I'm finally coming out on the other side.

There are two reasons why I think the 150/1 is way too big
Firstly, that second place in Puerto Rico may not have been a David Duval-type out-of-the-blue, one-week-only revival.

Marino did dip in the aftermath but he bounced back with a T12 at the Byron Nelson last week after shooting 69-64-66-70.

Secondly, Colonial has always been a good venue for him. As well as the 2009 play-off loss mentioned above, he was T10 in 2008 and also T16 in 2011 on the last occasion he played it.

Add in a fifth place in the Web.com's Greater Dallas Open last year (more evidence the Floridian often thrives in Texas) and he looks a dark horse worth backing at 150/1 here.

Another 150/1 shot with a similar profile is Chad Campbell.

Campbell also threatened to be an elite player once but hasn't trained on. And, like Marino, he's a former Colonial runner-up (2004), who was T12 in the Byron Nelson last week.


Dave's 2016 P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £610
Returned: £634.5
P/L: +£24.5

(After the AT&T Byron Nelson)

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