Dean & Deluca Invitational: Punt Perez in Texas

Pat Perez looks sets for another big week
Pat Perez looks sets for another big week

Dave Tindall is back to preview this week's PGA Tour event, the Dean & Deluca Invitational in Texas...

"It's fair to say he likes playing in Texas as a whole as five of his last six starts in the Lone Star State have been top 20s."

Main Bet: Back Pat Perez @ 41.040/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Main Bet: Back Pat Perez e.w. @ 40/1

With four top 10s in his last seven starts at Colonial Country Club, Pat Perez most definitely belongs in any course specialists list being drawn up for this week's Dean & Deluca Invitational in Texas.

The stats show three in three appearances in 2007 (4th), 2008 (6th) and 2010 (10th) and fifth on his most recent visit in 2015 after closing with a 64.

It's fair to say he likes playing in Texas as a whole as five of his last six starts in the Lone Star State have been top 20s.

Being a strong performer in the wind is one obvious reason while it might add something that his dad and three brothers were all born in Texas and he has a big extended family there.

Specifically on this course, Colonial should test areas of the game where Perez possesses some strong stats.

With so many dog-legs, it's usually a case of hitting to spots (often clubbing down) and then showing your good stuff with approach shots to the small putting surfaces, skill around the green and putting.

Perez is a 48th for Green In Regulation, 13th in Strokes Gained: Around-The-Green and 32nd in Strokes Gained: Putting.

To quickly highlight how well he's playing right now, Perez sits in fifth place in the FedExCup rankings. Yep, that's ahead of Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Jason Day, Justin Rose and so on and so on.

As a latest thermometer check he was T17 at the Masters (best finish there), runner-up at the Wells Fargo and T22 at the Players Championship.

At Sawgrass, he posted a third-round 66 - his lowest ever 18 at the Pete Dye course - to sit in the top 10 with a round to go and all that despite admitting after his six-under lap: "It's a hard course. Doesn't fit my eye on almost any shot. There's not a shot out there that I'm comfortable hitting."

One reason for his excellent season so far - in includes a win, a second, a third and a fourth - is being dropped by Callaway and written off after injury.

Fuelled by that "I'll show you" attitude, Perez has climbed into the world's top 50 (currently 40th, his highest ever ranking) and he's playing the most consistent golf of his career.

"It's a hell of a motivator to come back after being on Tour that long and saying, you know what, I think the best is ahead of me," he said at Sawgrass. "And I'm really going to do my absolute all to prove everybody wrong and be successful."

He's doing a fine job of that so far and is well worth a punt here at 40/1 to have another big week and hopefully a winning one.

Next Best: Back Kevin Kisner e/w @ 30/1

Course form seems to count for plenty at Colonial.

Zach Johnson and Phil Mickelson are both two-time winners, Jordan Spieth was runner-up in 2015 before winning last year and 2015 champ Chris Kirk had a previous top five as well as making the top 15 the year before his win.

So I'm naturally drawn to Kevin Kisner, who has a T10 and a T5 in the last two years.

Kisner recovered from an over-par opener with 66-69-66 to sneak into the top 10 last year and in 2015 he posted three 67s and a 69 to finish just two shots behind winner Kirk.

The World No.45 hasn't has his best stuff in recent weeks after T56 at the Players Championship and a missed cut on the new course at Wells Fargo.

But before that he played a starring role alongside Scott Brown to reach a play-off at the Zurich Classic after holing out for eagle at the 72nd and wind back a little further and he was T11 at Hilton Head and runner-up at Bay Hill.

Kisner can have a pattern of peaks and troughs in his results and his second place at The Heritage in 2015 was on the back of a missed cut in Houston on his previous start. Go back further and his win in Chile in 2013 came after he'd had a string of five weekends off.

In short, the 33-year-old can suddenly click back into form and that's the hope this week.

His stats suggest this is a good place for another big Kisner performance. He's 22nd in Strokes Gained: Approach-The-Green this season and he seems to putt these small greens well. Last year he needed just 110 swishes of the short stick (8th) and in 2015 he took 112 putts (13th).

For his last nine rounds at the course, Kisner's scoring average is 67.78 and it all seems to make sense given that this is a test based on precision rather than brute force.

Kisner should be in his comfort zone this week and I expect him to bounce back to form with a bang.

The 30/1 is decent enough given the doubts over the market leaders.

Jordan Spieth has missed his last two cuts so something isn't quite right while Sergio Garcia is still oscillating between great rounds and poor ones as he takes in the enormity of his Masters win.

Jon Rahm's 82 in round three at Sawgrass was a little reminder that golf isn't easy and I'm not jumping up to back him at 12s at a venue where past course experience and a few veteran smarts seem important.

Final Bet: Back Sean O'Hair e/w @ 80/1

You can give chances to most of those around the 25/1 to 33/1 mark.

Paul Casey is playing some fine stuff this season and has a fifth here, Jason Dufner is a two-time runner-up at Colonial and Matt Kuchar has lots of good course form and is coming off a top 10.

Zach Johnson has won this twice, while Bud Cauley has current form of 5-5-10-9.

I can't quite settle on any though so I'll jump all the way down to 80/1 (was 100s, grrrrrr) and have a punt on Sean O'Hair.

He shot 67-69-68-68 to finish T5 in last week's AT&T Byron Nelson Championship so arrives full of confidence and his stats were particularly relevant to this week.

O'Hair was 1st in Scrambling, 1st in Sand Saves, 17th for Greens In Regulation and 8th for SG: Putting. He played just five holes over par last week and finished off with a bogey-free 68.

"Being from Texas and coming back home and playing in front of a few people I know, it's just comfortable and I think that helps me play better," he said last Sunday.

With form of 5-49-34-18-10 in his last five Texas starts, he clearly enjoys going back to his home State and, as you'd expect, part of the reason is that he knows he plays well in the wind.

Speaking at the Byron Nelson, he said: "It's actually kind of a more fun golf course I think in the wind. It's definitely a lot more challenging and I think the scores showed that yesterday.

"You know, be nice to have some windy conditions on the weekend. I kind of welcome that because I think it would benefit me more for sure."

The forecast this week is such that it should separate the men from the boys and O'Hair certainly has the skills to thrive when the trouser legs are flapping.

His past course form is patchy but he does have T16 and T18 to his name and T34 last year (ninth after round one) was okay too.

As well as last week's top five, he has three other top 11s this year and it's no surprise to see that two of those came in Hawaii (Sony) and Florida (Honda) where strong wind players come to the fore.

At a massive price, Chris Stroud is also worth a mention.

In his last five visits to Colonial, the American has finished outside the top 15 just once. Twice he's shot 64, the most recent in last year's third round.

Yes, he's been missing a fair few cuts but he shot a 69 in round two at the Byron Nelson, was T11 in the pairs event in New Orleans and took T8 in windy Puerto Rico.

He's 300/1 on the outrights and could be interesting at 25/1 for a top 10.

Dave's 2016/17 PGA Tour P/L (based on £5 e/w per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)

Staked: £780
Returned: £1619.06
P/L: +£869.06

(After the AT&T Byron Nelson)

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