Fort Worth Invitational Tips: Reavie can claim Colonial crown
We're back to familiar territory again on the PGA Tour this week as Colonial Country Club hosts the Forth Worth Invitational. Dave Tindall picks out his three best bets...
"Reavie is third in Driving Accuracy, ninth in Par 4s, 13th in Scrambling and 21st in SG: Approach. In other words, he really does look an ideal fit."
Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 7 places
Main Bet: Back Chez Reavie each-way @ 80/1
Although some intelligent guesswork served punters well at Trinity Forest last week, many will be happy to grasp onto the familiarity of a regular PGA Tour stop.
And that's very much the case with tried and trusted Colonial Country Club in Texas.
A classic par 70 where Driving Distance is the least important stat to focus on, this is a venue where Mr Shorthitter can walk tall.
You'll find the odd long driver on the list of champions but it was other elements of their game that allowed Phil Mickelson and Adam Scott to win.
The run of Steve Stricker-Zach Johnson-David Toms-Zach Johnson on the winners' roll-call from 2009-2012 highlights the type of player to thrive here and Kevin Kisner definitely fitted the bill again last year.
One player who leaps out at the prices this time is Chez Reavie at 80/1.
This is a week where I'm looking at Par 4 Performance (there are two more to go at on this par 70) and, based on past winners, SG: Approach and Scrambling.
Reavie is third in Driving Accuracy, ninth in Par 4s, 13th in Scrambling and 21st in SG: Approach. In other words, he really does look an ideal fit.
It's no surprise to bring up his past course form and find a couple of good efforts on there - T5 (2011) and T11 (2013). In the former he opened with a 62 and in the latter he fired a Friday 64. Reavie also closed with a 66 last year when out of the running.
I was actually looking to back him last week given that the course was set to run fast and help short hitters but he was one of the half-dozen players who didn't commit on Monday. It's fair to say he just didn't quite fancy it and wanted to get ready for this week.
Reavie finished runner-up in back-to-back weeks in Phoenix and Pebble Beach earlier this year and, after a bit of a dip, made the cut at Augusta National for the first time in four tries, was T22 in the pairs format in New Orleans before closing with a pair of 69s for T30 in The Players Championship.
A winner on the PGA Tour back in 2008, it's been a long time between drinks but there's plenty of each-way juice in his 80/1.
The Scottsdale resident won't mind the hot temperatures that are forecast and I think Reavie can get involved on the front of the leaderboard.
Next Best: Back Matt Kuchar each-way @ 30/1
The usual deal with Matt Kuchar in events like these is to note him at 16/1 and then immediately rule him out on price grounds.
The presence of some big names in the field this week means he was always likely to be a bit bigger than that but I'm surprised to see 30/1 on offer for a player who is a standing dish in this event.
He's finished T26 or better in seven of his 10 visits which makes him a good fantasy pick but punters see those sort of results as frustrating and disappointing unless he has a few each-way payouts in amongst them.
Well, he has. In fact, two in his last four visits thanks to a second place in 2013 and a sixth in 2016. He was also tied 12th last year.
Beyond the usual reasons for backing him - great course form, suits his game - there's another element that makes the 30/1 interesting.
Kuchar missed the cut at the AT&T Byron Nelson last week despite a second-round 69 but made this rather barbed comment about the new course, Trinity Forest, after an opening 72: "I'm going to follow the lesson if you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all." Ooh, saucer of milk for Kooch's table.
The upshot, though, is that it's very easy to brush that weekend off away and instead focus on the promise he showed when T17 at Sawgrass the start before.
Kuchar has had plenty of nice things to say about Colonial down the years and this from 2016 is typical: "One of my favourite weeks here. Oh, the course is fantastic, one of the best of the year. It requires all shots, requires you to work the ball both ways. It's tight, it's tree-lined. If you hit it off line you can make some fun recovery shots, but driving the ball is just a crucial element of playing well here."
He's 17th in Par 4 Scoring Average this year, 32nd in Scrambling and 41st in SG: Putting. Those stats back up a Kuchar punt at 30s.
As for some of the other leading names, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler and Justin Rose can all win this on an 'on' week but I'm not rushing to back any of that trio given that they all like courses where you gain an advantage by thumping it long off the tee.
That isn't Colonial although Rahm's second place last year shows he can win anywhere if the other parts of his game are firing. Are they though? The 12/1 is short enough for me given his T63 at Sawgrass and modest recent Scrambling figures.
Final Bet: Back Chesson Hadley each-way @ 45/1
Kuchar, like many, is quick to point out the similarities between Colonial and Hilton Head so it may be worth perusing form from this year's RBC Heritage.
The name I like from the top 10 in that post-Masters event is Chesson Hadley.
The American has gained a reputation for performing well week in, week out and he's on another of his runs after T11 in the Players Championship made it six straight top 20s on the spin.
He's not always the straightest driver but Hadley is 4th in SG: Approach, 4th in Putting Average, 6th in Par 3 Scoring Average and 17th in Par 4 Scoring Average.
With a lack of wind forecast this week, we may see a low-scoring edition this time so it could be another asset that he's 9th in Birdie Average.
Hadley has a mixed record here with two missed cuts out of three but in 2015 he shot 67-66 on the weekend to make the top 25.
I also like the fact that he has good recent form on correlating courses - the T7 at Hilton Head (where he'd missed his two previous cuts incidentally, basically, he's just a better player now) and a top 25 in last year's John Deere Classic (fifth at halfway).
One added bonus is that he goes into this week on a real high after revealing on Twitter on Monday: "Received some great news last night that I qualified for the @usopengolf. So grateful for this opportunity. Certainly excited to play my first US Open at Shinnecock Hills!"
With an extra pep in his step, a first PGA Tour win doesn't look far away and this could be the week. Take the 45/1.
Further down the betting, Danny Lee looked rejuvenated at Sawgrass (T7) after a slump and he has course form at Colonial of 6-22-10 the last three years so could be interesting at 80s.
Chris Kirk won this in 2015 and his stats suggest another challenge. A T8 in Texas three starts ago suggests the 60s is a decent each-way price.
If Hilton Head is a good link, how about the two Asian stars who contested the play-off? Satoshi Kodaira is being written off at 150s while Soo Woo Kim is 80s.
I was also quite close to putting up Adam Scott at 30s. He's another former champion and is hitting it great but he's stretching our patience with his performance on the greens. If it's going to be more birdie-ridden than usual this week due to the lack of wind, that goes against him I think.
Dave's 2017/18 PGA Tour P/L (based on £5 ew per selection outrights, £10 win top 5s/10s)
(After the AT&T Byron Nelson)