The BMW PGA Championship may be taking place in Europe this week, but let's not forget about the PGA Tour. A strong field will tee off at the Colonial Country Club in Texas for the Crowne Plaza Invitational, where David Toms will defend his crown. Toms was in fine form leading into last year’s event, having just missed out at the Players Championship after a play-off with KJ Choi. Toms is once again in good nick, and on a track that rewards accuracy and a good putting stroke, it's no surprise to see him near the head of the betting at 25.00 or 6.00 for the place.
Ahead of Toms in the market are the fearsome and in-form foursome of Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler, Jason Dufner, and Zach Johnson. Johnson, the winner in 2010 with a tournament record of 21 under par, is understandably fancied. Dufner, who has picked up two titles this year, is priced at 17.00 for the win or 4.25 the place, as are Fowler and Kuchar, who also come off the back of recent tour wins.
The course - Colonial C.C
A course not too dissimilar to the recently played Harbour Town Links at Hilton Head, the Colonial Country Club demands accuracy off the tee and on approaches to small greens. Those who excel with the blade tend to go well due to the small and smooth green surfaces, all of which were renovated last year, as was the bunkering. Playing 7,204 yards long this year to a par of 70, winds are also expected to play a big part; gusts of 25-30mph are forecast for the first two days.
Three from the pack
Zach Johnson may be favourite for the event but at 15.00 is still very tempting given his current form and outstanding record on this course. Aside from his 2010 title, Zach finished 4th last year and secured a top ten finish in 2009. The American is ranked 8th in driving accuracy, 22nd in strokes gained putting and comes into the event off the back of two second-place finishes in his last three events. Johnson is also available at 4.00 for a place.
Jim Furyk is another who impressed at the recent RBC Heritage event. Ranked 3rd in driving accuracy and 13th in putting from 15-20ft – a vital stat this week – Furyk has a fabulous record both here and at Hilton Head. Hoping to add to his six top tens at Colonial, Furyk is back to the form that saw him win the 2010 Fedex Cup. After six top 30s in his last six events, including a playoff loss at the Transitions Championship, Furyk is trading at 30.00 for the win or 7.00 the top five with Unibet.
Another horse for this course is the resurgent Sergio Garcia. Winner at Colonial in 2001 and 16th last year after a long exile, Garcia is arguably the best player in the game from tee to green. Currently 32nd in ball striking and somewhat surprisingly a respectable 38th in strokes gained putting, a good week with the putter will likely see Garcia emerge as the man to beat. Sergio is 35.00 for the win or 8.00 to be placed.
Harris English is the rookie catching everyone's attention this year. He's just posted a -17 total in two rounds for open qualifying, blitzing the field. The self-confessed lover of tree-lined courses was leading the Players Championship after two rounds before an unfortunate clash involving his ball and a spectator's head led to a poor weekend. English is priced at 65.00 or for 14.00 for a place.