PGA Tour Preview: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

Preview – PGA Tour – Zurich Classic of New Orleans – TPC Louisiana – Avondale, Louisiana —

The PGA Tour visits New Orleans this week for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana as the FedEx Cup race continues.

With the Top 3 in the FedEx Cup Standings (Jimmy Walker, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar) sitting out this week, there is an opportunity for players like Patrick Reed (4th in the standings), Matt Every (9th) and Kevin Stadler (12th) to gain ground.

This week’s field includes fan-favorite Rickie Fowler, coming off a T-5 at the Masters,  and U.S. Open champion Justin Rose – the top ranked player in the field at No. 11. Keegan Bradley, a former major champion, is also playing.

Stretching to 7,400 yards, this par-72 layout at TPC Louisiana requires players to mix a quality of iron shots with proficient scrambling skills.

A “second-shot” layout, TPC Louisiana has crowned a variety of different players in recent years including Billy Horschel last year, Jason Dufner (2012), Watson (2011), Jason Bohn (2010), Jerry Kelly (2009) and Andres Romero (2008). The Golf Channel has the early coverage with CBS Sports handling the leaders on the weekend.

Look for Par-3 Performance stats to play a factor this week. Stadler ranks best on the PGA Tour in birdie or better scoring on par-3s this season at a clip of 20 percent. He has 38 birdies in 47 rounds.

On the greens, Every leads the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained Putting.

2013 Recap:

  • Horschel (20-under) fired a 66-64 weekend to win the title by a shot over D.A. Points. Three shots back in third was Kyle Stanley. Bobby Gates and Lucas Glover were T-5.

FANTASY: Fowler is a nice pick here. He has three Top 6 finishes this season and is 3-for-3 in cuts made at TPC Louisiana. For an international pick, take John Senden. The Valspar Championship winner was T-8 at the Masters and has played into the weekend here in five of six tries. Freddie Jacobson comes in here with a string a solid finishes on the Florida Swing.

BETTORS: Rose (T-10 here in 2012) is the top-ranked player in the field and betting favorite at 12-to-1 odds at Look at Every (25-1) to contend. Making 11 of 13 cuts this year, Every already has a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. He was T-12 last week. Take Stadler at 40-1 for the value. He was seven off the leader here last year.

Other Golf News:

  • The European Tour returns to action this week at the Volvo China Open.  Jason Dufner, Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter are the headliners in the field. Stenson, at 7-1, is the betting favorite.
  • Michelle Wie, fresh off her victory in Hawaii, tees it up this week at the LPGA Tour’s Swinging Skirts near San Francisco. Wie is among the favorites behind Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park. Rolex Ranking No. 2 Suzann Pettersen is the field returning from a back injury.
  • Nicolas Colsaerts, a 20-1 pick this week in China, was T-2 last week in Malaysia.
  • Lewis leads the LPGA Tour with six Top 10s this season. In seven starts, she is still winless but ranks third in the Race to the CME Globe behind Karrie Webb and Wie.