Expert Picks: Chitimacha Louisiana Open

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March 22, 2010
PGA TOUR staff
PGATOUR.COM will have expert picks and sleepers for each Nationwide Tour event this year. Our experts -- Nationwide Tour producer Nick Zaccardi and Nationwide Tour Insider John Dell -- will each choose two players they consider favorites that week and a sleeper pick (a player who is not inside "THE 25"). Here are their selections for this week's Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
Dell's picks Zaccardi's picks
Steve Pate. It's been said when younger players get that first taste of victory it can sometimes steamroll to bigger things down the road. The same can be said for the older guys. Pate, 48, who became the oldest player in the 21-year history of the Nationwide Tour to win at the Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open, can certainly do it again. If he can continue to make those three and four-footers he could contend again.
Kevin Chappell. I am a big believer in taking the young phenoms over the notable veterans. So while Steve Pate and Fran Quinn have picked up wins this year, I really think the Nationwide Tour is for up-and-comers like Chappell to succeed. In time, we should see the average winner's age drop down this year. It could start this week with the 2008 NCAA golfer of the year at UCLA who has three top-20s in four starts this season.
Fran Quinn. I'm going with another veteran player. Quinn has played mostly on the PGA TOUR this season, but the one time he played on the Nationwide Tour, he won. On the PGA TOUR this season he has made one cut with a T23 at the Mayakoba Golf Classic. He also has four career Nationwide wins. Quinn, 45, tied for 36th last season in the Chitimacha Louisiana Open.
Tag Ridings. At 35 years old, he's stretching my "young guy" strategy a bit, but you can't argue with the big hitter's consistency. He's eighth in "THE 25" standings, having played four events, making four cuts with four top-40 finishes (including two top-fours). It's slightly concerning that Ridings missed the cut here last year, but he's obviously in much better form in 2010.
Dell's sleeper Zaccardi's sleeper
Bubba Dickerson. As defending champion, he should at least feel more comfortable than he's been so far this season. Dickerson heads into this tournament having missed three cuts and withdrawn from the Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open. Dickerson, a former star at Florida, was 36th on the money list last season and is too talented to stay down too long. If there's a time to get his season going in the right direction this is the week to do it.
Jonas Blixt. He's a Swedish Seminole, a two-time All-American at Florida State. I saw Blixt win his first collegiate tournament five years ago, in Gainesville at the Gator Invitational of all places. But let's fast forward. He tied for ninth in Panama this year and posted his best 2009 result at Chitimacha, a tie for third. The only reason he's well outside "THE 25" is because he's only played two events.
Standings after Week 2
John Dell cut into Nick Zaccardi's lead more this week thanks to his sleeper pick, Manuel Villegas, at the Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open Presented by Samsung:
Pos. Expert Wins Top 5s Top 10s Top 25s Money earned
1 Nick Zaccardi
Nationwide Tour Producer
- 2 2 2 $132,713.75
2 John Dell
Nationwide Tour Insider
- - 2 4 $58,652.33

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