Fantasy preview: Crowne Plaza Invitational

May 22, 2012
Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist

Unless you're gunning for private-league bragging rights or the Nike VR_S driver awarded to the top dog of the Spring Segment, Yahoo! gamers can get aggressive during the next two tournaments.

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Power Rankings
Rob Bolton breaks down Crowne Plaza field in this week's Power Rankings and provides five players who could surprise.

This week's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and next week's Memorial are invitationals with limited fields. Therefore, go ahead and take a chance or two as the cuts for both tournaments remain at low 70 and ties. Because of the smaller fields, a higher percentage of golfers will play the weekend.

Meanwhile, I went 2-3-0 in PGA TOUR Matchups on Facebook for the second consecutive week. With an overall record of 40-33-2, I have 86 points. Chris Stolle went 4-0-1 to double his lead over Frank (3-2-0) atop the overall standings, 114-110. Austin Frank sits in third with 106.

My picks for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial:

Rickie Fowler over Matt Kuchar Hunter Mahan over Jason Dufner • David Toms over Sergio Garcia • Bill Haas over Nick Watney • Bo Van Pelt over Kevin Na

Power Rankings Distribution for Yahoo! (rank)

Group A ... Zach Johnson (1); Jim Furyk (4); Matt Kuchar (9); Sergio Garcia (10); Kevin Na (11)

Group B ... David Toms (2); Bill Haas (3); Hunter Mahan (5); Bo Van Pelt (6); Rickie Fowler (8)

Group C ... Jason Dufner (7); Charlie Wi (12); Ben Crane (13); John Senden (14); Kevin Stadler (15)

Sleepers Distribution for Yahoo! (rank)

Group A ... none

Group B ... Kris Blanks; Kevin Streelman

Group C ... Jason Bohn; Harris English; Rod Pampling

On a Roll (Yahoo! Group)

Dicky Pride (B) ... First appearance at Colonial since his only previous start in 1995. En route to his solo second at last week's HP Byron Nelson Championship, he ranked inside the top 15 in fairways, greens and Strokes Gained-Putting. Remember, while he's eclipsed seven figures in earnings, he's stuck in the Past Champion category this season unless he wins. That directly impacts his schedule. However, with the majority of fields going 156 deep for the remainder of the regular season, he should play semi-regularly at worst.

Jonas Blixt (B) ... Arrives on the coattails of three consecutive career-best finishes, capped by a T3 at last week's Byron Nelson. He's meeting my long-range projection that I wrote earlier, but it's always nice when the golfers fulfill expectations. This week's test comes in the form of how he handles success. The rookie has all but locked up his 2013 PGA TOUR card, so the primary objective has been met.

Brian Davis (B) ... Finally cooling after a spurt of four top 15s in five starts, but he's not averse to playing multiple weeks in a row. Furthermore, as a runner-up at Colonial in 2010, his 18-under 262 is the fourth-lowest aggregate in tournament history.

Ken Duke (B) ... With a T7 at last week's Nelson, he extended his streak with at least one top 10 to four straight months. Colonial plays into his precision off the tee. His fearless putting style is also an asset. An excellent substitute in Yahoo! if you're saving starts, especially since he has a knack of going low.

David Mathis (C) ... Logged his second consecutive T15 last week. All five of his cuts made this year are top 25s, including four in his last five starts. The veteran is neutralizing shortcomings in his irons with red-hot putting.

Vijay Singh (C) ... Coming off his first top 10 of the year (T9, Byron Nelson) where he ranked second in greens in regulation. A fine option in Yahoo!'s Group C this week.

Ryan Moore (B) ... Usually fond of classic layouts, Colonial is one of if not -- the only -- of its kind where he hasn't contended, with no top 25s among three cuts made in five starts. Perhaps recent form will result in a career-best finish in Fort Worth. He's posted top 10s in three of his last five starts.

Horses for Courses (Yahoo! Group)

Tim Clark (B) ... It might (finally) be time to jump back on this horse. While he didn't overwhelm TPC Sawgrass two weeks ago, his T25 was his first top 25 since having elbow surgery nine months prior. Superb record at Colonial, with a pair of seconds, including a playoff loss in 2009.

Rob's Yahoo! lineup
Group A: Jim Furyk; Zach Johnson
Group B: Rickie Fowler; Bill Haas; David Toms; Bo Van Pelt
Group C: Jason Dufner; Harris English
YAHOO! STATS: 2,704 points; 31,153 place
SPRING: 897 points (43,301st)
ONE-AND-DONE: Zach Johnson
2012 EARNINGS: $2,459,720.00
DUFFER: Brendon Todd
2012 EARNINGS: $267,779.50

Bryce Molder (B) ... The tee-to-green specialist outdoes himself on the putting surfaces; he's third on TOUR in Strokes Gained-Putting. In his debut at Colonial in 2010, he led outright after 36 holes and shared the lead entering the final round before finishing T5. Since his sixth top 25 of 2012 in Houston, he's gone 1-for-3 with a T40 at THE PLAYERS. Colonial offers as good a fit as any for a return to form.

Rory Sabbatini (A) ... He's missed his last three cuts -- and eight in 11 starts -- but the South African is a former champion at Colonial (2007) and has four top 20s, including a T16 last year. However, it's apparent that he's still grinding through his swing modifications.

Jeff Overton (C) ... For a guy that annually ranks outside the top 110 in driving accuracy, it's a surprise that he's posted top 15s in two of his three trips to snug Colonial. One of the most frustrating owns on TOUR is best reserved for full-season formats.

Stewart Cink (B) ... This is your guy if you're in a survivor pool. He's 14-for-14 at Colonial with 10 top 25s, including in each of his last five appearances.

Brian Gay (C) ... Has missed just one cut in 12 appearances at Colonial and posted four top 15s. However, he's broken 70 just once in his last 30 rounds this season.

Corey Pavin (C) ... Notched his second of 15 PGA TOUR victories at Colonial in 1985. Won again in 1996. In 28 appearances, he's posted 15 top 25s and missed just four cuts. Won earlier this year on the Champions Tour and has logged three consecutive top 10s on that circuit entering this week.

Leaking Oil (Yahoo! Group)

Louis Oosthuizen (C) ... Since he punctuated a torrid run a few weeks ago with a victory in Malaysia, he's missed two cuts on the PGA TOUR. It's his first such 0-for-2 skid worldwide since late summer of 2010. The renowned ball-striker has battled his tee ball and irons the last two weeks. Consider that he split just one of 14 fairways in his opening round at TPC Four Seasons Resort. First-timer at Colonial.

Kyle Stanley (A) ... Zero top 50s among three cuts made in his last seven starts.

Colt Knost (C) ... After a solo third at the RBC Heritage, he's 1-for-5 with a T24 in New Orleans. Hasn't broken 72 in his last six rounds.

Chez Reavie (A) ... Missed his fourth consecutive cut last week. Perhaps Colonial will offer a salve as he's 3-for-3 with a T5 a year ago. Frankly, his season up until then was very similar to this year's start. Therefore, if you own him in a full-season format, there's reason to remain committed.

Scott Stallings (B) ... Five consecutive missed cuts. Hasn't broken par in his last 11 rounds.

Brendon Todd (C) ... Since posting his third top 15 of the year in Puerto Rico, he's missed seven consecutive cuts.

Chris DiMarco (C) ... In his last seven starts, he's survived two cuts and hasn't posted a top 60. Hasn't broken 73 in his last five rounds.

Edward Loar (C) ... Cracked the field at Colonial via a sponsor exemption. The Dallas resident is enduring typical rookie struggles, having missed seven of nine cuts including his last four. Currently 13th on the Nationwide Tour money list, however.

Danger (Yahoo! Group)

Nick Watney (A) ... His only top 30 in his last six starts was a solo eighth at Quail Hollow. In a nutshell, his putting has fallen dramatically. As a result, his birdie average of 3.48 is a career low in seven years on TOUR.

John Rollins (B) ... Something will give this week. He's recorded top 25s in his last three starts. And while he has 98 career top 25s on TOUR, he's strung together four in a row in a single season just once (when he had five straight in 2004). Meanwhile, he's missed six of nine cuts at Colonial where his only top 45 is a T24 five years ago.

Johnson Wagner (C) ... He's lost his early-season mojo, failing to post a top 25 in his last six starts. A good matchup for Colonial on paper, he's just 1-for-3 with a T46 in 2008.

Jonathan Byrd (C) ... Colonial has not agreed with the Ben Hogan worshipper. Byrd is 2-for-7 with one top 50 (T8, 2002). He's played very well of late, so don't outright dismiss him on course history alone.

Mark Wilson (B) ... Since winning the consolation match at the WGC-Match Play, he's made eight starts, posted one top 25 (T24, RBC Heritage) and missed three of his last four cuts. Look for a rebound this week as he keeps his ball in play, but temper your expectations.

Y.E. Yang (A) ... Even if weren't 0-for-3 at Colonial, he's an automatic fade based on a largely forgettable year after returning from a shoulder injury. He has just one top 25 in 10 stroke-play starts worldwide (T15, Ballantine's Championship).

Medic! (Yahoo! Group)

John Huh (C) ... An elbow injury bumped the rookie from last week's Byron Nelson after 30 holes. No further information about his health has surfaced since, but don't bet against him when ball-striking is at a premium, as it is at Colonial.

Paul Casey (C) ... Scheduled to compete at the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour. He withdrew midway through his opening round at THE PLAYERS with a shoulder injury.