It’s not the strongest field ever to assemble for a PGA Tour event this weekend but there will be plenty of talent on show in New Orleans for the Zurich Classic.
156 players head to TPC Louisiana including last year’s champion Billy Horschel who shot a course-record 20 under par 268 on his way to the title. Keep reading for our preview of this weekend’s event.
Course favours those players good at hitting fairways
The overall yardage at TPC Louisiana hasn’t changed since 2012 and it was last year’s seventh easiest par 72 of the season. The field averaged 70.75 and a massive 20 under par was the winning score.
As with the RBC Heritage last week, it’s worth looking for players with good GIR stats. Horschel missed just 13 GIR last year on his way to the title and a good par-4 scoring record is also important on this course.
Justin Rose is the 12/1 favourite for this weekend’s event after some good recent performances and thanks to his excellent record at TPC Louisiana. Rose has shot seven consecutive under par rounds at this event, finishing T10 in 2012 and T15 in 2013.
Coming off the back of a T14 at the Masters and a T8 at the Valspar Championship, Rose is a worthy favourite.
If the good Rickie Fowler turns up in New Orleans this weekend then he could make his odds of 19/1 look very long, very quickly. When Fowler has been good this season he has been very good – consider his T5 at the Masters and 6th place at the Shell Houston Open – but when he’s been bad he’s been pretty bad, also missing four cuts.
He shot a 67 at TPC Louisiana in this event last year on his way to a T32 finish and a 65 in 2012 when he finished T10. If he’s on form then he could certainly be one to watch – but it may all depend which player turns up.
It may also be worth keeping an eye on the course record holder Ryan Palmer. Palmer has two second place finishes on the Tour this year and has had a couple of weeks off to help a hip injury to recover. T7 last time out, Palmer has ten par or better rounds in a row at TPC Louisiana including a 64 on his way to a T4 finish in 2012. We like Palmer’s chances here at 25/1.
Some outsiders to consider
We’ve been talking up Graham DeLaet’s chances of winning his first Tour event over recent weeks and the Canadian has rewarded us with seven top 20 finishes this season. DeLaet ranks 3rd in the Tour’s GIR statistics which is important on this course.
He shot 16 under par when finishing T4 at the Zurich in 2012 and has the right sort of game for TPC Louisiana. Surely he’ll win an event sooner rather than later and we fancy his chances at 25/1.
It’s not been a year when JB Holmes has set the Tour on fire but the 31 year old has been posting improved results of late, including top 18 finishes in three of his last four events.
Injury kept Holmes out of this event last year but he finished T13 in 2012 and could go very well here at 50/1.
One alternative bet to consider is the ‘winning margin’. Since 2003, five editions of the Zurich have been won by 1 shot with four more going to a play-off.
It’s invariably a tight finish at this tournament (the biggest margin of victory since 2003 has been 3 shots) and so backing a winning margin of one shot at 9/4 or a play-off at 5/2 could be a smart call.
Check out all our pre-tournament odds on the 2014 Zurich Classic of New Orleans over at our main site now!