2012 Zurich Classic Free Picks
AVONDALE, LA (ATS Consultants) - The PGA Tour is in Louisiana this week for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. The defending champ is Bubba Watson, who makes his first appearance since winning the US Masters three weeks ago.
This is one of the of the oldest events on the PGA Tour, which was first contested in 1939. Watson won last year’s tournament in a playoff against Webb Simpson. The left-hander took the title at the second extra hole. The TPC Louisiana course, which was altered in 2005, is where precision is essential.
The greens are relatively large but they are undulating and it's vital to leave yourself on the right side of the flag. This week offers one of the largest prize funds of any regular season PGA Tour event. With $1,152,000 going to the winner, it's a great chance to climb the money list. There's a strong British contingent in this tournament, Luke Donald will tee it up as will Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Brian Davis and Russell Knox of Scotland.
Simpson lost in a playoff last year to Watson. He had a one-stroke penalty on the 15th hole last year on Sunday when his ball was moved. Since then the rule has been changed unfortunately for Simpson. The 26-year old ranks 14th in the world and has a scoring average of 70.41. He has made the cut in every event he’s participated in (all 9). His best finish on the this year was a T3rd at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He ranks 32nd in Money Leaders on the PGA Tour and last season broke through with two wins.
Dufner has yet to win this year but is getting closer to his first-ever PGA victory. He had a P2 finish in the Phoenix Open where he lost out to Mark Wilson then later in the season had another P2 finish after losing to Keegan Bradley in the PGA Championship. Last season, he made 23 starts and made 15 cuts with 6 Top 10’s. This season he started out with a missed cut in the Sony Open before going on to make his next 9 cuts which include T12th in the Humana Challenge and T8th in the Phoenix Open. Dufner ranks 8th in Total Driving, 8th in all round ranking, 13th in Driving Accuracy, 13th in Ball Striking, 10th in Par 5 Performance, 25th in Birdie Average, 20th in Scoring Average and 32nd in Greens in Regulation. In New Orleans, he was T3rd here last year finishing 2 shots back from Watson, T7th in 2010 and T9th in 2009.
The rookie has a top-10 finish at the RBC Heritage and four other top-25 finishes this season. The 22-year old who attended the University of Georgia, ranks 63rd in the money leaders on the PGA Tour. The 6-foot-3 English ranks 9th in driving distance at 301.2 and is second in total birdies. He ranks 53rd in the FedExCup rankings and has a scoring average of 70.75