CMN Classic Picks

Daniel Chopra won the Ginn sur Mer last week, a tournament I didn't know how to pronounce until it started (I thought it was Ginn like gin).

The Red Sox won, too. I mention it only because of the following, from last week's piece: One of my picks this week, Daniel Chopra, is a stick-to-the-game-plan pick that Terry Francona would be proud of. I went on about how I've been picking Chopra a lot the last couple years, and asked at what point do you stop picking for potential, etc. Well, now that he's won, I might be picking him even more.

Here's why: he seems to earnestly want to win on Tour, not just make a great living --- he's already been doing that. On the telecast they mentioned that he's consulted Tiger on the art and science of winning, of closing tournaments. Tiger's a good person to ask. And Chopra's actions indicate he's got the stuffing to do it after all. He played a bit too cautiously Sunday before they called play due to darkness and ended up in a three-way tie going into the playoff Monday morning. It was nice to see him play a bit conservative with the lead (usually he gets whacky when he's near the lead on Sunday, too aggressive), but it cost him a shot or two. This is the kind of balance multi-winners know how to reach: when to hang back, when to seize the tournament. Chopra's not quite there. But then he comes back Monday morning, knowing that he has a birdie hole of his three left and the other two leaders have only two holes left, he knows that he's got a very good chance to win his first tournament if he birdies that 16th hole and pars in, and he goes out and does just that.

It wasn't Sunday at Augusta but I'm telling you, the guy can play. Big win, big experience for him. You'll want to keep an eye on Chopra next year.

Last week: You heard the good news. Another Fall Series outright win. There have been six tournaments so far in this season-ending series and I've won three of the outrights with Chad Campbell, Justin Leonard and now Chopra. Did I say how much I love the Fall Series??? So, Chopra won at 40-1 (1/6 of a unit wagered, per usual) for 6.6 units. The head-to-head never happened because Tim Clark didn't play last week. I double-checked his Web site. Would have been nice to know that before Thursday. They must have had the odds wrong on Tuesday when I usually write this piece, and fixed the error after I'd already posted. So, the plus 6.6 minus 2.7, which was the season tally (-2.7) going into the week, means I am now currently up 3.9 units. And that means that since I wager a unit and a half each week, I'm assured of a winning season. Not bad considering I was flirting in the minus 15-20 unit range for much of the year. Patience. Seems to work for Francona, no reason it can't work for me.

The only bad news is that the season ends this week, with the Children's Miracle Network Classic at Disney. This is the one with the Mickey Mouse sand trap. These are the guys who've won it since 2000: Duffy Waldorf, Jose Coceres, Bob Burns, Vijay Singh, Ryan Palmer, Lucas Glover and Joe Durant. Not exactly the cream of the crop, with the exception of Vijay. Singh isn't playing this week but, as of now anyway, Tim Clark is.

Take Tim Clark (20-1), 1/6 unit: As noted last week, he's gone T5, T7, T18 in his last three tournaments. And in those 12 rounds only three have been in the 70s. And he's rested after the week off.

Take Jeff Quinney (66-1), 1/6 unit: He started out the year playing excellent golf and he's ending the year playing very good golf. On the Chopra motif, Quinney was another guy I bet a lot, especially back in January and February when he was in the top-10 every week before slowing down. Getting a commercial may not have been the best thing for him. We'll have to see how he does next year because this rookie season is not enough of a sample. Nice game, though, and he appears to have the mental stuff to win.

Take Jesper Parnevik (50-1), 1/6 unit: Parnevik finished T9 at Disney last year. Tough to watch that playoff loss in the Texas Open. Except that he lost to my pick (Leonard). I was excited for the vet, though. I've always liked his style --- of the grip it and rip it variety --- even though he's always gotten more attention for his clothes than his approach and his success. I bet he's got one more in him.

In the head-to-head, take Quinney over Carl Pettersson (6-5), 1 unit: Pettersson had been playing well until he missed the cut last week. Quinney finished T16. He's got way more to prove than Pettersson.

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