Expert Picks: 2015 Crowne Plaza Invitational


This week marks the 28th event of the 2014-15 PGA Tour season, as 132 players tee it up at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell; editorial director Jay Coffin; associate editor Will Gray; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; host Charlie Rymer and defending fantasy champion Ryan Lavner.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Jordan Spieth: Forget that missed cut at The Players. The world No. 2 has played well at Colonial in the past year (T-14 in 2014, T-7 in '13) and is still the game's best putter from 15 feet.

Group 2: Ryan Palmer: The next two weeks are home games for Palmer and his caddie, James Edmonson, is a former club champion at Colonial.

Group 3: Scott Brown: Have to like the way Brown is trending following solid finishes the last two weeks (T-13 at the Wells Fargo Championship and T-30 at The Players).

Group 4: Martin Flores: Although he struggled on the weekend at the Wells Fargo Championship, he's another Dallas-area staple and normally plays his best golf in the metroplex.

Will Gray

Group 1: Zach Johnson: It's a calculated risk to leave Spieth on the bench, but I'll go with Johnson, a two-time winner here who strung together five straight top-10 finishes from 2009-2013 and has five top-20s in his last six starts overall.

Group 2: Ryan Palmer: Palmer has seven top-25s in 11 starts this season and is a member at Colonial. He also is playing well, as evidenced by the course record-tying 61 he put up last week at Colonial in preparation for this event.

Group 3: John Peterson: Another Fort Worth resident, Peterson finished T-26 in his Colonial debut after opening with a 64. He has three top-20 finishes in his last four starts, including a T-20 at Quail Hollow.

Group 4: Bo Van Pelt: The veteran plays some of his best golf at Colonial, with four top-20 finishes in the last four years. He also showed signs of his former self with a T-9 finish at Harbour Town a few weeks back.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Zach Johnson: His track record (two wins) at Colonial is hard to beat despite last year's mediocre finish.

Group 2: Ryan Palmer: T-5s in two of his last three starts at Colonial. The venue should cycle his game back up again.

Group 3: Chris Stroud: T-14 or better in his last three starts at Colonial. After a slow start to the year, spring's warming up his game.

Group 4: Jim Herman: Playing this event for the first time, but this pick is off his recent form. Two top-10s so far this spring.