After a week that most of the world’s best golfers took off, a good number of the elites are back in action this week at one of the PGA Tour’s longest-running tournaments, the Fort Worth Invitational. Historic Colonial Country Club takes center stage in the golf world, and is expected to provide yet another worthy challenge.
Here are the players we like most this week:
15. AARON WISE
If Marc Leishman had gone crazy last Sunday and passed Wise on the 72nd hole at the AT&T Byron Nelson, we would have Wise about 10 spots higher, but traditionally players struggle coming off a victory, especially a life-changing one, which, as the first of his career, this certainly qualifies.
It also does not help that this will be his first time at Colonial, a course that favors experience. All that being said, he did not just win at Trinity, he looked dominant, and he was runner-up at the Wells Fargo in his prior start.
Simply put: he is hot. Also, he looked extraordinarily comfortable with the lead and in the spotlight, so maybe he can buck the winner’s trend.
World Rank: 66th
Field Rank: 29th
Last Eight: 1, 2, MC, 32, 41, 68, 33
14. BRYSON DeCHAMBEAU
The 24-year-old tee-to-green wizard is in the midst of an exceptional season, and his last five starts include a runner-up, a T3, and a solo-fourth.
He’s been boom-or-bust since February, and missed the cut in his only two appearances at Colonial, but he is undoubtedly a shotmaker and is much better than the version of himself from his past few Fort Worth Invitational starts.
World Rank: 39th
Field Rank: 16th
Last Eight: 37, 4, 3, 38, 2, 41, 55, 5
13. DANNY LEE
Lee had been playing absolutely atrocious golf since the calendar flipped to 2018, with not as much as a top-50 coming into THE PLAYERS. However, something seemed to click for the talented Kiwi at TPC Sawgrass, who made the final pairing with Webb Simpson before fading to T7 after an average Sunday.
We have been waiting for his breakout and like him to keep the momentum on a course where he finished solo-6th, T22, and T10 over the last three years.
World Rank: 144th
Field Rank: 56th
Last Eight: 7, MC, 51, 55, 64, MC, MC, MC
12. RICKIE FOWLER
The missed cut at THE PLAYERS was a surprise for the world No. 6, given that he had finished solo runner-up at The Masters a month prior, but Fowler’s talent means he is deserving of consideration at any course.
He is hitting his fairways and his greens lately, and he had a T5 here in 2012. In his last Colonial start (2014), he shot 80-75 and missed the cut by an embarrassing amount, but we would be shocked to see anything resembling that version of Rickie here.
World Rank: 6th
Field Rank: 4th
Last Eight: MC, 21, 2, 43, 14, 37, MC, 11
11. PATRICK CANTLAY
After a tough go at The Masters, where he missed his first cut in years, Cantlay has reached at least 9-under par in his last three tournaments, with two of those ending in T7s.
At sixth on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, he is a great fit for the course, and he would likely be much higher on this list if it wasn’t his Colonial debut.
World Rank: 35th
Field Rank: 14th
Last Eight: 23, 7, 7, MC, 17, 30, 4, 35
10. BROOKS KOEPKA
Like Cantlay, the fact that Koepka is making his event debut prevents him from ranking higher, but the rust from his recent four-month injury layoff seems to have been emphatically knocked off, as his last round was a tournament low 62 at TPC Sawgrass, which rocketed him up 52 spots on the final leaderboard.
The reigning U.S. Open champ was second in the PLAYERS field in scrambling, and T6 in strokes gained: off-the-tee, which are excellent signs in regards to his chances in Fort Worth.
World Rank: 11th
Field Rank: 5th
Last Eight: 11, 42, 34, 18, 1, 2, 6, 12
9. JASON DUFNER
Dufner is a shotmaker at a shotmaker’s course and has looked good over the past month, finishing solo-second teamed with a slumping Pat Perez at the Zurich Classic, and posting a T5 at THE PLAYERS that included a 66-68 weekend.
In addition to strong recent form, Dufner has played Colonial well in the past, finishing runner-up in the 2012 and 2014 editions, and going T6 in 2016.
World Rank: 51st
Field Rank: 20th
Last Eight: 5, 42, MC, MC, 64, 17, MC, 55
8. JIMMY WALKER
Few players are in better form right now than the suddenly resurgent Jimmy Walker, who in his last three individual-event starts has finished T6, T2, 4 respectively, reaching -12 or better in all three.
The main concern for the Texan, who has played well in Texas, is that he will be making his third-consecutive start and has struggled with energy levels over the past two years.
Aside from his driver, everything is clicking for him right now though, so he is probably worth the gamble.
World Rank: 54th
Field Rank: 22nd
Last Eight: 6, 2, 4, 20, 73, 28, 33, MC
7. XANDER SCHAUFFELE
The reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year busted out of a two-month slump in a big way in his last start, going T2 at THE PLAYERS Championship.
At TPC Sawgrass, Schauffele was unbelievable around the greens, and led the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green. He is known as a bomber, but we think his stellar iron game will benefit him greatly at Colonial.
This will be his second start in the event, finishing T48 last year after a consistent week where he had three 71s and a 70.
World Rank: 23rd
Field Rank: 8th
Last Eight: 2, 72, 73, 32, 50, 17, 18, 9
6. ADAM SCOTT
A sense of urgency seems to have set in for the former World No. 1, who has emerged from a two-year funk with a T9 and a T11 in his last two starts.
Undoubtedly, one tremendous source of motivation for Scott has been that he is currently on the outside looking in for a position at the U.S. Open, which he has played in each of since 2002, and he has qualified for each of the past 68 majors.
Currently at No. 61 in the world, the Aussie needs to sneak into the top 60 over his next two starts, which is certainly doable given his tee-to-green game. His putter is still a problem, but he has shown some positive signs since going back to his long-putter, which he is attempting to work without anchoring.
Also helping his chances is the fact that he is a former Colonial winner, taking the 2014 title.
World Rank: 61st
Field Rank: 25th
Last Eight: 9, 11, 76, MC, 32, 41, 16, 13
5. CHESSON HADLEY
The 30-year-old Hadley is making the most of his return to the PGA, and has played exceptionally consistent golf as of late, finishing inside the top 20 of his last five starts.
His iron game is especially hot, as he ranks fourth on Tour in strokes gained: approach-the-green, and in his last start (THE PLAYERS) he ranked fourth in strokes gained: putting. He looks very close to adding his first win since 2014, and has not looked overmatched anywhere.
World Rank: 60th
Field Rank: 24th
Last Eight: 11, 16, 20, 7, 18, 49, MC, MC
4. WEBB SIMPSON
The last time we saw Webb Simpson, he was making a mockery of an elite PLAYERS Championship field, transmuting a seven-stroke 54-hole lead into a four-stroke romp.
The TPC Sawgrass triumph was his first victory in nearly five years, and was the culmination of a great deal of hard work since the ban on anchored putters forced him to remake his stroke.
In addition to blazing recent form, he has played Colonial extremely well, taking the 54-hole lead last year before dropping to T5, and finishing T3 the year prior. If he is not too distracted from his PLAYERS accolades, nobody in the field has a better coming together of course history and recent form.
World Rank: 20th
Field Rank: 6th
Last Eight: 1, 21, 5, 20, 29, 8, 37, 5
3. JORDAN SPIETH
In his past three Colonial starts, Spieth has a 2016 victory sandwiched between a pair of runner-ups. Clearly, he has an affinity for this course, and that mastery put him among the favorites this week.
Spieth disappointed badly last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson, finishing an underwhelming T21 at a new course where is a member and was far-and-away the best player in the field.
Again, it was the flatstick that did Spieth in, something that has plagued him all season. If he can reign back the putting yips at least a little bit, like he did in two recent T3s, including one at The Masters, he has enough control over the rest of his game to make this event ugly.
World Rank: 3rd
Field Rank: 1st
Last Eight: 21, 41, 3, 3, 17, MC, 14, 9
2. JUSTIN ROSE
While he has not played Colonial since 2010, Justin Rose is as solid as they come, with seven top 25s in nine PGA events among a stellar international resume.
Rose’s short game is as good as ever, and he has not finished above par in a tournament since last August. He might be the safest bet in this year’s Fort Worth Invitational field.
World Rank: 5th
Field Rank: 3rd
Last Eight: 23, 12, 52, 3, 5, 37, 8, 22
1. JON RAHM
Rahm’s star shined bright in his Colonial debut last year, finishing T2 and being just a missed 12-footer on 18 from forcing a playoff. A disastrous third round tanked a PLAYERS Championship that had been going well, but in his prior two individual events, he had posted a win at the Open de Espana on the European Tour, and a solo-fourth at The Masters.
Even in what has been considered something of a down year, Rahm leads the Tour in birdie average and is second in strokes gained: off-the-tee.
The World No. 4 is going to win again on the PGA Tour soon, and think that win comes this week.
World Rank: 4th
Field Rank: 2nd
Last Eight: 63, 1, 4, 52, 20, 26, 11, 29