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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

My "5 to Watch" at the SENIOR PLAYERS

We've got two majors this week, so let's get to it with the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS on the Champions Tour.

Defending champion Scott McCarron

The event is being played at Exmoor Country Club near Chicago, and the defending champion is Scott McCarron. I should note that Bernhard Langer won the three editions of the event before that (2014-2016). so he has been a dominant figure at this event.

Having said that -- and noting as well that Langer is in fourth place in the Schwab Cup, only $300k behind leader David Toms -- I don't feel there's a clear-cut favorite in this major. Of the Top10 in the Cup race, only Paul Broadhurst (in fifth place) has more than one win this season. That hardly makes anyone a betting favorite.
  • However, Paul Broadhurst's two wins include one of the Champions Tour majors, the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship. He's only $5k behind Langer, in fifth place. And with the Bass Pro Shop tournament also in his pocket, as well as a T5 at the US Senior Open, I have to put him in my "5" again.
  • I won't pick Steve Stricker again -- I checked, he's playing the Deere this week -- but I think I'm going for his Wisconsin buddy, Jerry Kelly. Kelly has 9 Top10s in 13 starts and one win, with a T8, T3 and T2 in the previous three majors this year. I figure he's due.
  • Miguel Angel JimĂ©nez has the best record of anyone in majors this year; he's 1, 5 and T2 so far. It's hard to bet against him since he, like Stricker, continues to play strongly against the young players on the "big" tours.
  • David Toms has been quietly improving this year. He leads the Schwab Cup by only $12k over Jerry Kelly, who doesn't have a major like Toms. But he does have 8 Top10s in 13 starts, and has improved in each major he's played this season. (Yes, he won the last one.) Perhaps he's figured out how it's done on the Champions Tour and can grab another major.
  • And my flier pick... hmmm, who's flying under the radar? Ah, Colin Montgomerie. He has no wins this season and only 3 Top10s. Thing is, two of them -- T6 and T3 -- came in his last three events, the first being the Senior PGA. Perhaps Colin has finally found his stride this season...
So my winning pick is... Jerry Kelly. I can't help but think he's due, and this major will be up in his area of the country. I know that's no guarantee that he'll play well, but I can't shake the feeling that he'll win a major this year... and he's running out of majors! Let's see what he can do at this one.

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