Zurich Classic experts' picks

April, 22, 2013

Each week of the season, our experts will share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week's tournament: Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, La.

Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Bubba Watson. A winner here in 2011 and a 9-under weekend last year, heck in seven starts he has missed only one cut at this event. After a week off, to lick the wounds of Augusta, playing a golf course you know well and are familiar with is just what the golf doctor ordered.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Jason Dufner. Caught looking dazed and confused earlier this year in a room full of Texas school children, the 36-year-old Auburn alum is eager to get folks to talk about his golf again. He's had success at TPC Louisiana, where he has had a win, a tie for third and tie for seventh in his past three starts on the Pete Dye course.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Jason Dufner. The defending champion not only won a year ago at the TPC Louisiana but it was his fourth consecutive top-10 finish in the tournament.

Birdie Buster

Michael Collins: Camilo Villegas. Making his third appearance in this event. Last year he shot three rounds in the 60s, including a stellar second-round 66. Villegas is steadily making a slow charge back to where he once was a contender week in and week out

Farrell Evans: Billy Horschel. This 26-year-old with Walker Cup experience has had a T-2, T-3 and T-9 in his past three events. The time is coming soon for him to win his first tour title.

Bob Harig: Billy Horschel. The former Florida Gator continues to impress, with another top-10 finish at the RBC Heritage. It was his third straight top-10.

Super Sleeper

Michael Collins: Chris Stroud. Coming off a week where he got his first top-10 of the year to a place where he hasn't finished outside the top 26 in the past three years tells us he's trending in a very good direction and should be a lock for back-to-back top-10s.

Farrell Evans: David Mathis. Last year in New Orleans, the 39-year-old journeyman vaulted into the top 10 with a final-round 7-under 65 that included a 30 on the back nine at the TPC Louisiana. The Campbell University alum needs a good week after missing his past six cuts.

Bob Harig: David Toms. A winner of the event in 2011, Toms will be making his 20th appearance in his home-state event.


Michael Collins: Justin Rose. Hard to bet against the highest-ranked player in the field, especially knowing he's ranked second on tour in scoring average. This is a course where he shot three straight rounds in the 60s last year and if not for an opening-round 72, would have contended then too. Expect the first win of 2013 to be right here this week.

Farrell Evans: Keegan Bradley. An 82 in the third round of the Masters was an aberration for this former PGA champion. He had scored top-10s in his previous four events coming into Augusta. While he missed the cut here in New Orleans last year, he shouldn't have any problem handling TPC Louisiana this time around.

Bob Harig: Justin Rose. The Englishman is bound to break through one of these weeks. One of just a handful of top-25 players in the field, the No. 4-ranked golfer gets his first victory of 2013.





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