Expert Picks: DEAN & DELUCA

Expert Picks: DEAN & DELUCA
Jordan Spieth is searching for form ahead of his title defense at Colonial Country Club, but will he still be a key pick for our staffers this week?
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Colonial Country Club course horse Zach Johnson led off his week at the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational with a 3-under-par 34-33=67, placing him two strokes off the lead at the top.

ZJ teed off during the worst of the weather today, which may explain a bit of his ball-striking woes. He split just four (of 14) fairways and found just nine greens in regulation. He also went nine straight holes (Nos. 7 thru 15) without giving himself a birdie look from inside 25 feet. Despite all that, he swallowed just one bogey and circled four birdies, including a three-hole train to close his day with some momentum. With two wins already on his DDI resume, Johnson will be fully focused when he returns for a Friday morning tee time. His last win came at the 2015 Open Championship, but this week's venue presents a nice opportunity for Johnson to jump back into the mix.
May 25 - 7:26 PM

Seung-Yul Noh carded a 6-over-par 37-39=76 before withdrawing from the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational. There is no injury cited at the time.

Noh split just five (of 14) fairways today and landed just half of the greens in regulation. To make matters worse, he missed five putts from inside eight feet, two of them from inside four feet. That led to a -1.68 strokes gained putting total next to his name. He chose to finish the round but withdrew shortly after. There was no injury cited at the time of WD, but we will update if any further news gets passed along.
May 25 - 6:46 PM

Dallas resident Kelly Kraft cruised to a bogey-free, 5-under-par 32-33=65 during round one of the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, staking out an early claim of the clubhouse lead, sharing that title with Derek Fathauer and J.T. Poston.

Playing in a home game this week, Kraft kicked off the week with a 5-birdie effort, highlighted by a hot putter. Throughout the day he sank three putts from outside 15 feet, including a 39'11" birdie bomb at the par-3 16th. Kraft would walk off the course gaining 2.79 strokes putting over the field. All of those chances were setup by steady striking, giving himself 10 birdie looks from inside 20 feet today. That kept the round relatively stress-free, despite the blustery conditions he had to play through. Kraft is making his 51st start on the PGA TOUR and this will go in the books as his first lead/co-lead after ANY round.
May 25 - 6:40 PM

J.T. Poston breezed through Colonial Country Club in round one of the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, recording a 5-under-par 32-33=65 to grab a share of the clubhouse lead alongside Derek Fathauer and Kelly Kraft.

Poston had a rough time at last week's AT&T Byron Nelson, posting rounds of 78-72=150 (+10) to easily miss the cut after earning a paycheck in nine straight starts before that. He didn't let that result keep him down for long, and hit the reset button to clear that from his mind. Today's bounce back involved some stellar ball-striking to smother 15 greens in regulation, gaining 4.515 strokes approach-the-green. Highlights on the green included a pair of splashes from 11-to-14 feet but most of his damage was done from short range, thanks to that strong iron and wedge play. Playing his 19th career event, this will be his first lead/co-lead after ANY round.
May 25 - 6:30 PM

Sean O'Hair kicked off his week at the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational with a steady 3-under-par 33-34=67, staking out an early spot inside the top 10 on the leaderboard.

The Texan opened his day on the back nine and got his scoring started with a 19-footer for birdie at the par-4 10th. That would be his first of two birdie putts splashed in from outside 15 feet. However, it was a love-hate relationship with his flat stick today since his only two blemishes came on missed putts from 6'6" and 3'0". This matches his first-round score from last year where he'd eventually go on to shoot 72-69-71 to finish at 1-under, good for T34. In eight visits to Colonial Country Club, the highlight is a T16 for O'Hair back in 2011.
May 25 - 5:39 PM

Nick Watney smoothed a 3-under-par 31-36=67 during round one of the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational, throwing his name into the mix early on Thursday.

Watney was dialed in with his irons and wedges today, pelting 14 greens in regulation, gaining 2.031 strokes approaching-the-green along the way. Most of the action took place early in the round, as he gave himself five birdie looks from inside 17 feet on the day, and all of them came before the turn. Perhaps it was the wind picking up that made it tougher, or maybe he just slowed his pace. Either way, Watney is now positioned nicely after day one as he makes his first appearance at Colonial Country Club since 2014. He is 2-for-5 here with a T27 in 2010 being the highlight.
May 25 - 5:29 PM

Alex Noren crafted a 4-under-par 32-36=68 to end the first round of the BMW PGA Championship T5, two shots behind his compatriot Johan Carlsson.

The lap is the best the Swede has managed on Thursday at the European Tour's flagship tournament, bettering the 69s he carded in 2009, 2010 and 2016. He smoothed his way to the turn, ticking birdies at 3, 5 and 6. The back nine began with a bogey-birdie-bogey run at 10, 11 and 12 before he closed the scoring down with a birdie-3 at the 491-yard par-4 15th. On his 11th appearance he is chasing his first top five finish.
May 25 - 3:10 PM

Branden Grace carded a 4-under-par 31-37=68 in round one of the BMW PGA Championship, but had to defend himself after earning a beneficial ruling on the West Course.

The South African, who has never missed the cut at Wentworth, made four front nine birdies at 1, 4, 5 and 9, to which he then added an ealge-3 at the 520-yard par-5 12th. But with his approach to the 13th buried deep in the bunker he took a stance and his feet were touching the material beneath the sand. "I couldn't really get the grip and kept on slipping," he said, "so knowing what happened in the past I asked the official. Fortunately for me, it worked out this time." He blasted out but missed the par putt. He also dropped a shot at the 16th to lose a share of the lead and then discover his ruling was causing plenty of discussion on social media. He heads into the second round in a tie for fifth.
May 25 - 3:04 PM
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