- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2006


The Washington Times’ Barker Davis handicaps the favorites at this week’s Booz Allen Classic, which begins today at TPC at Avenel (6,987 yards, par 71). Official odds provided by PinnacleSports.com:

Padraig Harrington (9-1)

The admittedly knackered Dubliner isn’t likely to have enough juice to contend on the heels of his near-miss at last week’s U.S. Open (fifth). That said, Harrington did bank serious karma points simply by turning up at Avenel.

Nick O’Hern (21-1)

Last week’s tie for sixth at Winged Foot was somewhat anomalous given the Aussie’s erratic season to date. O’Hern tends to fare better in tournaments at which pars are coveted, so it’s tough to fancy him on a track that usually bleeds birdies.

Robert Allenby (23-1)

This Aussie has two top-15s in five Booz starts (2001 and 2005), but a bad back has forced him to withdraw in two of his last four tournaments. That nagging injury doesn’t bode well for the boom-bust Allenby.

Bart Bryant (24-1)

The 43-year-old vet has tailed off somewhat after last season’s shocking renaissance year, which included loaded-field victories at the Memorial and Tour Championship. Expect him to contend, not win.

K.J. Choi (26-1)

It’s difficult to understand the reasonably short odds on Choi given his indifferent season, recent form (missed the cut at the Open) and lack of success at Avenel (missed cut in his only start — 2000).

Brett Wetterich (29-1)

Lightning strikes just once for the Brett Wetteriches of the golf world. It struck a month ago at the Byron Nelson Championship.

Kenny Perry (32-1)

While Perry is the most reliable performer in the field other than Harrington, he plays his best golf on more traditional tracks like Colonial and Muirfield Village.

Fredrik Jacobson (32-1)

The 31-year-old Swede has the classic Avenel winner’s profile: He’s in form (tie for fifth at Barclays), rested (did not play in the Open) and in search of his first PGA Tour victory after a handful of solid finishes. Seven players have celebrated their debut victories at Avenel since 1987.

Ben Crane (32-1)

Rory Sabbatini’s snub of the super-slow Crane was one of the most memorable moments of last year’s event. He won’t win this year either, but at least Sabbatini isn’t around to mock him.

Ryuji Imada (34-1)

Like Jacobson, Imada’s a real threat given his undecorated status and stellar play of late. The Japanese native comes in looking to continue a T22-T15-T12 progression of finishes highlighted by last week’s strong Open showing.

Steve Stricker (38-1)

Given just one pick this week, this would have to be the guy. A former champion (1996) in the midst of a solid season likely to earn him comeback player of the year (six top-30 finishes in seven starts), Stricker is the most likely man in the field to hoist the crystal come Sunday.

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