Kevin Kisner reacts to his putt on the 15th hole during the finals against Matt Kuchar at the Dell Technologies Match Play Championship golf tournament, on March 31, 2019.
Kevin Kisner reacts to his putt on the 15th hole during the finals against Matt Kuchar at the Dell Technologies Match Play Championship golf tournament, on March 31, 2019.|Eric Gay | Associated Press

Golf: Kern picks the Zurich Classic at New Orleans featuring some of the usual names - Kisner, Day, Scott, Rahm, Palmer, Watson & more

Mike Kern

Mike Kern

Hey, almost all of our picks were in contention last week, at decent odds. Unfortunately, none of them won. Matt Kuchar did get second place, behind a guy who’d never won before. That’s why they have win, place and show bets, just in case. Ian Poulter was one off the lead after three rounds before fading (as did the 54-hole leader, Dustin Johnson). And Patrick Cantlay got a top five. Not bad, but as I always point out, not quite good enough. Unless of course you went the place or even show route. It’s not a bad hedge. Like at the race track.

Now we move on to the Zurich Classic at New Orleans, which is a different format. They play in two-man teams. And on Thursday and Saturday they’ll play better ball. On Friday and Sunday it’s alternate shot, which the Americans usually seem to screw up in the Ryder Cup. And keep in mind that in the first two years it’s been played this way, longshots have won both times.

That being said, here’s the odds for some of the usual names. Jason Day and Adam Scott are 7-1 faves, followed by Tommy Fleetwood and Sergio Garcia at 8-1, Cantlay and Patrick Reed at 12-1, Ryan Palmer and Jon Rahm at 16-1, Billy Horschel and Scott Piercy at 18-1, J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson at 18-1, Tony Finau and Kevin Stanley at 18-1, Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson at 20-1, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel at 25-1, Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown at 30-1, Brooks Koepka and his brother Chase at 40-1 and Jason Dufner and Pat Perez at 50-1. If you look harder you can certainly find others, maybe even worthy combos, but I’ll stop there for my sanity.

As I always do, I’ll tell you that I have Oosthuizen in my yearlong pool, which usually carries an added burden. But hey, you never know. I had Kisner in the match play and look how that turned out. By the way, Oosthuizen and Schwartzel did come in third a year ago. Which is probably why I took him way back in December. Research.

Kisner and Brown lost in a playoff two years ago and led after three rounds last year. So, at 30-1 I think they’re worth a shot. You know me. I very rarely go for the chalk, especially in a week like this. Just because. Sometimes it bites you, but I’ll take my chances. Dufner and Perez were second in 2018. Dufner also finished fifth with Bud Cauley in ’17. So, I’ll buy into that track record too, particularly at those numbers. Horschel and Piercey, by the way, are the defending champs. Koepka, who almost never wins non-majors, had a fifth here in ’17. But for my third stab I’ll try Tony Finau and Kyle Stanley. Finau is due to win something again at some point, and just maybe this is that point. Hopefully one of those twosomes will get it done.

See you next week, when we go back to stroke play at the Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C. And can the PGA be far off? Wonder what Tiger Woods will go off at. At the moment he’s the fave at 17-2, slightly lower than Dustin Johnson. Mr. Woods was 14-1 at the Masters. Just saying.

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