CMN Hospitals Classic experts' picks

November, 6, 2012

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: The Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic at the Magnolia and Palm golf courses in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, senior golf analyst: Davis Love III
In 2008, he got win No. 20 here at the Magic Kingdom, and he hasn't won since. But he has seen a resurgence in his game post-Ryder Cup with finishes of 66th, 35th and fourth at the McGladrey Classic he hosts in Georgia. Love still believes he can win, and he is playing a course that suits his game perfectly.

Farrell Evans, senior golf writer: Justin Leonard
The former Open Champion came to Disney in 2011 needing a good tournament to keep his card, and he had his best week of the year with a second-place finish. This year, Leonard is in the same boat after missing 11 of 25 cuts. In 2009, the Dallas native lost in a playoff here to Stephen Ames.

Bob Harig, senior golf writer: Davis Love III
A longtime participant in the event, Love is the tournament's all-time leading money winner. His 20th PGA Tour title came at Disney in 2008.

Kevin Maguire, senior golf editor: Stephen Ames
A pair of wins on the venue in three of the past five years puts you in this category. At 186th on the PGA Tour money list, the Canadian could use some good vibes this week.

Birdie Buster

Michael Collins: Gary Woodland
A guy has his best year on tour, gets his first win and decides to change his swing. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but how many times have we heard it? His first top-10 of 2012 came at the Open, and even though he missed the cut at the McGladrey Classic, Woodland hit 75 percent of his greens. Expect a big finish for the big hitter from Kansas.

Farrell Evans: Brendon de Jonge
When is this burly Zimbabwean going to win a golf tournament? He is one of the best players on the PGA Tour without a win. De Jonge has had three top-5s in his last three starts, including a second in Las Vegas.

Bob Harig: Tommy Gainey
His first PGA Tour victory came two weeks ago, but he won the McGladrey Classic with a final-round 60 and comes to a site where he finished second four years ago.

Kevin Maguire: Charles Howell III
Looking to avoid his worst finish on the money list in more than a decade, Howell owns two top-10s in the Disney event and is coming off two of his best finishes (T-11 Open, T-7 McGladrey Classic) in the past seven months.

Super Sleeper

Michael Collins: Joe Durant
Talk about a guy who is impossible to root against. Durant is one of those guys that not one person has a bad thing to say about. Having won here in 2006, he is playing on his past champions' status. He leads the tour in fairways hit and is 18th in greens in regulation, but oh that dang putter. It'll find enough magic in Disney this week, though, for a great finish.

Farrell Evans: Camilo Villegas
At 150th on the PGA Tour money list, the 30-year-old Colombian needs a top-five finish to have any chance of keeping his full playing privileges for 2013. With no top-10s on the year, there is little evidence to show that Villegas' game will show up at Disney, but it's hard to count out a man who has won three times on tour, including the 2008 Tour Championship.

Bob Harig, senior golf writer: Billy Mayfair
There's a reason a player comes to Disney struggling to keep his card, usually because he has not had much success. Mayfair would likely be happy to make the cut and finish in the middle of the pack. At No. 125 on the money list, that ought to assure he keeps his card.

Kevin Maguire: Justin Leonard
The 2011 runner-up at Disney, Leonard has never finished outside the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list in his career. He'll need a strong finish this week to continue that streak.


Michael Collins: Camilo Villegas
Remember him? He won two playoff events in 2008 and the Honda Classic in 2010, changed equipment companies (including his golf ball) and vanished for two years. His exemption for his wins runs out this year and he has only $460,000 in earnings this year, but the UF alum has found his game of late with four made cuts in a row, including a 20th at the McGladrey Classic. It took a while -- always does with a golf ball change -- but the PGA Tour's supermodel gets career win No. 4, and just in the nick of time.

Farrell Evans: Davis Love III
There probably isn't a player in the field who is looking forward to the offseason more than Love, but he has something left in the tank for Disney, where he earned his 20th career PGA Tour title in 2008. While holding down the captaincy of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, Love has had a decent year with three top-10s. In late October at his tournament, the McGladrey Classic, he finished tied for fourth.

Bob Harig: Robert Garrigus
The 2010 winner at Disney, he is 26th on the money list, best of anyone in the field, and has three runner-up finishes this year. A good place to get victory No. 2.

Kevin Maguire: Brendon de Jonge
Nine of the past 12 events held at Disney's Palm and Magnolia courses yielded winning scores of 20-under or better, so the winner will have to go low. Well, de Jonge hasn't shot a round in 70s in his last three events, including a second-place finish and two T-4s. That first PGA Tour win might be just around the corner.





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