Driscoll Poised for Disney Delight

  • By: David John
  • Last Updated: November 6 2012, 16:30 GMT

Driscoll: Can go close in Florida this week

1pt e.w. James Driscoll at 150/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 general)

1pt e.w. Jason Kokrak at 80/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 Boylesports and Coral)

1pt e.w. Gary Woodland at 33/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 general)

1pt e.w. Billy Horschel at 80/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 general)

1pt e.w. Alexandre Rocha at 175/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 Stan James)


The focus of last year's Children's Miracle Network Hospital Classic was the epic Money List battle between Luke Donald and Webb Simpson but usual service is resumed 12 months on as it is the other end of the fiscal spectrum which takes centre stage as players battle to remain or force their way into the top 125.

All but two players currently between 115th and 140th in the standings are entered for the season finale at Lake Buena Vista in Florida as the field scrap it out over the Magnolia and far easier Palm courses as the curtain comes down on the Fall Series and the regular PGA Tour for 2012.

My first couple of picks are safe for 2013 as we stand so the pressure on them is arguably slightly less but a big week for James Driscoll and Jason Kokrak would open plenty of doors career-wise moving forward.

Driscoll's is quite an interesting story. Last year he headed into this event in position 125 but produced a very solid week to claim a T11 and move up to safety in position 114. His final round 68 was all the more impressive as he suffered a bout of sickness the previous night but managed to draw on all his resources to get the job at hand completed.

Driscoll's position is a little less precarious this time around but he still looks poised to deliver a decent display once more. He endured a horrible run of form from mid-season where his best performance in eight events was a 75th at The Barclays but he showed a pleasant sign of a revival at the recent McGladrey Classic with T27 that included a closing 66.

He is a resident of Jupiter, Florida and the conditions found this week have historically been where Driscoll has thrived with his best effort on the PGA Tour still his play-off defeat to Tim Petrovic at TPC Louisana (2005) while he threatened a 59 in Puerta Rico back in 2011 in the opening round before firing a 63.

He is long overdue a victory in this company and there are enough positives to get with him at 150/1 on the back of that last outing at Sea Island.

Kokrak is an up-and-comer in my book and from looking like being in big trouble in terms of his playing rights for 2013, stepped up to the plate to finish tied second in the Frys.com Open in California.

He followed that with a T27 at the McGladrey so also sits inside the top 125 currently (115) and the immediate pressure is off but I did like his attitude after his exertions at the Frys.com as he nailed his first top-10 and played on the final day with Vijay Singh.

"I really stood up and played some good quality golf shots. It gives me confidence going into the rest of the year," he said as he matched Singh's 68 on what would have potentially been quite an intimidating closing 18 holes.

Throw in the fact that Kokrak is a previous winner in Florida in 2011 on the Web.com Tour at the Miccosukee Championship and you start to get the impression that the the selection's confidence should be sky high for this week and lead to another big effort - and potentially a win.

The top end of the betting features some iffy market leaders to be honest. Jeff Overton and Brendan De Jonge still can't get over the finish line and although Henrik Stenson has shown much better form lately, is he a 25/1 chance? Probably not.

Taking 14/1 about in-form, past winner Robert Garrigus is not particularly shrewd either as he has had more than enough chances to add to his sole success on the PGA Tour but one player I will give a chance to is the uber-talented Gary Woodland.

The early 40/1 has been snaffled and I am just about prepared to give him a run at the current 33s with the Orlando resident a proven winner already in Florida having landed the Transitions Championship back in 2011 to break his PGA Tour duck.

2012 has been somewhat of a disaster but Woodland admitted he has been plagued by injury and it was not until the Open Championship in July at Lytham that he was once again playing golf pain-free.

Woodland has since been doing some good work on the range with coach Butch Harmon and the efforts have paid off with a first top-10 of the season at the Frys.com event.

He then missed the cut at the McGladrey by a shot but I am prepared to overlook that as he returns for a home fixture where he can build on last season's T12.

I am going to stretch the budget this week to five players with Billy Horschel and Alexandre Rocha completing the staking plan.

Both have plenty on their agenda this week as they are outside the top 125 but the they are a pair of golfers I have been keeping an eye on.

Horschel has missed the cut just twice from 14 starts on the PGA Tour in 2012 but has struggled to convert those into enough high finishes. His best display came at the True South Classic, but a pedestrian final round of 71 when the putter went cold was only good enough for a T4 behind the charging Scott Stallings.

Horschel was born, went to college and lives in Florida so if ever there was a week to be inspired then this is it and it just looks like all that is standing between him and a breakout performance is a little self-belief.

Rocha has registered big finishes in Reno and California in the second half of the campaign and needs it all to come together one more time.

Easier said than done, but he showed plenty of fight in the above two events and revealed in Reno that his form had been so poor in the opening half of the season that the state of his mental game had been touch and go.

"I was pretty close to losing my mind but I have been able to turn it around and I am looking forward to the rest of the year," he stated and that sort of approach will surely be to his benefit when he gets down to the business at hand this week.

A graduate of the University of Mississippi, he will be well used to playing his golf in this part of the USA and he may even be inspired by another local sporting connection as this event is played at the home of his beloved basketball team Orlando Magic.

  • Preview posted at 1605 GMT on 06/11/2012.