Last week was a fantastic week at the WGC-HSBC Champions for Hideki Matsuyama, who got the biggest win of his young career in a 7-stroke thrashing of the field. He came in at 4th in my rankings last week, even in a stacked field.
This week, we are back stateside for the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children’s Open, at TPC Summerlin.
One thing I always pay attention to this time of year is the players who have ties to Las Vegas (or are desert golf specialists). This doesn’t mean we have to overweight course history, but you should look at players born and raised in this part of the country, or those who played college golf at elite programs like UNLV, Arizona, Arizona State, or San Diego State. Some names that come to mind right away are Scott Piercy, Charley Hoffman, Ryan Moore, Chad Campbell, and Kevin Na.
Daily and weekly fantasy sports have become all the rage. Battling it out over an entire season is fun, but sites like DraftKings offer a quicker payoff and big payouts for winners! Not only do they offer daily action in the four major professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) as well as college basketball and football but also the PGA Tour.
Your DraftKings lineup is made up of six golfers you select from within the $50,000 salary cap.
Each week DraftKings offers a wide selection of games to enter at a variety of price points. You can even get a feel for the game in a freeroll contest. Before you put your cash on the line, I'll offer my Top Values and Steals in this space every week, specifically geared to help build a winning DraftKings squad. I'll also give you my Overpriced golfers to avoid and a couple of “Vegas Says…” tips to help you find those players for GPPs.
TPC Summerlin is a par-71 that plays just over 7,200 yards. That means there is one extra par-4 (instead of a 4th par-5) on this course, making par-4 scoring even more important. Holes 15 - 18 will be equally critical this week, as players finish with a drivable par-4, reachable par-5, water-guarded par-3, and a tough finishing par-4. One thing to notice is that although the fairways can be difficult to hit, there isn’t much rough to speak of (welcome to desert golf). I think you might see a leaderboard similar to what we saw when Tony Finau won the Puerto Rico Open. When it comes to the type of player I’m targeting, I think I’m targeting scorers more than anything. Regardless of the course, fantasy points come from birdie makers, and this course has had a mixed bag of winners in the past.
Recent Tournament History
Here is the data we can draw upon for this week’s Tournament History:
Finished in the top-20 each of the last three years: Jason Bohn.
Finished in the top-20 in two of the last three years: Alex Cejka, Kevin Streelman, Nick Watney, Tony Finau.
Current Form Review
Each week, we’ll take a look backward at the last three tournaments on the PGA and European Tours. However, because this is the start of a new season and most players have had a month or so off, we will focus on course history and stats. I have, however, included the top-20 from last week’s Sanderson Farms, and highlighted the players in this field:
Birdie or Better % (BoB%)
There are not many weeks where we aren’t going to target birdie or better percentage because that’s what fantasy golf scoring is all about. Guys like Brooks Koepka, Jimmy Walker, Charles Howell, Robert Garrigus, and Smylie Kaufman come to mind in this week’s field when targeting birdie-makers. It’s possible to have a player finish top-10 in fantasy points while not finishing anywhere close to the top-10 in the actual event.
Good Drive Percentage (GD%)
You can target driving distance alone, but I also wanted to target some accuracy metrics, as well. As mentioned, the rough isn’t too penal at TPC Summerlin, so I’m looking at GD% instead of just driving distance or accuracy. Certain bombers can overcome bad drives because they hit it far enough that they’ll have wedges in their hands anyways. And shorter hitters will still pop in this stat because they hit a ton of fairways. Some names in the field that pop from 2015’s GD% rankings are Chez Reavie, Lucas Glover, Kevin Streelman, Colt Knost, David Hearn, Webb Simpson, and Jason Bohn.
Par 4 Scoring (P4)
This week should be a birdie fest for the players, and as mentioned, there’s an extra par-4 on the course. The previous winners of this event played the par-4s -6, -9, and -12, respectively. Another thing that’s great about par-4 scoring is that we have data on the new web.com Tour players. C.T. Pan, J.T. Poston, Grayson Murray, and Martin Flores are all elite par-4 scorers from the web.com Tour who are in the field this week.
Strokes Gained Approach (SG: Approach)
I think both SG: Approach and GIR% can be good pointers this week since the off-the-tee game is a little mitigated by easy-to-hit fairways. Looking back at recent trends here at TPC Summerlin, there’s a strong correlation between top-5s at this venue and the season-end SG: Approach rankings.