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Golf is back!
There's a lot of excitement on message boards and social media for the start of the 2017 season, and a lot of it has to do with fantasy golf. Season long leagues, one and done leagues, and daily leagues are up and running and creating a huge buzz. Ratings for golf are up and will continue a climb as long as we have daily fantasy sports on sites like DraftKings. Whether you are a beginner to DFS golf, or you are an intermediate player, check us out every week for course breakdowns, top picks, and value picks.
The Plantation Course at Kapalua is one of the easiest courses on the PGA tour. Even with wind blowing, you will rarely see the winner shoot worse than -15. It features three Par 4s above 500 yards (three of the most difficult holes on the course), and features two Par 3s (only three total par 3s) over 200 yards (played over par on average). Those were the only holes that averaged over par in the 2016 Tournament of Champions, with only two of them averaging above +.200. The Plantation Course is a Par 73 that can play at 7,452 yards. Short game is key here as most of the shots will be from over 200 yards followed by 125 yards and in. You need to be dialed in with your wedges and chipping.
Key Stats: BoB% (Birdie or Better), Bogey Avoidance, Scrambling, Putting over 15 feet
Hideki Matsuyama ($11,000)
Matsuyama comes into the Tournament of Champions as the hottest golfer on tour and it is mostly due to improved putting. In his first 20 events of 2016 he was a disaster with the short stick, averaging positive strokes gained only four times. He then caught fire and secured a win, a runner-up, and a top five finish, and also won the unofficial Hero World Challenge event to close out the year. Matsuyama is no stranger to the Kapalua course as he finished third in his only appearance in 2015. Not many players have finished inside the top 5 their first time playing in the Maui event. His stats line up nicely for this course; in 2016 he finished sixth in BoB%, 32nd in Bogey Avoidance and sixth in strokes gained: tee to green. He also finished 14th in Par 4 scoring and 17th in Par 5 scoring average. Matsuyama is our top play this week and is a perfect lineup anchor
Jordan Spieth ($11,500)
A perfect pivot off Matsuyama is the defending champion of this event, Jordan Spieth. In his two years playing he has a win and a runner-up, giving him the best course history in the field. Like Matsuyama, Spieth's game lines up nicely with this course. He finished 2016 ranked second in Par 4 scoring and fourth in Par 5 scoring. Other than Jason Day, he is the best putter in the field. He ranked fourth in BoB% and 24th in Bogey Avoidance. The main reason we prefer Matsuyama is because Spieth has struggled with shots between 50-125 yards, which we feel should be weighted heavily for this course. But the former World #1 has a new swag to him and should be ready to start the year strong and regain that ranking.
Patrick Reed ($9,500)
After a very bad start to his first full season on tour in 2013, Reed has shown he loves fast starts. He won the Humana in 2014 (second start of year), he won the Tournament of Champions in 2015 (first start of the year), and he finished runner-up in the ToC last year (first start of year). The "American Eagle" is looking to soar high again this year after finishing 3rd in the Fed Ex standings last season. Reed finished 2016 ranked 10th in Par 5 scoring and 34th in Par 4 scoring. He finished 28th on tour on shots from 50-125 yards with a 17’4” average and 44th on tour from shots over 200 yards with a 48’ average. Reed was one of the worst at hitting greens but made up for it by ranking 8th in scrambling. Greens in regulation are not a main indicator this week as the field averages close to 80% for the week (the leader of GIR for the year is normally around 82%). Reed has a great chance to get you some extra bonus points this week as he ranked fourth in total birdies last season and 11th in eagles. He is a perfect play to pair with Matsuyama or Spieth.
Value Picks and Sleepers
Jimmy Walker ($7,800)
Like Reed, Walker is a quick starter. He was very sporadic with his putter in 2016 but seemed to find something late in the season. If that carries into 2017 we could see another quick start for Walker who finished runner-up in the ToC in 2015 and won at the Sony the following week. Last year he finished 10th at the ToC, followed by a 13th at the Sony and fourth at the Farmers. Walker’s 50-125 yard game is phenomenal, ranking 8th on tour in 2016 with a 16’4” average. He also finished seventh in Par 5 scoring and 14th in BoB%. Also like Reed, he struggled hitting greens, ranking 135th in GIR on tour last season, but we're not worried about that as he averages a birdie every 3.84 holes. Walker is a great value play for salary relief.
Brandt Snedeker ($8,700)
Snedeker pulled the trifecta to start last season, finishing third at the ToC, 2nd at the Sony, and winning the Farmers. He will look to build on his best finish ever at the ToC; he has now finished third twice in the last four years. Snedeker has never been a blow you away stat player, but he finds a way to put the ball in the hole. Most of the time it’s with great short game and great putting. He ranked 33rd on tour in SG:P and 16th in scrambling last season. His 17’2” average from 50-125 yards ranked 24th on tour last season and he makes close to 25% of putts from around that distance. Snedeker is a consistent player who always seems to have a high floor making him a great pivot off of Reed.
Pat Perez ($7,100)
Perez has the heart of a lion. Despite winning only once from 2002-2015, Perez never lost his tour card. Perez missed eight cuts in his first eleven starts of 2016 and knew something was wrong. After an MRI, he was told he had a torn left labrum which sidelined him eight months. After rehabbing and getting back to the course he finished 33rd, 7th, and 1st to close out 2016 and earn a spot in the ToC field. Perez does not have many official ranking stats as he didn’t play enough rounds qualify for most, so recent form and history is something look at. He finished 10th in his lone time playing this event in 2010. What we do know about his stats is that he averaged 16’7” from 50-125 yards, which would have been ranked inside the top 25. The feel good story to end 2016 will be looking to start 2017 with a bang and he has the skills to do so.
For more insight, be sure to visit FantasyLabs for player projections, podcasts and even DFS lineup optimizers to help you build winning lineups this week!
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