DraftKings has well and truly landed in the U.K now and it is a great week to be involved in fantasy golf on the PGA Tour this week.
The West Coast swing is now over and the players make their way to Florida this week to play the difficult PGA National course.
Course (PGA National):
Hosted this event since 2007
Ranked 4/52 in terms of most difficult courses on the PGA Tour last season.
Greens in regulation (7 of the top-10 last year ranked inside the top-10 for GIR, winner Padraig Harrington ranked 24th). 6/9 winners since 2007 here have ranked inside top-10 for GIR that week.
5 of the last 9 winners were within one-stroke at the halfway stage and Harrington was never more than 3 strokes behind at any stage in 2015.
A fast start is required – Since 2007 only Mark Wilson (72) and Rory Sabbatini (71) have opened with rounds in the 70s and done on to win, the next worse opening round was 68.
Normally a tight finish – Camilo Villegas’ 5-stroke victory in 2010 was an anomaly. Apart from the Columbian’s victory, no one else has won at this course by more than 2 strokes (4 times won by 1 stroke, twice by way of play-off.)
Change of putting surface – Bermudagrass greens used here instead of the Poa Annua surfaces that have been used of late on West Coast.
International affair – 6 of the 9 winners at this course are Internationals (2 from GB & Ireland, 2 from South Africa, 1 from South Korea and 1 from Columbia).
For my full preview of this event, please look here – – – -> http://thesportsfamily-com.thesportsfamily.com/honda-classic-betting-preview/
With all this in mind here are my favourite picks from each category.
Elite picks ($10,000+) :
Rory McIlroy ($12,500) – A win and a play-off losing 2nd here in seven starts, so should go well. World No.2 is worthy favourite this week after finishing 20th last week at Riviera despite final round 75.
Branden Grace ($10,300) – In fine form worldwide, should massively improve on showing on debut here in 2013 (71st) and won on his last start in Qatar. He will no doubt be able to cope with the conditions expected this week and I fully expect him to compete on American soil once again.
High-end picks ($8,000 – $10,000) :
Kevin Kisner ($9,900) – Hot start to 15/16 season, after career year in 2015. One win (first on Tour), two top-5s and one additional top-10 in 7 starts this season suggest he’s still in spectacular form. Missed cut at Phoenix two weeks ago does not concern, as he now back on more comfortable putting surface. Currently sits #2 in FedEx Cup standings. Pick of the week for me.
Russell Knox ($9,700) – 2nd and a 3rd on his two starts here, won his first event on Tour earlier this season at WGC-Champions event in China, so can win in good company.
Luke Donald ($8,600) – Finished inside the top-10 in 4 of his 5 starts at this course. Showing signs of form in recent weeks and also a previous winner of this event (at different course). Loves Florida with two wins in the sunshine state.
Good upside/make cut (less than $7,000):
Brian Harman ($6,900) – Harman finished 11th here last year and 12th on course debut in 2012. Shot course record 61 here in 2012 and has also played the Sony Open in Hawaii well, twice finishing T13 in an event that is a good indicator for this week. Ernie Els, Mark Wilson and Russell Henley have won both this event and the Sony proving the correlation between the two.
Patton Kizzire ($6,700) – Kizzire has had a decent start to this season, making 7/9 cuts and posting 3 top-10’s, one of which was a 2nd place finish at Shriners Hospital for Children Open, followed by T4 at Sandersons Farm Open. Not played his bestgolf on his last two starts, but still made the cut and his T8 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines is recent enough to suggest he is still in decent form. He finished T21 here two years ago and can build on that this week.
Zac Blair ($6,300) – Missed four of his last six cuts, but finished 3rd at the Sony Open and given that this course also has Bermudgrass greens and as aforementioned is a correlating course, I can see him returning to form. Finished T22 last year and again, like Kizzire can build on that this year.
Stuart Appleby ($5,700) – If you want to pick three players from high-end and elite categories, Appleby looks a steady player to fill the gaps with a limited budget. T26 last week on return from injury at a difficult golf course suggests he could go well enough again. In six starts at this course he has two top-10s (8th on his most recent start here in 2014) and he has the game to at least finish in the top-20. Risk/reward type pick this week, but should slot into a team nicely, especially if you want to play McIlroy.
Honourable mentions at the top of the list this week go to Adam Scott ($11,000) who I am wary of given his price and Patrick Reed ($10,600) who I have left out in favour of Branden Grace. At $7,400 I also think Patrick Rodgers will bounce back as he is much better at putting on the Bermudagrass, an area of his game he has struggled with of late. There are lots of others that can be thrown in the mix and I will use other combinations but these three are the main players I will swap and change into line-ups as well as the players listed above.