Fantasy Golf European Tour Preview- Open de France

Pari (HitTheHighDraw)
By Pari (HitTheHighDraw) June 27, 2016 14:34

OVERVIEW
Except for 1999 & 2001, this event has been played at Le Golf National since 1991 so we’ve got a decent amount of course history to look at this week. The biggest news will be surrounding Rory McIlroy off his missed cut at the US Open and electing to play here instead of in the states at the WGC – Bridgestone. As far as French natives go, Thomas Levet and Jean-Francois Remesy are the only two to claim this championship, with Remesy claiming back to back titles in 2004 & 2005 and with the Frenchmen player pool being limited I don’t think we really need to hone in on looking specifically at French players. The course features intimating water hazards (water is in play on holes 1, 2,13,15,16 & 18), large bunkers, narrow and undulating fairways surrounded by thick rough.

TOURNAMENT BACKGROUND

• The Course
o Le Golf National
o Par: 71 (three Par 5’s – two over 590 yards)
o Yardage: 7,249
o Greens: Mix of Meadow & Bent Grass, typically run 12’ on the stimpmeter
• Location: Paris, France
• Past Champions (dating back to 2006):
o 2015 – Bernd Wiesberger -13 over James Morrison
o 2014 – Graeme McDowell -5 over Thongchai Jaidee & Kevin Stadler
o 2013 – Graeme McDowell -9 over Richard Sterne
o 2012 – Marcel Siem -8 over Francesco Molinari
o 2011 – Thomas Levet -1 over Mark Foster & Thorbjorn Olesen
o 2010 – Miguel Angel Jimenez -11 in a playoff over Alejandro Canizares & Francesco Molinari
o 2009 – Martin Kaymer -13 in a playoff over Lee Westwood
o 2008 – Pablo Larrazabal -15 over Colin Montgomerie
o 2007 – Graeme Storm -7 over Soren Hansen
o 2006 – John Bickerton -11 over Padraig Harrington

For access to our key stats to target, strategy, and top picks this week, sign up for our European Tour Premium Membership.

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KEY STATS TO TARGET

• Strong Emphasis – Driving Distance, Greens In Regulation, Putting Avg
• Important – Scrambling
European Tour statistics are very bland, not very detailed and tell even less of a story than the robust amount of stats PGATour.com provides. If a player has PGA Tour stats, I’d put more confidence in trusting what you’re there seeing versus what EuropeanTour.com provides.

STRATEGY
Until these fields become stronger, I think the best way of constructing cash lineups will be to target the $9k-8k range for 3-4 players and fill in your favorite two players from the $7,900-$7,000 range. I’ve employed this strategy since the 2nd week of Euro Tour DFS and it has worked out a little bit better than trying to load up at the top and trying to pick your remaining players with your eyes closed hoping they somehow get through the cut. Last week my main cash team got 4/6 through the cut and outscored my 5/6 team which was mainly comprised of scrubs and Sergio Garcia.

 

STARS:

 

Rory McIlroy (DK $13,400)
o Course History: 4th (2010) – MC (2008)
o Form: MC – 4th – 1st – 12th – 4th
o PGA Tour Stats: 1st – SG:OTT, 4th – SG:T2G, 64th – SG:P, 3rd – Birdie Avg, 1st – Going for Green, 4th – Approaches 225-250, 7th Approach > 200 yds, 82nd – Scrambling, 3rd – Birdie or Better Conversion, 1st – P5 Scoring, 6th – P4 BoB, 2nd – P5 BoB
o Other – Rory’s back and the class of the field, but is he going to finish Top 5 and add in a couple eagles to pay off that price tag? If you’re looking at his form, my guess is probably which means he’s in play this week. My biggest question is which combos to pair him with as I go down the price ranges and how uncomfortable some of the bottom of the barrel guys make me feel. Regardless, if I’m making 10 teams, Rory will be on four or five of them because you’d have to think he’ll want to come out firing after his sub-par play at Oakmont – I just hope he’s not missing with his irons again.

Lee Westwood (DK $10,700)
o Course History: MC – 40th – 18th – 2nd – 5th – 33rd – 29th
o Form: 32nd – 8th – 15th – 10th
o Stats: 72.11 – Stroke Avg, 56.62% – DA, 287.57 yards – DD, 63.89% – GIR, 29.20 – Putts/Rd
Other – Westy was cruising at the US Open until a Sunday ejection watched him tumble down the leaderboard. Fast forward two weeks and we’re at a track that sets up as a good test to this old man’s game. As long as Westy can continue to play within his means, he should see similar success to how he was playing before arriving at Oakmont. I really don’t see any reason to avoid him this week.

Francesco Molinari (DK $10,400)
o Course History: 6th – 26th – 18th – 2nd – MC – 2nd – 25th – 13th – MC – 21st – 26th
o Form: 8th – 34th – MC – 55th – 7th – 17th – 42nd
o PGA Tour Stats: 18th – SG:APP, 36th – SG:ARG, 22nd – SG:T2G, 62nd – Prox, Top 10 in Approach from 125-150, 50-125, 100-125 from rough, 1st – Approach from 75-100 from rough, 50th – Scrambling, 15th – P5 Scoring Avg, 26th – P5 BoB
o Other – The Italian Stallion pops up for both course history and current form buffs this week and for good reason. He’s been flying a bit under the radar as of late, but be prepared to see his name all over Twitter this week as he has only missed three cuts on the PGA Tour all year, has four Top 25’s including three Top 10’s. His course history is even better with seven Top 25’s including three Top 10’s. I’ll be using him for both cash & GPP’s as he is “known” as just a cut maker, but as you can see by his par 5 numbers, he’s pretty good at scoring as well.

ALSO CONSIDER – Martin Kaymer (DK $10,900) – Kaymer might see some love this week when people look at his course history (specifically the win in 2009), but I don’t think that’s the only reason he’s in play this week. He’s made 8/9 cuts here, seven of which have been Top 15’s and while most of his success came when he was at the top of his game, he’s been playing really well the past few months when playing on the Euro Tour and he comes in rested after the US Open. Chris Wood (DK $9,400) – Wood doesn’t have the best course history to speak of (let’s be honest, its pure trash for a player at this price), but we’re not dwelling on the past. Wood’s playing at a much higher level this year and his length off the tee should give him ample opportunities to hit short irons into these greens. Andy Sullivan (DK $9,200) – A lot of DFS players will gravitate to Matthew Fitzpatrick (DK$9,700), but I’d rather play his English counterpart Sullivan who finished 6th here last year and is riding three consecutive Top 25’s.

 

VALUE PLAYS:

 

Joost Luiten (DK $8,900)

o Course History: 18th – 49th – 47th – MC – 42nd
o Form: 16th -6th – 27th – MC – 44th – 2nd – 2nd
o Stats: 70.27 Stroke Avg – 63.46% DA – 289.80 yards DD – 74.89% GIR, 29.92 Putts Per Rd
o Other – Not much to say here other than we’re getting Luiten at a discount compared to most weeks due to the big boys showing up. Statistically he’s improved since last week in scoring average, driving accuracy and greens in regulation, but his putts per round went up by a fraction. Either way, I think more people will lean towards building lineups around Rory & Willett which won’t allow for many Luiten based teams, now’s the time to load up on a guy who’s been playing extremely well on the Euro Tour this year.

Luke Donald (DK $8,300)
o Course History: 42nd (2013) – 11th (2010)
o Form: MC – 68th – 27th – MC – 71st – 13th
o PGA Tour Stats: 34th – SG:APP, 10th – SG:ARG, 57th – SG:P, 69th – Prox, 17th – Rough Prox, 7th – Scrambling, 13th – Three Putt Avoid, 23rd – P4 Scoring Avg
o Other – Statistically I’m not a fan of Donald. Most of his strokes are gained by rebounding off of bad shots, but that’s an element we need to take into consideration. He’s not long off the tee, and he doesn’t putt exceptionally well, but he does have a knack for not making big numbers and when we’re looking for cut making cash plays, Donald pops up. I wouldn’t suggest him for GPP’s as he just doesn’t possess the scoring upside, but for a fingers crossed cut maker I think he’s a good play.

Lee Slattery (DK $6,800)
o Course History: 45th – 25th – MC – MC – MC – MC
o Form: 13th – 57th – 42nd – MC – MC – 34th – 4th
o Stats: 71.94 – Stroke Avg, 65.74% – DA, 285.05 yards – DD, 71.43% – GIR, 30.65 – Putts/Rd
o Other – I hope people are off of Slattery because of the four consecutive missed cuts from 2005-2011, five plus years ago. The biggest stat that stands out to me is his greens in regulation percentage. Of players who have played over 500 greens, Slattery ranks 11th. I’d really like it if his putts per GIR were lower (1.81), but when you’ve played as many rounds as Lee (49) it’s tough to lower this number without going absolutely bonkers for a few consecutive rounds.

ALSO CONSIDER – Gregory Bourdy (DK $8,600) – Bourdy has had himself a nice little 2016 so far with four Top 20’s in his last four events, including an 18th place finish at the US Open (which was also a links course). I’m definitely rolling out some Bourdy lineups this week in both cash and GPPs. Richard Bland (DK $7,000) – Bland missed my projection of a Top 30 last week, but he continues to be a mainstay in this article and probably will continue to be unless he goes on a missed cut streak over the next five consecutive events. He’s consistent in his cut making and provides decent upside at a cheap price even in weak fields, and with some heavy hitters showing up this week he makes an even better value play. Fabrizio Zanotti (DK $7,500)

 

DEEP DIVERS:

 

Felipe Aguilar (DK $6,800)
o Course History: 65th – 26th – 18th – 68th – 30th – 26th – MC – 60th – MC
o Form: 16th – MC – 37th – 36th – 2nd – 58th
o Stats: 71.62 – Stroke Avg, 67.06% – DA, 279.09 yards – DD, 69.18% – GIR, 30.07 – Putts/Rd
o Other – The Chilean isn’t a flashy player statistically or with his attire, but he has been a decent play when he’s had the course history to go off of – which he clearly has here. Felipe took some time off after the missed cut and looked refreshed last week finishing to the tune of a Top 20.I may be wrong, but I’m setting expectations fairly low this week for Aguilar, and hope he can turn in something inside the Top 40.

Graeme Storm (DK $6,500)
o Course History: 33rd – MC – 3rd – MC – 11th – 11th – 13th – 21st – WIN – 21st – MC
o Form: 9th – MC – MC – MC – MC – 55th – 45th
o Stats: 71.91 – Stroke Avg, 64.17% – DA, 274.80 yards – DD, 64.65% – GIR, 29.07 – Putts/Rd
o Other – #TeamCourseHistory buffs will be all over Storm this week and I think the 9th place finish last week warrants at least a look. When doing research for this event I had him pegged as a GPP play, but his solid play this past weekend makes me even more confident in the journeyman (he’s been playing for 16 years). His only Tour win came here in 2007 so I’m not expecting him to double his win total this week, but I think he makes for a nice bottom tier option.

ALSO CONSIDER – Magnus A Carlsson (DK $6,700) – Magnus paid off last week with a 28th place finish and will continue to be a favorite play week in and week out until he burns me multiple weeks in a row. I consider him a nice value play with high upside this week. Marcel Siem (DK $6,700) – I’m hoping I was a week early on this suggestion last week. Nothing statistically stands out, but he has shown flashes this year that he can still play T3 (Volvo China), T29 (Qatar Masters), T5 (Abu Dhabi). YE Yang (DK $6,200)

 

CALCULATED GPP DART THROWS:

 

Rafa Cabrera-Bello (DK $8,200)
o Course History: 5th – 35th – 29th – 57th – MC – 69th – MC – MC
o Form: 32nd – 52nd – 22nd – 8th – MC
o Stats: 70.80 Stroke Avg – 57.41% DA – 285.19 yards DD – 73.66% GIR – 29.93 Putts Per Rd
o Other – RCB’s fire has fizzled (not his inner fire, but the fire created by us on Twitter) a bit since the crazy tear he went on starting at the Dell Match Play, but he’s an above average golfer in this field who can definitely run away with the tournament if someone like Rory or Willett stumble. His ball striking ability will be the difference maker this week, if he comes out flat he’s going to be in trouble, if not we could see him return to the Top 10.

Rikard Karlberg (DK $7,700)
o Course History: MC (2015) – DQ (2011)
o Form: MC – 7th – 2nd – 10th – 21st – 8th
o Stats: 70.72 – Scoring Avg, 54.80% – DA, 294.71 yards – DD, 67.59% – GIR, 28.81 – Putts/Rd
o Other – Every week a big name player misses the cut you can expect to see ownership drop on them the following week and this week that play is Karlberg. His course history is slightly better than mine (only because he actually got to tee it up for at least one day in both occurrence’s) and he’s coming off a horrendous outing at the BMW International. Karlberg’s last missed cut came at the Omega Classic in Dubai back in February and he bounced back with a T40 followed by six straight Top 25’s.

ALSO CONSIDER – Thomas Pieters (DK $7,100) – I’m throwing Pieters into the mix this week after he pulled out with a “thumb injury” as a favorite at the Nordea Masters. I won’t be going very heavy on him, but I consider him the Euro Bubba Watson when it comes to how his play early dictates his success for the week (very boom or bust depending on his mental state that week). Robert Dinwiddie (DK $6,900) – Dinwiddie was featured here last week and paid off huge with a 9th place finish – that makes back to back Top 10’s. Now I’m not expecting another Top 10, but at this price I’m more than willing to roll him out again. Finally, I’ll add Victor Dubuisson (DK $7,900) since this is his home open. We’ve seen it happen time and time again where a player wins his country’s open and he’s the best in the field from France.

Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!

– Pari, (@hitthehighdraw)

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Pari (HitTheHighDraw)
By Pari (HitTheHighDraw) June 27, 2016 14:34

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