Fantasy Golf Tournament Preview- WGC Bridgestone Invitational

Pari (HitTheHighDraw)
By Pari (HitTheHighDraw) June 27, 2016 14:55

As with WGC events, there will not be a cut this week, but before you go rejoicing because “there’s no way you can’t get 6/6 through the cut” remember there have been several players to withdraw mid tournament for one reason or another (Snedeker at the Cadillac, Furyk at this event last year). This tournament is played at the same location every year, so we’ve got plenty of course history for a third of the field. Length off the tee helps here, but there have been some shorter hitters who have fared well in the past too – Furyk, Stricker, Donald, Allenby, Cink, DiMarco, Jonathan Kaye, and Fred Funk to name a few. Of course the outlier here (again) is Tiger Woods winning the event 8 times from 1999 to 2013, which is just insane. With no cut events, you’re going to have to force yourself to be contrarian (if you don’t typically lean that way) in order to differentiate yourself from the normal popular plays especially in the $3 GPP where you can expect a lot of people to max enter this week and we’ve seen guys like Fabian Gomez Koumei Oda, and Steven Bowditch make runs on a day or two which can make your lineups jump up the leaderboard.

 

TOURNAMENT BACKGROUND

  • The Course
  • Firestone Country Club (South Course)
  • Par: 70
  • Yardage: 7,400
  • Greens: Bentgrass
  • Location: Akron, Ohio  
  • Past Champions (dating back to 2005):
  • 2015: Shane Lowry -11 over Bubba Watson
  • 2014: Rory McIlroy -15 over Sergio Garcia
  • 2013: Tiger Woods -15 over Keegan Bradley & Henrik Stenson
  • 2012: Keegan Bradley -13 over Jim Furyk & Steve Stricker
  • 2011: Adam Scott -17 over Luke Donald & Rickie Fowler
  • 2010: Hunter Mahan -12 over Ryan Palmer
  • 2009: Tiger Woods -13 over Robert Allenby & Padraig Harrington
  • 2008: Vijay Singh -10 over Stuart Appleby & Lee Westwood
  • 2007: Tiger Woods -8 over Justin Rose & Rory Sabbatini
  • 2006: Tiger Woods -10 in a playoff over Stewart Cink
  • 2005: Tiger Woods -6 over Chris DiMarco

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KEY STATS TO TARGET

  • Strong Emphasis – Ball Striking, Driving Distance, Birdie or Better %, Scrambling
  • Important – SG:Putting, Total Putting, Total Driving (and TD Efficiency aka “TDE”)

 


STARS:

Jason Day (DK $12,100)

  • Course History: 12th – WD – 53rd – 29th – 4th – 22nd
  • Form: 8th – 27th – WIN – 5th – 23rd – 10th
  • Stats: 45th – SG:OTT, 49th – SG:APP, 42nd – SG:ARG, 24th – SG:T2G, 1st – SG:P, 1st – SG:Total, 21st – DD, 5th – Birdie Avg, 30th – Total Driving Eff, 3rd – Sand Saves, 3rd – Prox from Sand, 41st – Scrambling, 4th – Total Putting, 2nd – Putting Avg, 8th – P4 BoB, 3rd – P5 BoB
  • Other – Another event, another Jason Day writeup. Of the “Big 3”, Day has still been playing the most consistent golf in the past few months. Yes they’ve all had wins, but Day went back to back and the field strengths were much better – not to mention he actually played well at Oakmont. I don’t care so much for the price, but the minute you ignore him is typically when he burns you.

Dustin Johnson (DK $11,600)

  • Course History: 53rd – 33rd – 19th – 48th – 15th – 21st
  • Form: WIN – 5th – 3rd – 12th – 28th – 4th
  • Stats: 3rd – SG: OTT, 9th – SG: APP, 3rd – SG: T2G, 46th – SG: P, 4th – SG:Total, 2nd– DD, 2nd – Birdie Avg, 1st – Scoring Avg, 36th – Total Driving, 4th – Prox, 2nd – Rough Prox, 12th – Prox from Sand, 80th – Scrambling, 70th – Total Putting, 4th – Putting Avg, 10th – P3 BoB, 1st – P4 BoB, 11th – P5 BoB
  • Other – If Day’s the hottest of the Big 3, then we need to start calling the group something else because DJ has been playing better week after week than all of these guys. Nine Top 10’s, eight of which were Top 5’s and playing in his first event after becoming a Major winner has to be a good feeling. The hesistation here is his course history, but DJ has shown us time after time this year that he doesn’t care much for course history (see Memorial, Masters, NTO).

Adam Scott (DK $10,500)

  • Course History: 45th – 8th – 14th – 45th – WIN – 9th – 51st – 56th – 36th – 10th – 36th – 55th
  • Form: 18th – 55th – 12th – 17th – 42nd
  • Stats: 41st – SG:OTT, 1st – SG: APP, 1st – SG: T2G, 3rd – SG: Total, 19th – DD, 8th – Birdie Avg, 5th – Scoring Avg, 66th – Total Driving, 53rd – Total Driving Eff, 20th – GIR, 6th – Prox, 84th – Rough Prox, 7th – P3 BoB, 12th – P4 BoB, 11th – P5 BoB
  • Other – Scott’s spring showed us he can still play, but since the Match Play, he’s only placed in the Top 15 once (barely missed at the US Open). Maybe his showing at the US Open is reason to believe he’s back on the upswing and maybe playing at a familiar course will rejuvenate some of those good old feelings of dropping putts – because really, that’s the only statistical area that’s holding him back.

ALSO CONSIDER – Jordan Spieth (DK $11,300) – I think a lot of the whining that comes from Spieth on the course has more to do with the early success and raised expectations he and his team are trying to live up to. Whether that’s the case or not, we know what he’s capable of – especially in no cut events, so fading the #2 ranked player in the world after a week off might not be the best option for our bankrolls. Bubba Watson (DK $10,100) – Last year I faded Bubba because of how demanding the course layout is for guys who shape the ball. After the tournament completed, I wrote down a note to not fade him this year. His length off the tee and ability to hit it up and over the trees was something I didn’t account for last year and vowed not to let it happen again. Bubba’s also a guy who seems to relish in not being in the discussion prior to a tournament (which is the case this week) almost to snub those that talk about golf and remind them that he’s still very much in play every time he tees it up. Brooks Koepka (DK $9,900)

 

 

VALUE PLAYS

 

Hideki Matsuyama (DK $9,300)  

  • Course History: 37th – 12 – 21st
  • Form: MC – MC – 7th – 11th – 7th
  • Stats: 10th – SG:OTT, 3rd – SG:APP, 5th – SG:T2G, 63rd – DD, 89th – DA, 25th – GIR, 4th – Birdie Avg, 15th – Scoring Avg, 38th – TD, 13th – TDE, 43rd – Prox, 28th – Rough Prox, 19th – P3 BoB, 2nd – P4 BoB, 32nd – P5 BoB
  • Other – Matsuyama coming off back to back missed cuts for the first time since 2014 might be the best time to play him. I play him every week regardless so take that with a grain of salt, but I think that speaks volumes to the consistency he’s shown us during his short career on Tour. Statistically he matches up very well, and now he’s had ample time to get reset his mainframe for the long haul of events in the next two months.

Patrick Reed (DK $9,100)  

  • Course History: 15th – 4th
  • Form: 39th – MC – 8th – 15th – MC – 28th – 2nd – 49th
  • Stats: 46th – SG: OTT, 1st – SG: ARG, 19th – SG:T2G, 91st – GIR, 51st – Birdie Avg, 38th – Scoring Avg, 49th – DD, 49th – TD, 190th – TDE, 5th – Scrambling, 28th – P5 BoB
  • Other – Backing Patrick Reed is becoming annoying. In my opinion he’s becoming a rich man’s Kevin Chappell (meaning he’s priced higher than Chappell, but has returned the same unexpected results on courses where he should excel). His stats are weird too, he ranks 49th in Total Driving, but 190th in Total Driving efficiency and ranks 109th in Putting average, but 5th in overall putting average. Two complete polar opposites that don’t help paint a picture. Regardless, he didn’t meet expectations in a weak field last week, which means ownership should take a dip again this week and I think he plays a bit more carefree this week not having to sweat a cut.

 Scott Piercy (DK $7,100)

  • Course History: 59th (2013) – 19th
  • Form: 2ndT69 – T67 – MC – T23 – T29
  • Stats: 44th – SG:OTT, 94th – SG:T2G, 36th – DD, 100th – DA, 34th – GIR, 53rd – Birdie Avg, 26th – TD, 47th – TDE, 74th – P4 BoB, 31st – P5 BoB
  • Other – If you aren’t aware, Piercy has been hitting Top 25’s at a 50% clip this year. Obviously with his good play at the US Open he’ll see some increase in ownership, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to be concerned about. Piercy’s ball striking has been a thing of beauty for the past few weeks and up until last week his putter and wedge game had been the only thing holding him back from breaking out. I’m hoping he continues to build off of his play at the US Open and really take advantage of a good opportunity this week.

ALSO CONSIDER – Matt Kuchar (DK $9,800) – I’m not willing to quit Kuch quite yet. Yes he cooled off at the wrong time, but it was a major championship and he never really got into a groove. Kuch’s results here over the past few years might be enough to keep people away from this price tag too (considering you can get players with better course history for a few hundred more or drop down). Regardless I think Kuch returns to the first page of the leaderboard again this week. Justin Thomas (DK $8,000) – I’ve been off of Thomas basically since the end of #SB2K16 and it appears as he’s been the best player from that group (12th @ Congressional, 32nd @ Oakmont, MC at Muirfield, T3 @ Sawgrass). The key for JT this week will be to play the par 4’s at even or under par. If he can do that he could be holding a trophy for the 2nd time this season.  Kevin Na (DK $7,300) – Na’s kind of fallen off of people’s radars the past month or so and this is your reminder to keep him in mind when building lineups this week. Na finished 7th at Oakmont which was his first Top 10 since the RBC Heritage in April. Just like with Thomas, Na needs to score on the Par 4’s this week in order to see any kind of success.

 

DEEP DIVERS

 

Danny Lee (DK $7,400)

  • Course History: 6th – 51st (2009)
  • Form: 57th – 52nd – 22nd – 18th – 35th – 9th – 58th – MC – 17th
  • Stats: 59th – SG: OTT, 39th – SG: APP, 62nd – SG: ARG, 29th – SG: T2G, 148th – DD, 25th – DA, 34th – Birdie Avg, 59th – TD, 45th – TDE, 83rd – Prox, 46th – Rough Prox, 72nd – Scrambling, 44th – P3 BoB, 45th – P4 BoB, 65th – P5 BoB
  • Other – Danny Lee’s been pretty consistent all year and a lot of this suggestion is coming from how he played here last year. As with most of the fairly new players to the Tour, playing in a no cut event can be a bit less stressful and Danny showed us last year that he can play well when not faced with grinding out the cut line on Fridays.

Charley Hoffman (DK $7,100)

  • Tournament History: 31st – 37th – 22nd
  • Form: 57th – 37th – 42nd – 12th – MC – 11th – WIN – 14th – 29th
  • Stats: 37th – SG: OTT, 52nd – SG: APP, 33rd – SG: T2G, 36th – DD, 175th – DA, 106th – GIR, 24th – Scoring Avg, 126th – TD, 118th – TDE, 75th – Prox, 5th – Rough Prox, 79th – Scrambling, 73rd – P3 BoB, 92nd – P4 BoB, 82nd – P5 BoB
  • Other – You may be scratching your head seeing Charley here, but even though he doesn’t look like a typical statistical fit, he actually plays much better than his stats indicate. Charley is a streaky player, once a putt drops or he chips/pitches in from off the green it all starts clicking for him and more and more balls start going in the hole from places you wouldn’t expect. I’m not suggesting him for cash games, but at this price I’d be remiss not to mention him in a few of your GPP teams.

 Soren Kjeldsen (DK $6,700)

  • Course History: 12th – 67th
  • Form: MC – 20th – MC – 19th – 43rd – 4th – 7th
  • Euro Tour Stats:97 Scoring Avg, 60% – DA, 274.77 yards – DD, 65.19% – GIR, 29.13 – Putts/Rd
  • Other – Soren might be the best of the bunch when it comes to the sub $7k range this week, at least as far as history on tough courses in strong fields are concerned. Posting a T4 at Valderrama is really what’s landed the Dane in this week’s article. Throw in his solid finish at the Masters (T7) his T8 in Dubai and pair it with his 12th place finish here last year and I think we might have our bargain play of the week.

ALSO CONSIDER –– William McGirt (DK $6,800) – I often overlook McGirt mainly because of how I perceive him as a player. He’s not flashy, doesn’t make a ton of birdies, but he also doesn’t make a ton of bogeys either and I’m not going to ignore that this week. For $6,800, I think he more than warrants a shot in cash and GPPs this week. Fabian Gomez (DK $6,100) – Fabian was a guy that people joked about doing well in his first WGC event and unfortunately it didn’t come to fruition, although Steven Bowditch gladly took the role of weirdest fit to finish high. This year Gomez has bene nothing but a blip since his win in Hawaii, but he did post a T9 at the Wells Fargo Championship. I’m not saying that that’s a comp course by any means, but we’re grasping at straws down here and Gomez’s safe play seems a bit more reliable than his price peers. Marcus Fraser (DK $6,000)

 

GPP PLAYS

 Zach Johnson (DK $8,300)

  • Course History: 33rd – 23rd – 4th – 40th – 6th – 33rd – 14th – 16th – 11th – 36th – 9th – 22nd
  • Form: 8th – 17th – 66th – 54th – 29th – 33rd – MC
  • Stats: 55th – SG: APP, 30th – SG: ARG, 59th – SG:T2G, 60th – SG:P, 162nd – DD, 38th – DA, 87th – GIR, 57th – Birdie Avg, 37th – Scoring Avg, 109th – TD, 24th – TDE, 32nd – Prox, 43rd – Scrambling, 33rd – P3 BoB, 78th – P4 BoB, 59th – P5 BoB
  • Other – Zach’s course history is whats drawing me to him this week (eight Top 25’s including – five Top 15’s), he played well in tough conditions at Oakmont and is trending in the right direction. Not to mention he seems to be peaking around this time every year – IE: John Deere Classic, British Open. I like him as both GPP and cash plays this week.

David Lingmerth (DK $7,600)

  • Course History: 6th
  • Form: 12th – 27th – 22nd – MC – MC – 17th – 33rd – MC
  • Stats: 38th – SG:OTT, 62nd – SG:APP, 57th – SG:T2G, 150th – DD, 16th – DA, 79th – GIR, 44th – Birdie Avg, 50th – TD, 22nd – TDE, 76th – Prox, 106th – Scrambling, 34th – P3 BoB, 85th – P4 BoB, 54th – P5 BoB
  • Other – Lingmerth’s ball striking will be on display this week and he’s shown he can hang with the big boys in no cut/strong field events (see last year’s Bridgestone & Memorial). The thing about Lingmerth is he doesn’t do anything exceptionally well statistically, but everything he does is above average. I’m hoping other people don’t feel the same way for GPPs this week, because as of right now I’m thinking he’s a sneaky play.

ALSO CONSIDER – Phil Mickelson (DK $8,900) – “Missed Cut Mickelson” is a new nickname I’m toying with, regardless he’s shown both a high ceiling and a low floor at this event. I’m only suggesting him for GPPs as a play on low ownership because given his lack of Top 30 finishes, missed cut and price, I don’t see people playing much of Phil this week. Russell Knox (DK $7,500) – Roo is an interesting play week in and week out. I thought he’d do well at Oakmont (as I’m sure he thought the same) and don’t get me wrong, a 23rd place finish is good, I expected more from him the way he’d been trending leading in. Some may say his main issue is his putting, but even when he’s gained more than 1 stroke putting he hasn’t done well (Pebble Beach he gained 2.113 strokes: putting and missed the cut) instead, it’s been his ballstriking. Knox needs to keep the ball in the fairway and hit the greens with his 2nd shot in order to be competitive, and I hope to see that return this week. Kevin Chappell (DK $7,400)

 

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 14:55

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