The Daily Spin – AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte January 28, 2015 20:50

Welcome back, followers and subscribers alike. I hope that you are enjoying our work here at The Daily Spin. We do our best each week to provide you with some out of the box strategy for building your lineups and maximizing the value of your dollars. We want to try to be distinct in our views on each tournament and are willing to take a few bold chances with each tournament. We aim to make you take one extra thought before inserting the most obvious of players into your lineups.

Did anyone else enjoy watching Pat Perez’s scorecard turn into an ugly geometry problem last weekend? I thought they were going to have to start putting octagons on his card to circle some of those ridiculous scores. Brooks ‘5 Putt’ Koepka proved to be worthy of a few screams as well. Seemingly in contention, he imploded on the 18th hole on Day 2 and never fully recovered, finishing well below the leaders. Alas, I was incredibly proud of myself after Friday. I managed to put together one of only nine lineups out of the 166 entries in the Draft Kings $200 GPP that had all six players make it through the cut. I stood in 8th place with only two lineups in front of me that had all six guys. Overwhelmed by the pressure, my squad melted down for two consecutive days shooting a combined +36 the last two rounds, pushing my team to a disappointing 12th place finish. Fortunately, I had one other team cash in that tournament as well and ripped through competitors in the 50/50 contests so the week was salvaged.

Torrey Pines proved to be an incredibly challenging course for the pros last weekend as many high ranked players ended up missing the cut. Notable casualties from our recommendations included both Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Thomas. Each guy is very talented and both have the game for the course, but just could not get ahead of the cutline throughout the first two rounds. Matsuyama broke my heart on the 18th with a three putt and missed the cut by a single stroke. The remainder of our recommendations actually performed quite well. Charles Howell III, finished just one stroke behind the 4 players that went to a playoff. Both Daniel Berger and Tony Finau put up game efforts and outperformed their respective prices. Leishman and Woodland each made the cut before fading a bit on the last day. Brooks Koepka…oh what could have been. Bill Haas, as my last second replacement for Graham WD Delaet, also played very well. Seung-Yul Noh proved to be the only other real miss for us here last week.

As far as the fades were concerned, Tiger Woods proved again to be a 1 foot ‘gimme’ putt as a fade last week. No extra high fives for hitting that one on the head. Chris Kirk finished out of the Top 30 so we feel very good about fading him at his price point. On fading the favorites, Jordan Spieth actually missed the cut outright so that proved to be a feather in our cap. Our view of eventual tournament winner Jason Day proved to be dead on as well in that we liked him for those entering many lineups for tournaments, but not so much for cash game play. With the way the Top 3 were priced last week, it just did not make a lot of sense to pay up for one top player with the hopes that five other players with a below average salary would carry your team forward. Overall, fading the favorites was not quite the perfect strategy last week, but not quite the wrong one either considering the deep value that was available from other players.

And now we move onto the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. I am not going to rehash how beautiful the courses are out there. I am sitting in Minnesota looking a snowstorm asking myself why my dad ever moved back to Minnesota after living in San Diego for two years while in the Marine Corp. Of course, he is having the last laugh now that he spends his winters out there while I am back here grinding! The most important thing to note about this tournament is that the cut does not come until after the 3rd Round. What this means is that you can ramp up your aggression a little bit more when building your lineups. It would be like playing Texas Hold ‘Em if for a given tournament the flop contained 4 cards instead of 3. A lot more hands become playable just like a lot more lineups become playable in getting a minimum of three rounds of play.

HATE

The Favorites – We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, the favorites are hitting price points this year that are making them increasingly difficult to roster. Last year, the top players topped out at much lower prices making it pretty easy to have a balanced roster. This year, as owners, we are being forced into taking more risks, which should make you happy as readers of our site. While most players flounder in looking at lower tier options, you are fed wonderful choices from up and down the list of available players. With both Jason Day and Jimmy Walker priced well above the rest of the field, I will not be rostering either player for any 50/50 contests. For tournament play, I will have Jimmy Walker on one team this week as his tournament history here is really tremendous with four straight Top 10 finishes including a victory here last year. Walker is doing everything well right now: He’s a top player driving the ball, greens in regulation, strokes gained tee-to-green and strokes gained putting. Day’s stats are very similar to those of Walker. We’re giving Walker the slight nod here as Day won last weekend and may not be quite as motivated as Walker and Walker simply has a much stronger history at the tournament. Both guys should play well, however, we will have very little exposure to either player overall.

LOVE

Jordan Spieth – He will not miss two cuts in a row. Like we mentioned last week, his game really is not that well suited for Torrey Pines as he is just not one of the bigger hitters out there. That is not a worry for him this week as the three courses are far shorter than last. He did not putt very well last week, but he is typically one of the stronger player in the categories of greens in regulation, sand save percentage and scrambling which should help him along the narrow fairways. Considering his large discount to the two favorites, Spieth is a reasonable, although not great value this week. He also took 4th here last year and 22nd the year before that so he has already proven he can play very well here.

Patrick Reed – Reed is becoming one of the most consistent players on the tour right now. He is six of six this year in making the cut and seems to be competitive in almost every tournament he enters. Reed also pays well here with a 13th and 7th place finish in two starts. We attribute a great deal of his success here due to his scrambling ability, where he ranks near the top in most categories and especially good around the green, which will be crucial to the success of players this week. Reed will not be cheap, but with a lot of value in the middle of this field, you can get him onto your roster without causing yourself too much pain.

Ryan Palmer – Typically, as we go through ranking players in the field, one of the first things we will look at is how well each player has played in the upcoming tournament over the last few years. We want you to turn away from that statistic in the case of Ryan Palmer this week. In 9 appearances at Pebble Beach, Palmer has yet to record a Top 20 finish. Yet, his game is in such a great place right now that at this price, he is more than worth the risk. He tied for second in Phoenix, 10th at the Humana and 17th at the Sony. Before that, he tied for 22nd at the WGC-HSBC and 8th at the BMW masters. There just aren’t many other players out there right now playing better golf than Palmer and certainly none of those that are can be found in his price range. He ranks second this season in driving, 10th in strokes gained tee-to-green, 3rd in total strokes gained, 6th in birdies, 9th in scrambling….etc He is right up there in just about every statistical category which means that you need to own him this week and just get over his history here.

Kevin Na – Okay, we are not going to totally dump tournament history here. Let’s work back to what works for us week in and week out. Na is off to a bit of a mediocre start so far this year. He is making cuts, which is great, he is simply not competing for top positions on the leaderboard right now which is a bit of a concern. Since a 2nd place finish at the CIMB Classic in October, he’s generally floated in the middle of the pack. His putting has been a bit lackluster so far, but generally speaking, he’s one of the better putters on tour so we are hoping that this small slump has passed. He’s not a long hitter, but he does scramble well and if he gets his putter going, he should have a very good shot at a Top 20 finish for the week.

Shane Lowry – Lowry is the Irishman that gets overlooked in most tournaments. One of the themes that we are constantly expounding on here at The Daily Spin is that the European Players that come over to the PGA Tour after playing for months on the European PGA Tour are undervalued. Lowry, Molinari, Donaldson, Jacobson, Poulter…just a few of the names that played great all fall and winter in Europe and then stepped off the plane here in the US and immediately started to do damage. Lowry, not a big hitter by any means, fared very well at Torrey Pines last week. He kept the ball in play and rallied back after dropping a few strokes early on to finish T7 for the tournament. His approach game was sharp and had he been just a little better with his putter, he would have been in a position to win the tournament. This will be Lowry’s first stop at Pebble Beach, but we do not anticipate him being phased by that. His form is great, having made the cut in all 7 starts since the fall season began and has five Top 25 finishes to his credit. He’s priced well and works great in cash games tournaments this weekend.

Ian Poulter – Another player with limited experience at Pebble Beach (finished 50th in one start), Poulter is another compelling value play. The Brit held his own at Torrey Pines last week with a 19th place finish. Everyone said that you needed bombers to win last week and while they did play well, there were plenty of players who are not big hitters that enjoyed success. In his last five starts, he has two Top 10 finishes and 4 Top 25 finishes. He scrambled well and putted well last week and this should help him to stick around the leaders for most of the weekend.

Alexander Levy – One of the hottest players in the world right now that most fantasy golf novices are going to overlook this week is Alexander Levy. He is making his first start of the year on the PGA Tour, but has played a very busy schedule throughout the last few months. The Frenchman has played very little over here in the US, but has made the cut in 8 of 9 events since the fall which includes a 1st place finish at the Portugal Masters, a 2nd place finish at the BMW Masters and six other Top 30 appearances. While there are not a lot of stats out there on Levy versus the rest of this field, he is a great putter, which will help keep him in the hunt this week. He is priced right so get him in your lineups now before it begins to climb this season.

Jason Kokrak – Our last value pick of the week is Jason Kokrak. Kokrak has two Top 20 finishes at Pebble Beach and has made 7 of 8 cuts this season. He is a top 20 talent in driving the ball and has been putting the ball well this season. He’ll need to scramble better around the green and pick up his iron play, but even just playing his normal game, he should be in the Top 30 by the end of the weekend.

Zac Blair – We didn’t really dig too deeply into the sleeper bin this week as we opted to take a mostly balanced approach to building our lineups. However, we do suspect that a few players in the lower ranges will continue their string of good play. Zac is on a nice run and acquitted himself well at Torrey Pines last week tying for 11th place proving once again, that good form is always the best metric to look at when beginning to evaluate potential rosters each week. Outside of missing the cut at The Humana by a single stroke, Blair has only missed one other cut while on tour. He is a terrific putter and better than average scrambler which should offset the fact that he is certainly never going to lead the tour in driving distance. Blair is a scrappy young talent and we favor the new younger players for value over the aging veterans as there is more upside potential for players like Blair.

Daniel Berger – We nailed this one last week and we are sticking to our philosophy of choosing younger players to fill the sleeper roll. We like the unknown, undervalued players in the middle priced area and the young, up and coming players in the traditional sleeper rolls. Berger missed the cut in his first two events of the season, but has since made 6 of 7 cuts. THe best part of picking someone like Berger is that he is going to sneak up to the top of the leaderboard one of these weeks and threaten to win a tournament. He has finished in the Top 15 twice in his last four starts so he really is right on the cusp here. As mentioned previously, he drives the ball well and if he can pick up his putting and avoid having the one disastrous round like he had last week, he could make a run at winning the tournament.

Michael Putnam – I am not excited to throw him in here, but I need to give you at least one lower range player who will make the cut. I know some of you will have to own some of the upper echelon players so finding value near the bottom is important. Putnam is 3 for 3 in making the cut at Pebble Beach. He is not going to win the event. He is not going to be in the Top 10 for this event, but he is going to make the cut. There are not any categories where I am in love with Putnam’s game. He drives the ball okay. He’s a poor putter. He does keep the ball in play and is solid in terms of greens in regulation. He played well at The Humana and in Phoenix the week prior before missing the cut last week by just one stroke. A 53rd place finish sounds about right for Putnam this week.

Thanks for reading and as always, hit us up on Twitter to let us know how you are doing each week. Our handle is @fantasygolfers

Good Luck!

Myzteriouzly

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte January 28, 2015 20:50

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