Yahoo Contest Preview- Valspar Championship

Fantasy Golf Insider Staff
By Fantasy Golf Insider Staff February 26, 2015 15:50

The PGA Tour continues its Florida swing and heads to Palm Harbor at the Innisbrook Resort and Copperhead Golf Course, which is a par 71 and measures 7,340 yards (one hundred yards longer than the average course on tour this year). The course features four Par 5s and five par 3s. The tournament has held many names over the years including the Tampa Bay Classic and the Chrysler Open. It currently is call the Valspar Championship. The field isn’t going to make you forget about the Majors, but what do you expect sandwiched in between the WGC Cadillac and the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Bottom line, the field is not the greatest, but that only gives those who are willing to put in the time, study, and prepare the advantage in this week’s contests.

Copperhead has a lot of trees, double doglegs, and is unlike the last two weeks tournament courses in that it is not very flat. It generally ranks as one of the toughest courses on tour. The final three holes are referred to as the Snake Pit. Because of the massive amount of trees and hazards, players will not just be able to bash away this week without any consequences. Driving distance will be important, but only if the drive is accurate. For this reason we will look at driving distance and driving accuracy in combination. In addition since there are five Par 3 holes we are going to look at Par 3 birdie or better average. As always we look at Strokes Gained both Total and Tee-To-Green. If you have not already, check out our articles called “Do statistics really matter in fantasy golf” You also need to take note that we go back to having a cut this week (after round 2) after a week off of a cut at the WGC Cadillac last week.
Last year John Senden birdied twice in his final pass through the Snake Pit to edge out Kevin Na by a stroke. The 42-year-old Aussie chipped in for birdie at No.16 to break a three-way tie for the lead, following with a 20-foot birdie at the par-3 17th that Na matched to keep hopes alive for a playoff. Na’s drive at No.18, though, came to rest in the first cut of rough and his second shot rolled to the back of the green. Senden, who jumped into contention with a Saturday 64, picked up his first victory anywhere since the 2006 Australian Open.

A key factor that we analyze every week is Tournament History. Check out our Tournament History page to see exactly who has had success in the past in this tournament. Several guys stand out as perennially great players at Copperhead. Luke Donald is one of those players as he has a run of four consecutive top-6 finishes on Copperhead, including his 2012 win and a tie for fourth last year. Jim Furyk is another guy who plays well as he has five straight top-20 finishes with a victory in 2010 and a playoff loss to Donald two years later. One interesting stat is that just three of 14 defending champions has finished in the Top 10 a year later.

A-List:

Jim Furyk & Adam Scott– If you were to design a player that is tailor made for this course, it would be Jim Furyk. That could explain why he has dominated this tournament in the past. In his last five appearances at Copperhead Furyk has a 20th, 7th, 2nd, 13th, and a win. Are you interested yet? Furyk is not long off the tee ranking 183rd on the PGA Tour in Driving Distance, but what he lacks in length he makes up in accuracy where he currently ranks 10th. Since his return from long hiatus Furyk has performed very well with a T12 last week at the WGC Cadillac, T14 at the Northern Trust, and T7 at Pebble Beach. He is an ideal player in cut formats as he almost assuredly will being playing the weekend. We considered Luke Donald since his course history is so great, but we are going to elect to go with the better player. A lot of questions surrounded Scott coming into last week and he answered most of them with a T4. The change of caddie, change of putter, and long hiatus did not seem to hinder Scott from a solid performance and we look for him to follow that up. In his last two appearances Scott has two Top 30s but nothing spectacular.

 

A-List Others: Luke Donald & Jason Dufner

 

B-List:

 

Matt Kuchar & Daniel Berger– Before last week’s bit disappointing T23 he had been playing well with a T30 at Phoenix Open, T2 at Humana, T3 at the Sony Open, T17 at Hyundai. His tournament history here Copperhead is solid with a 38th last year, a 14th in 2013, 10th in 2012, and a 12th in 2009 (he did not play in 2010 or 2011). He currently ranks 25th in total strokes gained. Daniel Berger- We are hoping during his week off that people forgot about Daniel Berger. We last saw him with an outstanding run into the playoff at the Honda Classic before losing to Harrington. That was not his only great performance this year however. Before that Berger had a T10 at Pebble Beach, T24 at The Farmers, T10 at WM Phoenix Open, and T13 at the Sony Open. He only missed the cut at Humana. Maybe he just doesn’t like easy tracks. To add to his credentials this week Berger ranks 24th in greens in regulation, 15th in driving distance, 26th in Total Strokes Gained, and 24th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green. He is a really solid young player and we think he has another solid outing this weekend.

 

B-List Others: Westwood would be a great option to roster, Mackenzie, Watney, Choi

 

C-List:

 

Martin Laird- & Kevin Na– After a couple of weeks off Laird looks to continue his solid play lately as he had a T7 at The Farmers, T5 at the WM Phoenix Open, and T15 at Humana. He ranks well in many statistical categories including 15th in Strokes Gained Tee-To-Green, 17th in Total Strokes Gained, 21st in Greens in Regulation, 29th in Driving Distance, and 5th in Par three birdie or better percentage. Laird’s tournament history here at Copperhead is not great though as he did not play last year, 70th in 2013, MC in 2012, 5th in 2011, and 28th in 2010. Not an impressive first round at the WGC Cadillac last week as Na shot a 74, but the next three rounds he put up 71s to charge into a final finish of T9. His current form has not been overly impressive, but not terrible either as he has a T61 at Northern Trust, MC at Pebble, T26 WM Phoenix Open, T48 at Humana, and T64 at Sony. He has a pretty good track record at Copperhead however with a runner up finish last year, DNP in 2013, 38th in 2012, 44th in 2011, 72nd in 2010, and 8th in 2009. Na currently ranks 10th in Par 3 Birdie or better percentage. Na might be a good fit if you are building a balanced lineup in DFS. He is most likely going to make the cut and if you can get your other guys through you will do fine.

 

C-List Others: Luiten and Todd
As always best of luck to you. Our top priority is to make our premium members profitable playing fantasy golf. Let us know how you do and go kill’em at Valspar.

Fantasy Golf Insider Staff
By Fantasy Golf Insider Staff February 26, 2015 15:50

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