Last week’s tournament was one for the ages. A hole out on the 18th hole by Justin Thomas made it interesting and led to a playoff win by Phil Mickelson, whose high ownership I mocked on Twitter. You win some, you lose some.
This week we travel back to Florida for the Valspar Championship played at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, near Tampa. They will be playing the Copperhead Course which is extremely difficult and requires a ton of course management.
Length: 7,340 yards
Greens: Fast Bermuda greens
Notes: five par 3s, four par 5s
Wind will come into play this week so be sure to factor in guys that are talented in gusty conditions. There may be an advantage to the Thursday AM wave if what I am seeing now holds, but check the weather closer to lock. Always consider stacking both tee times in case the weather changes and the public is on the wrong tee time.
|2013 Kevin Streelman -10||DDR(rank)||DDS(stat)||DAR||DAS||SGT2GR||SGT2GS||SGOTTR||SGOTTS||SGAPPR||SGAPPS||PROXR||PROXS(")||SGATGR||SGATGS||SGPUTTR||SGPUTTS||BOBR||BOBS||BAR||BAS|
|2017 Adam Hadwin -14||108||291.3||65||63.2||85||0.162||103||0.009||71||0.192||96||433||121||-0.04||18||0.446||81||20.52||31||15.19|
|2016 Charl Schwartzel -7||44||296.7||142||56.86||10||1.18||47||0.304||7||0.652||77||426||33||0.224||124||-0.137||26||21.59||55||15.79|
|2015 Jordan Spieth -10||78||291.8||80||62.91||4||1.583||15||0.494||11||0.618||26||404||7||0.471||9||0.571||2||25.69||3||13.13|
|2014 John Senden -7||95||288.9||51||64.25||65||0.328||57||0.224||85||0.127||108||434||111||-0.023||13||0.476||91||19.64||16||14.53|
|2013 Kevin Streelman -10||94||287.5||23||67.25||35||0.611||26||0.406||66||0.214||16||400||95||-0.008||51||0.246||85||19.51||42||16.15|
By looking at the key stats of the past five winners in the year that they won, we can see that driving accuracy comes up as more important than usual. We should pay attention to guys that can control the ball off of the tee. Per usual, strokes gained tee-to-green is highly correlated with the approach and off-the-tee work being weighted similarly. The most highly correlated statistic is bogey avoidance, which makes sense at an event where, over the last five years, the winning score averages 9.6 under.
$10K Justin Rose
Rose had a bad week, but sometimes you just can’t swing it pure. If we throw away last week, his stats all look amazing and put him near the top of any field. He is a great pivot off Henrik Stenson who is projected to be around 20 percent owned. His course history is good as well with two top 10s and two top 15s.
$8.7K Adam Scott
I expect him to be popular, which warrants a fade, but he’s just underpriced after finishing 11th T2G over his last 12 rounds vs the field. He never got in the top 10 even while he was on top of his game, but he would be $1,000 more expensive if he were in that form now.
$8.4K Byeong-Hun An
An is a quality ball striker who is sixth tee-to-green in the field over his last 12 rounds. If he putts well, he will be near the top. He is an odds value at 35-1 to win.
$8.2K Matt Kuchar
Kuchar has a morning tee time on Thursday and a quality history at this event with four top 15s. The price is too low and one bad week will not dissuade me.
$8K Kevin Na
Na is a guy who can maneuver around a track methodically and has fared well here with three top 10s. His elevated price range may scare people away, but he’s a strong play. Na is rounding into form with a second-place finish last week.
$7.5K Brandt Snedeker
A steady player that has seen the course many times with two top 10s on his belt, Snedeker makes a strong play at a discount. I also expect him to be overlooked. He is, however, part of the Thursday PM wave.
$7.4K Bryson DeChambeau
This is my first time writing up the quality ball striker. His stats look good over the last 12 rounds (15th in DK points and total strokes gained in that span, but with poor putting). When his game is on, he can pop on leaderboards and compete with the best.
$7.3K Jamie Lovemark
Coming off a seventh-place finish at another difficult course, Lovemark has the tools to compete here. He has seen the course four times with three made cuts. In the last three which he made the cut, he gained one stroke per round T2G on average and didn’t putt great. Maybe he can get going with the flat stick for us.