Up next is the CareerBuilder Challenge which is played in La Quinta, CA.  The tournament formerly knows as the Humana Challenge is unique in that the first three rounds will be played over three different courses, similar to the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, and as few as 60 golfers could wind up playing on Sunday (top-70 and ties make the cut unless 78 or more golfers are t-70 or better, then only the top 60 and ties would make it to Sunday).

There are two new courses in the rotation this year, TPC Stadium (host course, used twice including Sunday finish) and the Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course, and they will join tournament mainstay La Quinta Country Club.  The TPC Stadium Course has a reputation for being tough, but keep in mind this is a pro-am.  I don’t think the tournament organizers would put celebrities and/or high-paying donors in a situation where they’d likely be embarrassed, and I expect low scores across the board.

2015 Humana Challenge
1. Bill Haas -22
T-2. Charley Hoffman -21
T-2. Brendan Steele -21
T-2. Sung Joon Park -21
T-2. Matt Kuchar -21
T-2. Steve Wheatcroft -21
T-7. Webb Simpson -20
T-7. Boo Weekley -20
T-7. Justin Thomas -20
T-10. Colt Knost -19
T-10. Francesco Molinari -19
T-10. Ryan Palmer -19
T-10. Erik Compton
Full Results

This is a tough week to pin down.  Three of the four rounds will be played over new tracks, so I’m not sure how much course history should factor in.  I’ll tell you what I did, and maybe that’ll give you some ideas for your own research.  I looked at players who have performed well at this tournament in the past (giving me the La Quinta/Nicklaus component) and/or Pete Dye courses (giving me the TPC Stadium component).  The Pete Dye courses I used in my research included TPC Sawgrass, TPC River Highlands, TPC Louisiana, and Harbour Town.  The list of golfers I came up with pointed me towards this group of statistics:

  • Stroke Differential
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Total Driving
  • GIR
  • Scrambling
  • Birdie or Better %
  • Par 4 Scoring Average
  • Par 5 Scoring Average
  • Proximity from 150-175 Yards

I’ll also be using what little course history information I have and current form.

PICKS!  PICKS!  PICKS!  PICKS!  PICKS!  PICKS!  PICKS!  PICKS!  PICKS!  PICKS!

I am using 2015-16 statistics and rank indicates where they place in the field.

Zach Johnson $11,900 (17-1)

I think he’s close to putting together a special week.  Although he’s adjusting to new clubs, he’s still #2 in GIR, #19 in birdie or better %, and 4th in par 4 scoring average despite ranking outside the top 50 in both SGT2G and SGP.  He’s sure to be the lowest owned of the high-priced guys, and he makes for a nice tournament play.

  • Stroke Differential: 49th
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 56th
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 65th
  • Total Driving: 42nd
  • GIR: 2nd
  • Scrambling: 79th
  • Birdie or Better %: 19th
  • Par 4 Scoring Average: 4th
  • Par 5 Scoring Average: 44th
  • Proximity from 150-175 Yards: 40th

Ryan Palmer $11,000 (27-1)

He’s been great at this tournament in the past, and he had a pretty good showing last week.  I’m a sucker for the course history + form guys.  The only thing that worries me is his price.  At $11k, he probably needs a top-5 or so finish to justify his salary, but that certainly isn’t out of the realm of possibilities.

  • Stroke Differential: 16th
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 9th
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 105th
  • Total Driving: 76th
  • GIR: 36th
  • Scrambling: N/A
  • Birdie or Better %: 13th
  • Par 4 Scoring Average: N/A
  • Par 5 Scoring Average: 2nd
  • Proximity from 150-175 Yards: 41st

Kevin Na $10,600 (30-1)

Na started out the swing season on fire; ripping off 2nd, T-2, and T-3 in his first three starts before falling off a bit at the HSBC.  He returned to action last week at Sony and finished T-28.  I strongly prefer guys who played last week and did well as opposed to those coming in cold.  He has great stats for this layout and decent overall course history; couple that with the fact that he looks to be rounding into form, and you’ve got a great option at a little bit of a discount when compared to the likes of Reed, Kuchar, Haas, etc.

  • Stroke Differential: 4th
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 3rd
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 49th
  • Total Driving: 13th
  • GIR: 16th
  • Scrambling: 34th
  • Birdie or Better %: 8th
  • Par 4 Scoring Average: 3rd
  • Par 5 Scoring Average: 60th
  • Proximity from 150-175 Yards: 67th

Jason Bohn $10,100 (40-1)

Like Na, Bohn started off with T-3 or better finishes in three of his first four 2015-16 starts.  He hasn’t played since the second week in November, but there’s still a lot to like here.  He’s accurate off the tee, hits a lot of greens, and makes a ton of birdies.  That’s pretty much the prototype for success at PGA West.

  • Stroke Differential: 1st
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 5th
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 43rd
  • Total Driving: 25th
  • GIR: 7th
  • Scrambling: 70th
  • Birdie or Better %: 2nd
  • Par 4 Scoring Average: 2nd
  • Par 5 Scoring Average: 34th
  • Proximity from 150-175 Yards: 76th

David Lingmerth $8,800 (50-1)

The forgotten man.  He ended 2014-15 on a bit of a skid, but he’s played some great golf the past two weeks (T-15 at TOC, T-13 at Sony).  Lingmerth has tournament-winning upside, and he comes in at a very reasonable $8,800.  I think he’ll do well this week; he’s great off-the-tee, makes his fair share of birdies, and is fantastic from the key yardage of 150-175 (despite the courses being relatively short, 23.7% of all shots at PGA West from 2006-2015 have come from this distance).  As an added bonus, Francesco Molinari ($8,700) will be one of the most popular golfers this week, and Lingmerth makes for a fantastic pivot.

  • Stroke Differential: 82nd
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 36th
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 70th
  • Total Driving: 14th
  • GIR: 73rd
  • Scrambling: 48th
  • Birdie or Better %: 28th
  • Par 4 Scoring Average: 31st
  • Par 5 Scoring Average: 59th
  • Proximity from 150-175 Yards: 15th

Daniel Summerhays $7,900 (65-1)

Summerhays is 5/5 in cuts made so far this season with three top-16 finishes (including a T-13 last week at Sony), and if you buy into my profile, he has a game made for this course (57th or better in every category).  He has some decent course history (96.25 DK points per over four starts), and you know how much I like those course history + form guys.  He’s a bargain at $7,900.

  • Stroke Differential: 13th
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 11th
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 57th
  • Total Driving: 51st
  • GIR: 48th
  • Scrambling: 28th
  • Birdie or Better %: 33rd
  • Par 4 Scoring Average: 24th
  • Par 5 Scoring Average: 18th
  • Proximity from 150-175 Yards: 54th

Cameron Tringale $7,800 (70-1)

Tringale is my favorite play this week (don’t worry, I won’t put my winner’s jinx on him).  He’s been averaging 85.5 DK points per start over his last five, and he’s averaged 96.6 DK points in five tries at this event.  As great as Summerhays’ profile was, Tringale’s is better (it’s bulletproof).  Take a look for yourself.

  • Stroke Differential: 6th
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 20th
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 38th
  • Total Driving: 27th
  • GIR: 11th
  • Scrambling: 45th
  • Birdie or Better %: 27th
  • Par 4 Scoring Average: 22nd
  • Par 5 Scoring Average: 36th
  • Proximity from 150-175 Yards: 22nd

I’m all-in.

Nick Watney $7,600 (90-1)

Watney has phenomenal history at this event (108.8 DK points per in four starts).  The only thing that scares me is it’s his first tournament of 2016, but you can’t beat the price.  He’ll get three rounds to shake off the rust as opposed to two, and if he comes close to that 109 FP average, he’ll blow his price tag out of the water.

  • Stroke Differential: 46th
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 27th
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 78th
  • Total Driving: 95th
  • GIR: 23rd
  • Scrambling: 92nd
  • Birdie or Better %: 91st
  • Par 4 Scoring Average: 71st
  • Par 5 Scoring Average: 51st
  • Proximity from 150-175 Yards: 11th

Si Woo Kim $7,500 (75-1)

Let’s start with an obligatory GIF.

Now we can move on.

The 20-year old Korean sensation comes into the CareerBuilder Challenge on a streak of three straight top-18 finishes (including a solo 4th at Sony last week).  He can play, and his price hasn’t yet adjusted.  So get in while you still can.  His GIR number leaves a lot to be desired, but he compensates for that as the #14 scrambler on tour.  If he can get the putter working, he has a legitimate shot at winning the tournament.  Vegas thinks so too, his 75-1 sticks out like a sore thumb in this price range.

  • Stroke Differential: 14th
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 17th
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 97th
  • Total Driving: 2nd
  • GIR: 70th
  • Scrambling: 14th
  • Birdie or Better %: 53rd
  • Par 4 Scoring Average: 36th
  • Par 5 Scoring Average: 9th
  • Proximity from 150-175 Yards: 105th

Hudson Swafford $7,000 (120-1)

Swafford had a nice week at Sony; finishing T-9.  He does a number of things that should translate well here.  He’s one of the best on tour off-the-tee and he’s #10 in SGP.  At only $7,000, he’s a fantastic value.

  • Stroke Differential: 37th
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 71st
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 10th
  • Total Driving: 4th
  • GIR: 65th
  • Scrambling: 43rd
  • Birdie or Better %: 49th
  • Par 4 Scoring Average: 25th
  • Par 5 Scoring Average: 21st
  • Proximity from 150-175 Yards: 117th

Kyle Stanley $6,700 (100-1)

Much like Si Woo Kim, Vegas thinks Stanley is under-priced.  Every other golfer at $6,800 or lower carries odds of between 150 and 500-1, yet Stanley comes in at only 100-1.  It’s easy to see why, though… Stanley’s last three tournaments: CUT, T-33, and T-13.  He’s clearly trending in the right direction, and his statistical profile looks like that of an $8k golfer.  Stanley is my favorite value play.

  • Stroke Differential: 65th
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 35th
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 107th
  • Total Driving: 65th
  • GIR: 43rd
  • Scrambling: N/A
  • Birdie or Better %: 46th
  • Par 4 Scoring Average: 45th
  • Par 5 Scoring Average: 49th
  • Proximity from 150-175 Yards: 5th

Shawn Stefani $6,500 (200-1)

Let’s address this up front…  His 2015-16 numbers are terrible.  Feel free to ignore them.  I will say, if you use last year’s stats, Stefani actually grades out very well.  So it’s a question of how much weight you want to put into a small but recent sample.  He actually posted three nice rounds in Maui, and if it weren’t for a third round 72, he would’ve been right there.  At $6,500, I’m willing to take a chance on him.

  • Stroke Differential: 115th
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 91st
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 136th
  • Total Driving: 100th
  • GIR: N/A
  • Scrambling: 76th
  • Birdie or Better %: N/A
  • Par 4 Scoring Average: N/A
  • Par 5 Scoring Average: 53rd
  • Proximity from 150-175 Yards: 55th

Good luck this week!

oreo

 

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