Oh, yeah. Who’s ready for 11k Graham DeLaet?
You asked for it, and DraftKings delivered… it’s time for the Puerto Rico Open! Woooooooooooo!
I went searching for some Coco Beach Golf & CC course information only to find out their website (previously operating as Trump International Golf Club Puerto Rico) has been shut down; a perfect microcosm of our week in fantasy golf. I was able to find we’re dealing with a 7,506-yard par 72.
2015 Puerto Rico Open
1. Alex Cejka -7 (won in playoff)
T-2. Tim Petrovic -7
T-2. Sam Saunders -7
T-2. Jon Curran -7
T-2. Emiliano Grillo -7
T-6. Will Wilcox -6
T-6. Will MacKenzie -6
T-6. Boo Weekley -6
T-6. Scott Pinckney -6
T-10. Rod Pampling -5
T-10. John Daly -5
T-10. Rafael Cabrera Bello -5
T-10. Brendon de Jonge -5
T-10. Scott Brown -5
T-10. Chris Smith -5
Last year was a bit of an aberration (but we could be in for more of the same). The bad weather led to a much lower than usual winning score. Chesson Hadley won in 2014 at -21 and Scott Brown won in 2013 at -20. So you’re going to have to put your meteorologist hat on, and figure out how much of a factor you think the weather is going to be this week. I am in no way qualified to make such projections, but here’s the Weather Channel’s forecast for Rio Grande, Puerto Rico. Looks like steady winds and probable weekend showers.
Let’s be honest, we’re dealing with a bunch of scrubs (relative to a standard week). As such, I’m going to focus less on micro stats like proximity from certain yardages and more on macro stats like strokes gained.
- Strokes Gained (Tee-to-Green and Putting)
- Driving Distance & Accuracy
- Birdie or Better %
PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS! PICKS!
Scott Brown $10900 (18-1)
He’s a former champion and in good form (three straight top-27s, all coming in solid fields). Ranks near the top of the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green, total driving, and ball striking. He’s the #1 option IMO.
William McGirt $10500 (22-1)
Better stats but lesser course history when compared to Brown. He’s #1 in the field in strokes gained: total and birdie %. He’s also above average in all of my target stats save driving distance. Should be a solid, safe play with a good deal of upside. Just feels like the type of tournament McGirt is destined to win.
Patrick Rodgers $10200 (30-1)
Hey guys, welcome back to the bandwagon! I know some of you will feel dirty slinking back in, but no judgment here. He offers the best combination of talent and form (yes, I’m putting a fair amount of stock into last week) in the field. He’s right there with McGirt in terms of SGT2G, #7 in total driving, #4 in ball striking, and #4 in birdie rate. This course shouldn’t be too much trouble for Patrick.
Luke Donald $9600 (35-1)
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Former #1 in the world Luke Donald is 35-1 in this trash field. I’ve gotta say, he feels a little like a trap as only the 12th highest salary on the board. However, this week I’m really focusing on golfers who I think have what it takes, mentally, to win a PGA Tour Event. Winning would be a life-changing event for most of this field, and you can’t ignore the impact Sunday pressure will play. Luke’s been there before, and he won’t wilt away. If you’re looking for stats, he ranks near the top in strokes gained: tee-to-green and one of the best in terms of scrambling and bogey avoidance (which may prove pivotal if the weather is a factor).
Tony Finau $9200 (45-1)
Let’s flashback a week. Most of you wouldn’t have touched him with a 10-foot pole. This week, I expect him to be one of the most popular plays. Life comes at you fast. His stats look a little trashy, but that’s to be expected given how he was playing earlier in the year. You know he’s long and great tee-to-green (or at least he should be). He can also rack up birdies in a hurry. If you incorporate a little common sense, you know he’s one of the five or so most talented golfers in the field. Form is definitely an issue, but this is more of a cream rising to the top above all else week.
Luke List $8600 (50-1)
Not the most accurate off the tee (and that’s putting it mildly), but excels in all other key areas. He’s long, hits a ton of greens, makes some birdies, and even does a relatively good job of limiting bogeys. He’s only made three of his last seven cuts, but all three times he made it through, he finished in the top-20.
Kyle Stanley $8000 (66-1)
Stanley has made seven of his last eight cuts against solid competition. I expect him to make a little bit of a jump against this weaker field. His numbers are fairly solid across the board, and I like that he’s both accurate off the tee and into greens. That should lead to a fair number of looks at birdie.
David Toms $7500 (70-1)
Toms doesn’t have the length off the tee to compete every week on tour. However, the field in Puerto Rico isn’t exactly littered with bombers. Even at his age, Toms is still pretty good tee-to-green, and he ranks near the top of the field in terms of driving accuracy, proximity, scrambling, and bogey avoidance. Those last two skills, especially given the weather forecast, make Toms an excellent cash play. I will also be using him in tournaments, as I like the gritty old guy angle (see: last year’s champion, Alex Cejka). He’s a winner.
Jhonattan Vegas $7400 (70-1)
If you like Finau, you probably like Vegas. He does most of what Finau can do, and he comes in at nearly $2k less. He’s long and excels both in terms of total driving and ball striking (#2 in GIR). Similar to Luke List, Jhonny tends to either MC or finish strong (Vegas already has four top-25 finishes in 2015-16). I really like him in GPPs, but he’s also cash game viable given the watered down field.
Nick Taylor $6700 (80-1)
Taylor missed the cut at Valspar (I’ll give hm a pass on that one), but he had three straight solid finishes at Phoenix, Pebble Beach, and Northern Trust. Outside of driving accuracy, his numbers are solid if not spectacular. I am of the belief that he’s more talented than similarly priced golfers.
Thomas Aiken $6500 (110-1)
Aiken is #1 in driving accuracy, total driving, and ball striking (and #2 in GIR). Pretty good, no? The drop in class should help buoy his results, and I’m expecting a top-15 finish at a good price.
VALUE PLAYS! VALUE PLAYS! VALUE PLAYS! VALUE PLAYS! VALUE PLAYS!
Some of these are more “fliers” than “value plays,” but you get the point.
- Wes Roach $6000 (150-1): Finished 4th here in 2014
- Tim Wilkinson $5900 (150-1): Great stats for a $5900 golfer
- Brian Stuard $5800 (140-1): Solid course history in three career starts, two okay finishes early in the 2015-16 season
- Kelly Kraft $5800 (200-1): 2011 U.S. Amateur Champion, good GIR & proximity numbers
- Henrik Norlander $5700 (200-1): Good price, okay stats, made the cut here in 2013
- Michael Kim $5700 (125-1): Has made 9/12 cuts in rookie season, finished T-17 at 2013 U.S. Open as 19-year old
- Johnson Wagner $5600 (150-1): Great ball striker and solid putter
- Martin Piller $5500 (150-1): 2015 Web.com graduate
- John Daly $5400 (200-1): 73.7 DK points per start in 7 tries at PRO
- Michael Bradley $5400 (200-1): Former champion, 83.2 DK points per start in 7 tries at PRO
- Jack Maguire $5300 (200-1): Recently turned pro, has lowest career scoring average in Florida State history (oh hai Koepka and Berger)
- Whee Kim $5300 (250-1): Better than most similarly priced options, fun name
One more for you… I don’t have the requisite confidence to make this an official pick, but 16-year old Frankie Capan ($4700) won an AJGA event at this course back in January. He shot -12 in only three rounds, but the course was playing 500 yards shorter than it will this week. I can’t give him my full endorsement, but I’ve gone off less in DFS.
That wraps it up. Good luck this week!