Valspar Championship March 9th – 12th
I’m happy for that Dustin Johnson kid, he seems like he’s got a bright future.
In other news, that was a pretty fun tournament. Some highlights:
- Deej 15% owned $$$$$$
- Phil doing Phil stuff, being a disaster off the tee and making insane shots from everywhere else
- Rory coming back and basically being himself again
- Some crazy iron work from the Brits (Fisher/Fleetwood/Fitzpatrick/and obv Casey all top 10 in SG: Approach)
- Jon Rahm continuing to be super exciting
- Signs of life from Bubba!
- Controversial personal highlight: Stenson WD. As a tout I would have preferred to hit that fade with skill instead of with diarrhea. As a player I’ll take it. Oh, and might as well take full credit for the Scott fade while we’re at it!
Seriously, the tournament turns into a festival of hole-outs and this guy can’t keep pace?!? That’s all he does! I wrote him up for having maybe the best short game on tour and then he goes to a true bottom 5% outcome for this matchup. Sigh.
Overall though, great week. Had some really crazy lineups in some big tournaments, was sweating till the end. Most profitable week of the season so far. Let’s keep it rolling.
We’re now returning to Florida for the Valspar Championship, a traditional large field, two day cut tournament. The Copperhead Course is a 7,200 yard par 71 with a 5th par 3. Having this extra par 3 with the normal four par 5s is going to put extra emphasis on the longer iron shots, which will be the skill we’re targeting the most. This course can be brutal, and last year it averaged the least number of birdies per finisher of any full field event. Part of that is the watered down group of players the tournament typically attracts, but Copperhead is major level hard. Wind is a major factor, and there is a wide swing in how hard the course plays based on its strength. As usual, as of me writing it is too far out to tell, but this is a week you want to pay awfully close attention to the forecast.
Length: This course is longer, and length will help, but players are often encouraged to lay up by doglegs, bunkers, water, and narrow points further down a number of the fairways. Again, we’d love distance if we can get it, but there are probably easier paths to the green for the amount of, uh, green, you’re spending.
Fairways: There is some trouble to be found off the fairways, but like I mentioned, players will often take the safe shot rather than risk finding it. Only a 270 yard average driving distance here the last three years, and there isn’t a player on tour that averages less than that.
Greens: Average to below average speed Bermuda grass, which should allow the players to hit their putts a little harder without fear of going 10 feet past the hole if they miss. I don’t think this is going to be a putting contest. The biggest issue here will be approaching the greens with all the potential wind swirling about. 150-200 and 200+ yard iron shots will be plentiful, and so will 0-50s for those that struggle from distance and miss the green. I’d like to avoid the latter as much as I can.
Weather: Wind actually looks calmish right now, but that can change fast. This is an important tournament to check back on Wednesday.
On to the golfers:
Stable: Henrik Stenson-11.7/22.8, Matt Kuchar-10.2/20.7
Volatile: Daniel Berger-10.1/20.2, Patrick Reed-9.7/20.1
Fade: Justin Thomas-11.9/23.0
I’ll admit that last week’s Stenson fade was some run good but I truly did not like the spot for him. This course, on the other hand, was made for him to carve up. If he shoots one or two under every round like the model of consistency he is when he actually plays, he’s a lock for a top 10. Add in the dearth of birdies and the fact that he hurt everyone last week and a whole bunch of my lineups are coming with the top spot already filled in. Kuchar is fine, but it is difficult to afford both in cash. I’ll likely be underweight but am not going to talk anyone off of him.
Really tempted to put Berger in the stable section as he is actually pretty consistent round to round. He’s probably a little overpriced but the talent is there. Reed has really been struggling with the irons, but generally excels in trouble and plays well at tougher courses. Not a big fan, especially after him legit costing me “don’t have to worry about money for a year” prizes in a couple tournaments. But he’s also too good to be this bad and will almost certainly be low owned. Worth some GPP shares.
I imagine Thomas will be somewhat popular and he was not as good as the results suggest last week.
Stable: Jason Dufner-7.9/18.5, Kevin Na, 8.7/18.4
Volatile: Here we go…. Gary Woodland-8.9/20.4, Charl Schwartzel-8.8/19.2, Jason Kokrak-7.6/16.2, Tony Finau-7.7/16.5, Benny An-7.4/17.8, Billy Horschel-7.9/18.2, Webb Simpson-8.5/17.6, Bubba Watson-8.3/18.6
There are a lot of names here, nothing new. Dufner is a nice play at tougher courses where he doesn’t have to keep up with birdie barrages, as everything but the putter is world class. Hate the Na price tag, but this is his kinda joint. Very steady.
Charl is actually a fantastic fit here, but some recent ups and downs make me hesitant to lock it in. Woodland is a great talent with just enough holes in his game to get into trouble at this venue, which is why he isn’t 10k+. Kokrak isn’t even volatile, but his short game is ugly, so IF the long irons fail him he has a very low floor. Finau is really just a GPP flyer as he’s underpriced and the BvP crew will be off him with his past missed cuts. Benny and Horschel are too cheap on DK, but the pricing on this tier is much sharper on FantasyDraft. Over there a nice pivot is Webb Simpson, who is cheaper and one of the world’s best iron players.
And oh, Bubba. He actually played a little better last week, and DK just keeps making the price too tough to pass on entirely. Golf more than any other DFS sport rewards you for being early to a play rather than too late, and playing 10% should make you way overweight on the field. Don’t follow me down this road if you aren’t comfortable with it, but I will have some shares again. It’s a plus EV bet.
Stable: Uh… I guess Jim Furyk-7.2/17.3
Volatile: Scott Brown-6.9/16.1, Keegan Bradley-6.9/16.6, Scott Piercy-6.9/15.9, Lucas Glover-6.9/16.4, Hudson Swafford-6.7/15.6
Furyk is probably a cash necessity, as we’ll need the savings and we are primarily chasing boring ass old people who won’t sink us.
I’m very high at the moment on all five of those volatile guys for GPPs. Let’s discuss some over/under’s from this group.
2.5: Total flame out missed cuts
0.5: Top 5s
1.5: Top 15s
2 (-140 over): Guys who hang around in the top 25 or so before shooting a 76 on Sunday.
Strategy Note: Lots of real bad players at the bottom of this field, making it difficult to fit in two studs from up top. This is a week where some balance is probably a good idea, and if you are building a Stenson lineup for cash I’d jump to below 9k for the rest.
Go and get it everybody.
Find me on Twitter @andrewmbarron or in the FanVice Premium Slack @hotmajik if you wanna talk strat/make jokes/argue