What’s going on fantasy golf fans?! The west coast swing has come to an end and has already provided us with some fantastic tournaments with big time winners. But now it’s time to head to the east coast, and with that comes the early morning Thursday tilt!
The pros head to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida for the Honda Classic. Hosted at the PGA National Champion Course, this 7,100 yard Par 70 is one of the toughest challenges presented on the PGA Tour. With tons of water and bunkers placed almost everywhere, all aspects of a golfer’s game will be tested. Famously known for the “Bear Trap” – a three hole stretch on the back nine consisting of two tough Par 3s and a Par 4. Golfers who can survive this three hole stretch for all four days will easily find themselves at the top of the leaderboard late on Sunday. Accuracy off the tee will be crucial and plenty of guys will be using less than driver off the tee. That means whoever is sticking their approach shots will have a leg up on the competition. Another note – golfing on the east coast means we will be saying goodbye to poa greens and hello to bermuda grass!
Stats for the Week
SG: Ball Striking
SG: Par 4s
SG: Par 5s
Good Drives Gained
SG: Putting – Bermuda
2017 – Rickie Fowler (-12)
2016 – Adam Scott (-9)
2015 – Padraig Harrington (-6)
2014 – Russell Henley (-8)
2013 – Michael Thompson (-9)
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Sergio Garcia – $10,500
This is the first we get to see of Sergio in the 2018 season, on the PGA Tour at least. While we were sweating out the CareerBuilder Challenge Sergio was busy in Singapore winning a golf tournament. I have no concerns with Sergio making his North American start – for all we know he has been in the States for weeks already. He is the ideal golfer we are looking to target at the top. Accurate off the tee, elite iron play and a proven winner on US soil. The discount you get going with Sergio over Rory can drastically improve the makeup of your lineup, while still getting an elite player in the field. Garcia is my pick of one and done this week as well. Add in the recent announcement made that he and his wife have a baby on the way, and we have the complete “baby swag” package.
Tommy Fleetwood – $9,400
Being on Fleetwood last week was a little frustrating as he was unable to get anything going all week. His T37 finish was less than what we hoped for, but he did gain strokes both off the tee and on approaches at the Genesis. Fairways and close approaches are our targets this week and there are few in the world who are better than Tommy. I am sticking with him at a similar price, in the hopes his ownership takes a hit after last weeks results.
Chesson Hadley – $7,700
Hadley’s impressive run continues. He has made every cut of the 2018 season with four top five finishes. Chesson has two top 25 finishes in three attempts at the Honda Classic, but has never entered this event hitting the ball as well as he is now. Over his past 24 rounds, Hadley ranks 1st in SG:Ball Striking, 16th on Par 4s and 11 on Par 5s. He is crushing it tee to green and sets up perfectly to make another serious run to pick up his second career PGA Tour victory.
Patton Kizzire – $7,300
Kizzire is already a two time winner this season and is priced as if he is struggling to make cuts consistently. He hasn’t played in a couple of weeks, noting that he hates putting on poa greens, which is likely why he sat out some of the California events. Returning to an area of the country he feels more comfortable in, with the confidence he can win on tour is a dangerous combination. He ranks 3rd in my weight stats rankings and his price is just way too good to pass up.
Sean O’Hair – $6,800
Sean O’Hair’s recent results may not be that impressive, but he is making cuts which is all you can ask for out of a guy priced below $7K. Last week, O’Hair LOST 7.8 stokes around the green, by far the worst performance of his career and he still made the cut. The Honda Classic is an event he had had a ton of success at, making four of his last five cut and finishing inside the top 25 all four times. $6,800 is an absolute steal for a golfer who is showing solid cut making form and is about to tee it up at a course he is very familiar with.
Honda Classic Interactive Data
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Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Patrick Reed – $9,100
Just a couple weeks ago, people were all over Patrick Reed with tons of people using him in One and Done formats. Now, he only has TWO tags on FanShareSports! I am far from a Patrick Reed guy, but even that seems insane. He will easily be the lowest owned golfer in the $9K and above range. Reed has made three of his last four cuts here, including a T7 in 2015. Taking the driver out of his hands will be a good thing for Reed, who has the potential to win some people some serious money.
Kevin Kisner – $8,500
Finally we get Kevin Kisner back on bermuda greens. Kisner has never had a ton of success on the west coast, so his mediocre results to start the season are someone expected. Kisner has made three straight cuts here, but unfortunately his best finish is a T48. Regardless, he has the ball striking ability to compete here and if putting plays a key role come Sunday, Kisner’s elite use of the flat stick will be important. With only six tags on FanShare, and surrounded by Ollie and Dufner, Kisner won’t exceed 10% ownership.
Bernd Wiesberger – $7,600
If you have followed Bernd’s career at all both in Europe and the States, you will know he is the definition of a grinder. Put Wiesberger on a tough track where pars are a good score, and he will be in the mix. Forcing him to attack pins and rack up the birdies is not Bernd’s game. Luckily, PGA National is one of those tough courses where avoiding bogeys and big numbers is important. Wiesberger is getting his feet wet on North American soil, and only has four tags on FanShare Sports. There are a ton of chalky options around him that will leave Bernd in the 5% owned range.
Brian Gay – $7,100
Brian Gay pops in my model, mainly because he is the best golfer in this field when it comes to putting on Bermuda. Gay is a Florida Gator who has a ton of experience golfing in Florida conditions. He has a couple of wins in the southeast at comparable events – The Heritage and St. Jude Classic. If you are looking for a low owned play to move off of McDowell or Sam Saunders, Gay presents an interesting high upside option.
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of.
Rory McIlroy – $11,500
This is a tough one, and a very risky fade decision, but Rory’s putting struggles so far are a huge red flag. Of course he can show up and win this event by a handful of shots, but right now it seems more likely he will be fighting to crack the top 20. I have zero confidence when he lines up over a 10 footer for par – and if he finds the water on a few holes he will have plenty of these types of putts. What Rory needs right now to get the ball rolling in North America is a birdiefest – say next week at the WGC – Mexico.
Russell Knox – $9,000
Knox fits this course well and has had success at it in the past. But at $9,000 and heading towards being one of the more chakly plays on the week, it has to be a pass. Knox seems to have found his old form in the 2018 season, but he has also proven missed cuts are still a possibility – check the Waste Management Open. Oh yeah, he also missed the cut here last year too. If Knox were in the mid to high $7,000 range, he would be a more intriguing option. But his price tag is a huge deterrent.
Tiger Woods – $8,200
This is going to become repetitive if Tiger doesn’t start getting priced fairly. $8,200 is a steep price to pay for Woods, who is coming off of an ugly missed cut at Riviera. Tiger is spraying the ball all over the yard and that will not fly at PGA National. If his off the tee game remains the same as it has been, expect a ton of big numbers and another trunk slam on Friday.
So, you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Daniel Berger – $8,800
Daniel Berger was so bad last week, that it will be easy for him to turn the page in move on. It’s like losing a close football game compared to a blow out – the sting just lasts longer when you come up just short. Berger has two top 15 finishes at the Honda Classic in three attempts. He is also one of the best ball strikers, Par 4 scorers and long iron players in the field. There are so many solid options at the top that will make it easy to go overweight on the 10% owned Berger.
Ollie Schniederjans – $8,400
Ollie was one of the highest owned golfers across the board at the Genesis Open and his missed cut left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths. Despite his missed cut, Ollie’s price jumped up $800 and becomes an even bigger risk. His ball striking ability should lend itself to the tough PGA National track. Even if the wind picks up, Ollie’s piercingly low ball flight will be an advantage.
Keegan Bradley – $7,700
Keegan has an interesting past at this event. He has missed the last three cuts, but way back in 2014 and 2013 he finished T12 and T4. Add on the fact that he missed the cut last week at the Genesis Open and people will be definitely hesitant to roster him. However, his ball striking game over his past 12 rounds has been incredible, and it’s been his putter (no surprise) that has been letting him down. If his putter shows up this week, even if it is just field average, Keegan should have no problem finishing inside the top 15.
Thomas Pieters – $7,500
Remember when everyone was fired up for Pieters last week?! Yeah, that was fun. What wasn’t fun was the 77 he shot on Sunday to sink to bottom of the leaderboard. People were clearly stung by this as his tag count on Fanshare Sports has plummeted in comparison to last week. He is still one of the best ball strikers in this field and has an insane amount of talent. If he can keep it together between the ears for four rounds, there’s no reason why he cannot contend.
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Good luck this week everybody!!