What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! The Quicken Loans National was a great success. I hope you had yourself some Kyle Stanley last week! His win was one that we saw coming from miles away – let’s see if we can go back-to-back.
The Greenbrier Classic is the next stop on the PGA Tour. It will be hosted by Old White TPC Golf Course in West Virginia, a 7,300 yard Par 70. This course has held the event since 2010. Last year, floods caused The Greenbrier Classic to be skipped, so our defending champion is Danny Lee, who won back in 2015. After the flooding cleared the course was re-seeded and had some minor adjustments made to the layout. Bent grass is now used on the greens and fairways. Some of the greens were reshaped and the bunkers around the greens were altered. For the most part, this course will play close the same as it did in 2015, when the winning score was -13. The fairways at Old White are wide and some of the easiest to hit on tour. The greens are also large in size giving golfers with less than stellar short games a chance to contend. The stats I will be looking at this week are Strokes Gained Off The Tee, Strokes Gained Approach, Ball Striking, Par 4 Scoring, Birdie or Better Percentage and Bogey Avoidance.
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Kevin Kisner – $10,700
When the top of the board is thin like it is this week at the Greenbrier, my strategy is to go with the cheapest guy I can feel comfortable building a cash game lineup around. This week, Kevin Kisner is that guy. His $500 in savings off of Patrick Reed will go a long way this week. Not to mention Kinser is playing extremely well this season, has incredible stats and lost in a playoff at this event in 2015. He has the 8th most tags on FanShareSports at the moment, behind everyone but Mickelson in the $10K+ range. The only cause for concern could be some rust, as this will be his first event since the U.S. Open. With that said, I am confident that Kisner will be in the hunt on Sunday.
Tony Finau – $9,100
For some reason Tony Finau is only $9,100 and will likely be owned in over 30% of lineups in large GPPs. His price is way to low for an event of this caliber. You will have to go all in on Finau if you want to reap the rewards of his impending victory at the Greenbrier. We have seen it numerous times this season, where a golfer seems to be knocking on the door week after week and then finally getting a win. Finau is the next golfer up to continue this trend. He ranks 1st in my weighted rankings, 1st in my weighted stats model and has made nine of his last 10 cuts. There is a reason why Finau will be the chalk this week and there is no reason to think he will disappoint.
Xander Schauffele – $7,900
Xander Schauffele has continued to play very well since his run at the U.S. Open. He has made five straight cuts, gaining strokes off the tee in all five events. Last week at the Quicken Loans was his worst week off the tee in a while, but Old White TPC will give him the chance to bomb it out there like we saw him do at Erin Hills. I expect a bounce back week for Xander when it seems as though others have soured on him. Xander only has 10 tags on FanShareSports and his price tag will not do his ownership any favors.
Gary Woodland – $7,500
Typically, I am not on Gary Woodland. His price always seems to fall in the $8K range and his upside to contend is limited. I am giving the nappy factor a chance to take control this week. He withdrew from last week’s event to be there for the birth of his son, a happy ending to an otherwise sad and difficult situation Woodland and his family had to face. Woodland hasn’t played much in the past couple of months, but he has made 11/13 cuts in 2017. His length will be a huge advantage this week. Let’s hope the nappy factor can strike once again.
Stewart Cink – $6,900
This is a Stewart Cink price I can get behind. After a few weeks where Cink’s price was over $8K, it is now at a level where his T25s will become more valuable. Cink has been one of the most consistent players on tour this season, seemingly always ending up in or around the top 25. He hasn’t had a week of negative strokes gained on approaches in 12 straight events. In his past 12 rounds, Cink is 5th in this field in total strokes gained. His price is way too low this week and will allow you to go a bunch of different ways with your cash game lineup.
Greenbriar Classic Research Spreadsheet
Note that this spreadsheet is FREE each week for Pro Members. If you are not a Pro Member, use code “ERIC” for 15% off:
[ess_grid alias=”PGA Packages”]
Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Patrick Reed – $11,200
In weak field events, the general strategy seems to go with a more balanced lineup. The scrubs in these tournaments are trash, and the upside a top tiered golfer offers isn’t much higher than someone in the $9K range. That will leave someone like Patrick Reed to go under owned. Reed has 21 tags on FanShareSports, but seven of those are sit calls. People are moving off of Reed at a point in the season he is playing his best golf. Four of his last five events have resulted in a T20 or better finish. He has gained strokes on approach shots in six of his last seven events. There are plenty of cheap options out there to fit Reed into your lineup. A win is coming soon for Reed, and the week of Independence Day seems like a fitting time for it.
James Hahn – $8,800
In a week where Tony Finau looks to be the chalk, James Hahn will garner next to no ownership in a spot he could easily go off in. He has a 3rd and a T6 in his past four events, while gaining strokes in all categories besides putting in his past 12 rounds. Hahn finished T6 at the Greenbrier back in 2015, rounding out all of the aspects you are looking for in a pivot play.
Bryson DeChambeau – $7,400
For some, it is unfortunate to see one of the least popular players on the PGA Tour put together some solid form. DeChambeau’s last two events have resulted in a T26 and T17 finish, gaining over 12 strokes in those events combined. His game is clearly trending in the right direction, and a run at the top of the leaderboard in one of these weaker fields is bound to happen. His best finish this season was a T2 in Puerto Rico. The Greenbrier field isn’t quite as bad, but it’s a spot where Bryson could easily rise to the top.
Mackenzie Hughes – $6,300
Digging into the below $7K range this week will get ugly. However, Mackenzie Hughes is an outlier for me this week, priced only $300 above the dead minimum. Hughes has made five of his last six cuts, doing so in a variety of different ways. Sometimes his putter saves him, other times it’s his off the tee or around the green game. He is inconsistent, which is why he is priced this low, but he does have all of the required talent to win this event if he can put the entire package together for four rounds. Last week at the Quicken Loans, Hughes lost almost nine strokes on approach shots. If that stat normalizes but a few shot, a top 20 finish is well within reach.
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of.
Bill Haas – $10,800
There is no question Bill Haas is on a heater at the moment. His last four events have all resulted in top 25 finishes, included a T5 at U.S. Open. There is just a part of me that cannot stomach paying $10,800 for Haas knowing his limited winning upside, even in a field of this strength. Haas only has one tour win in last three and a half years and at $10,800, you are counting on your elite golfer to get the job done. Haas will be popular this week because of his form, and fading him will be more profitable than rostering him and collecting a T20 finish.
Russell Henley – $9,300
Last week I was on Russell Henley as a pivot play, but his result at the Quicken Loans National was fairly disappointing. Over his past 12 events, Henley ranks 142nd in SG:APP in this field, ballooned by a terrible -5 shots last week alone. Usually Henley’s approach game is the strong part of his game, so there is some definite cause for concern after seeing how poorly he struck the ball last week. His price this week remains in the familiar low $9K range – a spot I will take a hard pass on until I see his approach game start trending in the right direction.
Geoff Ogilvy $8,000
One top 15 finish and Geoff Ogilvy’s price jumps to $8,000? No thanks. The flash in the pan we all saw last week at the Quicken Loans National will not carry on to this week. Ogilvy gained 4.9 strokes off the tee last week, his best driving performance within the last five years. If you think he can go back-to-back shocking results in a row, thanks for helping to pay rake.
Johnson Wagner $7,700
According to FanShareSports, it seems as though Johnson Wagner is gaining way more traction than he should. He currently has the 12th most tags, likely due to his T5 finish last week at Quicken Loans and his runner up finish at the Greenbrier back in 2013. Diving into his stats, Wagner has gone back-to-back events gaining over 4.5 strokes putting on the field. We all know how variable putting can be, so the likelihood of Wagner continuing his torrid play on the green is low. His price tag is extremely inflated from what we are accustomed to seeing, and there seem to be plenty of people ready to buy high on Wagner. That sounds like a recipe for disaster.
So, you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Jimmy Walker $7,800
Jimmy Walker was viewed as a steal last week at the Quicken Loans National and lots of people invested. His price remains the same heading into this week and people are jumping ship after back-to-back missed cuts. With only 10 tags on FanShareSports (two of them being sit calls), Walker is flying under the radar in a field of subpar strength. Walker lost three strokes on the field last week around the green and his putter could not pick up the slack. The greens at Old White TPC are much larger than TPC Potomac, so his struggles chipping should be far less apparent.
Si Woo Kim – $7,600
Si Woo Kim seems to live by the “If you ain’t first, you’re last” motto coined by Ricky Bobby. Kim is the ultimate boom or bust play at this point in his career, showing how ugly it can get last week. His price remains relatively high for the Greenbrier, and after roasting a ton of lineups last week, Kim will be avoided like the plague. If you want winning upside in your GPP lineups, Si Woo has to be considered. He proved with his Players win, he does not need to show any signs of solid form before coming out of nowhere to win.
Luke List – $6,400
Alright Luke, let’s try this again. List was a trendy pick last week, and in hindsight, it definitely was not the move. TPC Potomac ended up playing exactly how the chatter around the golf world figured it would. Tight with tough to hit greens and penalizing areas around the green. That is not the ideal course set up for List. However, Old White TPC course is. With some of the easiest to hit fairways on tour, List can grip it and rip it without worrying about too much trouble. His birdie making ability will keep him in the hunt when this tournament becomes a shootout. Buy low on List when everyone else is looking for a scrub play elsewhere.
Thanks for reading The Greenbrier Classic preview article! You can follow me on Twitter for more golf and betting talk! Also, make sure you check out @FanShareSports. They track and curate content produced across the DFS Golf industry, and highlight which players are being tagged or talked about the most, translating to an excellent ownership guide.
Good luck this week everybody!!