What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! The Shriners didn’t go as well as planned, but that’s okay! I am still trusting the process that had led to success in the past, and cannot overreact to one less than stellar week.
The PGA Tour heads south of the border to play in Playa del Carmen Mexico, at El Camaleon Golf Club. The OHL Classic has been held at this course for the past 10 years, so we have very good course history to look at and draw conclusions from. The course is a short, 6,981 yard Par 71, which favors accuracy off the tee and players who can dial it in from 150 yards in. Three of the four Par 3s on this course are very short, all around 150 yards, making that proximity stat even more important. I will be focusing on golfers who are accurate off the tee, know more for their iron play than their scrambling abilities, and also golfers who score well on Par 4s.
If you haven’t read one of my preview articles before, I try to stay away from just listing golfers I like. I do best to highlight different players to think about playing as well as guys I’d recommend steering clear of. Creating leverage, especially in a no-cut event, is an excellent way to differentiate and create upside to your lineup other players won’t have.
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Russell Knox – $11,800
There is a reason why Russell Knox is the highest price golfer this week, and I am all for it. His recent form is outstanding, finishing T10 at the CIMB Classic and T9 at the HSBC Champions. He is an accuracy course specialist, making the cut here four straight times and a T2 last year. He also has impressive finishes at Harbor Town, a course that is comparable to Mayakoba. There is so much safety in roster Russell Knox. He has the smallest blow up potential in the entire field, and has a great chance of being in the final group come Sunday. There are enough value plays on the board this week to allow you to roster Knox in a prime spot.
Jim Furyk – $10,200
Just re-read what I put for Russell Knox and add 15 years to his age, then you have Jim Furyk. Furyk is elite off the tee and will find a ton of fairways this week. He has yet to play this course, but that hasn’t been a huge issue in the past, as a lot of winners at Mayakoba were seeing the course for the first time. Furyk has won at Harbor Town and had some solid finishes at the end of his short 2016 season. He will be looking to get off to a good start in 2017 and I feel completely comfortable starting my cash game lineups off with Furyk and going from there.
Derek Fathauer – $8,300
Fathauer has had an impressive run in the fall swing season. He came T15 at the Safeway Open and T3 at the CIMB Classic. Fathauer does not rely heavily on driving distance in order to score, which is a good sign this week. So far this season, he ranks 7th in Par 4 scoring average, 18th in scoring average and 3rd in bogey avoidance. His 4th place finish at this event last year is also another factor working in Fathauer’s favor this week. I’m riding the hot hand this week with Fathauer in hopes that he can keep is fall form going.
Jhonattan Vegas – $7,200
Jhonattan Vegas has only played in three events so far this season, but he currently sits 1st in strokes gained tee-to-green, 2nd in strokes gained off the tee, and 2nd in strokes gained approach. Those are incredible stats for a golfer who hasn’t managed to crack the top-45 in any of those three events. Vegas has been brutal with his putter, but putting of all the components of a golfers game, putting has the most variance. If he putts just marginally better than he has to start the season, he will see a huge jump in his results to start the year. At $7,200, Vegas seems well worth the risk to turn it around this week and record a top-10 finish.
Mackenzie Hughes – $6,000
Mackenzie Hughes is probably the least know Canadian golfer on tour. He has had a decent start to his first PGA Tour season, making three straight cuts and recording a top-15 at the Safeway Open. He ranks 51st in good drive percentage, 40th in GIR and 61st in Par 4 scoring average, which aren’t outstanding stats, but they are very good compared to the other golfers in this range. He is currently on fire with the putter and if that continues into Mexico, I am very confident Hughes will be playing weekend golf.
OHL 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:
Price too high? Seems like chalk? Players I will have no share of.
Keegan Bradley – $10,000
Only the true degenerates are playing daily fantasy golf at a time when Keegan Bradley costs $10,000 on DraftKings. This is a price tag I cannot stomach, and I would feel so dirty if I rostered him. I realize he is playing very well as of late, but I still don’t think there is enough upside with Keegan to pay this price. He is still one of the worst putters on tour and the variance of his outcomes this week in Mexico are greater than anyone else above $10,000.
Gary Woodland – $8,600
This course sets up terribly for Gary Woodland. The grip-it and rip-it approach to Woodland’s game will only get him in trouble at this accuracy course. He was 144th in driving accuracy last year and 138th in hit fairway percentage. If the coastal winds pick up this week, Woodland could find himself in even more trouble. He was 5th last year in apex height and the wind could end up throwing his ball all over the place. For me, there is a better chance Woodland makes the cut than finishes inside the top 20. Hard pass.
So You Got Burned?
Did one of your guys miss a cut or finish in last? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
Si Woo Kim – $8,900 It was tough to find a golfer playing better than Si Woo Kim before his T63 at the HSBC Champions, and hopefully people are focusing on that very recent finish. Kim had four consecutive top-20 finishes carrying over from last season, through the tough FedEx Cup playoffs. He was 57th in driving accuracy last season, which will be just fine at Mayakoba. Look for Si Woo regain the form that he had to finish out last season.
Ryo Ishikawa – $7,400
Ryo Ishikawa has been playing extremely well the last few weeks, destroying competition on the Japanese Tour and a T10 at the CIMB Classic. He missed the cut last week at the Shriners, and hopefully that is fresh in the minds of whoever rostered him. So far this season, Ishikawa ranks 11th in Par 4 scoring average and has elite proximity stats. He should be settled into to the North American time zones after spending weeks over in Asia. I expect a solid bounce back from Ryo in Mexico.
Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Emiliano Grillo – $11,200
Typically, the second highest priced golfer on DraftKings wouldn’t be considered a pivot play, but in a field with limited chalky options, Grillo will still get overlooked. Knox will be super popular as he fits this course so well. Rahm will also be heavily owned due to his consistency and the fact that everyone will still be trying to chase his first win. Grillo looks overpriced at first glance, which will suppress his ownership enough to be considered a pivot play. He is extremely accurate off the tee and will put himself in prime position to attack pins all week.
Grayson Murray – $7,400
As I mentioned, there doesn’t seem to be the obvious chalk this week, but, there are a few plays right in the mid $7,000 range that will be popular. Charles Howell III, Hudson Swafford and Luke Donald are all $7,500 and will be staples in a lot of lineups this week. Right below them is Grayson Murray, who last week was $8,900. His start to his first career PGA season has been up and down, with two missed cuts and an 8th place finish at the Sanderson Farms. In a small sample size, Murray is 43rd and 41st in strokes gained tee-to-green and strokes gained approach this short season, which is very solid. If he can get his putter going this week in Mexico, he could easily outperform the three golfers priced at $7,500.
Thanks for checking out my OHL Classic preview article! I appreciate you taking the time to give it a read, and I hope you continue to find it useful week after week. Follow me on Twitter @EPattersonFS for more golf talk! Good luck this week everybody!