What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! WE DID IT! Hideki Matsuyama came through for the DFSonDemand community. Hopefully you rostered him and won all the money. Let’s keep this momentum going into the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, or The Shriners for short.
The dreaded cut has made it’s return to the PGA Tour. The past couple of weeks we could take whoever we wanted, and barring a withdraw, guarantee ourselves four rounds from everyone. Not anymore. Luckily we have plenty of course history data to look back on, as The Shriners has been played at TPC Summerlin since 2008. This is one of the easier courses on tour, and the winning score usually ends up in the mid -20s range. Expect a lot of birdies and even eagles this week, thanks to two very reachable Par 5s. This is a second shot golf course, so I will be looking at ball striking and proximity stats. I have also accounted for putting this week, since putts from around 10-15 feet will pretty much decide who wins this event.
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.
Jon Rahm – $9,800
Get prepared to eat the chalk my friends. Jon Rahm will easily be the most owned player in the field this week, and I have no issue with that. Reason being, Rahm is my pick to win this the Shriners Open. Historically, this event has generously handed out first career PGA Tour victories, and Rahm is still in search of his. He has had outstanding results in his short PGA career, finishing inside the top-15 five times in nine events. TPC Summerlin rewards ball strikers and birdie makers, areas where Rahm excels. This course also bares a strong resemblance to TPC Scottsdale, a course Rahm is extremely familiar with due to his time at Arizona State. The Spaniard is a lock for my cash game roster, and I am considering going close to 90% ownership in GPP contests. I will not miss the boat WHEN Jon Rahm wins the Shriners Open.
Brendan Steele – $8,800
My love for Brendan Steele this week stems from a few things. One, he is one of the best golfers in this field and is also coming in with solid form, claiming victory at the Safeway Open. Second, for some reason he is in the third price tier this week, priced $1,500 cheaper than Chris Kirk. That makes little sense to me and presents value I cannot pass up on. Steele has a great tee-to-green game, has enough course history to be comfortable on this track and obvious winning potential few players in this field have.
William McGirt – $8,700
I can probably just copy and paste what I said about Steele and apply it to William McGirt. The only thing McGirt doesn’t have going for him this week is the recent form, considering this is his first event since the Tour Championship. Speaking of the Tour Championship, McGirt is one of few golfers in this field who made it to the playoff finale, showing the caliber of golfer he is. McGirt is solid in all facets of the game. His long iron play and ability to score on Par 4s should keep him in the hunt come Sunday. It also helps to know that McGirt finished inside the top-10 at this event last year.
Graham DeLaet – $7,300
This could be my Canadian bias kicking in, but I really like Graham Delaet this week at $7,300. He putted very well last week at the Sanderson Farms Open, an area of his game everyone knows he struggles with. A good run of putting is something that comes and goes, especially for Delaet. I’m banking on this hot streak to continue into the Shriners, and I’m confident his fantastic ball striking ability will carry over as well. Delaet is my favorite GPP play on the board.
Shriners Hospital Open 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.
Chris Kirk – $10,300
The price tag for Chris Kirk this week is one I am not willing to swallow. Sure he is in good form coming into the Shriners, but he isn’t the third best golfer in the field. I’d much rather find the extra cash and pay up for Brooks Koepka or Ryan Moore.
Martin Laird – $9,200
I hate paying up for golfers who have won this event in the past. Martin Laird is one of those guys I will not roster this week because of the price increase he received as a previous champ. Im a weak field event, rostering solid, good value golfers at every price level is a must. If Laird was priced down in the low $7,000 range I would still have to think hard about rostering him.
Cody Gribble – $8,400
Here is a guy who will be riding the “fat and happy” narrative after his first career win. His price resembles a golfer who has been on tour for a while and has sustained results. But to pay this price for a player with two career starts, and likely still hungover after celebrating all week, seems like a bad decision.
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.
Scott Piercy – $9,700
Scott Piercy will likely be another popular play this week, since he is a Las Vegas native who has great course history. Before his 63rd place finish at HSBC Championship last week, he had a 3rd and 10th place result. I bet Piercy was looking forward to getting back to American soil, and just went through the motions last week in China. Expect Piercy to regain his form quickly in Vegas.
Patton Kizzire – $8,500
Patton Kizzire was one of the highest priced golfers last week at the Sanderson Farms Open, and burned everyone who rostered him. I don’t expect many people to be jumping back on Kizzire due to the increased field strength, but he does offer some sneaky value. He is a great scorer, and has been putting lights out this year on tour. He is struggling off the tee, but that shouldn’t have too drastic of an impact this week at TPC Summerlin. His second place finish last year is a result that gives you confidence he can find it this week as he flies under the radar.
Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Jimmy Walker – $9,600
I believe there will be a huge concentration of ownership on a couple of golfers at the top, leaving a guy like Jimmy Walker to go overlooked. Walker has definitely struggled lately, finishing near the bottom in his last two events. However, this makes for a perfect opportunity to get a recent major champion cheap and low owned. Walker should have no issue off the tee, since it is fairly wide open. He will have shorter iron shots into these greens due to his length, and should have plenty of looks at birdie. In his past four trips to TPC Summerlin, Walker has three top-15 finishes included a T4 result in 2014. Walker is definitely a GPP only pick, but the upside he offers is worth the risk.
Billy Horschel – $9,100
Billy Horschel finds himself in the same boat as Jimmy Walker, priced in the crowded $9,000 range. Horschel lacks the tournament history some of the other golfers in this range have, but he has played in this event and finished T16 in 2010. In Horschel’s last four tournaments, he has a 5th,13th and 10th place finish, but managed to squeeze a missed cut in there as well. It’s boom or bust for Horschel this week. The thing is, his low projected ownership will allow you to only have a bit of him and still be overweight.
Thanks for checking out my Shriners Open preview article! I appreciate you take the time to give it a read, and I hope you continue to find it useful week after week. Follow me on Twitter for more golf talk!
Good luck this week everybody!