The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
Epic Collapse alert. Brooks Koepka looked like a sure thing to take home the title last week until he started to feel the pressure. Perennial bridesmaid Sergio Garcia looked likely to finish second until a poor finish by Brooks who promptly handed the Spaniard his first victory on the PGA Tour since 2012 by rinsing his tee shot in the playoff. For fantasy purposes it was a mixed week with a lot of chalk players having big fantasy performances, while others, like Scott Piercy and Ryan Palmer missed the cut entirely and made it rough for those who rostered them. The Tour stays in Texas this week as the build up to the US Open gets shorter, there’s now only three tournaments left until the year’s second major.
The field for the Dean and DeLuca Invitational (I officially hate this name by the way) isn’t super strong. The tournament is one of the oldest stops on Tour, and, as such, it has “Invitational” status which means it has a smaller than normal field (typically 120-125 players) and gets to pick and choose who participates. This means you’ll see a few former champions past their prime, plus a few other non-regulars in the field. On paper at least this will be a week where getting 6 players through the cut will appear easier than normal due to the reduced field. Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar will be playing this week, as will former major winners Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel. Even though it’s a smaller than normal field, the top 70 players and ties will still get to play the weekend at this tournament, and given the fairly prestigious line of former winners, I expect some of the top players in the field to battle it out on Sunday.
Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas
Par 70, 7200-7250 yards
Colonial Country Club challenges players in numerous ways. It’s not super long but does contain some very long par 4’s and some challenging par 3’s as well. It has many tight tree-lined fairways as well as many doglegged holes that put a premium on accuracy off the tee. To make things even tougher, there’s a plethora of bunkers throughout the course, and play from the sand is something to keep note of this week — there are some great bunker players in the list of past winners. The greens are also smaller than normal here, and water is in play on nearly half of the holes to help protect some of the greens. To sum it up neatly, Colonial is very much about target golf and power is not generally a huge factor. Hitting fairways and greens will be crucial, and those who don’t will be at a severe disadvantage.
As a course, the first couple of holes on Colonial play rather easy with the lead off par 5 being a must birdie, it’s the easiest the players face all week. The other par 5 plays super long at a maximum of 635 yards making it a three shot hole for pretty much everyone. The par 3’s are a mixed bag, but, in general, play quite tough, mainly due to the small greens and the fact water and sand are in play for wayward tee shots. Only one of the par 3’s plays over 200 yards, so, again, distance isn’t as crucial as accuracy in overcoming these holes, and looking for players with good proximity in the 175-200 yards range is a decent idea as a result.
As for the par 4’s, there are 12 of them on the course, and here’s a breakdown of their yardage:
- 350-400 yards – 2
- 400-450 yards – 7
- 450-500 yards – 3
As you can see most of the par 4’s aren’t super long, but the lack of fairway space and small greens make almost all of the holes play tough here. The par 4’s won’t necessarily require long tee shots, but they will require accurate ones as having the right angle into the smaller greens will be crucial to avoiding big numbers this week. Like many tighter courses, a good iron and approach game will be crucial to conquering these holes on Colonial and expect the players who do this the best to come out looking good Sunday afternoon.
Last 5 winners
- Chris Kirk — 2015 (-12 over Jason Bohn, Brandt Snedeker, Jordan Spieth -11)
- Adam Scott — 2014 (-9 over Jason Dufner in playoff)
- Boo Weekley — 2013 (-14 over Matt Kuchar -13)
- Zach Johnson — 2012 (-12 over Jason Dufner -11)
- David Toms — 2011 (-15 over Charlie Wi -14)
- Each of the last five winners of the Dean and DeLuca Invitational (the Colonial) had a T8 finish or better on the PGA Tour in their previous five starts before their respective win.
- 5 of the last 6 winners of the Dean and DeLuca Invitational (the Colonial) were ranked 49th or better in Sand Save Percentage on Tour in the year of their respective victories.
- Par 4 Scoring
- Sand Save Percentage
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
- Strokes Gained Approach
Colonial CC is a golf course that has twelve par 4’s (two more than a par 72). Ten of those holes measure in at well over 400 yards. Last year’s top four players form this tournament ranked 95th, 25th, 1st and 6th respectively in Par 4 Scoring for the year, and many of the year’s top finishers here have ranked well in this statistical category over time. As a result, I’d definitely include Par 4 Scoring in any model this week, as its clear conquering the par 4’s at Colonial are a big factor in success. Another stat you could conceivably weight higher than usual this week is Sand Save Percentage. Colonial does have quite a few bunkers, and given the smallness of the greens, players seem to find them more regularly here than most weeks. I detailed above the sand skills of recent champs, and I’d again expect the winner to be ranked fairly higher in this category. Sand play isn’t the be all, end all this week, but it’s still something to take note of stat wise.
On a tighter than normal course with smaller than average greens, good tee to green play is always going to be essential, too. Looking at Strokes Gained: Tee to Green is useful here, but also looking at the new Strokes Gained: Approach category will be helpful, too — and perhaps more useful this week than just looking at the tee to green stats. While good tee shots will be crucial, the players who can gain the most on the field with accurate approaches at Colonial will be extremely useful given the nature of the course and the fact the greens are so difficult to hit. You can find more info and stats of this nature by following @fantasygolfman on Twitter, he gives out Tour rankings in these categories every week.
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their odds of winning this week.
|Jason Dufner||40-1||$8,400||Brandt Snedeker $8,900 and 40-1
Bill Haas $8,700 and 40-1
Danny Lee $8,800 and 40-1
|Chez Reavie||70-1||$7,300||Steve Stricker $7,500 and 90-1
Jonas Blixt $7,500 and 80-1
John Senden $7,400 and 90-1
HORSES FOR COURSES
Zach Johnson is the ultimate horse for the course this week. In his last 10 visits to Colonial CC he’s won twice, had finishes of 3rd and 4th and also never missed a cut in that span. He’s had a couple slow weeks but expect a bounce back of some kind here.
Ryan Palmer is probably going to be a player of contention this week after missing the cut at the Byron Nelson. He’s a Texas native who plays Colonial on the regular, and in his last five visits to this tournament, he’s gone 4/5 in cuts made and also finished inside the top 15 three times (including two T5’s). His record is good enough to get him on this list for the week.
Chris Kirk is a fan of many similarly styled par 70 golf courses, so it’s not a shock to see that he’s got a nice record at Colonial. Since 2011 he’s made 5 out of 5 cuts here and posted 4th, 14th and 16th place finishes… oh and he also won last year. He’s a great fit for this course.
Jason Dufner has been scuffling around a bit since his win earlier in the year, but don’t be shocked if he pops up for a big week here. He’s made 4/5 cuts at Colonial since 2011 and has two second place finishes in that span. He might be more of a GPP play, but he definitely has upside on this course.
John Senden also gets on the list this week, mainly due to longevity. He’s played here in 12 straight years and has made 8/12 cuts. While he’s definitely had a few off years here, Senden also has three top tens in that span and has been in good form lately, too. I’d consider him for play this week as well.
This is a reduced field event, and because of that, it means there’s a little less to choose from at the bottom of the pile this week. That being said, I don’t expect this tournament to be the semi-birdie fest that last week was and would anticipate a little tighter tournament overall. There’s a little more value this week in the middle than at the very bottom in my estimation, so going with one or two top players and filling it out with balanced plays from the $6,500 and up range might be the best play value wise. A stars and scrubs approach is almost always in play for GPPs, but I’d venture the winning lineups look a little more well-rounded this week. This tournament and field makes it prime for players in the second tier to complete, and that’s what I’d anticipate happening.
Top Performing Studs from Recent Weeks
- Matt Kuchar
- Charley Hoffman
- Kevin Chappell
Top Performing Value Plays from Recent Weeks
- Sean O’Hair
- Colt Knost
- Boo Weekley
MY PICK: Kevin Na ($9,200)
There’s couple obvious picks at the top this week that I am bypassing. Jordan Spieth definitely has taken to this venue, but he really drove the ball poorly on the weekend at the Byron Nelson, and that might really hurt his chances at this venue. Matt Kuchar is playing well but is extremely expensive for a player who doesn’t win that often. I took Kevin Na as my pick at this event last year, and he led for three rounds before bailing on me in round four. However, after watching another guy who has trouble closing (Sergio Garcia) break through last week, I’m going to take Na to breakthrough here.
Na has had an up and down 2016, but when he’s been on, he’s been close to finding the winner’s circle. He’s made 7 of 8 cuts at this event and has four finishes of 13th or better in that span here, too. He’s also 3rd in Par 4 Scoring for the year, and generally a great sand player, which many of the past winners of this event have been as well. I think he can put it all together this week (finally) and am making him my pick to get the proverbial monkey off his back and finally win.
MY SLEEPER: Lucas Glover ($6,800)
Sleeper Qualification: must be under $7,000 in salary and projected by me to be less than 10% owned
Glover should definitely be under-owned this week after missing the cut last week. Even though he missed the cut at the Byron Nelson though, he bounced back from a bad round 1 to post a pretty solid round 2 and only missed the cut by a stroke. Glover has been in solid form of late and is a premier ball striker who ranks 1st in Greens in Regulation on Tour and 20th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. On a course that requires players to navigate tight fairways and small greens, this sort of play should come in handy. There is always the concern that Glover’s shaky putting will show up and ruin everything, but on such a tight course, Glover’s tee to green game might negate any advantage better putters have over him. He’s played here plenty and had some success on similar style courses over the past two seasons as well. I think he can top twenty or better at this venue and would look for him to bounce back this week.