WATCH: PRICE CHECK – DEAN & DELUCA INVITATIONAL
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 for DraftKings fantasy golf.
Billy Horschel was a somewhat surprise winner as he took down a resurgent Jason Day in a playoff to win the Byron Nelson. Horschel was only about 5% owned in most larger GPPs and ended up being a pivotal play on DraftKings. Jason Day coming through with a solo second was also big news as those who took him (despite being out of form for most of the year) over Koepka and Dustin got a huge payoff. This week the PGA Tour stays in Texas as we head to Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. We are now only three tournaments away from the U.S. Open.
The field for the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational (yes this name is here to stay) 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 — Keith Clearwater and Tom Purtzer — plus a few other non-regulars in the field — Jazz Janewattananond and Jamie Sadlowski. On paper at least this will be a week where getting six players through the cut will appear easier than normal due to the reduced field. Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia and Matt Kuchar will all be playing this week, as will Paul Casey and Brandt Snedeker. 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.
Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas
Par 70, 7,200-7,250 yards
Colonial Country Club challenges players in numerous ways. It’s not super long but does contain some very long par 4s and some challenging par 3s. It’s got 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 are 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; power is not generally a huge factor this week. Hitting fairways and greens will be crucial and those who don’t will be at a severe disadvantage.
As for layout, the first couple of holes on Colonial play rather easy with the leadoff par 5 being near “must birdie;” it’s the easiest the players face all week. The other par 5 plays very long, at a maximum of 635 yards making it a three-shot hole for pretty much everyone. The par 3s 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 3s plays over 200 yards, so again, distance isn’t as crucial as accuracy in overcoming these holes, and looking for players with good proximity or efficiency in the 175-200 yards range is a decent idea.
As for the par 4s, there’s 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 4s aren’t super long, but again, the lack of fairway space and small greens can make even the simplest hole play tough here. The par 4s 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 Colonial, so expect the players who do this the best to come out looking good Sunday afternoon.
Last six winners
- Jordan Spieth — 2016 (-17 over Harris English -14)
- 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 six winners of the DEAN & DELUCA Invitational (the Colonial) had a T8 finish or better on the PGA Tour in their previous five starts before their respective win.
- Six of the last seven winners of the DEAN & 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
- Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 yards
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
Colonial Country Club is a golf course that has twelve par 4s (two more than a par 72). 10 of those holes measure in at well over 400 yards. In 2015, the top four players from this tournament ranked 95th, 25th, 1st and 6th respectively in Par 4 Scoring for the year; in 2016 the top five finishers all ranked T3 or better in this stat for the week. As a result, I’d definitely include Par 4 Scoring in any model this week as its clear conquering the par 4s at Colonial are a big factor in a player’s success here.
Like last week, with fewer scoring holes, how you handle the long par 4s on Colonial can be critical. Last year, three of the players in the top five at the end of the week, including eventual winner Jordan Spieth, ranked inside the top seven in Efficiency from 450-500 yards, making this a distance and stat to target.
On a tighter-than-normal course with smaller-than-average greens, good tee to green play is always going to be essential too. In 2016, all of the top five players for the week ended the week ranked inside the top-10 for this stat. Top players here have also tended to rank well in the Strokes Gained: Approach category; however, the past two winners only ranked 30th/25th in that category for the week of their win.
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.
|Pat Perez||40-1||$7,600||Graham DeLaet $7,800 and 100-1
Cameron Smith $7,700 and 70-1
Ollie Schniederjans $7,700 and 70-1
|Kyle Stanley||50-1||$7,400||Sean O’Hair $7,500 and 125-1
Jason Kokrak $7,600 and 100-1
David Lingmerth $7,400 and 100-1
HORSES FOR COURSES
Zach Johnson is the ultimate horse for the course this week. In 10 visits to Colonial CC since 2005, he’s won twice, had finishes of third and fourth and also never missed a cut in that span. He’s had a slow start to 2017 but played solidly his last two times out. Don’t be shocked if he’s in contention this week.
Ryan Palmer is a Texas native who plays Colonial on the regular, and in his last five visits to this tournament, he’s gone five of six in cuts made and also finished inside the top-15 four times (including three top fives). He’s been playing well of late too and has now finished T27 or better in four of last five starts.
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 six out of six cuts here and even won this event back in 2015. After a bad stretch, Kirk emerged from his slump with a 12th place finish at THE PLAYERS two weeks ago. He’s a high-upside option whenever he tees it up at this event.
Jason Dufner has been appearing on leaderboards all season and will probably continue that trend this week. He’s made five of six cuts at Colonial since 2011 but has two second-place finishes in that span — including a playoff loss to Adam Scott in 2014. Dufner may not win, but he looks like a great cash option once again.
Cash Games: Jordan Spieth has a fantastic record at this event with no finishes worse than 14th in four starts. That being said, at $12,000 I’m not sure if he’s a must play given the fact Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia are cheaper. Overall, Garcia looks like the best value of the top three at $10,800 given his recent form and record in Texas. Other good cash game targets include Marc Leishman, the ever-reliable Jason Dufner, Ryan Palmer and Pat Perez.
Tournaments: I doubt any of the top three players will be especially low-owned given the lack of talent available in the field. However, I genuinely like this spot for veterans Zach Johnson and Phil Mickelson. Johnson is a great wind player and has a fantastic record at this event, but his price will likely keep ownership low. Mickelson hasn’t played Colonial in a while but is top-10 in Birdie or Better Percentage on the year and has won this event before. Lower down I also like Sean O’Hair off a big week, Chris Stroud, Brian Gay and Ben Martin.
Top Recent Form
1. Bud Cauley: He’s been T10 or better in his last four starts on tour, including a T5 from last week. Collectively, he’s -23 over last 12 competitive solo rounds on tour.
2. Sergio Garcia: He backed up his win at Augusta with a T30 at THE PLAYERS and a T20 at the Byron Nelson, on the back of consecutive rounds of 64 and 65.
3. Paul Casey: He’s been T22 or better in last four starts, which includes T6 at Augusta and T22 at TPC Sawgrass in deep fields. He has made the cut in each of his last nine starts.
Top Strokes Gained: Tee to Green from Last Week
1. James Hahn
2. Marc Leishman
3. J.J. Henry
Top Strokes Gained: Putting from Last Week
1. Billy Horschel
2. Jason Day
3. Dominic Bozzelli
MY PICK: Marc Leishman ($9,300)
After a brief layoff after the RBC, Leishman returned to form last week with a T13 at the Byron Nelson and ranked second for the week in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and third in Approaches. At $9,300, he might seem a bit over-priced but that could help keep ownership down in big tournaments. While his putter has cooled down a bit of late, Leishman will be taking on a venue this week that has proven very friendly to him in the past as he’s never missed a cut at Colonial in six attempts and had his best finish there to date last season with a T13. Ever the all-around specialist, Leishman’s short game and sand save stats are all within the top-50 this year, and given Colonial’s tricky bunkering, that should only help him achieve a good result at this course. In a weaker field, where the wind may make the course play tougher than usual for the week, Leishman should have every chance to get his second win of the season and is one of my favorite DraftKings plays in this weaker field.
MY SLEEPER: Chris Stroud ($6,900)
Stroud’s recent form doesn’t exactly breed confidence, but there’s reason to believe a bounce back week is coming. The Texas native has missed four out of his last five cuts but still ranks inside the top-55 in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green and Approaches and tour, and is also 19th in Greens in Regulation. A wonky putter has seen him suffer badly after recording a T8 in Puerto Rico a couple of months ago, but if you were watching Billy Horschel last week, you know how fast that can change. Stroud has an excellent course history at Colonial with finishes of 14th or better in four of his last five starts and has genuinely been a player who favors particular tracks throughout his career. At $6,900, Stroud’s very much a boom-or-bust tournament option but has proven that when he plays well at this venue, a big fantasy week can be expected. He’s a great option on DraftKings this week.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.