The PGA tour wasted no time in bringing the excitement after making its opening start last week at the Safeway Open, which featured a slew of players in the mix come Sunday. We’re back this week with the CIMB Classic which is an event that does not have a cut. I’ve created a list of golfers I love, like and hate below to help you with your roster selections.
Golfers I Love
Paul Casey ($11,600) – It’s going to be very difficult to fade Paul Casey after finishing no worse than fourth place in each of his last four starts. Last week at the Safeway Open, Casey totaled 109.5 FPTS on his was to a T3. He’s been continually knocking on the door of a win, and I don’t expect that trend to stop this week. He’s easily one of the top talents in the field and his price has not gone up despite popularity and results over the past four weeks.
Justin Thomas ($10,400) – Coming off a T8 and 105 FPT performance at last week’s Safeway Open, Justin Thomas is clearly playing well. It just so happens that Justin Thomas is also the reigning champion of this event and has finished with back-to-back top ten finishes on Tour. Look for Justin Thomas to have a strong start to this season as he does seemingly every season.
Kevin Na ($9,900) – Na is another guy who cracked the 100 FPT weekend at the Safeway Open. Totaling 20 birdies, 47 pars and just 5 bogies, Kevin Na ended in 7th place finishing with exactly 100 FPTS. Na has been notably good in October over his career, and I like him again this week.
Scott Piercy ($8,900) – This marks the first time ever Piercy has made the love section of my article, but this spot is just too juicy for me to pass up. Piercy is a great value for GPP purposes at under $9k. After last week, he ranks 7th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 3rd in Strokes Gained: Total, comes in to the event off of a third place finish last week and has a seventh place finish in his only result at this event. There is too much pointing to Piercy doing well this week for me to pass up his value.
Russel Knox ($8,200) – Knox is just another golfer with supreme talent who is priced down in a big way. At $8,200, Russell Knox is one of my favorite plays this week. He ranked 8th in Driving Accuracy Percentage and 9th in Greens in Regulation Percentage in 2016. His only result at this event was a top twenty five and he’s coming into this week with three straight top ten finishes in his last three events.
Golfers I Like
Hideki Matsuyama ($11,300) – Hideki Matsuyama finished fifth place at this event last season, and hasn’t finished worse than a top twenty five in his three tries here. He’s also coming off a win last week at the Japan Open. With Hideki playing at the top of his game, there are few players in the world that make birdies at a higher rate (ranked 4th in Birdie Average in 2016), and on a week with no cut, birdies chances will be aplenty from one of the world’s top golfers.
Ryan Moore ($10,600) – In case you’ve got a very short memory, Ryan Moore was a back-to-back winner at this event in 2013 and 2014. Statistically, Ryan Moore fits this course like a pair of warm slippers, and he’s clearly comfortable playing here. Moore averaged 67.7 FPPG last season, and I’m looking for him to be above that average this week. My only concern with Moore is what is likely to be his very high ownership percentage, but it’s not enough to concern me enough to avoid playing him.
Brendan Steele ($8,800) – Ordinarily I don’t like to chase the winner from the previous week, but Steele projects very well in my statistical model again this week and his price hasn’t changed drastically. Steele won the Safeway Open last week and totaled 129.5 FPTS. He had 24 birdies, 43 pars and just 4 bogies, showing he’s capable of putting low numbers on the scorecard at a consistent rate. I’ll be jumping back on board with Brendan Steele despite this being only a week after his first win since 2011.
Marc Leishman ($7,000) – Welcome to value town, where Marc Leishman is the mayor at only $7,000. Leishman does not necessarily have great form coming in and hasn’t had any significant finishes at this event, but at only $7,000 you’re getting a golfer who is one of the most talented in the field. Leishman averaged 63.1 FPPG in 2016 with 8 top 25 finishes in 25 events played (2 of them being top 10 performances).
Charles Howell III ($7,000) – CH3 is absolutely making my value list this week. His two performances at this event both resulted in top ten finishes and he ranked 11th in Par 3 Scoring Average in 2016, which is a stat I think translates well to this week’s course. My only cause for concern is his recent string of poor performances including a missed cut last week.
Golfers I Hate
Adam Scott ($10,900) – On the surface, Adam Scott may look like a great value at under $11k, and if you’re not paying really close attention Adam Scott appears to be in fantastic form coming into this event. However, like Hideki, Scott also played the Japan open. However, Scott shot ten over par and missed the cut by two strokes. I may not completely fade Adam Scott, but his poor result in a very weak field last week is enough to give me pause.
Kevin Chappell ($9,100) – My dislike of Chappell is related more to the golfers around him than Chappell himself. With Kevin Na being only $800 more expensive, and Piercy, Steele, Grillo and Berger all coming in at lower prices, I just don’t think I’ll find a way to move off of any of those guys for Chappell who has never won on Tour and has only one professional win which came on the Nationwide Tour.
Anirban Lahiri ($8,300) – Ordinarily I’m a big fan of Lahiri, and it’s hard to pass him up at this price. However, this course does not seem to fit his game very well (ranked 110th in Birdie Average in 2016), and in several tries at this event Lahiri has not had any impressive results.
Do you have questions about golfers who aren’t in this article? Get more weekly analysis and answers to any of your questions by following me on Twitter @BradMessersmith
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is IthinkIcan1) 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.