Back to Texas we go! The Texas swing continues with the Shell Houston Open in the PGA tour’s last tournament leading up to The Masters. Some of the best PGA pros are in the field this week all hoping to come into the first major of the year at the top of their game. Below is a list of golfers I love, like, and hate this week to help you as you’re building your PGA lineups in this star studded field.
Golfers I Love
Henrik Stenson ($10,800) – Henrik Stenson is often considered a golfer who has an inability to close out tournaments and get wins, but often overlooked is the fact that Stenson is quietly one of the most consistent golfers on tour. In the 5 events he has played this year he has a 3rd, a top 10, and 3 top 25s. At under $11,000 I’m willing to take on the risk, particularly in cash formats, that he doesn’t win the tournament to include his consistent ability to finish near the top of the leaderboard in my cash lineups.
Editor’s Note: J.B. Holmes has withdrawn from the Shell Houston Open.
J.B. Holmes ($9,700) – As the defending champion I fully expect Holmes to be highly owned. However, he ranks in the top 10 in approaches from several different yardage ranges and boasts one of the best overall putting averages on tour, which will continue to serve him well on a course that will require both skills. While I don’t expect him to repeat as champion, I do expect him to finish near the top of the leaderboard here, and I will own enough of him to profit if that happens.
Jamie Lovemark ($7,900) – Lovemark is a name who has been tossed around often by PGA daily fantasy lovers everywhere, and is well known as a bomber (tied for 12th longest average drive distance), which definitely won’t hurt him this week. However, many will fail to recognize the fact that Lovemark ranks 24th at putting inside 10 feet through 2016 and 8th in scrambling over the same time frame. Lovemark may not be the one-trick pony that he was once thought to be by many (myself included).
Kevin Streelman ($6,700) – In both 2015 and 2016 statistics, there is one golfer who stands alone in the $7k and below range, and that man is Kevin Streelman. In fact, when both 2015 and 2016 projections are weighted and considered, Streelman is the highest projected golfer in my model. With nothing positive to speak of in terms of course history or recent form, I expect Streelman to have an extremely low ownership percentage this week which should favor those of us who put him in our lineups.
Bronson Burgoon ($5,400) – Burgoon made my article last week, and he started out on fire but couldn’t quite put together 4 solid rounds. At only $5,400 he projects well in my model on this course and is an absolute steal in terms of price. I will be rostering him in combinations with some of the higher priced guys this week and hoping to catch him when he puts it all together for 4 full rounds.
Golfers I Like
Dustin Johnson ($10,700) – I suspect Dustin Johnson to be one of the lowest owned golfer in the upper salary ranges, but I will gladly accept him at low ownership. Dustin has a top 25 finish in 5 of his last 6 starts on tour and comes in as one of the top ranked golfers in my model statistically. He has what it takes to win here, and I expect him to win on tour again very soon when he finds the next gear in his game.
Jimmy Walker ($9,200) – According to the most popular putting metrics Jimmy Walker is the strongest putter in the field, which includes Jordan Spieth, and as such, has me carefully considering his name in my lineups. Despite a rocky event history here, I will accept some risk in GPPs by rostering Walker expecting him to make the cut and have a shot at paying off his salary and meeting value.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($8,500) – If you haven’t heard the name Cabrera-Bello by now, it was only a matter of time. Having only played 2 events on tour this year, he has been catapulted into the top 50 in the world golf ranking by his 3rd place finish at the WGC-Dell Match play last week. By sheer talent alone, Rafa should be much more expensive than he is. That being said, with his limited play on tour thus far, I don’t have stats I feel comfortable with to project him on a course by course basis, so I am forced to take Cabrera-Bello with a grain of salt.
Harris English ($7,600) – English represents another prime example of a GPP play; meaning, he is not the most consistent player, but does display some serious upside potential. With only 2 appearances, English has made both cuts and has a top 25 finish in those showings. I expect him to go under owned after missing cuts at his last 2 events, but he certainly has top 10 upside at this course if he does make the cut.
Russell Henley ($7,000) – Russell Henley is one of the cheapest players that can be considered a course horse with back to back top 10s and never having missed a cut here. With 5 straight missed cuts in his most recent showings, I expect him to be so low owned, which will be very profitable if he can repeat with another top 10 here this year.
Jhonattan Vegas ($5,700) – For a golfer under $6k, Vegas has some stats that really stand out in my projections. Through 2016, Vegas ranks 9th in green in regulation percentage, 11th in ball striking, and top 25 in approaches from distances outside of 175 yards, which makes him a player I will be targeting in some lineups. My biggest concern with Vegas is whether or not he has enough upside we need for GPP purposes.
Golfers I Hate
Patrick Reed ($10,300) – Although I like to try and roster Patrick Reed often, he is at a price range that leaves me disinterested. His price, along with the fact that he performed well in the match play event last week and was covered in the media heavily, leaves me easily fading him knowing he is overpriced and his ownership percentage will be much too high.
Charles Howell III ($8,900) – I couldn’t bring myself to include any of the players priced in the $9k range this week because I liked them all, so I dropped down to Charles Howell III just South of that price. CH3 has had an ownership percentage recently that scares me off him knowing that he is unlikely to win events. At his price I’d easily pay the few extra hundred dollars up to any of the guys in the $9k salary range.
Jonas Blixt ($7,100) – Don’t be fooled by Jonas Blixt’s top 25 at this event last year, he is one of the worst players on tour in approaches from long distances and has one of the highest bogey averages in the field this week, and as such, won’t be a consideration in my lineups.
Jamie Donaldson ($6,700) – Despite having made 4 cuts in his last 4 events, he is near the worst in the field in total birdies. With the scoring system on Draftkings being so heavily dependent on a player’s ability to make birdies, I am going to be staying away from Donaldson until further notice.
Angel Cabrera ($5,500) – With the masters right around the corner I felt inclined to include Cabrera in my hate list as a golfer who tends to be much more popular than he should be. With his game in decline, I wouldn’t expect to see Angel Cabrera’s name in any of my lineups any time soon, and I would suggest you follow suit.
Do you have questions about golfers who didn’t make my list? Get more weekly analysis and answers to your questions by following me on twitter @BradMessersmith