WATCH: CHASE OR FADE – PUERTO RICO OPEN VALUE
Just a few weeks out from the season’s first major, part of the Tour moves to Puerto Rico this week, teeing off from Coco Beach Golf & Country Club Thursday morning. Going head to head with the WGC – Match Play event in Austin, most of the top players are understandably not here, and the watered-down field is better prep for the summer stretches between majors than it is for Augusta. But there are still plenty of ways to go in building your rosters, so here are a few names to consider from every price range.
Graham DeLaet ($10,600) – DeLaet is my favorite choice priced over $10K because he has the game off the tee to give himself a distinct advantage on what is a long par-72. Currently 20th in Total Driving, he has seen that skill set translate into success here in the past, with a top-25 finish in each of his four appearances here.
Luke List ($9,900) – Currently second on Tour in Driving Distance and 20th in overall Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, he has the ability to put himself in better positions to attack the greens and give himself scoring opportunities where other golfers are just hoping to two-putt from 60 feet for par. He finished T15 here last year and he’s made three straight cuts coming in, including a T17 last weekend.
Scott Brown ($9,800) – It’s tough for me to go against Scott Brown at this tournament. He has a win here, two T5s and a T10 in five tries (with no missed cuts). He had a nice weekend as recently as the Genesis Open a little more than a month ago, where he finished T2, and will look to a course he clearly loves to bounce back from a pair of missed cuts in his last two events.
Chris Kirk ($9,100) – He has never played here before, but his Greens in Regulation of 72.07 belies a skillset that should be valuable here. He is someone who can typically make the most of that second shot, which is key on a course where that shot will come from distance, with wind, onto a relatively hard surface. His ability to keep it close should be enough to make him a legit option at this price, perhaps especially in cash game lineups.
Danny Lee ($8,700) – The last time he played here was 2014, and he finished second. Over the past two weeks, he has a T17 and a T22 against a couple of very talented fields, which to me is the kind of converging trend it’s nice to identify when you’re starting your rosters. If the weakness in his game is putting, playing on a course that challenges you more from the tee and from the fairway should fit his game nicely.
Brandon Hagy ($8,300) – His last three events have been kind to him, as he has finished T33, T21 and T28 against some loaded fields (Pebble Beach, Honda Classic and Arnold Palmer Invitational, respectively). He has managed to average just over 14 under par over that stretch, giving him a fantasy scoring average of just about 68 DK fantasy points, which could get a nice boost this weekend, when a similar performance would likely see him higher up on the leaderboard.
Dominic Bozelli ($8,000) – The 25-year-old American finished T3 at the Valspar Championship two weeks ago in his last appearance. He displayed a full arsenal of weapons, finishing third in Strokes Gained – Around-the-Green and fourth in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green for the weekend while firing 16 birdies against just four bogeys. If he brings that level of consistency again this weekend, he will find himself near enough the top of the leaderboard to provide plenty of value at this price.
Chesson Hadley ($7,600) – Making his season PGA debut, he has four appearances on the Web.com Tour this season, with two missed cuts and two finishes of T21 or better. That likely makes him more of a tournament play than a cash-game option, but the upside is definitely there as he has shown a real liking for this course in the past, winning here in 2014 and ending up T16 in 2015.
Rory Sabbatini ($7,400) – Currently 36th on Tour in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green, he has leveraged that ability into a scoring average of just 70.18, good for 65th on Tour overall at the moment. Considering the strength of this field, getting the 65th best scoring golfer on Tour at this price seems like an obvious value to me, especially for a tournament play.
Harold Varner ($7,300) – This one boils down to one thing for me at the moment: 23rd in Driving Distance. Tony Finau showed the value of length here last year, and with a field that doesn’t feature all the top guys pushing people like Varner further down the leaderboard, he has a chance to make a run at the top ten if the rest of his game shows up. He finished T34 last weekend despite a 77 on Sunday, so the potential is there for him to score enough to provide a real value at this price.
Tim Wilkinson ($7,100) – One of the safer-seeming choices at this point on the price list, he is someone I would consider trusting in a cash game lineup to fill out my roster. He has made every cut so far in 2017, except when he had to withdraw from The Honda Classic mid-first round. However, he returned to action again two weeks ago at the Valspar Championship and made another cut, at the very least showing that he should be healthy coming in this weekend.
Tag Ridings ($6,700) – His 299.0 driving distance average is good for 40th on Tour, and with many of those ahead of him on that list elsewhere this weekend, he should be someone who is putting himself in a position to get looks at the green as good as anyone this weekend. We haven’t seen him since Pebble Beach more than a month ago, but he had two low rounds of 68 that weekend, showing the kind of scoring potential to make him an upside fantasy play (he finished that weekend with 72.0 points).
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) 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.