The Tour’s next stop, at Hilton Head Island, features one of the best courses in the country – Harbour Town Golf Links, home of the RBC Heritage (formerly the Heritage Classic). It’s not the Masters, but it is a great tournament nonetheless, with a big purse, FedEx points up for grabs, and plenty of the world’s top players competing.
Here are a few of those “top players” you can target at every price range to help you build the most balanced (and hopefully, highest scoring) lineup possible. Good luck!
Jordan Spieth ($12,500) – I know, I don’t even have to mention it. After watching him play last weekend, it is hard to imagine him not at least finishing near the top in this win, if he doesn’t win. Maybe you’re concerned about a hectic week after his first major win, but he has played nine tournaments in 2015, and he missed one cut. He made the top 20 in all of the other eight, and not worse than T7 in seven of those (including three wins and two second place finishes). And he finished 8th here last year in his first appearance. In other words, the question isn’t whether he will be a goof fit for your fantasy team, it’s whether $12,500 is just too rich to put together the rest of your lineup.
Zach Johnson ($10,900) – He placed in the top-ten five times already this season, and he finished second at Harbour Town in 2012. He consistently has stats that back up the idea of solid ball-striking. This course demands accuracy and control, especially from the fairway and around the green, aspects of the game at which Johnson can excel.
Jim Furyk ($10,400) – This course presents some unique challenges in the sense that, even though winning scores are still likely going to be well into the double-digits under par, the difficulties that are here are somewhat different than those you usually find. The fairways are relatively wide open, but the approach shots are tight, and well-guarded. If you miss near the green, you might need to put serious loft on the ball if you want to shoot for the pin, but the coastal course often features a tricky wind, so precision is the name of the game. And all of that means, you want to pay close attention this week to the golfers who have a track record of success at this course, maybe even at the expense of looking for golfers who are playing well right now. Furyk might not have been better than T40 in his last three outings, but with his history here, you have to sit up and pay attention (a couple of 2nd place finishes in the past ten years, a win in 2010, and top-ten finishes in 2012 and 2014).
Luke Donald ($9,300) – Remember what I said about course history? Well, he has three 2nd place and two 3rd place finishes in the last six years. Again, he has FIVE top-3 finishes in six years.
Charley Hoffman ($9,200) – Another one, just like Luke Donald, playing well now who also has a good history at the course – it’s no wonder these guys have price tags over $9K. And why you won’t mind spending it. He finished inside the top-10 here in 2012 and 2013, and even though he faded behind a few other names down the stretch at Augusta, he carded a VERY respectable T9, which was his third straight showing of no worse than T11.
Russell Henley ($9,100) – He hasn’t missed a cut since last fall and, apparently, he has the talent to shoot a 68 at Augusta, which he did last Thursday en route to a 21st place finish, not bad at all for a 26 year old who hasn’t had much time on tour.
Graeme McDowell ($8,500) – He won here in 2013, so you know he can handle the course. And he’s good. He was more expensive than this here last year, that’s for sure, and I for one expect him to turn his game around at some point. What better place than somewhere he has had success in the past? Furthermore, if you are looking at his “game log” on the DraftKings player card, you will be the following for his last five results: T52, 0, CUT, T56, CUT. But remember, he usually plays in Europe, where he did have a top-10 showing at the Dubai Desert Classic in February and another top-40 performance at the Malaysian Open not long after.
Pat Perez ($7,800) – The last three times he has played here, he finished inside the top-20, and he is coming off a T20 in the Texas Open three weeks ago, which he followed up with a T11 at the Houston Open right before the Masters. I said before you might want to value past success at this course more than recent success elsewhere, but luckily for you, Perez has both.
Daniel Berger ($7,500) – The downside to his game – a lack of distance off the tee, shouldn’t hurt him this week, allowing all of the the strengths to shine through. And those strengths have to be there – he does have six top-25 performances since January. He’s clearly doing something right.
Russell Knox ($7,300) – He currently ranks tenth on tour in “Proximity to Hole,” a stat that measures your accuracy from the fairway, with irons, as you approach the green, the single most important thing players will have to do this week, aside from draining one-putts.
Ben Martin ($6,200) – He missed the cut last weekend in his first appearance at the Masters after shooting 74-74. But he finished 5th at the Arnold Palmer a few weeks back, and he was T3 here last year. He has been drilling greens, coming in at 9th in GIR % for all of the PGA Tour at the moment. $6,200 seems cheap for that.
Aaron Baddeley ($6,000) – Anecdotally, I have heard Baddeley referred to by people who know a lot more about golf than I do as “the best putter on Tour.” Well, the “Tour” came up with a new putting stat, aimed at basically calculating that exact thing. Turns out, those experts weren’t wrong – he comes in third by a hair, behind Henrik Stenson and Jimmy Walker, and just in front of Spieth – good company for someone who cost $6,000, especially when you’re talking about a course where the hottest putter may very well be the only thing that matters when determining who will come out on top.