The Masters is over, but the Tour – and a solid number of the top players – are moving right on to the RBC Heritage, at Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. Another beautiful backdrop, to be sure, but without quite the same challenge of a windy Augusta there should be plenty of low scores this weekend. Choose wisely and there will be plenty of fantasy points to go around.
Paul Casey ($10,800) – Casey might be the most obvious play on the board, but that doesn’t make it wrong. It’s obviously not just the T4 at Augusta, but that finish certainly isn’t hurting the hype on a player who has three top-ten performances in his last four tournaments. He also has never finished outside the top 25 here at Harbour Town. Currently inside the top-25 in the All-Around Ranking and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, he has the kind of game to give himself consistent scoring chances all weekend long on this course.
Brandt Snedeker ($10,600) – Day might be the class of the field, but you have to pay for it, and $12K+ can get prohibitive. Players like Casey and Snedeker are a way to get the same upside without quite the same level of comfort of just expecting a consistently elite performance. But not having to dip quite so low at the back end of your lineup has a lot of value too. Snedeker hasn’t missed a cut this year, is coming off a T10 finish at Augusta, and he has won here before – like Casey, he is an easy choice.
Kevin Kisner ($9,700) – Kisner is saving you $900 over Snedeker even though he is currently sitting at third in that All-Around Ranking (compared to Brandt’s 21st). Kisner has the putting stroke to rack up a ton of birdies on these greens (44.97% one-putt rate last year) as long as he isn’t spraying it all over the course on his way to the putting surface. And while consistent ball-striking has never been his strength, you don’t get to third all-around without hitting some solid shots, and his T37 ranking in GIR % is evidence of that so far this season.
Justin Thomas ($9,300) – Thomas ended last weekend at Augusta on a high note, shooting his best round – a 71 – on Sunday. He still finished +10 and only T39, but just making the cut and giving himself the chance to fire a decent round before the tourney closed should give him some momentum heading into the next stretch of the season. He now has five straight made cuts dating back to early February, a run that has included a T3 at the Honda Classic and a top-20 at the Valspar Championship.
Graeme McDowell ($8,500) – Ninth on Tour in driving accuracy, if McDowell is on his game he should avoid the need for a lot of scrambling. Hopefully that will lead to plenty of greens in regulation (this course surrendered a 61% GIR rate last year). He won here three years ago, and has acquitted himself well both times since then – it could be the perfect place for him to snap out of his current run of three straight missed cuts. He might be easier to rely on for upside in a tournament than in a cash game, but he did have two straight solid performances as recently as his solo fifth and T28 at the Honda Classic and WGC-Cadillac less than two months ago.
Danny Lee ($8,300) – The 25-year-old from New Zealand had missed two cuts heading into Augusta, but responded to the test last weekend, shooting 68-74-79-71 to finish T17. Saturday’s round was easy to explain away, but the most impressive round of the weekend was Thursday – on a day when the scoring average topped 74, that 68 put his full array of skills on display and helped propel him to that top-20, 62-fantasy-point performance.
Bryson DeChambeau ($8,000) – Everyone’s favorite young player after last weekend, DeChambeau shot 72-72 in the first two rounds of Augusta while paired with Spieth. He ended up at +5 for T21, the best showing for any amateur in the field, and then he promptly went pro. Only the fifth person ever to hold the NCAA Championship and the U.S. Amateur Championship at the same time (Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ryan Moore are the others). Probably the only PGA Tour golfer to actually design and engineer his own golf clubs, there are plenty of stories to tell about this kid, but the most important is that he can really play. In his only other appearance in a pro tournament on the PGA Tour this season, he carded a T27 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational – two top-30 performances in two tries against loaded fields are evidence enough for me that he is legit.
Jamie Lovemark ($7,800) – Not present last weekend for the season’s first major, Lovemark has been playing really well this year, building on his ability off the tee to make seven of nine cuts in 2016, including five top-20’s and three top-10’s. He is 9th on Tour in driving distance right now, a skill that puts him in the position to attack greens regularly. An elite skill like that is always a pleasant surprise to find at this price range.
Scott Brown ($7,500) – He has made three out of three cuts at Hilton Head, and finished T5 here in 2014. But in addition to a good history, he has also been playing great recently – no missed cuts since Pebble Beach, a run that has included three top ten finishes since the Honda Classic at the end of February. Assuming he regroups nicely from his disastrous weekend at the Houston Open (77-79 on Saturday and Sunday), he could be a building block piece, relatively safe for the price, with upside.
Jason Kokrak ($7,400) – He has three top-25 finishes so far in 2016, but they are mixed in with a few MCs. This recent track record makes it somewhat difficult to trust him, so he is more of an upside play at the price than a reliable cash game option. But if you combine his performance so far in 2016 with the fact that he has also finished inside the top-20 at Harbour Town in each of the last two years, that gives you a good reason to be confident. In each of his three top-25 finishes this season, he has done it with a bunch of birdies (at least 17 in each), leading to an 82 DKFP scoring average in his best performances, which I would certainly take at this price.
Ben Martin ($7,200) – Another player who, for me, is going to end up in a bunch of my lineups this weekend, I am having a hard time deciding if I like Martin or Brown more this weekend. Martin, a native of South Carolina, has played here three times and made three cuts, including a T3 just two years ago. Last year he was T37, but he still did it with four straight rounds under par – he just didn’t go quite low enough. But with that history and the fact that he hasn’t missed a cut since Pebble Beach, a run that has included top-20s at the Northern Trust and Arnold Palmer, he is someone who provides you with a relatively high floor for the price, as well as a ton of upside.
Will MacKenzie ($7,100) – Since coming back from knee surgery last year, he has slowly been rounding into form, and he has managed to finish up inside the top twenty in each of his last two appearances, at the Puerto Rico Open and the Houston Open. He is just about 100th on Tour in the great Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green stat and 200th in Strokes Gained: Putting, and therefore somewhat unsurprisingly, around 150th in the All-Around Ranking. But more importantly, all three of those rankings have come up more than 30 spots over his past two appearances. Anytime you see a cheap golfer whose game is trending in the right direction across the board, he is worth a spot somewhere across all your lineups.