Xander Schauffele

The invitation-only event hosted by Tiger Woods will take place at Albany Golf Course for the fifth straight year in New Province, Bahamas. The good news is the tournament will be a no-cut event, but with only 18 players in the field, your margin for error will have to be close to zero. The field will not include world No. 4, Dustin Johnson, who has withdrawn due to injury. He’ll elect to take another week off from competitive golf while Rickie Fowler will be making his first start since the TOUR Championship last season.

Albany Golf Course, similar to many courses we’ve seen this fall, will be subject to windy conditions, if in fact, the gusts start to ramp up. The course will play as a par 72, but will play very different than most on TOUR with five par 5s, five par 3s and eight par 4s. The exposed course layout is similar to links golf with mounds up to 30 feet tall along with a ton of bunkering throughout the course. Albany will measure anywhere between 7,300 to 7,400 yards this week and the golfers who can hit it far may have a slight advantage over the shorter hitters being able to avoid those trouble areas off the tee and reach the par 5s in two.

Other than Par 5 Scoring Average, players who stat out highly in birdie or better percentage and those who’ve played recently are golfers we should be targeting in our lineups. Managers should also take roster construction into account. With only 18 players in the field, there will be a large number of duplicate lineups, so not using your entire salary should be a good strategy to differentiate yourself this week.

Xander Schauffele ($9,800) to win (+900)

Schauffele finished eighth last year and his history in no-cut events is stellar, earning a win and a runner-up finish in recent World Golf Championship (WGC) events, winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions as well as the TOUR Championship over the past few years. He’s also playing extremely well, ranking first in birdie or better percentage and first in Par 5 Scoring Average over his past three tournaments. Xander finished second at the WGC-HSBC last month, which is the lead-in form we’ve seen from Jon Rahm when he won last season (finished T4 in the 2018 DP World Tour Championship, Dubai), Rickie Fowler when he won in 2017 (finished second at the 2017 Mayakoba Golf Classic) and Hideki Matsuyama in 2016, which was his fourth win in five starts.

Patrick Reed ($6,900) to win (+1600)

Similar to Schauffele, Reed’s also recorded solid finishes in no-cut events over the past few seasons with a top 10 at the 2019 TOUR Championship and wins at both a World Golf Championship event as well as at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in 2015 (then called the Hyundai Tournament of Champions). If Reed happens to find one of the many bunkers, he should be fine ranking third in sand save percentage over his past 12 rounds and even though he’s not known for his length, he ranks 10th in driving distance over his past three tournaments and is inside the top 10 in Par 5 Scoring if we extend those stats over his past six tournaments. Reed also has solid course history ranking top-three in Strokes Gained: Total with a couple of top-five finishes and a runner up since being held at Albany dating back to 2015.

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