Going for the Green

“Going for The Green” – these are five golfers that fit the course well and have good form or course history, and would fit most lineup builds on FantasyDraft (stars & scrubs or balanced).

LUKE LIST – $19,300

List is one of the 13 golfers in the field this week who competed at Bay Hill just a few days ago, managing a 17th place finish against a much stronger field. Last week’s top 20 is the third straight event in which List has played the weekend, bringing home 27th at the Valspar Championship and 52nd at the Honda Classic. The 6 top 25s on the season already matches his total from all of last year.

Most week’s when looking at key stats List’s name pops up. He’s typically very strong tee-to-green, shown by his 20th rank on Tour. He’s also one of the longest on Tour, currently sitting second in Driving Distance behind Dustin Johnson. So if his stats are so great, why doesn’t he get more love and have better results? His putting is awful. Heading into this week List ranks 105th on Tour in Strokes Gained: Putting. There’s reason to be optimistic when it comes to List on the putting surface this week though. When playing courses that feature Bermuda/Paspalum like Coco Beach Golf Club does, List gains .318 more SG:Putting. The overall number still isn’t great (-.206), but it is indeed much improved from his performance on Bentgrass/Poa Annua surfaces.

At $19,300 List is the sixth most expensive golfer in the field. The great thing about FantasyDraft’s tight pricing is that people will have to chose between Wesley Bryan and List, limiting what would normally be very high ownership. It appears the two may be the most popular plays of the week however it will be virtually impossible to fit them both into a good lineup.

J.J. SPAUN – $18,000

J.J. Spaun is among the group of 2016 Web.com graduates who have come onto Tour this year and made a name for themselves. We first caught a glimpse of his name at the CareerBuilder Challenge after his first round 66; he eventually faded and finished T50. What was impressive were the two top 10’s that followed at the Farmers Insurance Open and the Waste Management Open, both of which featured star-studded fields. Spaun has cooled off somewhat since then but those two week’s showed that J.J. has the game to compete at this level.

Pulling up Spaun’s name in the key stats this week and first glance leaves a lot to be desired. His ranks are less than impressive, but if you take into consideration the field this week and where he lines up against them, things look much better.

(Note: The second rank will be where the player ranks within this week’s field.)

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green – 98th (.102) – 56th
  • Birdie or Better % – 72nd (21.96%) – 20th
  • Bogey Avoidance % – 79th (14.99) – 26th
  • Par 5 Scoring – 65th (4.61) – 21st

Again, those numbers don’t light the world on fire but when compared to this week’s competitors they’re certainly start worthy. $18,000 buys you a guy with 3 top 25s in his last six events and who shouldn’t have any real threat of missing the weekend.

SUNG KANG – $17,000

To say Kang’s form has been shaky would be somewhat of an understatement. On the season Kang has competed in 13 tournaments, making the cut in only five of them. The good thing is that of those five cuts made, three have been within the last five events and two have them have been top 22s. Despite getting off to a less than ideal start this year, Kang’s numbers are actually very solid compared to his competitors.

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green – 62nd (.458) – 10th
  • Birdie or Better % – 74th (21.93%) – 21st
  • Par 5 Scoring – 56th (4.60) – 18th
  • Driving Distance – 34th (300.0) – 10th
  • Strokes Gained: Approach – 66th (.271) – 15th

Also in Kang’s corner this week is the fact that he’s .312 strokes better on Bermuda/Paspalum surfaces than he is on Bentgrass/Poa Annua. This will certainly be good news for the Korean as he currently ranks outside of the top 140 in all of the major putting categories.

Kang is always somewhat of a wildcard but so is most of the field this week. With the elites all in Texas, Puerto Rico provides the opportunity to take a chance on these golfers who have shown flashes of talent in the past.

 

MARTIN FLORES – $16,800

This week Flores takes on the role of value play with good course history. Flores has made the cut in this event each of his last three times out, the last two resulting in top 20 finishes. Sometimes a guy just plays well at a certain course with no real explanation as to why; the stats certainly don’t point to success for Flores.

  • Strokes Gained: Tee to Green – 136th (-.276) – 79th
  • Birdie or Better % – 140th (19.70%) – 81st
  • Bogey Avoidance % – 19th (12.46%) – 3rd
  • Par 5 Scoring – 119th (4.67) – 73rd

With the weekend weather looking like it could be an absolute mess like it was back 2015, finding the guys who played well in those rough conditions could prove to be a big advantage. Flores managed a 16th place finish the year that saw the worst winning score of the tournament’s history (-7). If the score can once again stay close to even par, Flores certainly has a chance as he only makes bogey 12.46% of the time. Martin will be a true test of course history versus recent form as he hasn’t made a cut since six weeks ago at Pebble Beach.

ZAC BLAIR – $15,400

When coming down to the sub $16,000 range trying to find salary relief, Zac Blair’s name is one that immediately jumped out to me; I was surprised to see him priced so low in a field this weak. Blair is 42nd in the field in terms of World Ranking however he’s only the 60th most expensive golfer. That discrepancy is something we can exploit especially considering there are some other factors pointing to success for Blair. Of the 128 golfers in the field, Blair ranks 21st in terms of SG:Putting on Bermuda/Paspalum surfaces.

A point of concern for the BYU graduate is his extreme lack of power off the tee; Blair currently ranks 202nd on Tour in Driving Distance (273.2). The reason I’m willing to overlook this and take a shot on Zac is that two years ago when conditions did get tough, Blair managed a 38th place finish despite not being able to bomb it. Like always the weather forecast could change and completely ruin this narrative, but I’m certainly looking hard at the guys who performed well during the difficult 2015 tournament.

 
These five golfers leave you with $13,500 for your final roster spot. Using the “Going for The Green” picks alongside the “Weekend Warriors” on DFSDatalytics.com makes for many great combinations that can take down both GPPs and cash games.

Josh Burkett

Josh Burkett

Josh Burkett is the lead PGA Analyst at DFSDatalytics. Josh can be reached on twitter @GWBuffalo7.

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