RICKIE FOWLER – $18,100
Outside of Dustin Johnson I’m not sure there is a golfer with better form than Rickie Fowler right now. In his seven starts this season he has six top 25’s, four of which are top 10’s including his victory at the Honda Classic in late February. Rickie has shown the ability to compete at Augusta, making the cut in five out of six appearances; last year’s missed cut being the only hiccup. Fowler’s is certainly aware of the first round 80 which derailed his chances here last year, but he knows his game is better than that showing.
“I know this golf course too well now to really make those mistakes that I did last year,” Fowler said. “I really kind of had to kick myself in the butt, because I should have been playing on the weekend even with making a couple mistakes.”
Fowler’s statistical performance across this week’s key stats and beyond shows he’s poised to make a run at his first career major:
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green – 4th, 1.825
- Bogey Avoidance – 4th, 10.90%
- Good Drive % – 26th, 86.81%
- Greens In Regulation – 20th, 72.01%
Outside of the key stats there are other parts of Rickie’s game that should prove to be very beneficial. Currently ranks third in Scrambling, T27 in par-5 scoring, and is seventh among the field in SG:Putting on Bentgrass (1.830). Putting all of these stats together with a calm demeanored Fowler, and I think we have ourselves a contender.
BRANDT SNEDEKER – $16,200
On two occasions Snedeker has found himself within reaching distance of a green jacket heading into the final round. In 2008, Snedeker entered the Sunday’s round just two back of 54-hole leader Trevor Immelman, but shot a five over 77 to finish with a share of third. 2013 saw “Sneds” enter Sunday with a share of the 54-hole lead only to have him shoot a final round 75 resulting in a tie for sixth. For Snedeker, this is the one that got away… twice. Overall Snedeker is 7/9 here with five top 20’s.
Brandt is third among the field in SG:Putting on Bentgrass, picking up an average of 2.149 strokes on his competitors. Now while none of Snedeker’s other stats scream “must play”, his consistent performance across all categories gives cause for consideration.
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green – 73rd, .389
- Bogey Avoidance – 43rd, 13.49%
- Good Drive % – 44th, 85.82%
- Greens In Regulation – 52nd, 69.64%
- Scrambling – 57th, 62.75%
- Par 5 Scoring – 51st, 4.60
$16,200 is a very friendly price tag for someone with course history as great as Brandt’s. With much of the concentration being on the high priced guys top of the field, Snedeker has the potential to go over looked. Roll out Snedeker with confidence this week.
ADAM HADWIN – $14,500
With his wedding coming just two weeks ago, Hadwin originally planned on spending this weekend in Bora Bora on his honeymoon. I think he’ll gladly settle for a weekend in Augusta instead. Here’s what Hadwin had to say about it: “One thing I’m really looking forward to is the par three contest that is held on Wednesday. I’m going to have my new wife, Jessica on the bag. We’ll have a great time. It is like a honeymoon gift instead of going to Bora Bora, which we had to cancel when I got into the Masters. Instead of a honeymoon, Jessica gets to put on a white jumpsuit and carry my golf clubs. I’m sure she’ll love it… assuming, of course, that we go back to Bora Bora for our real honeymoon.” Last year Danny Willett had the “Baby Swag”, this year I’m calling “Marriage Swag” for Hadwin.
Hadwin comes into Augusta riding some red-hot recent form. His victory two appearances ago at the Valspar Championship was followed up by a sixth place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. On the season Hadwin has made 11 starts and has six top 25s and four top 10s.
Carrying Hadwin through the season so far has been his ability to avoid mistakes; Adam currently ranks first in Bogey Avoidance. Looking across the other key stats and there is plenty to like about our friend from the North Country.
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green – 34th, .856
- Good Drive % – 36th, 86.28%
- Greens In Regulation – 44th, 70.11%
- Scrambling – 2nd, 71.24%
- Par 5 Scoring – 34th, 4.58
Hadwin is also one of the best in the field on Bentgrass surfaces; he ranks 20th among participants in SG:Putting – Bermuda (1.205).
A lot is made of golfers in their first appearances at Augusta, and rightfully so; only two rookies have ever won here, Fuzzy Zoeller being the last back in 1979. At $14,500 we aren’t necessarily looking for the guy who going to bring home the green jacket, just someone who is going to find themselves on the first page of the leaderboard come Sunday.
KEVIN KISNER – $14,200
Like many who were raised in the Southeastern United States, Augusta was the center of Kisner’s golf universe as a kid. “Growing up in Aiken that’s all we ever knew,” says Kisner of his hometown that is roughly 30 minutes north of Augusta National. “Our whole city revolved around Masters week”. This year Kisner heads to the Peach State looking to build on what’s been a solid few weeks. Kisner held a share of the 54-hole lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational but faltered coming down the stretch opening the door for Marc Leishman to take the victory. The second place finish falls among the six top 25’s and three top 10’s Kisner has in his 10 starts on the season.
Although last year was Kisner’s first invitation to the Masters, it was not the first time he had played Augusta National. A graduate from the University of Georgia, Kisner had the opportunity to play the historical course many times over his tenure at UGA. Last year’s “rookie” performance resulted in a tie for 37th.
On the season Kisner boasts some strong numbers, none more impressive than his ninth overall rank in SG:T2G (1.576). Also benefiting “Kiz” this week will be his 1.962 SG:Putting on Bentgrass which has him ranked fourth among the field. An elite ball striker who can putt lights out, Kisner is a must play at only $14,200.
HUDSON SWAFFORD – $13,600
When it comes to Augusta, Swafford has a pretty strong inside source for course knowledge coming in the form of former Georgia roommate Jefferson Knox’s father, who has been the designated marker in the Masters since 2003. Jeff Knox has famously, “unofficially” defeated the likes of Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia. I’m sure Hudson has had no reservations about picking up the phone and getting a practice round or two in with the course’s record holder (member tees).
Swafford, like Kisner, got to play Augusta National many times while a student at UGA. “The shock of just showing up on the first tee, I’ve been there and done that,” he said. “You’re going to get it and it’s a good feeling now. The first time I went, when you’re on that tee you’re a little unsettled. I’ll have butterflies the first round but it’ll be good.”
Getting Swafford into the field was his victory earlier this year at the CareerBuilder Challenge. The victory came at the end of a 19 consecutive cut streak, which was abruptly put to a halt with three straight missed cuts. In his three events since the mini missed cut streak, Swafford has two top 10’s and a 38th place finish.
Swafford’s stats on the season line up very well for Augusta National:
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green – 69th, .735
- Bogey Avoidance – 43rd, 13.49%
- Good Drive % – 34th, 86.30%
- Greens In Regulation – 37th, 70.50%
- Par 5 Scoring – 14th, 4.51
- Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermuda) – 19th, 1.212
With many people crossing rookies off their list of plays simply due to the fact that they “can’t win”, Swafford has the potential to go completely overlooked. $13,600 provides major salary relief for any of the high end guys you may want to roster, while also giving you a guy who could very easily finish top 10.
These five golfers leave you with $23,400 for your final roster spot meaning you can select any golfer in the field to round out your lineup. 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.
Make sure to check out our site DFSDatalytics.com. Also be sure to get in the PGA LIVE FINAL EVENT for a chance to go to Quail Hollow!