Going for the Green: Valero Texas Open

“Going for The Green” – this week’s five golfers fit the course well and have good form or course history, and are targeted as contrarian plays on FantasyDraft.

TONY FINAU – $18,900

Finau has been somewhat of an all or nothing type player this year. He’s 10/13 in terms of making the cut, but when playing the weekend he only has one finish outside of the top 34. His stats on the year point to what could easily be his fourth top 10 of the season.

  • Strokes Gained: Off the Tee – 6th, .849
  • Scrambling – 93rd, 60.54%
  • Bogey Avoidance – 26th, 13.04%
  • Strokes Gained: Approach – 35th, .469

Strong off the tee, great approach game, and good at avoiding big numbers, Finau is exactly the type of golfer we’re targeting this week.

Now Finau on Bermuda is always a giant concern as he’s 1.5 strokes worse on these surfaces versus Bentgrass courses. In his last attempt here he made the cut and finished 68th despite losing 4.9 strokes on the greens. Finau’s last three events have all resulted in top 34 finishes including his fifth place performance at the Valspar Championship, even though he’s lost strokes to the field when putting in each tournament. His ball striking is elite and if we happen to catch him on a week where the putter becomes hot then he could easily run away with the tournament.

 

J.J. SPAUN – $17,300

Although Spaun hasn’t broken through with a victory like some of the other newcomers on Tour, he has found himself in the midst of a very strong rookie campaign. 11 starts on the season have resulted in five top 25’s and three top 10’s, including last week’s sixth place finish at the RBC Heritage. Fellow Web.com graduate Wesley Bryan brought home the title last week, and there’s reason to believe J.J. could very well be the next young gun to be hoisting a trophy come Sunday.

Spaun’s game appears to line up very well for the Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio. Despite ranking outside of the top 100 in Driving Distance, Spaun sits at 28th in SG:Off-the-Tee. Also in his favor are the Bermuda greens that are featured here; Spaun is 15th among the field in SG:Putting on Bermuda.

 

ZAC BLAIR – $15,400

Despite being one of the shorter hitters on Tour Blair deserves consideration this week due to his elite short game. The field average for Greens in Regulation here is around 57%, implying anyone who has the ability to get up and down to save par should find themselves with a distinct advantage. This fits Blair’s game extraordinarily well as he’s second on Tour in Scrambling at 69.39%. That strong Scrambling percentage is a big reason why Blair also ranks sixth in Bogey Avoidance. Blair’s lack of distance is a bit worrisome on some of these expansive holes but his sixth overall rank in Drive Accuracy should lead to more clean looks to greens than the field average.

Blair brought home a top 10 finish just a few short weeks ago at another Texas tournament, the Shell Houston Open. Like the Golf Club of Houston, the greens at TPC San Antonio are made up of Bermuda which is great news for Blair as he currently picks up .906 strokes on the field on such surfaces. Blair’s first career start here last year resulted in a 25th place finish.

If you have any desire to roster the guys at the top of the salary list this week you’re going to need a few golfers below $16,000 and there is no better place to start than with Zac Blair.

 

BRIAN STUARD – $14,700

Despite Stuard letting me down a bit last week at the RBC Heritage, I’m not afraid to go back to him here in San Antonio. Like Blair, Stuard is among the shorter hitters on Tour but excels with his short game. Stuard’s currently scrambling at a rate of 64.87% which is good enough for 30th on Tour. When it comes to Bermuda greens Stuard picks up .616 strokes more than he does on Bentgrass.

While Stuard will be facing longer approach shots than most into these hard to hit greens, his stats show he is a very capable player with his long irons and woods; he currently ranks 14th in Proximity from 200+ yards. In fact, Stuard is 55th overall on Tour in SG:Approach picking up nearly .4 of a stroke on the field.

The $900 price drop from last week’s $15,600 is just another reason to like Stuard. He’ll provide major relief from the top while also giving you a golfer who is two for two in terms of making the cut here.

CAMERON PERCY – $14,500

Every year when the Tour turns to Texas there is lots of talk about how Australians perform well in the Lone Star State; much of this is attributed to their familiarity with the windy conditions. Among the Aussie’s up for consideration this week is Cam Percy. On the year Percy has made nine starts and has seen the weekend in seven of them. One of the missed cuts came as a result of Cam withdrawing at the Honda Classic.

Percy’s ability to find the green or fringe whether he’s in the fairway or not is a huge reason why he deserves a look this week. He ranks ninth in Greens in Regulation, third in Greens or Fringe in Regulation, and third in Greens in Regulation from off the fairway. Basically, he’s going to get it close. The flatstick is also a concern with Percy as he’s currently outside the top 120 in most of the major putting categories, but he’s actually gained strokes on the field in each of his last three events.

 

These five golfers leave you with $19,200 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.

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!

Josh Burkett

Josh Burkett

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

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