To hold myself accountable and keep track of how things are going on a week to week basis. This should help me get better at identifying key players as well as sharpening my eye when it comes to player pools. Last week’s recommendations were Rory (T9), Paul Casey (T11), Stenson (T17), Bjork (T51), Grace (T60), Sullivan (74th), Poulter (T60), Pavan (T46), Putnum (T21), Tanihara (MC), Fisher (T31 – and made an albatross which was amazing), Larrazabal (MC), Rock (MC), Zanotti (MC), Finau (T51), Fitzpatrick (T46), Donald (MC) and Jon Rahm (2nd).
Plenty of solid players to get you the opportunity of 6/6 lineups, but odds are you probably had one or two miss the cut if you were building stars and scrubs lineups and unfortunately I don’t have a man-crush on Danny Willett and didn’t think that he was that good of a fit so he wasn’t in our player pool.
This week we play the UK’s version of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am at St. Andrews, Carnoustie, and Kingsbarns for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. The event is setup the same way as the Pebble event, three-course rotation all being played at different courses for the first three days and whoever is still around on Sunday plays their final round at St. Andrews.
Being that it’s a pro-am, the courses will be set up a bit easier than during their Open Championship runs, as well as being played at a different time of the year. Total driving is a great stat to target this week as many past champions have brought a solid balance of both distance and accuracy off the tee as well as being able to get themselves out of trouble when missing greens (hitting greens in regulation is always important regardless of venue).
As of writing, weather will be a factor this week as well as Thursday’s forecast shows rain and winds up to 14mph in the early afternoon and chilly temps in the morning means we’ll see some mittens and stocking caps on the telecast. Outside of Thursday, the winds don’t expect to be too strong, but it’s wind and that can change on a minute to minute basis.
o The Courses
- St. Andrews / Carnoustie / Kingsbarns
- Par: 72 / 72 / 72
- Yardage:7,300 yards / 7,400 yards / 7,200 yards
- Greens: Bentgrass
o Location: Scotland
o Past Champions:
- 2018: Lucas Bjerregaard -15 over Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton
- 2017: Tyrrell Hatton -24 over Ross Fisher
- 2016: Tyrrell Hatton -23 over Ross Fisher & Richard Sterne
- 2015: Thorbjorn Olesen -18 over Brooks Koepka & Chris Stroud
KEY STATS TO TARGET
o Strong Emphasis – SG: OTT + SG: APP, Par 5 scoring, Birdies or better, Scrambling
o Important – Par 4 Scoring, Greens in Regulation, Course history, Total Driving
THIS WEEK’S SUGGESTIONS
- Rory McIlroy (DK $11,800)
History: DNP – 63rd– DNP – DNP
Form: 9th– DNP – DNP – 2nd
Stats: Not enough events on Euro Tour
Analysis: 9th last week after two weeks off, following a run that ended with a win and a 2nd (and also winning the TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP). He hasn’t won here in the past, but he does have three runner-up finishes since 2009 so there’s some comfort. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him crack off a win this week.
- Jon Rahm (DK $11,600): Fits the mold that Bjerregaard created winning last year as he’s long off the tee, solid on approach and is a good putter by industry standards. The “mental part of his game” shouldn’t be an issue this week as I expect him to either be paired up with someone he already knows or someone he’s played with before.
- Tommy Fleetwood (DK $10,400): 60th last week on a course I wasn’t too thrilled to see him playing, but I expect that was more of a welcome back to competitive golf for him. Runner-up here last year, and a course history that includes several Top 15’s including two Top 5’s and two runner-up finishes. He’s an ideal play this week in all formats.
- Ross Fisher (DK $7,500)
History: 32nd– 2nd– 2nd– MC
Form: 31st– DNP – 46th– 35th
Stats: 41st– SG: OTT, 49th– SG: T2G, 10th– SG: APP, 149th– SG: P
Analysis: Course horse who faltered last year following two consecutive runner-up finishes. He flourishes on open tracks seemingly when the pressure is off, so I expect him to finish inside the Top 30 this week. Oh, and those season long stats are pretty enticing (minus the putting, of course).
- Lucas Bjerregaard (DK $8,400): If Hatton can go back-to-back, I don’t see why Bjerregaard can’t. He missed his last two cuts but has the ideal game for the layouts here and with the rough shaved a bit his inaccuracies off the tee are minimized. Kaymer defended well enough in 2011 (T30th) Grace defended worse to the tune of a 59th place finish a few years after and Thorbjorn has played well in all of his appearances at this event, so I expect Lucas to finish well again.
- Eddie Pepperell (DK $7,400): 44th – 7th – MC – MC – MC – 26th is how his course history reads. His game is built for links golf and this stage is second fiddle to only the Open Championship as far as fit goes for Pepperell. We’ve seen his game get stronger than ever this year so bettering last year’s performance seems inevitable.
Honorable Mentions – Andrea Pavan (DK $8,000), Andrew Johnston (DK $7,600), Sam Horsfield (DK $7,400)
SALARY RELIEF SECTION
- Joakim Lagergren (DK $7,300)
History: MC – 12th– 4th– 4th
Form: 24th– 7th– 20th– MC
Stats: 156th– SG: OTT, 104th– SG: T2G, 30th– SG: APP, 151st– SG: P
Analysis: Lagergren’s game seems ideal for this rotation which is evident by his course history aside from last year’s missed cut. However, he had missed three straight cuts coming in, so it’s possible that the issues were still flowing over a month later and that’s what led to the result. He’s in better form now than last year and could provide us with some much-needed salary relief.
- Shubhankar Sharma (DK $7,000): First timer at this event, but his form leading in is solid – 17th– 40th – 46thfollowing two straight missed cuts. His game looks to be returning to where it was around this time last year so we’re going to want to be ahead of the curve as he’s a top tier talent who might’ve had an issue dealing with the spotlight he was receiving early on in his career.
Honorable Mentions: Rikard Karlberg (DK $7,200), Brandon Stone (DK $7,100), Adrian Otaegui (DK $6,400)
CONTRARIAN CORE (GPP PLAYS)
- Tyrrell Hatton (DK $9,000): After missing his first two cuts at this event Hatton ripped off two straight wins and finished 2nd last year. That’s pretty good in my book and even though he missed the cut last week, it was his first event in two months so I’m willing to chalk that up to rust and expect him to put on a show again this week.
- Mattias Schwab (DK $8,200): 10th last year, 28th last week following a run of three straight Top 10’s including a runner-up finish. Schwab does pretty much everything really well, which puts him in the conversation of a solid core-play in all formats.
- Lucas Herbert (DK $7,200): I’m a sucker for an Aussie bomber so I keep going back to Herbert although this time, he’s got some history that leads me to believe he’s as good of a fit as I think he is (7th last year). He also brings some decent form following last week’s missed cut (on a course that doesn’t reward wayward drives). Prior to that he had finished 22nd & 8th and looks to be a high upside play for GPPs.
I’d look to get Tony Finau (DK $9,500) into some lineups as well, but not at core exposures. This rotation looks perfect for his game.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!
– Pari, (@hitthehighdraw)