Webb Simpson – He may not be a flashy golfer like Rory, Spieth, or Tiger/Phil, but Simpson finds a way to play good golf on just about any course. Now with these guys you obviously want a win, but a top 10 finish is nothing to scoff at either. Simpson has made 10/11 cuts this year with 6 top 25 finishes, 4 top 10 finishes and a runner up which isn’t too shabby. He hasn’t played in close to a month so he might be a little rusty, but mentally and physically he should be in a good spot. Last year he came in a tie for 3rd at -8 which was only 2 shots back of the winner Ben Crane. Vegas has him as the 4th best odds to win at 16-1 which isn’t too bad considering Dustin Johnson is the favorite at 11-2 and then it drops to 12-1. He hasn’t been a great putter this year (170th in strokes gained via putting) but from tee to green he is ranked 4th on the tour on shots gained at 1.593 shots per round. This will help negate the poor putting because he is putting himself in a great position to make par at worst. He is also ranked as the 11th best driver which I love because you don’t have to worry about scrambling. I think Simpson is a pretty safe bet for a high finish this week and even if he doesn’t win, I don’t think you have to worry about him ruining your team.
Brooks Koepka – Koepka is a much different player than Simpson is, but he has been really good so far this year, and I expect this weekend to be no different. He has made 9 of 11 cuts so far this year with 6 top 25’s, 3 top 10’s and 1 win. Now the top 10 % is a little low, but 3/11 is still acceptable. That top 25 finish stat is great as he is finishing in the top 25 in over 50% of the tournaments he has competed in this year. There is also the win factor and he has one of those to go with it. He is somebody who can crush the ball off the tee. He drives it an average of 304.3 yards per hole which is 10th on the tour. This has helped him on par 5’s especially as he has the highest eagle % on the tour. He is also a pretty good putter gaining .488 shots per round which is 21st on the tour. His statistics have him ranked as the 7th overall golfer and with guys like Rory and Spieth not playing this weekend, that makes it even better. If he can take advantage of those par 5’s like he has, and avoid trouble off tee, look for Koepka to be at the top of the leaderboard this weekend.
Carl Pettersson – Petersson has played the most golf of anybody I have seen that is available in the tournament this weekend. He has played in 22 tournaments this year and has made the cut in 14 of them. That % is a little low for what I normally like, but he has made 3 of his last 4 cuts and has some solid success at this course. Last year he also tied for 3rd with Webb Simpson at -8 which was only 2 shots back. He didn’t play in the 2013 or 2012 tournament so we do have a limited sample size to go on, but I will gladly take a top 5 finish last year. There are two things well that Pettersson does above average and that is driving distance of the tee (290.7 which is 68th) and strokes gained from putting (.188 which is 62nd). With that driving distance that does help him with the par 5’s as well as he has the 34th best eagle % on the tour. There some more advanced stats that he excels in, but we will leave those be as the ones I listed are more general stats. For all we know Pettersson could be worn out from all the golf, or be feeling really good about his game. I do think this is a bit of a risk, but is one that could pay off for you if you go this route.
Brendan De Jonge – De Jonge is a much safer pick than Pettersson and I really like him outside of the studs this weekend. He has made 15 of 20 cuts this year, he has 8 top 25 finishes, 3 top 10’s and 1 runner up. As you can see he is playing pretty good golf and isn’t settling for just making the cut. He also has had some pretty good success at this tournament before, tying for 34th at E in 2012, tied for 39th at -1 in 2013, and then not playing in it last year. While he might not be winning the tournament, he is making the cut, and playing some solid golf here. He may not be able to drive the ball long, but he does so very accurately (68.8% accuracy which is 21st on the tour), which in-turn leads to a 39th ranking in Greens in Regulation (68.25%). With all of those greens hit, he is 32nd on the tour in birdies which is really helpful for those extra points. He is a pretty average putter (.093 strokes gained which is 85th on the tour), so what this tells me is that he is driving it in the fairway, and hitting some solid iron shots in. Look for De Jonge to make the cut, and secure a top 25 finish this year.
Chad Collins – Consistency is what you’re looking for in low priced guys, and Mr. Collins has done that this year. He has made 12 of 16 cuts and made it in his last 5 tournaments as well. He has 3 top 25 finishes with one of them being an 11th place finish. There are two things that I really like about Collins that I really like this weekend. The first is that he gains .232 strokes per round which is 57th on the tour, and he averages a score of 70.803 shots per round which is 59th overall. A couple miscellaneous stats that I like about him is his sand saving (9th best on tour), he is ranked as the top scrambler on the tour so he is able to get out of trouble quite often. From what I can tell, he isn’t going to get you a ton of birdies, but he won’t get a ton of bogeys, and if he is putting well, then he could make a push for the top 25 this weekend.
Greg Chalmers – Another guy who has been consistent this year, Chalmers has made 8 out of 10 cuts, but he hasn’t made any top 25’s yet this year. Now that is a little concerning, but his price is so low that you are paying for someone to play into the weekend and maybe sneak into a top 25 spot. As important as driving and approach shots are, I think putting is the most telling stat of a player. It can really wear on you mentally if you are missing putts you should be making. Chalmers is 12th on the tour with .561 strokes gained per round on putting. This has also led him to have the 52nd best birdie average on the tour, which he will likely need a few of on Thursday and Friday. He may not do a ton great, but if he can putt hit way to some birdies this weekend, then I see him making the cut, and putting up some points on the weekend.
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