After a weak field last week at Quicken Loans National, the PGA Tour season grinds on with another subpar field this week at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier, formerly known as the Greenbrier Classic. Zero-time PGA Tour winner Tony Finau is the betting favorite this week (sorry, the Puerto Rican Open doesn’t count), and is joined by Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson, and 2017 Greenbrier champion Xander Schauffele as other high-priced options in daily fantasy golf contests.
The Greenbrier is played at The Old White TPC, located in the mountains of West Virginia. The Old White is a moderately long 7,250-yard, Par-70 layout. However, the course will play much shorter in practice due to the elevation of 2,000 feet, as well as numerous elevated tee boxes. The landing areas are also some of the most generous on tour, so we will see guys unleash driver off the tee to set up usually just a wedge into the vast majority of the greens.
There is a clear trend that guys who are gaining strokes — or, at the very least, not losing strokes — off the tee will have an advantage this week. The Old White also has the closest proximity to the hole on approach shots of any course on Tour, which will lead to birdies galore. Targeting players who excel at making birdies and racking up the fantasy points will be extremely advantageous this week. While both of the Par 5s are excellent scoring opportunities, they are set up to not allow many eagles, so the field will be limited to birdie opportunities on those holes (Nos. 12 and 17). This leads me to look at Par-4 scoring at as key stat to target.
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Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
Birdie or Better Percentage
Par 4 Scoring
Approach Players to Target
The Greenbrier picks (Daily Fantasy Golf)
Bubba Watson ($11,000)
Going with Watson feels a bit like a chase, especially coming off his third win of the season last time out at The Travelers Championship. However, it’s going to be hard to get away from Bubba given his form and the poor strength of field. He doesn’t have a great track record here with only two top-20 showings in four appearances, but his off-the-tee prowess sets him up well on this layout, so a high finish feels like it could be coming here for Bubba. He also leads the field in birdie-or-better percentage this season.
Russell Henley ($10,400)
Henley’s ball striking has been excellent this season, and he is one of my favorite plays in the top end as he heads to a course with his favored bentgrass putting surfaces. He posted two of his best finishes of the season on bent, with a T-8 at the Houston Open and a T-15 at The Masters. He is also coming into this week in great form, with three straight top-30 finishes and a T-6 last time out at The Travelers. If that wasn’t enough, he has a great track record here at The Old White TPC, with top-five finishes in his past two showings in 2015 and ’17.
Others to Consider: Webb Simpson, Jimmy Walker
Keegan Bradley ($8,500)
Oh boy, it’s a Keegan week — and that’s never good news for those of us insane enough to roster him. The emphasis on ball striking and the close average proximity to the hole on approach shots should line up perfectly for Bradley, who remains one of the worst putters on tour. It’s encouraging that Bradley has played well here in his career, making four straight cuts, and popped with a T-4 back in 2014. It’s certainly too risky to roster Keegan in a cash game, but I’m willing to take some shots on him in GPPs.
Andrew Putnam ($7,800)
Putnam’s ball striking has been hot fire over the past few events, and he is one of the top mid-range options in both cash games and tournaments. He has been especially lethal on the Par 4s, with a scoring average of 3.95 this season, which is second in the field to Bubba Watson. Putnam will likely be a popular option this week, but he will be hard to fade given the lack of other appealing options in this price range.
Others to Consider: Jamie Lovemark, Ryan Moore, Joel Dahmen
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James Hahn ($7,100)
Hahn is coming of an incredibly average week last time out at TPC Potomac, but I’m going right back to him in tournaments this week at a course where he can pound driver off the tee. Hahn has picked up his consistency, making three straight cuts after having a rough month of May. Hahn also has a decent track record here at The Old White, with finishes of T-20 and T-6 his last two times out here in 2015 and ’17.
Brandon Harkins ($7,100)
While Hahn is a great cheap option for tournaments, in cash games I have no problem eating the chalk and going with Harkins. Harkins has been extremely consistent this season and enters this week in solid form, with three straight finishes inside the top 40. Harkins is also one of the best birdie makers in the field, with a birdie-or-better percentage of 23.2 percent, which is good for eighth best.
Others to Consider: David Hearn, Corey Connors
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