TPC San Antonio humbled most of the field two weeks ago, and when the wind was whipping it was downright difficult. Kevin Chappell fired a Sunday 68 to finish 12 under par and hold off a charging Brooks Koepka, who posted a 65 for an 11-under total and held his breath. Kevin Tway and Tony Finau finished three shots behind Chappell, both with 69s on Sunday.
Last week’s Zurich Classic wasn’t included in the Yahoo! game, so I took a slump-busting (hopefully) week off from fantasy golf, save for the two leagues I play in which counted the tournament for their scoring. Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt defeated Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown in a playoff on Monday for Smith’s first PGA Tour win and Blixt’s third. The format was interesting to golf diehards, and both TV ratings and tournament attendance spiked as compared to past years. I’m sure the format will stick around in future years.
So how did my electronic team do two weeks ago? Miserable…
2017 Valero Texas Open recap
Yahoo! Tournament Points – 130; Yahoo! Segment Points/Ranking – 593/5,907th; Yahoo! Season Points/Ranking – 2,456/241st Overall
The disaster that I alluded to two weeks ago struck at the VTO. The last two players I left off my roster were Chappell and Koepka, who finished first and second. Instead, I rostered Matt Kuchar and Billy Horschel. The latter missed the cut and the former never fired on the way to a T40. Needless to say, the week was incredibly frustrating as I bled nearly 150 overall spots and lost the top seasonal spot in two of my three leagues. That’s three straight weeks of sub-par performances…
What else worked? What didn’t?
Fairway – When I look back at my preview, I’m not sure how my roster ended up looking like it did. I was high on Chappell’s converging trends. I noted that Koepka was "as talented as anyone on the course" and still didn’t use him. Same with Finau… Had I listened to myself, I would be a lot more jovial at the keyboard.
Rough – Horschel. Bad. Hoffman and Kuchar. Mediocre. Steele: 10 over on the weekend. Shall I go on? No? Thanks.
I thought I was happy to leave the RBC Heritage behind...let’s bolt San Antonio and jump to North Carolina!
The Wells Fargo Championship moves to a temporary home this year, as Quail Hollow is hosting the PGA Championship this season. As such, course history is out the window. I will lean on form, statistics, intangibles, and my gut this week.
2017 Wells Fargo Championship Yahoo! fantasy golf picks
- Bill Haas (7) – He’ll make the cut and might contend, but that doesn’t do you much good unless you don’t trust DJ or Scott. Carolina natives always have my eye, but he hasn’t played particularly well in his home region. I’ll pass, but if you want a solid, non-spectacular option opposite Dustin, I won’t be mad at you for rostering Billy.
- Dustin Johnson (7) – If his back is 100 percent, he’s the overwhelming favorite to win. As I said a few weeks back, he’s throwing together an all-time great run. Leads the Tour in driving distance and par five scoring. If anyone can tame a new course – see Club de Golf Chapultepec – it’s DJ. Don’t overthink this.
- Graeme McDowell (10) – There’s a reason I have 10 starts left. He can’t hit a podium. Yes, he has played well of late, but I don’t care. He’ll likely tie for 16th with Bill Haas. Pass.
- Patrick Reed (9) – Showed some signs of life last week, but he has played five of the last six weeks and only made two cuts. Even though he has some class, the lack of form scares me away.
- Adam Scott (8) – He still has excellent distance, and his class shines above most of the rest of the field. Scott will hit a ton of greens, so as long as he avoids three-putting half the greens, he’ll be in contention on Sunday. I don’t care about the weather this weekend - I don’t trust anyone else opposite DJ in the ‘A’ group, so Scott is my default backup.
If anyone else in the ‘A’ group seriously contends, I’d be surprised. Stunned. Floored.
- Scott Brown (10) – I know he played well last week at the Zurich Classic, and I know he hails from South Carolina, but in his last five events which he didn’t play with Kevin Kisner, he missed the cut in three of them. I’ll pass.
- Paul Casey (7) – Casey isn’t getting it done with the driver this season, but his approach game and his touch around the green have been marvelous. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Casey win this week, but I’m concerned that he’s on the wrong end of the weather draw on Thursday. That said, he’s as solid as they come and I’ll have him on the team.
- Lucas Glover (10) – I love this play, except for the afternoon tee time. One of the best ball-strikers on the planet, Glover has had great success at Quail Hollow. While I said above that I don’t care, since we aren’t at Quail Hollow this week, Glover presents an opportunity to use good tournament vibes. He can’t putt, but nobody knows the greens this week, so his woes won’t be amplified. Good form recently… it all lines up.
- Kevin Kisner (8) – In his last eight events, Kiz has finished worse than T17 only twice. The pride and joy of Aiken, S.C. (unless you count Refrigerator Perry… I do…) should know the lay of the land and be prepared for wind. He’s also tees off Thursday afternoon when the winds are expected to kick up. Notwithstanding, he’s too hot to ignore.
- William McGirt (10) – Lack of distance off the tee worries me on a weekend projected to be full of wind, and a course stretching past 7,400 yards. McGirt has some solid form of late, finishing 9-22-3 in his last three stroke-play events. Another Carolina boy, he will be ready for the elements. When he makes the cut, he’s usually in the upper half… so that’s something.
- Phil Mickelson (9) – Always seems to play well in the Carolinas, and he still has the distance and shot-making ability to win. He just hasn’t. In almost four years. Anywhere. Sits fourth in par five scoring and eighth in birdie or better percentage, so the numbers work. If he can keep it in the fairway, he should dance with the leaders.
- Francesco Molinari (10) – This seems to be too easy… something I said about Tony Finau last week, and he went T3. One of the best ball-strikers in the world, Molinari is always hanging around on the weekends. He sits fourth in SG:Approach and 14th in par five scoring. Not a ton of distance, but if he’s always in the middle, who cares? Fire him up!
- Webb Simpson (10) – I know, I know… he’s a member at Eagle Point. Seems like he’s a member everywhere. Hasn’t seemed to help him at Quail Hollow. Form has been meh. Simpson is negative SG:Tee this season, but ranks fifth in SG:Approach. If he can find a fairway and make a few putts, you never know.
- Hudson Swafford (10) – He has only played the weekend in five of his nine starts this season, but three have gone for top-10s and he’s a beast with the driver. Eighth in SG:Tee, 14th in driving distance and 11th in par-5 scoring have my attention. I won’t roster him this week, but he makes a nice contrarian gamble.
- Byeong Hun An (10) – He’s 8-8 this season, but his last seven worldwide stroke play starts have seen him finish between 33rd and 58th. Ball-striking numbers are off the charts, but he’s surprisingly horrible on par 5s, ranking 200th on Tour. Not a typo. His putting is also miserable, but that might not matter as much. Proceed… with caution.
- Wesley Bryan (10) – Red hot all season, Bryan might meet his match here. His statistics are miserable off the tee, and all indications are that the driver will matter. This is the time to temporarily jump off the wagon. Sit Bryan and thank me later.
- Daniel Berger (8) – Opposite of Rahm, he isn’t an elite ball-striker, but he’s made money this year with the putter. He sits 40th in SG:Tee and can make birdies in hordes. Two top-10s since the calendar turned, and those had deeper fields. Another casualty of the Thursday afternoon tee time, but if the weather doesn’t smash him, Berger will hang around.
- Emiiliano Grillo (10) – Remember him? The hot name in golf not too long ago? He’s still 6-7 on Tour this season, but with only one top 10 and mediocrity everywhere else. Always a solid ball-striker, his putter has been brutal of late. Guess when he tees off Thursday? Yep… afternoon.
- J.B. Holmes (9) – It seems like the entire ‘C’ group is playing Thursday afternoon… played well last week with Bubba Watson and still crushes golf balls. Numbers are surprisingly consistent across the board, and if he was playing in the morning to start, he’d be my caddie for Rahm.
- Luke List (9) – Didn’t fire two weeks ago as my gut play, but the numbers look even better here. Ranks second on Tour in driving distance and par-5 scoring, and had made five cuts in a row before missing the last two. He has a Thursday afternoon tee time, like Rahm, so I won’t roster him. That said, I’m looking for big things.
- Jon Rahm (8) – He should be on about 95 percent of Yahoo! rosters this week. Rahm has all the tools to win wherever he plays. Ranks third in SG:Tee and ninth in SG:Approach, which is a great combination when nobody knows the greens. Like DJ, he’s an automatic this weekend.
I’m sure there are other ‘C’ players to consider, but none jump off the research pages, and I’m tired.
My Yahoo! Roster
*denotes First Round Starter
- A – Dustin Johnson* and Adam Scott
- B – Francesco Molinari*, William McGirt*, Kevin Kisner, and Paul Casey
- C – Byeong Hun An* and Jon Rahm
I’m totally playing to the wind factor on Thursday. Bad stuff is supposed to roll in later in the day, making the AM wave look strong. That could change in an instant, so check the wind and other weather conditions before making your decision, and visit me on Twitter @commishjoe for last minute changes and thoughts.
As for the tournament selections, hard to bet against DJ, especially with an AM tee time Thursday. Many of the players I like don’t have the right weather draw, so I’ll be cautiously optimistic with the likes of Glover, Holmes and Berger. I still can’t trust Webb Simpson.
Hit me up at @commishjoe on Twitter with questions, comments or emotional outbursts. Follow along for last-minute changes. If you aren’t a GNN Plus member, sign up today! sign up today! $10 for the year! You spent that on a co-worker’s going away present, and you didn’t even like her! Good luck!