Welcome to new PGA Tour season and welcome back to Golf News Net's weekly fantasy golf picks, presented by DraftKings.com. Each week of the PGA Tour season, we'll present our top picks for that week's tournament and make recommendations for DraftKings' one-week fantasy leagues.
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After a week at a relatively unknown course, the PGA Tour comes to familiar Las Vegas and TPC Summerlin for this week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Many moons ago, this was a 90-hole, five-round event, but is now a 72-hole affair.
You've got to go low to win here. Think 20 under par. There are a lot of birdies to be had in Sin City, and there's no reason to pick anyone with a more defensive style. That makes it the ideal place for Web.com Tour graduates to score some early cash and FedEx Cup points.
Now, on to the picks!
- Martin Laird: The Scot is an absolute must this week. He's a former winner here in 2009 and a runner-up the following year (losing to Jonathan Byrd's walk-off ace, mind you). He played great at the Frys.com Open, finishing T-3, and should continue the momentum.
- Billy Horschel: The new FedEx Cup champion and dad is making his return to the PGA Tour after his $10 million triumph. He's won his last two starts, so he's kind of a lock.
- Brooks Koepka: Keep rolling the dice with Brooks. The guy is monstrously long and should have no trouble on this course. He faded on Sunday at the Frys.com, which is a concern, but he was also jetlagged all week.
- Ryan Moore: There are few horses better for TPC Summerlin than Ryan Moore. He went to UNLV and is a former winner here in 2012. He didn't close out the '13-14 campaign well, so this may be a bit of a flier.
- Ryo Ishikawa: The Japanese superstar looked pretty good last week at Silverado, finishing T-19. He also was joint runner-up here last season. Probably a good value in leagues where starts are limited.
- Charles Howell III: Chuckie Three Sticks was T-71 at Silverado, so why pick him? He'd finished modestly well in his prior three PGA Tour starts and was T-5 here a year ago.
- Charley Hoffman: Another UNLV-er, Hoffman has three top-10 finishes in this event, so he's a no-brainer pick -- except that he has three MCs in his last five starts.
- Jimmy Walker: Walker was mostly down in his defense at the Frys.com Open, but managed to cash a check. He's been inside the top 12 in his last pair of Vegas starts, which should inspire some confidence. But is probably overpriced in a budget game.
- Spencer Levin: You know what, let's take a gamble. Levin is on the comeback trail after dealing with a hand injury for far too long. He finished T-21 last week at Fry's, which is pretty good. Levin has top-10 finishes here in 2011 and '12, so a good place to continue his return.
- Justin Thomas: I'm going to keep banging the drum for this guy. He got off to a good start at Silverado but blew up on a bad draw on Friday and barely missed the cut. That's not happening this week, so avoid him at your peril.
My DraftKings team for this week:
- Billy Horschel - $12,000
- Ryan Moore - $11,600
- Charley Hoffman - $9,000
- Justin Thomas - $6,400
- Spencer Levin - $5,900
- John Peterson - $5,000