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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It’s here! The 2015 Masters kicks off on Thursday from Augusta National Golf Club. Bubba Watson defends for the second time in three years, facing a stacked field of contenders, including world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who seeks to complete the career Grand Slam with a green jacket on Sunday.
Jordan Spieth has been playing the hottest golf on the planet the last month and is a strong second favorite to McIlroy, who is aiming for a third consecutive major.
RELATED: 2015 Masters betting odds
We had J.B. Holmes and Jordan Spieth in our rankings last week, so we hope to keep the good vibes going in the first men’s major of the year.
This week, we’re extending our picks to the top 20 so you can use our list for DraftKings fantasy golf; Yahoo, GolfChannel.com and PGATour.com fantasy golf; and your Masters pools of all kinds.
Now, on to the picks!
1. Jordan Spieth — We like Jordan Spieth over Rory McIlroy this week. He’s been in the final group on Sunday of his last three PGA Tour starts, going WIN, 2nd, P-2. There’s nothing to dislike about Spieth’s game or his approach, which he said was trimmed in Houston. One bad drive cost him in the playoff, but he’ll draw more on the closing 63 to win the Aussie Open last year to carry him to a first major.
2. Rory McIlroy — When Rory McIlroy is on, he’s unbeatable. When he’s not, he’s very ordinary. McIlroy’s wedge game has been suspect since coming over to the U.S. from a strong start in the U.A.E. However, if rain plays prominently into the tournament, McIlroy’s length will be a huge asset over much of the field. The biggest danger is his tendency to make high numbers at Augusta National.
3. Jimmy Walker — How can you not love Jimmy Walker? He was T-8 here last year. He’s a two-time winner this year. His length will be big this week, particularly if Augusta National is wet. If he can putt, he’s capable of challenging 63 here.
4. Bubba Watson — The defending champion would rank higher on our countdown were it not for his bizarre Masters pattern of sandwiching his Masters wins between lousy finishes. If the trend continues, he’ll be a non-factor. However, something tells us he may have matured ever so slightly from that first major win.
5. Jason Day — Jason Day loves Augusta National, and he’s challenged for a victory here in the past. He’s been on the medal stand in two of his three starts here. This course fits his eye, and, Doral aside, he’s playing the best golf of his life.
6. Henrik Stenson — This Stenson pick comes with a caveat: Watch his health. Stenson backed out of the Houston Open and pre-tournament-week practice with the flu. Then again, beware the sick golfer, right? He didn’t finish worse than fourth in three Florida Swing starts.
7. Adam Scott — Beware the desperate man. Adam Scott gets one last crack at Augusta National with his beloved broomstick putter in his hand before the associated anchored putting stroke becomes illegal Jan. 1, 2016. He’s one of the best ballstrikers in the world, which should position him well for a run if he can make the adjustment back to the putter that won him the 2013 Masters.
8. Dustin Johnson — Johnson has been stout since returning from his six-month leave of absence. He won at Doral, lost in a playoff at Riviera and was the best of the bad draw in San Antonio. This course doesn’t make much sense for him, but this is his best-ever form heading into this tournament.
9. Patrick Reed — Top Five Pat was a trunk-slammer in his debut here a year ago. However, he’s under a different kind of pressure this year. He’s not trying to back up a comment that got him lambasted, but wants to demonstrate that he can add a major to his burgeoning resume. Excellent short game should get him out of trouble at Augusta National.
10. Matt Kuchar — Kuchar is sneaky good at Augusta National, with top-10 finishes in his last three Masters starts. However, he’s just a little off from his top-10 machine self, so it’s hard to recommend him to win.
11. Brandt Snedeker — Snedeker lives and dies with the Masters. Sadly, he has a lot of scar tissue here, including a disappointing final round in 2008. He’s a winner already this year at Pebble Beach, but hasn’t been the same since the W.
12. Lee Westwood — Westwood has been in the top 11 at Augusta National in six of his last seven Masters starts. Of course, he doesn’t have a win, but he’s a great value this week. He barely missed the cut in Houston for his first MC of the season on the PGA Tour. We like him in all conditions.
13. Paul Casey — Welcome back, Paul Casey! The Englishman makes his first Masters start since 2012, where he missed the cut. Ignore those prior three Augusta starts, however. Casey looks more like the guy that was top three in the world in 2009-10. He posted three straight top-20 finishes in the Masters from 2007-09.
14. Phil Mickelson — It’s kind of hard to believe that a three-time Masters winner would rank this low, but it’s hard to rely on Phil Mickelson this year. He’s been a liability on Saturdays, backing into top 20s in his last two starts. This is the part where we say: But Phil steps up his game for Augusta.
15. Jim Furyk — If we’re playing for points and a team score, we like Jim Furyk. Why? He makes cuts. Furyk has missed just one Masters cut since 2003 and has been in the top 25 in the last four Masters. He’s an anchor to your team, even if he’s not much of a threat to win with his lack of length.
16. J.B. Holmes — The Houston winner is playing great golf and was able to finish off what he couldn’t at Doral. However, this is just his second Augusta start and first in six years. A lack of experience is a likely detriment.
17. Ian Poulter — Poulter rarely misses at Augusta National. He’s missed the cut just once in 10 Masters appearances, and he’s finished inside the top 35 every time he’s made the cut. He’s had top 25s in his last two PGA Tour starts.
18. Bill Haas — Bill Haas has never been much of a contender on Sunday at Augusta National, but he hasn’t missed the cut in six starts. He’s been T-20 in his last two Masters starts. However, he’s been erratic on the PGA Tour since winning Humana.
19. Louis Oosthuizen — This is a bit of a gamble, but going this deep, it’s worth taking a flier or two. We all remember Oosthuizen’s albatross in a losing effort in 2012, but that’s not what has us interested. He’s playing very good golf (Houston MC aside) and is healthy. The sweetest swing in golf should get four rounds this week.
20. Fred Couples — Boom-Boom deserves your attention, even at 55. He’s been in the top 20 in his last five Masters starts. It’s hard to rely on a Champions Tour player, I know, but that’s tough to ignore.
My DraftKings team for this week:
1. Jordan Spieth — $11,900
2. Jimmy Walker — $8,900
3. Lee Westwood — $8,200
4. Ian Poulter — $7,400
5. Bill Haas — $7,200
6. Fred Couples — $6,400
MORE POPULAR 2015 MASTERS LINKS
- 2015 Masters first and second round tee times, groupings
- On this day in Masters history
- 2015 Masters TV times, channels and streaming information
- Tiger Woods will compete in Masters Par 3 Contest for first time since 2004
- Ben Crenshaw replaces ailing Arnold Palmer in Masters Par 3 Contest with Nicklaus, Player
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