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This weeks PGA tournament is the Northern Trust Open, held at the Riviera Country Club. This course is a Par-71 that stretches 7,349 yards. It is a fairly difficult course when compared to the birdie-fests that we have seen over the last month or two. Last year’s scoring average was 71.2, which was actually the lowest average in the last four years. This is a course where you can’t take any putts for granted. It had the fourth-lowest conversion rate of putts within eight feet last season.
The Riviera Country Club boasts a few of the most memorable holes on the PGA Tour. It’s Par-3 sixth hole is famous for its bunker in the middle of the green. Players definitely don’t want to be on the wrong side of that green. The Par-4 tenth hole is one of the best drivable holes in golf, offering birdie and eagle chances daily. This week I'll provide you with some of the key stats to consider and some players that you might want to add to your roster.
Go to the PGA website and study the players stats and records. Aside from the stats below, I also like to consider: current streaks, horses for the course, and of course, I try to chase down players who aren't highly ranked yet because it's early in the year you know "sleepers".
Key Statistics for the Northern Trust Open
1) Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
2) Strokes Gained: Putting
3) Total Driving – A combination of length and accuracy is required at the Riviera CC.
4) Greens in Regulation
5) Proximity to Hole – Fairly small greens give an edge to the accurate irons and wedges.
Jim Furyk: $9800
Odds to Win: 29/1
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green: 3
Strokes Gained: Putting: 82
Total Driving: 62
Greens in Regulation: 12
Analysis: Furyk played well in his first event of the season, he just failed to cash in on his many birdie opportunities on Sunday afternoon. Last week marked his tenth event in which he had the lead after three days but failed to win. Not a great streak in some minds, but his consistency as a top ten player is off the charts. Furyk is one of the most accurate and reliable players on tour. He’s priced affordably this week and he’s posted Top-35 finishes at this event in each of his last five tries. If he can roll in some putts this week, he should be in the mix on Sunday.
Sergio Garcia: $9700
Odds to Win: 28/1
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green: 2
Strokes Gained: Putting: 60
Total Driving: 31
Greens in Regulation: 14
Analysis: Garcia is one of the best golfers in the world, yet he’s only the eighth-most expensive golfer on DraftKings this week. That's the type of value in daily fantasy sports you don't pass up. Garcia is ranked in the Top-60 in all five of the key statistics this week. He has also posted Top-15 finishes in each of his last two tries at this event. He is one of the best ball-strikers in all of golf and should excel on a course that requires precision tee to green.
Keegan Bradley: $8600
Odds to Win: 44/1
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green: 26
Strokes Gained: Putting: 83
Total Driving: 9
Greens in Regulation: 96
Analysis: Bradley isn't on fire this season, but he’s made the cut in all five events and has posted two Top-20 finishes. He has all of the tools to win on the PGA Tour and is priced to sell this week at only $8,600. He has had great success at Riviera, posting Top-20 finishes in each of his last three tries, including a T-2nd in 2012. Bradley could represent a high end sleeper this week.
Graham Delaet: $8200
Odds to Win: 54/1
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green: 18
Strokes Gained: Putting: 139
Total Driving: 8
Greens in Regulation: 32
Analysis: Delaet has been one of the most inconsistent golfers on tour this season. That inconsistency was exemplified in last week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, where he had two rounds of 65 or under and two rounds of 75 or over. He is one of the best ball strikers in the world, but really struggles with the flat stick. It’s only a matter of time before he wins on tour and this course fits his skill-set well. He had made the cut there in each of his last three tries, including a T-21st finish in 2013.
Ryan Moore: $7700
Odds to Win: 58/1
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green: 42
Strokes Gained: Putting: 100
Total Driving: 86
Greens in Regulation: 51
Analysis: Moore has made four of his last five cuts, including four Top-30 finishes and a win at the CIMB Classic. He is ranked in the Top 100 in all of the key statistics this week and he’s had good success at this event in the past. While he did miss the cut here in 2014, he posted Top-30 finishes in each of his previous three attempts.
Brendon Todd: $7500
Odds to Win: 61/1
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green: 70
Strokes Gained: Putting: 39
Total Driving: 95
Greens in Regulation: 83
Analysis: Todd had a backdoor top ten finish last week with a seven-under 65 on Sunday. Now is the time to buy low on Todd before his price goes up. He’s one of the more accurate players on tour and was a cut-making machine last season. He is ranked in the Top 100 in all of the key statistics for the week and is sitting at a very playable $7,500. Todd doesn’t have a long track record at this event, but he did make the cut here last season with a T-35th finish.
Francesco Molinari: $7300
Odds to Win: 73/1
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green: 8
Strokes Gained: Putting: 59
Total Driving: 22
Greens in Regulation: 12
Analysis: Molinari often flies under the radar because he has spent the majority of his career in Europe. He is now a full-time member on the PGA Tour though and he’s gotten off to a blazing start, going 3/3 on cuts made, finished in the Top-37 in all three events. Molinari posted a respectable T-40th finish here last season. He's the type of player who's relatively cheap because it's early in the season and although he's made every cut he doesn't have a top three finish this year to shine a light on him.
Cameron Tringale: $6100
Odds to Win: 110/1
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green: 68
Strokes Gained: Putting: 113
Total Driving: 123
Greens in Regulation: 112
Analysis: Tringale has had a relatively poor season, but his track record at this event is what matters this week. He is a horse for the course, posting Top-24 finishes in each of his last four attempts at the Northern Trust Open. Tringale made a ton of cuts last season and it's likely he will get back on track starting this week. with a price tag of only $6,100; he will pay off his price if he makes the cut.
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