Umbrella Gate ruined the chances for a Kang double (Danielle Kang winning on the LPGA Tour) but Kyle Stanley finally pulled through for gamers that were backing the elite ball-striker all season. He showed a lot of emotion in his post-round interviews, a good reminder about how much winning means to these TOUR pros.
For myself, last week was a big bust, as I tried to coast off Nappy Factor alone, but ended up having my worst week in DFS that I can recall. Looking back, I can say I narrowed my target list TOO far and made some dumb fades. Every week is a learning experience, so I am pumped to rebound this week at The Greenbrier Classic. Time to get back to the basics and take it easy with the fades.
The course on hand is The Old White TPC, a resort course tucked in the mountains of West Virgina. Looking for course history? You may notice that 2016 is missing. That was due to extreme flooding in the area which forced the TOUR to cancel the event, and it’s actually miraculous that the course is in such prestine condition just one year later. The course required a complete overhaul with fresh grasses laid on the fairways as well as the greens (bentgrass).
The event is known for being a laid-back tournament with a focus on activities for the whole family. From a handicapping perspective, I’m not sure that translates to anything relevant but it’s also worth noting golfers like Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson have property at the resort.
The course is tree-lined but the fairways are very generous, keeping it enjoyable for resort guests throughout the year. Because of the generous fairways, driving distance can be a nice advantage with a heavy dose of GIRs being the preferred method of scoring.
As far as correlated courses go, I think it’s relevant to target some courses in the general region, much like last week. The wide fairways with bentgrass greens make Muirfield Village an easy comp course, but I will also look at Firestone CC, Golf Club of Houston, Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course, and the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Have a look at the Fantasy Golfanac for more tournament angles, golfer quotes, and course renovation notes.
Players to Watch
Patrick Reed… He’s rattled off top 25s in 6-of-7 starts since the Zurich Classic team event. Has 111 par breakers over that stretch. Has top 30s in two of his three visits to the Greenbrier Resort. We should see plenty of fireworks from Captain America this week as he appears ready to rip off his sixth career TOUR win very soon.
David Lingmerth… I mentioned his upside last week but ended up jumping off the train due to expected ownership. Very dumb if we just look from a results point-of-view. Now we’re heading to a venue where Lingy has finished T9-T16-T6 in three attempts. There is definitely something about this region of the country that suits Lingmerth. I guess we should keep riding the train until it derails on us.
Keegan Bradley… Speaking of the North, Keegan has ripped off back-to-back top 10s, both played north of the Bermuda-Dixon line (not a real thing, don’t google this). He’s gained 17 strokes tee-to-green in those two starts combined. That’s juicy.
Phil Mickelson… First event since the breakup with Bones, a bit of a wildcard how he’ll play in the short term. Lefty is also the face of the Greenbrier falconry commercials, so you know he’s familiar with the area. Of course, he is 0-for-3 here but those came in 2011, 2012, and 2013. I’m not going to let that worry me, since Kevin Kisner’s Greenbrier resume looked very similar before he found his way into a playoff in his fourth attempt. Mickelson is playing some great golf in 2017, and looks ready to return to the winner’s circle.
Gary Woodland … Nappy Factor didn’t work for me, but maybe it will for Woodland. He went through a mid-season slump directly after the heart-breaking news that him and his wife lost one of their (not-yet born) twins. The other twin successfully popped out last week so it should be all smiles from Woodland this week. Has a T4 on his Greenbrier resume (2011) and I wouldn’t be too surprised if he kicked off some kind of summertime streak, starting this week.
Webb Simpson… Has a trio of top 10s at this event, in six visits. Finding some confidence on the greens lately (+2.5 SGP last start, +5.3 SGP @ Colonial, +3 SGP @ THE PLAYERS). Another top 10 just may be in the cards this week.
Curtis Luck… A huge week last week in DC earned him a spot this week. The previous World No. 1 amateur likely earned a spot in the Web.com Tour Finals which will give him a chance to pick up a TOUR card for the 2017-18 season. He could skip the Finals altogether if he can manage one or two more great finishes on the big stage. The results finally matched up with the talent last week, so I think he’s worth a flyer to see if the momentum keeps rolling.
Danny Lee… Not slowing his pace with four top 25s in his last six starts. Now he returns to the site of his only win on TOUR.
Kevin Kisner… Missed his first three cuts at this course before finding his way into a playoff in 2015. Probably has the best season-long form of anyone in the field. Combine that with a near-miss here, and it’s hard to overlook him.
Graham DeLaet… With very generous fairways, that means elite ball-strikers should have no troubles hitting green after green. That is where GDL shines. Was a letdown last week but playing in extreme heat has not been kind to him over the years. Will get a bit of a relief this week as the current forecast calls for upper 70s and low 80s instead of low 90s like last week.
My Top 25 for the 2017 Greenbrier
1. Patrick Reed
2. Bill Haas
3. Phil Mickelson
4. Kevin Kisner
5. David Lingmerth
6. Webb Simpson
7. Danny Lee
8. Gary Woodland
9. Keegan Bradley
10. Bubba Watson
11. Charles Howell III
12. Graham DeLaet
13. J.B. Holmes
14. Russell Henley
15. Tony Finau
16. Xander Schauffele
17. Curtis Luck
18. Robert Streb
19. Sean O’Hair
20. Ben Martin
21. Kevin Streelman
22. Ollie Schniederjans
23. James Hahn
24. Sung Kang
25. Jamie Lovemark