Course: TPC Potomac (Potomac, MD)
Yardage: 7,129 – Par 70
Overview: I hope you were all watching the conclusion to the Traveler’s Championship on Sunday (words that may have never been spoken before this past Sunday). Let me just say, I’ve never been a big Jordan Spieth fan, but love him or hate him, you cannot deny how amazing this kid is. In a career that has already been amazing, he may have just had his greatest moment. The two majors he won are still the main feathers in his cap thus far, but neither of them had moments like this. He won the masters by a handful of shots, and although his performance was great in his U.S Open win, it ultimately ended with Dustin Johnson three-putting from 12 feet. Holing out in a playoff against one of your current and future rivals makes a statement. I won’t say that he’s going to be the next Tiger Woods, but he’s shown that he’s capable of giving us dramatic moments, that have been few and far between since 2009.
As far as middle of the road tournaments go, the Quicken Loans National will have a very tough act to follow. Hosted at TPC Potomac in Maryland, we will have a very watered-down field for this event. Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, and Patrick Reed are the only three ranked within the Top 25 to join the field. Other notables that will seem overpriced this week are Kevin Chappell, Marc Leishman, Brendan Steele, Tony Finau, Russell Henley, J.B Holmes, Bill Haas…I can’t really tell where the notables stop and the un-notables begin in this one, so I’ll just stop there.
There has not been a Tour event held at TPC Potomac since 2006, and the course has been renovated since then, so there is really no course history to go by. As usual with par 70 courses, the most corollary stat is par 4 scoring average. There are six Par 4 holes that play between 450-500 yards, and two more that are 440 yards, so players must be able to score well on those long Par 4s to stay in it. There are numerous creeks, streams and wooded areas that must be avoided to keep numbers from ballooning, so I’ll put value on driving accuracy. With many long approaches in, strokes gained: approach will hold a lot of value as well. I get the sense that good ball-striking is the most efficient way to get around this course safely. However, it’s very easy to make a big number if you miss the green as the Mid-Atlantic topography will have the ball ricocheting in any direction. So lastly, value scrambling as a stat that can keep your guy in it when things appear to be going haywire.
2012: Tiger Woods
2013: Bill Haas
2014: Justin Rose
2015: Troy Merritt
2016: Billy Hurley III
Quicken Loans National DFS Golf Picks
Kevin Chappell ($9,300) I’m going to skip the top tier prizes and go with the balanced approach this week. Hopefully, the young trio of Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, and Patrick Reed don’t make me look foolish, but that’s doubtful. I’ll start my roster with Kevin Chappell who has played well in the lesser fields lately. He won the Valero in April, and came in fourth at the FedEx St. Jude a few weeks back. Chappell is 39th on Tour in strokes gained: approach, which should mean he’s somewhere in the Top 10 or 15 in the field this week in that category. His putting is always worrisome, but he still manages to gain a small fraction of shots around the green.
Tony Finau ($9,100) Tony Finau has had a solid year with four Top 10s and eight top 25s. We’re still waiting on him to put it all together and win a tournament. Perhaps this week is his week, he’s one the best on Tour in Par 4 scoring (14th). He’s also one of the best in strokes gained: approach (28th) and hits the 3rd most greens on Tour. He’s another guy who loses strokes putting but overall, he has a nice short game, gaining half a shot on the field when you don’t count putting. The big bomber from Utah is looking for his second career Tour victory; so why not this week?
Brendan Steele ($8,900) Brendan Steele has been the most automatic on Tour this year when it comes to making cuts. He usually won’t fade when the weekend hits, but he hasn’t truly contended this year yet. Either way, for $8,900 in this field I think that’s a very good price. He ranks highly in every category highlighted this week, so if he chooses this week to finally miss a cut, then I’m stumped. Steele ranks fifth on Tour in Par 4 scoring, 14th on Tour in scrambling, 31st in strokes gained: approach, and he’s 52nd in driving accuracy. His game is solid all the way around and it’s shown this season.
Danny Lee ($8,200) Hopefully, it’s not too late to hop on the Danny Lee train. In three of his last five events he’s finished T-6 or better. The New Zealander ranks decently in Par 4 scoring (71st), and strokes gained: approach (63rd), but I’m picking him more because of his recent form and the weak field. He putts well (32nd), but his scrambling and overall game around the green isn’t quite up to par. When Danny gets hot with his irons, he can start slamming it into pins. I think his great ball striking and putting will continue this week.
Kyle Stanley ($7,600) I’ve picked Kyle Stanley multiple times in the past month or so. He didn’t finish well on the weekend at the Traveler’s. However, his price has dropped by about $1,000 to $7,600, which I think is too low. Stanley ranks Top 5 or 10 in virtually every ball-striking category, so I’m not quite sure why the giant price drop when the field is far weaker this week. For this price, I’ll continue to stick with him.
Lucas Glover ($6,900) My dark horse for the week is Lucas Glover. The 2009 U.S Open champ has fallen back into the mid to low tier section in recent years. However, Glover is one of the best Par 4 scorers this season (14th), and has been a monster from tee-to-green, gaining over a shot per round. He ranks 55th in strokes gained: approach, is accurate off the tee (36th) and is an above average scrambler. He may never win another major, but the Quicken Loans National could still be in reach for most players, especially a veteran like Glover.