bosoxfan0509's WGC Bridgestone Invitational Picks

Time to get back to writing about golf after a week off due to a busy work schedule last week. I hope everyone else had a better week than me last week. It was looking promising early in the day on Thursday, but when the cut line moved to -2, being overweight on Andy Sullivan and Gary Woodland gave me a combined 22 teams with 5/6 players making the cut. Hopefully you all were able to avoid the two of them, Andy Sullivan particularly.

Being new to DFS Golf, the Bridgestone Invitational is going to be very challenging for me because of the deep field and lack of quality golfers at the lower-end of DraftKing’s pricing. After doing some research on the golfers who have finished in the top 25% of this tournament over the last five years, the main statistics that I’m going to be considering when making my selections this week are:

Birdie or Better %
Par 4 BoB%
Total Driving

Because the stats that I’m looking at seem to overlap quite a bit with what I’ve seen elsewhere, I’m going to have to get out of my comfort zone and try pretty hard to not be too chalky in the Drive the Green this week. This is going to force me to play golfers I’m not real familiar or comfortable with (although I was very comfortable with Andy Sullivan last week and that didn’t work out so maybe this is a good thing). Because of this, I’m going to take a different approach with this week’s picks and give my top three $10k+ guys, three guys under $10k that I like, and three guys who I think will be popular this week but that I’m not considering for my rosters.

My $10,000+ Picks

Dustin Johnson – $10,800: With the stats that I’m looking at this week, DJ’s line up as good or better than anyone in the field that isn’t named Jordan Spieth. DJ ranks 4th in BoB% and 8th in both SG: T2G and Par 4 BoB%. I think Dustin Johnson will be the lowest-owned of the guys above the $10k range because of his poor showing at the Open Championship and his collapse at the US Open, but I think that’s a short-sighted mistake. DJ has 3 Top-15s in his last 5 tournaments so his form isn’t as bad as people choose to remember. He’s the 5th ranked golfer in the world for a reason, and he should come out firing at this tournament to prove why.

Justin Rose – $10,600: Rose’s course history at Firestone CC speaks for itself. He has played here the last 8 years with an average finish of 17th, and more importantly he hasn’t finished worse than 33rd in those 8 attempts. He’s coming into this week hot with back-to-back Top 10 finishes. I don’t think you’ll find a safer play this week than Justin Rose, and he still carries the upside to win the event outright.

Adam Scott – $10,200: Speaking of back-to-back Top 10 finishes, Adam Scott finished 10th at the Open Championship and 4th at the US Open showing that he can navigate his way through a talented field like this week’s. Scott is one of the few players who has played this tournament every year since 2003, and since 2010, he has really turned it on at the event by posting three Top-10 finishes. Adam Scott’s lowest ranking in the stats I’m considering is 28th in BoB%, but he makes up for it on Par 4s by placing 8th in Par 4 BoB%. One of the top drivers in the world for both distance and accuracy, Adam Scott should consistently set himself up to score well on all four days of the event.

My Under $10,000 Picks

Hideki Matsuyama – $9,400: Matsuyama has only played at the Bridgestone Invitational twice, but he had solid showings with a 12th in 2014 and 21st in 2013, and no one on tour has been more consistent than Hideki, with Top-20 finishes in his last six events. When I said earlier that DJ’s stats line up better than anyone but Spieth, I was being a little hyperbolic because Hideki’s stats actually match up better than anyone including Jordan Spieth. Hideki is the best on tour at SG: T2G and is 7th in Par 4 BoB% and 4th in Total Driving. When I consider his stats, recent form, and course history, I can’t find anything not to like about Hideki Matsuyama.

Charley Hoffman – $7,500 & Ben Martin – $7,300: I’m lumping these two together because I like them for similar reasons and they’re in a similar price range. Both have little-to-no course history and are coming in with shaky recent form, but both are golfers capable of scoring low and throwing together a good weekend for their price. Hoffman has missed 2 of his last 4 cuts but also has 3 Top-10 finishes in his last 6 events. Martin has been in a slump lately, but he showed earlier this year that he can rattle off multiple Top-10 finishes. Both golfers’ stats line up well for this course, particularly their BoB% and Par 4 BoB% which I think will be an important indicator for who is capable of going low.

My Picks to Fade

Rickie Fowler – $10,500: Rickie will be a popular pick this week, and this fade leaves me a little nervous, but I can’t target all of the guys at the top and he’s the one I’m choosing to fade. The other top price golfers have better stats for the course and their ownership will be lower, so that’s a big part of my decision, but I could also see Rickie struggling at this event. People will cite his 8th place finish last year and his 2nd place finish in 2011, but Rickie has also finished 59th and 33rd in the event so he’s capable of falling to the middle of the pack or dropping down towards the bottom. Rickie ranks 141st on the tour in Par 4 BoB%, and I’ll be more confident spending at the higher end with guys who can score better on the many Par 4s at the Firestone CC.

Keegan Bradley – $8,800: When I watched the GrindersLive After Dark video last night, they mentioned that Keegan might be the highest-owned golfer in the field this week because of his course history. Man, I really hope he is because I will have 0% of him. Keegan’s course history is incredibly impressive and is undeniable, but Keegan doesn’t seem to be the same player at this point in 2015 as he was in 2012-2014 when he finished 1st, 2nd, and 4th. From 2012-2014, Keegan Ranked 24th, 13th, and 31st in Par 4 BoB%. This year, Keegan heads into the tournament ranked 108th. He missed the cut at the Open Championship, and has mediocre results other than that in most of his last 7 events. In the Drive the Green this week, Keegan will be one of the ways I’m hoping to differentiate myself, and I’ll be crossing my fingers that he can’t score on the Par 4s to keep up with the rest of the field that I like.

Phil Mickelson – $8,500: Maybe this is an obvious choice and is just wishful thinking on my end that Phil will have mid-high ownership because of his name value. Like Adam Scott, Phil has played this tournament every year since 2003. Unlike Adam Scott, Phil finished in the bottom half of the field in 8 of those years. I’ll be hoping 2015 becomes year number 9, and when you combine his average recent form with the fact that his stats don’t suggest a bounce-back at this tournament, I think there’s a good chance of another bottom-half finish for Lefty.

Good luck to everyone this week.

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