Euro Golf Digest - Dim Sum Edition (Honma Hong Kong Open)
Congratulations to Francesco Molinari as the Race to Dubai champion. Did pretty well last week even though Fleetwood didn’t live up to expectations. Frittelli and Westwood both had good weeks – well Westwood had a good week until the last round. Came out ahead for the first time in a few weeks. The bad part though was I had Willett pegged as an OUT pick and he ended up winning.
I’m going to change up things a little bit this week. Since I don’t have stats on half the golfers, due to the influx of Asian/Challenge Tour golfers, I will give an IN pick based on the stats and then a pick being a golfer off the Asian/Challenge/Sunshine tour I like in the price range.
Hong Kong GC (Par 70 – 6,700 Yards)
The start to the 2019 season starts at Hong Kong GC in Fanling, Hong Kong for the Honma Hong Kong Open. The greens are Bermuda and in good condition according to the Euro website. Fairways and rough are Bermuda/Zoysia with the fairways being tight. Short course so distance off the tee won’t be an advantage this week. Weather doesn’t look too bad – Wind in the low teens on Thursday then around 10 MPH on Friday/Saturday/Sunday. 36% chance of rain on Thursday morning which should clear up by the afternoon if it does hit. 60% chance of rain on Sunday for the final round. Thursday PM/Friday AM may have a weather advantage.
Previous winners are (year being season on calendar year): Wade Ormsby (2018), Sam Brazel (2017), Justin Rose (2015), and Miguel Angel Jimenez (2014). Miguel Angel Jimenez is actually a 4 time winner of this event in his long career.
1) Greens In Regulation (GIR)
2) Driving Accuracy (DA)
3) Strokes Gained Putting (SG P)
Not a ton of hazards on the course this week so we want to find golfers who can get it on the green to give themselves a good shot at birdies so GIR is the top focused stat. Next the tight fairways has me looking at DA to pinpoint golfers who keep their drives in the fairway. Lastly we round the focused stats up with SG P to identify golfers who can take advantage of their GIR.
IN = I like him this week. ACS = Asian/Challenge/Sunshine Tour Pick
IN: Tommy Fleetwood ($11,500) – Before looking at the stats I wanted to go RCB here. RCB not very good in GIR though. Fleetwood ranks out at 1st in GIR, 7th in DA, and 38th in SG P. Please note I only have stats on 53 of the golfers in the field so SG P is concerning. None of the top guys had a good mix of the 3 stats though. He’s finished 6th and 3rd here the past 2 years so course history is there and form is pretty good. Need him to get a win to support the high price tag
ACS: Sean Crocker ($9,000) – The only golfer in the price range eligible for the pick but I actually like him. Repping the USA on the Euro Challenge Tour (Euro’s version of the Web.com tour). He played here last year and finished 16th. He is in really good form with 4 Top 5 finishes on the Challenge tour. Ownership should be low as well since last year’s winner (Ormsby) is only $100 more.
Rolls ($7500 – $8900)
IN: Paul Peterson ($7,700) – Aaron Rai with our 3 stats should be the pick here but I vetoed it. Not loving his recent form and performance here last year. Instead we’re going with Peterson who is 20th in GIR, 3rd in DA, and 7th in SG P. Mixed course history but he did finish 2nd here last year. Recent form is iffy as well but this being a weaker field I’ll queue him up this week.
ACS: Justin Harding ($7,700) – A Sunshine Tour (South African Tour) golfer. No course history here. He’s made 7 straight cuts across PGA, Asian, and Sunshine tour events. His last MC was at the PGA Championship and he was only 2 strokes away from the cut line. I like his form and experience with tougher competition.
IN: Steven Brown ($7,000) – Taking a flyer here based on the 3 focused stats. Not going to veto him like I did Rai. 11th in GIR, 33rd in DA, and 1st in SG P. He gains almost a stroke per round with the putter. Not loving the form or his 41st place finish here last year. A pure GPP pick.
ACS: John Catlin ($7,400) – Repping the USA on the Asian Tour. John has only missed 1 cut all year and that was back in March at the New Zealand Open. He has 3 wins on the Asian Tour this year including the Yeanger TPC in early October. Load him up this week. I will be on him in both GPP and Cash.
That is all I have for this week. Good luck out on the DFS fields.