With a little over fifteen minutes until the roster lock, it’s quiet on the news front. Outside of John Huh, J.J Spaun, and Sean O’Hair withdrawing earlier in the week, there has been no player movement to report. ResultsDB will be up and running within 10 minutes of roster lock. Make sure to check out how your lineups stack up against the field.
Kevin Roth’s weather report for this week’s event is up in the main forum. Players will face a healthy dose of Florida sunshine all four days. For DFS purposes it looks like there is a chance that Thursday afternoon could be a bit stronger in terms of wind gust in comparison to Friday. With forecasted gusts having the potential of reaching 20 mph at times on Thursday afternoon, you might have the urge to stack tee time waves, but keep in mind it’s hard to forecast a wind gust and overall the wind in terms of mph should be the same both days. Weather could be used as a tie breaker between two golfers, but for the most part, it looks like golfers will face the same conditions for the first two rounds.
Henrik Stenson has not exactly started the 2019 season in best form. Stenson has only made two cuts in his last six international starts. Poor first round play in his last two PGA Tour starts resulted in Stenson having to shoot lights out on Friday just in order to make the cut. Stenson was not able to duplicate Friday’s round from the Arnold Palmer Invitational to The Players Championship last week, so this former major champion heads into this week trying to bounce back from a disappointing missed cut. If you just looked at the recent form and saw that Stenson is trending in our ownership projections then you might just assume it’s a great spot for a fade. Copperhead is a course custom built for Stenson’s game. One of the premier second shot players in the game of golf, Stenson has gained 26 shots total over his last 4 starts at Copperhead despite missing the cut last year. His bad rounds over the last few weeks have been from a lack of birdies, and at a course that will yield fewer low scores, it would be easier for a Stenson to stay in the mix with just solid golf. The combination, of course fit and overall talent has Stenson trending in ownership despite his poor current form.
In what has been a busy week in terms of player movement, John Huh adds his name to the list of players pulling out of the tournament. No injury new associated with this news. Huh has been replaced in the field by Benjamin Silverman.
With 4 top ten finishes in his first 8 events as professional, Joaquin Niemann quickly became the darling of DFS golf. With only sponsor’s invites to work with Niemann played well enough to earn full status on the PGA Tour this year. Even though its common place to see young players succeed early and often in their careers, the 20-year-old Niemann has struggled to gain the form displayed last year. Playing in his first Valspar Championship, Niemann is the type of player that can have success at this venue. Copperhead is more of a second shot course and less of a bombers paradise. All of Niemann’s success thus far in his PGA Tour career has come at similar courses. Priced down due to his poor recent play, Niemann stands out as a great value play for the week. A made cut and a top 30 or better finish would easily pay off his salary, making it easier to take a flyer on what is still a very talented player. Prior to his current streak of amazing play, Bryson DeChambeau also struggled early in his PGA Tour career, so while it’s disconcerting to see Niemann struggle, there is always hope that talent wins out in the long run.
The string of good play continues for Jason Kokrak. In years past we would just pick him on a week where his game fit the course, but with much-improved play, Kokrak has been a player you could roster often this season. Always a great fit on less than driver courses, Kokrak has a great track record at Copperhead. Kokrak has gained 19 shots tee to green over the last five Valspar Championships. Looking to improve on 3 top 15 or better finishes at this event, Kokrak heads into this week with 4 top 20 or better finishes in his last six starts. Having not missed a cut since July of last year, Kokrak is playing some of the best golf of his career. Statistically speaking there has not been much of a change in his strokes gained stats from year to year. Kokrak is slightly better at ball striking stats this season, and his putting stats still stink. The main difference in Kokrak’s game over this period seems to be in his ability to make better choices. Less big numbers lead to lower scores which create a few more opportunities to play the weekend. Priced up due to recent play, Kokrak could get overlooked in roster builds that choose to cram in a high priced stud. Trending in the right direction at a course that fits his game, Kokrak makes for a great play despite his increased price.
Fueled by a handful of strong early season finishes, PGA Tour rookie Sungjae Im finds himself in the top 30 of The FedEx Cup race at this point in the season. Generally, PGA Tour rookies are going to struggle to adjust to playing on the best tour in golf. In addition to seeing most courses for the first time, rookies are also faced with the task of playing against some of the strongest fields in golf. Im has missed a few cuts of late, but that should be expected of a tour rookie. Im made a hole in one late on Friday and narrowly missed making the cut in his first ever Players Championship appearance. Copperhead will require accuracy with iron play, and Im currently ranks inside the top 40 in strokes gained approach. Value looks to be a bit thin this week, and Im has played well enough at times this season to forecast well in our projections model for the week. With 6 top 25 or better finishes in his 10 made cuts, Im has shown more than enough upside to pay off his price for the week. Avoiding big numbers will be the key to making the cut and having a chance to play well on the weekend. Currently ranked inside the top 40 in bogey avoidance for the season, Im has only posted 5 rounds over 72 this season. All but one of his missed cuts have been very close to the cut line, which indicates that this PGA Tour rookie plays a style of golf that seems to give him a chance.
J.J. Spaun is no longer in The Valspar field and has been replaced by Alex Prugh. Spaun withdrew at last week’s Players Championship after round one with no explanation. It’s probably safe to assume that whatever kept Spaun out last week is behind his absence yet again this week. Prior to last week, Spaun had made seven straight cuts and at times had been a great value option based upon his course fit. Hopefully Spaun is able to get back to action soon.
Sean O’Hair has decided to take a pass on The Valspar Championship. He has been out since The Honda, so with his past success at this event, you would figure that he is not quite healthy enough to return to action. O’Hair was replaced in the field by Shawn Stefani.
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