The Tour now heads back to Florida for The 2018 Valspar Championship. This tournament is held at The Copperhead Course (Par 71, 7,340 yards) of Innisbrook Resort in Pearl Harbor, Florida, which is right outside of Tampa. Adam Hadwin notched his first career PGA victory here last season, finishing the week at -14. This is a very tricky course that is home to some narrow fairways and small greens. You need to find the fairway here, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we need to target players who rank well in driving accuracy, because this is a venue where most of these golfers will elect to not go with their driver off the tee. I will be primarily focusing on finding strong tee to green players, who find the putting surface at a high rate. Also, this course is home to five par threes and four par fives. The par threes are very tough and long (all of them are 195+ yards), putting some weight on par three scoring, but more so, we need to find players who score well on par fives, as these will be their best scoring opportunities.
Hadwin showed the importance of playing well on these par threes last season, leading the field, shooting -6 total on these five holes and the previous four champs showed the significance of the par fives at Copperhead, with all of them ranking in the top ten in par five scoring during their wins. These are some very small Bermuda greens and players are going to miss them, so I also think scrambling is worth a look, but not super important. Lastly, with Copperhead being a tougher test, home to one of the toughest three hole stretches in pro golf, “the snake pit”, I think it makes a ton of sense to find players who avoid bogeys better than most. Coming off last week’s WGC stop, we get back to having a full field of players with a normal cut line of top 70 and ties making it to the weekend. As you all know, this makes DFS golf a much better game to play and it is a fair reminder that the goal is back to getting 6/6 players through the cut. This is a rather strong field of players and is arguably the best The Valspar has ever seen, so it is definitely a viable week to use your normal amount of bankroll in all formats. @Hunta512.
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Kevin Streelman: (7,500) Streelman has been Mr.Consistency this season. He hasn’t missed a cut all year, in ten starts, and has finished inside the top 20 in half of those events. He is coming into this week in great form, ranking 6th in SGT2G, 15th in strokes gained on approach, 1st in greens hit, 52nd in par five scoring, and 23rd in par three scoring over his last 24 rounds of golf. (via Fantasy National) He isn’t a birdie machine, ranking 112th in BOB%, but he is a very smart golfer, who makes very few mistakes, ranking 1st in bogey avoidance in these last six starts. (via Fantasy National)
His game fits this tough course very well and it’s no surprise he has a strong track record at Copperhead over the years, making 6/8 cuts, including two tops, one last season, and a win back in 2013. He is listed with 60/1 odds to win this week, which are some pretty good odds considering his cheaper price. (via Bovada) He hasn’t played in two weeks, since The Genesis, but I think Streelman is a pretty safe bet to make the, with top 20 upside at this venue he knows very well.
Keegan Bradley: (7,000) His putting has been killing him lately , but Bradley’s tee to green game has been outstanding. In his last 24 rounds, he ranks 4th in SGT2G, 2nd in strokes gained approaching, and 6th in greens found, and 3rd in ball striking. (via Fantasy National) He has made the cut in five of his last six events and he has shown some serious upside when he can find any sort of stroke with his flat stick. In the three events this season he has put a decent 29 average putts per round or lower, he has finished T27th, 2nd, and T5.
Now, I am not guaranteeing a finish like this, but we all know putting is a very volatile aspect of golf. Any given week a bad putter can come out and putt his way to a nice finish or win. Bradley’s irons have been so good, that he could easily still make the cut if he putts poorly, with very nice upside he can manage to have a decent week on the greens. He has only made the cut here once in three attempts, further adding to why he is a GPP play only, but this is just another reason why he will he come with a very low ownership in that format. (5-8% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs) I wouldn’t go overboard with how much exposure you have to him, but at only $7,000, I think it is worth having a few GPP shares of Bradley.
Jason Dufner: (7,800) He didn’t do us wonders last week in Mexico (T55), but Duf still hasn’t missed a cut this season and he is a true course horse here at Copperhead. For his career at The Valspar, Dufner is 9/10 in made cuts, finishing no worse than T28 in those nine times he has made it to the weekend. Last season, he had one of his best finishes here in Florida, racking up 19 birdies, helping him to a T11 finish. His stats are never going to jump off the page, but in his last 12 rounds, he ranks 56th in SGT2G, 54th in strokes gained approaching, 58th in greens hit, 40th in ball striking, 100th in BOB%, 29th in bogeys avoided, 67th in SGP, and 23rd in par five efficiency. (via Fantasy National)
I am not expecting a win, but I think Dufner has a very good chance of making another cut here and is a golfer that may get lost in shuffle with many popular names right around him in this range. (9-12% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs)
Also Consider: Zach Johnson (5/8 here and is 7/7 this season), Chesson Hadley (will be low owned after killing many people at The Honda. He is 3/3 at Copperhead for his career), Bill Haas (game is trending up and 6/9 here, with a 2nd place two years ago), Charl Schwartzel (6th last year and win in 2016 at Copperhead), Charles Howell (nice bounce back candidate this week at this track he is 11/14 at with four top tens), Ben Martin (six straight made cuts), and Scott Stallings (very ugly 2/7 record here, but is the 1 par three player over his last 12 rounds of golf and has made four straight cuts).