Welcome back guys. Alex here, and I am back with my DraftKings PGA Sleeper Picks for The Valspar Championship. Last week was an okay week for my three main picks, with Bill Haas finishing T32 (58.5 DK points), Bernd Wiesberger T45 (51 DK points), and Jhonattan Vegas with a T38 (62.5 DK points). This week The Tour heads to Palm Harbor, Florida for The 2017 Valspar Championship. This event takes place at The Copperhead Course of The Innisbrook Resort. It is a tough par 71 that measures in at 7,340 yards long. Charles Schwartzel won this event last season, beating Bill Haas in a playoff, shooting -7 for the week. This course is home to some narrow fairways that are mostly surrounded by trees and some very small greens that are tough to hit. Distance isn’t a factor with most players clubbing down to avoid the danger of hitting the ball in the woods. Being accurate off the tee can be a plus, but it isn’t a must because every player should be more accurate if they keep their driver in the bag.
Sticking as many of these small greens as possible is most important, so I think greens and regulation percentage and strokes gained approaching the green are the main stats to focus on this week. Players will miss these greens and struggle on some of these holes so I also think it’s important to target solid scramblers and players who rate well in bogey avoidance. There are four par fives and five par threes here at Copperhead. The par fives will be some of the best chances these golfers will have to score, but the par threes are very tricky and long at an average length of 206 yards. Also we can’t forget about holes 16-18 here at Copperhead, which is one of the most difficult three hole stretches in golf, also known as “the snake pit”. With all these factors the stats I will be looking for in my picks are greens in regulation percentage, strokes gained approaching the green, strokes gained tee to green, strokes gained putting, scrambling, bogey avoidance, birdie or better percentage, and par three scoring. After last weeks no cut WGC event we go back to a normal cut event this week. It’s a much weaker field, but it is still a solid week for cash games and GPPs with a cut line in effect. Also if you want more picks for The Valspar, check out Geoff’s DraftKings picks through this link and Keegan’s betting picks through this link. As always if any of these picks help you or if you need any advice let me know on Twitter. @Hunta512.
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Adam Hadwin: (6,800) Hadwin doesn’t have the prettiest track record here, making 1/2 cuts with a 71st in 2015, but there is no way he should be this cheap with the way he has played this season. After missing the cut at The Safeway Open to start the season back in October, he hasn’t looked back making eight straight cuts, with four top 25s, two top tens, and a 2nd place finish at The Career Builder Challenge. He is arguably in the best form of his career, ranking 9th in strokes gained putting, 90th in strokes gained tee to green, 89th in strokes gained approaching the green, 5th in bogey avoidance, 10th in par three scoring, and 27th in birdie or better percentage.
He also is a very strong scrambler ranking 7th on The Tour at 69.4%, but has been even better around the greens over the last six weeks, with a high 72.4% scrambling percentage, which is the fourth highest in the field for players who have competed during this time. The one thing that has held him back here at Copperhead has been his inability to consistently hit these greens with a low average GIR percentage of 59% the last two years in this tournament. But he has improved with his irons approaching the green this season, ranking 59th in GIR percentage at 70%, compared to his 66.2% average GIR over his last two seasons. I hate rostering a player with bad course history, but in this case I really do think Hadwin’s current form outweighs any worries I have about him here at Copperhead. At $6,800, we are getting one of the most consentient players on The Tour this season at a serious discount in a very weak field.
Nick Watney: (7,100) If looking for a course horse this week look no further than Watney, who has made nine straight cuts here at Copperhead, with two top 25s, and a 4th place in 2010. He had a rough start to the season missing 2/3 cuts, but since then he has been impressive, not missing a cut in three tournaments, including a T14 at The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am, a T28 at The Genesis Open, a T14 at The Honda Classic.
His stats are solid this year ranking 76th in strokes gained tee to green, 58th in GIR percentage (70.29%), 94th in strokes gained putting, 33rd in strokes gained approaching the green, and 73rd in bogey avoidance. One of the main reasons he has had success here is his great game on par threes, and he has kept this up this season ranking 4th on The Tour in par three scoring. In his current form, he has a very good chance of making the cut here for the tenth straight time with top 30 upside this weekend.
Steve Stricker: (7,400) Old man Stricker has the best course history have any player in the field this week, that has competed here more than two times, with an average adjusted round score of 67.8. He missed the cut in his first two tries here in 2004 and 2007, but he has been excellent since, with a T14 in 2008, T9 in 2009, T8 in 2010, and a T7 last season. At age 50 he doesn’t play in as many events as he used to but he still competes when he tees it up, making 2/2 cuts this season, and 11 straight when including last year’s tournaments. He doesn’t rank on The Tour yet this year because he has only played twice, but in these two events he has looked great, with a very high 75.7% GIR percentage, 75.7% driving accuracy, and a 67.6% scrambling percentage.
His putting hasn’t been great with an average putts per round of 30.7, but he has fared well on these Bermuda greens at Copperhead, with a solid 28.5 average putts per round in his four made cuts. His mistake free golf game is perfect for this course and I think we see him make the cut here again this year. The best part about rostering him this week, is that I think he will come with a low ownership just because he is a player everyone forgets about nowadays at his age. At $7,400 he is one of my favorite values of the week that I am comfortable with in all formats.
Also Consider: Wesley Bryan, Jim Furyk (7/8 here, with a win in 2010), Trey Mullinax (risky on a course where he will have to club down, but will be very low owned), Ollie Schniderjans, Kyle Stanley, Lucas Glover, Cameron Smith, and Scott Brown (eight straight made cuts, T7 last season).