Looking at all of the data on PGA Media site, I came to the conclusion there were about 5 different aspects I wanted to check for this tournament. In no particular order I like Driving Accuracy, Proximity to the Hole, Strokes Gained Tee to Green, Scrambling Percentage, and Strokes Gained Putting. I put a little bit of a premium on Par 4 scoring because that is where the players are going to get away from the pack and, as always, I have put a bit of scoring on birdies made for the extra boost in points. Last, this tournament is one where we want to see how they have done in past tournament. I will give some data on that first and then move into the picks.
The Champion of the tournament last year was Brandon Grace with Luke Donald and Russell Knox finishing tied for second. The average score of Round 1 was 71.84, Round 2 was 71.93, Round 3 was 73.56, and Round 4 was 72.25. The cut line was at 144 which means we would need two rounds hitting E to make it and there was a MDF (made did not finish) which cut 7 more on Saturday.
I will give you the lowest rounds over the past 4 years and the best round averages.
Low Rounds – Troy Merritt (61), Jim Furyk (63), Kevin Kisner (64), Pat Perez (64), Brandt Snedeker (64), Matt Kuchar (64), Russell Knox (64), and Bryce Molder (64).
Best Average – Troy Merritt average 67 with 4 rounds, Branden Grace average 68.42 with 9 rounds, Cameron Smith average 68.75 with 4 rounds, Luke Donald average 68.96 with 17 rounds, Jim Furyk average 69.17 with 12 rounds, Russell Knox average 69.33 with 13 rounds, and Matt Kuchar average 69.37 with 17 rounds.
Matt Kuchar ($11,500) doesn’t look good as the data goes, but past performances he is off the charts. At this tournament Kuchar has logged 16 rounds over the past four years, has not missed the cut, and is averaging a 69.37 over his rounds at the Heritage. His value play is quite low and I think he could be an easy fade in a GPP, but it is going to be hard to get around him as a cash play. Look for Kuchar to have another solid week here.
Kevin Kisner ($9,700) has seen some decent success at the Heritage, logging 12 rounds and not getting cut in any of his trips. Kisner is a little lower than Kuchar, averaging 70.50 for his scores over the last three years; however, his game sets up a little better than most based on our important statistics. Kisner isn’t a great value play, but is a solid pivot off Kuchar if you are trying to take down one of the big boy tournaments.
Russell Henley ($10,700) is worth a solid look based on his statistics for the year, but he has struggled a bit at the Heritage. Henley made the cut last year, but the two previous years he missed out on weekend golf. I think this may cause Henley to be a little lower owned than some of the other big players, but is a concern when rostering him in a cash game environment. Henley has averaged 71.58 for his 12 rounds logged at the tournament over the past four years, making the cut twice and being cut twice.
Mid-Range $7,500 – $9,500
Adam Hadwin ($8,800) has to be considered one of the better value plays for this tournament with a legit upside to win. Hadwin has had a fantastic season and looks to continue his solid play this weekend. One aspect that worries me a bit is that he has only played this tournament twice and was cut once, but he did make the cut last season. Hadwin has averaged 71.33 in his 6 rounds with a low round of 67 and a high round of 75.
Bill Haas ($9,100) is enjoying a solid start to the 2017 season and hopes to continue his strong play this weekend. Haas W/D from this tournament in 2014 after the first round, but made the cut in the 2015 and 2016 seasons posting some solid scores. Haas has averaged 70.38 in his 13 rounds and is high in all of the key statistics we are looking for; however, Haas has yet to go low at this tournament with his lowest round at 68. This makes him a solid play for cash because of his consistency and ability to make the cut at the Heritage.
Luke Donald ($7,800) is worth a look because of his solid play here over the past four years. Donald has posted 16 rounds and has had a low round of 66 while averaging 68.94 over those rounds. This season he has not done as well as some of the other players in the key statistics we are looking for, but it is not too concerning because of his strong play here each year.
Webb Simpson ($7,200) is worth a look because of his solid play here over the past four years. He has logged 12 rounds, has yet to be cut, and has posted a low round of 65 with an average of 70.75. In addition, he has all of the key statistics we are looking for to make a deep run and has the ability to win golf tournaments.
Kyle Stanley ($7,200) is a guy I am going out on a limb with here. Stanley was cut in 2014 and 2015, but came back strong in 2016 and had a solid finish here for his pricing. If he can get hot he has the ability to post a top 15 performance, but you need to be careful with him because he is not the most consistent player at the Heritage. Stanley came up as the best play based on all the data for the 2017 season.
Luke List ($7,300) is enjoying a solid 2017 season and looks to continue this solid play over the weekend. List is a little odd at this tournament posting a 73, 68, 78, 68 in 2016 and his only other round came in 2013 where he posted a 71 and was forced to withdraw from the tournament. List ranks high on all the key statistics we are looking for and has the ability to go low on any golf course.
Below I have included a list of the guys that have the highest numbers of birdies per round in their PGA tournaments so far, this year.
Rafael Campos, Anirban Lahiri, Luke List, Pat Perez, Camilo Villegas, Russell Knox, Chris Kirk, Adam Hadwin, and Patrick Cantlay.
About the Author:
“CH” aka @UndoneRSG, has been playing fantasy sports since 1997. He made the transition from season long to daily fantasy sports in 2014 and hasn’t looked back. In college, Chris wrote his thesis on “Beating PECOTA ranking system” and came out with a ranking system that was equivalent with PECOTA. He has been obsessed with using statistics in fantasy ever since. Current math teacher, he is working on a ranking system for PGA and NBA that should be out shortly.