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Dylan Frittelli
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Culp's Corner

Web Rankings: The Finals 25

by Josh Culp
Updated On: February 18, 2019, 10:05 pm ET

If you haven't done so already, check out Part 1 of this article where I ranked the first 25 graduates from the Web.com Tour regular season money.

The main idea here is to look at a basic stat like strokes gained against the field and then pile on things like age and pedigree to determine how likely a golfer is to crack the 2018-19 FedExCup Playoffs and maintain a PGA TOUR card for more than one season. 

Being near the top of this list doesn't guarantee success, but this methodology has produced a pretty strong hit rate over the past few seasons when it comes to picking golfers that are going to keep their card for more than one season. 

Let's see who we should keep our eye on for the 2018-19 PGA TOUR season. 

#1 Dylan Frittelli
Strokes Gained Rank: 1st
Age: 28

Grades out very similarly to Peter Uihlein from last year. They both attended college in the States, went overseas and had solid results on the worldwide circuit but took them a few years to finally play their way onto the PGA TOUR. The South African has four international wins since 2013, three of them coming since the start of 2016 (2 on Challenge Tour, 2 on European Tour). What about his results in PGA TOUR starts so far? Looking at the data from 12 stroke-play starts over the last few years, he's hit it longer than the field average in 10-of-12 (big hitter), hit more fairways than the field in 6-of-12 (average accuracy), and posted a better GIR rate than the field in 8-of-12 (steady iron play). Will need to tidy up the short game to truly contend but his tee-to-green prowess should make him a steady cut-maker this season with plenty of upside to boot. 

 

#2 Denny McCarthy
Strokes Gained Rank: 2nd
Age: 25

 

D-Mac graded out as #11 on last year's rankings. His first full season on TOUR saw him struggle from tee-to-green but shine with the flat stick (20th in SG:Putting). On the bright side, he did gain strokes off-the-tee in five of his last six starts to end the season. A sign that he's getting comfortable on PGA TOUR setups? Or a coincidence based on the style of those golf courses? Diving deep into where he struggled, he was worlds behind when it came to performing from the 100-125 yard range. His lack of tee-green dominance suggests he'll never be a steady week-to-week option but gamers should give him in a look in weaker fields. His performance on the Web.com Tour suggests his upside is better than what we've seen so far on the big stage. 

 

#3 Curtis Luck
Strokes Gained Rank: 20th
Age: 22

His early results on the PGA TOUR suggests he has plenty of holes to fill in his game. However, we know what kind of pedigree he comes from. He reached No. 1 in the WAGR before turning pro. You can't ignore that and now we'll get to see him play with a little less stress on his shoulders (previously playing for status in limited starts). This young Aussie went T5-MC-T24-T8 during the Web.com Tour Finals. He's not particularly long off-the-tee, not very accurate, and doesn't pelt greens at an extremely high rate. The short game is where he makes the cream. Perhaps, that play style will mold into something else as he matures but right now he looks like Luke Donald out there. I would look to target him on courses that aren't demanding from tee-to-green, allowing his short game to shine. 

 

#4 Cameron Davis
Strokes Gained Rank: 17th
Age: 23

Similar to his countryman above, this young Aussie has loads of upside. Luck has received a bit more attention due to his pedigree but Davis' amateur career wasn't too shabby himself, reaching No. 4 in the WAGR. On the Web Tour this season he ranked 8th in driving distance, 7th in GIR percentage, and 2nd in birdies per round. That kind of scoring prowess should translate nicely for fantasy gamers. I'm not sure how consistent we'll see Davis out of the gate, but I expect him to throw inside into contention quite a few times this season. 

 

#5 Adam Schenk
Strokes Gained Rank: 8th
Age: 26

He never found a groove during his rookie year. In general, his off-the-tee and putting was solid but way too spotty with his approach and around-the-green play. He made quick work of the Web.com Tour Finals to earn his way back to the TOUR. That includes finishes of T35-T9-T2-T8. Given that run of form and a full year now under his belt, Schenk may be one to target early in the fall and jump off at the first sign of a slump. We've seen some golfers take a year or two to acclimate to PGA TOUR setups while some golfers are just destined to be AAAA players, if you will (crush it on Web setups but struggle on the PGA TOUR). 

#6 Peter Malnati
Strokes Gained Rank: 3rd
Age: 31

We know what he's capable of (winner of the 2015 Sanderson Farms). He joined the rare 10+ Club that week, gaining 11.8 strokes with the putter en route to victory. We also know he's missed more cuts than he's made on TOUR (60 to 48). Malnati is one of the best putters on TOUR but his tee-to-green game doesn't hold up on most courses. Nearly all of his top-heavy finishes have come on bermuda or grainy paspalum. Keep that in mind when looking for places he might pop. 

 

#7 Lucas Glover
Strokes Gained Rank: 6th
Age: 38

The Clemson product had a revival season two years ago but lost some of that magic in 2018. During the 2016-17 season he gained 7+ strokes tee-to-green in five different tournaments. He failed to do that once last season, with a 6.7 T2G at the Honda being his best. He's still one of the stronger ball-strikers on TOUR but it's hard to trust him to have ANOTHER comeback season at this age. It's possible but the more likely scenario is that we see him pop a few times and then hover around the FedExCup bubble come summertime. 

 

#8 Wes Roach
Strokes Gained Rank: 4th
Age: 29

We've seen him before but not since 2016 when he went 9-for-21 to finish 170th in the FedExCup standings. He was 153rd during his rookie campaign (2014). The Duke product looked like a new man in 2018, going 21-for-25 on the Web circuit, six of those doubling as top 10s. After securing his card he talked about his wife and young daughter being a big motivator for him. Roach is looking to bring home the bacon and the likely landing spots will come in weaker-field events. Similar to Malnati above, most of his limited success on the big stage has come on shorter tracks that don't force him to keep up with the big boys, and also let his putter shine. Roach finished 91st in driving distance, 30th in driving accuracy, and 42nd in GIR percentage. Roach is hoping the third time is the charm when it comes to the PGA TOUR. His success on the Web.com Tour this year suggests he may be ready to make the leap. 

 

#9 Hunter Mahan
Strokes Gained Rank: 9th
Age: 36

A two-time WGC winner and three-time Ryder Cupper. Just a few years ago, Mahan would have been on the shortlist for golfers next in line to win a major. Instead, he's posted a 31-for-69 record over the last three seasons with just one top 10. Historically he was always what I call a bookend golfer. He stands out off-the-tee and with the putter. His numbers in that regard have remained pretty steady but it's his approach and around-the-green play that has dipped drastically. Golf is a funny game sometimes. If we see him carry this Web.com Tour Finals momentum into the early season then he may be one to watch as a Comeback Player of the Year, type of story. 

 

#10 Shawn Stefani
Strokes Gained Rank: 7th
Age: 36

Another veteran who has hit a wall over the last few years. Stefani finished 83rd and 54th in the FedExCup race in 2014 and 2015 but over the last two seasons he's been 165 and 147. Unlike a lot of these graduate, Stefani has led after a PGA TOUR round (5 times). He holds three first-round leads, most recently in 2016 at the St. Jude Classic. Looking at the best finishes of his career, they've come at DC in late June, Mayakoba, Houston, Hawaii, Tampa, Memphis, and Charlotte. You could go even further down the list but the trend remains the same, he likes to play in warmer climates and tends to play better on grainy bermuda or paspalum greens. Still owns a career cuts-made ratio of 58 percent and a top-25 rate just under 20 percent. That makes him plenty relevant in deeper formats like DFS.

 

Josh Culp
Josh Culp joined Rotoworld in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.