The TOUR heads south of the border to take on El Camaleon Golf Club in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
The field is 132 golfers deep with a normal cut line of top 70 and ties. For DFS purposes that means at least 53 percent of the field will play all four rounds.
With the lack of firepower in the field, that should mean a diverse leaderboard. That is fun for DFS purposes because you can take a lot of chances on Stars & Scrubs lineups. There will definitely be some low-priced options popping into contention and staying there all week.
Let's have a look at the weather and see who plays well on grainy greens...
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Thursday (R1): Temperatures reaching 88 degrees with prolonged sun showers very likely. Most of the rain likely to hit in the 10:00 am to 6:00 pm time slot, hitting a bit of both waves. Calm winds, reaching nothing more than 11 MPH.
Friday (R2): Temps reaching 88 degrees (feels like 92). Mostly sunny with calm winds and only a slight chance of showers.
Looks like a great week for golf weather, outside of the occassional shower. With no thunder in the equation, they should be able to play through the light rain for most of the week.
The best part about season-long leagues is the draft. You don't get that same rush with normal DFS contests but there is hope still. DRAFT has come along to fill that void and I'm having a lot of fun playing in their weekly golf drafts.
The first place to start is to build your pre-draft rankings for the week. I will point out a few golfers I think are overvalued in the raw rankings and a few that are undervalued in the raw rankings.
Si Woo Kim (67.8 Projected Pts): Many gamers will see three straight top 25s and rush to ride the hot hand. I'm not so convinced. He's swallowed more doubles compared to the field in three of his last five starts (a big no-no at El Camaleon). He's hit fewer greens in regulation versus the field in each of his last nine starts. Hard to keep pace in a shootout when you are just trying to scramble for pars. Lastly, he gained nearly 10 strokes putting last week. That is impossible to replicate and likely to drop in a big way. If he putts average last week then he likely misses the cut or finishes near the bottom of the pack of golfers that played the weekend. Not something I want to pay for in the 8th spot of the draft.
Kevin Chappell (67.3 Projected Pts): Just below Si Woo Kim is Chappell who I will also be passing on. Chappy has three starts since June where he's lost 5+ strokes putting. I rarely rely on putting as a key stat but when the bad weeks are THAT bad, it's hard to ignore. I have him ranked 20th in this field in long-term performance and 21st in current form. That 20th spot would be the earliest I would even consider drafting Chappell this week. Coming in at #9 in the pre-draft rankings, he will likely be snatched up by then, and I am perfectly fine with that. Let someone else test their fate with the putter roulette.
Aaron Wise (55 Projected Pts): Was playing a home game last week in Las Vegas. As a resident, I doubt he went overboard in the party scene like some may have indulged in. Wise rallied to record a top 15 in that event. He is a GIR machine which is perfect for El Camaleon. He can be a littler wayward off-the-tee which is the only thing that makes him a bit risky. As long as he avoids the big numbers, he should be inside the top 10 in birdies or better this week. I would take him as high as #4 this week but he defintely deserves a boost up from his current slot.
Sungjae Im (44.4 Projected Pts): Had high expectations to start the season and he's really only let us down once (Sanderson Farms MC after flying directly from Korea). Even his T41 at the CJ CUP wasn't a big letdown because he posted more than 3 birdies more than the field per round. He did that last week as well en route to a T15 at the Shriners. He's not a long hitter so this sub-7,000 yard track should be another great course for him to contend.
El Camaleon is one of the rare TOUR stops that features paspalum greens. Now that TPC Kuala Lumpur has gone to bermuda, it's even more rare to see paspalum.
That being said, paspalum and bermuda are pretty similar and they generally have a lot more grain to deal with compared to bent and/or poa.
Lumping bermuda and paspalum performance together, we can see who plays well on grainy greens.
Looking at performance on grainy greens since the start of 2014, the top 15 performers on a per-round basis looks like this:
Other than raw performance, we can also look at who shows the biggest improvement on grainy greens (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop:
I already talked about how I'm not so high on Chappie this week but maybe I should be? Moore, List, and Wise are all viable options and none of them should be extremely popular.
Keith Mitchell: When it comes to low rounds, Mitchell is one of the best on TOUR at taking it deep. That makes him a juicy first-round leader option, any time he tees it up. In fact, just last year he fired an opening 66 at this event to position himself at T5. He was also T3 after R1 of the Corales last year (paspalum greens in the Caribbean). Growing up in Tennessee and Georgia, it's no coincidence to see him shine on these grainy putting surfaces. His sample is smaller but he does rank third in this field when it comes to the rate of low rounds recorded on grainy greens. He's opened the year with finishes of T22 and T14 at the CIMB and CJ CUP and I'm expecting another top 25 here in Mexico.
Best of luck in all your contests this week!