While you were sleeping, Russell Knox broke through at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions in China for his first PGA TOUR victory. The Scot has been knocking on the winner’s circle for a while now, tallying eight top 10s over the past two seasons. It took a 20-under effort at Sheshan International Golf Club for Knox to finally turn the trick.
Knox was making his 93rd TOUR start, but it was his first at a WGC. It goes to show that experience isn’t everything in these large, high-profile tournaments. He already owned a full schedule, making 54 starts over the past two seasons. Gamers should now expect him to shift some of those starts around in exchange for some of the bigger events over the next few years.
Kevin Kisner: Secured yet another runner-up finish. He was making his World Golf Championships debut. It’s safe to say strong fields don’t bother him and he actually might prefer them as another one of his close calls came at THE PLAYERS. Should be at the top of any list that includes golfers looking for their first PGA TOUR win.
Danny Willett: Posted top 20s in all four WGC events during the 2015 calendar year. He declined PGA TOUR membership so we will have to reserve our usage for some of the bigger events like WGCs and major championships.
Ross Fisher: Could be considered the biggest surprise of all the top-five finishers. He arrived with missed cuts in three of his past four starts on the European Tour. The five-time winner overseas and former Ryder Cupper hadn’t made a PGA TOUR splash since a fifth-place finish at the 2009 U.S. Open.
Branden Grace: The South African has now posted top 20s in six of his last eight starts internationally. Playing with a PGA TOUR card up his sleeves in 2015-16, gamers should continue to target him on a weekly basis.
Dustin Johnson: His leave of absence interfered with his title defense last year, but he hopped right back on the horse in Shanghai. He circled 23 birdies and added an eagle on the week. He couldn’t avoid the mistakes when all was said and done, giving back seven bogeys and a double to finish four strokes behind champion Russell Knox. That’s really the name of the game when it comes to his play style: boom or bust. Gamers should continue to invest as his ratio of top-10 finishes is one of the highest on TOUR.
Matt Fitzpatrick: The youngster out of England did not disappoint in his WGC debut. His potential has started to come to realization with six podium finishes on the European Tour since July. It’s just a matter of time before it fully translates to the PGA TOUR. Gamers should have their dominant index fingers ready to click whenever he is available to roster.
Patrick Reed: His prolonged stay in Asia paid dividends as he avoided jetlag and secured a trio of top 10s. The four-time PGA TOUR winner should be in for another big season and he currently ranks 21st in the FedExCup race.
Jordan Spieth: Arrived with sub-par course history but that gets thrown to the wayside when you have a breakthrough season like last year. There is nothing new to learn from this result as we already knew he was a threat to contend each and every week.
Hao Tong Li: The 20-year-old flashed some major potential in front of a home crowd. It was easy to see the pressure of the situation get to him as he kicked off the Sunday finale with a score of four-over-par through five holes. These fourth-round blowups are becoming somewhat of a trend for the Web.com member. Gamers shouldn’t worry yet considering how young he is. The future is still very bright.
The DFS Hero
A weekly spot to point out one golfer that paid off his salary (and then some) across the daily fantasy sports landscape.
Ross Fisher: We’re not talking about the tall guy from Friends. This is the English golfer who was very lowly owned across the DFS industry. He came through for gamers, finishing in third, carding all four scores under 70, including a bogey-free round, and racking up 20 birdies along the way.
I'm Not Mad, Just Disappointed
It's not all peaches and cream when it comes to fantasy golf. These golfers ruined a lot of good lineups across all formats this week.
Hideki Matsuyama: In a no-cut event like this, getting anything less than four rounds of play is sure to kill fantasy lineups. He was close to shedding the label as a WD threat, but this puts him right back on the list. He now has a strike-rate of three WDs in 58 professional PGA TOUR starts. Not a good ratio.
Adam Scott: Gamers were quick to pile back on the Aussie train after one good week of putting. He gave them a quick reminder of why golf is hard. He racked up five double bogeys in the first two rounds to enter the weekend at 7-over-par.
Kevin Na: There is no way you can get mad at the UNLV product for finally having an off week. The man just put up three straights podium finishes, give him a break.
Playing the Odds
If oddsmakers set the price of a golfer to win at greater than five percent (better than 20-to-1), we have to take notice. This section will recap just how well these favorites perform.
Roy McIlroy (6-1): Finished just outside the top 10 this week. The injury is a thing of the past, and he’s rounding into form yet again. Gamers should look forward to another strong season when he returns to PGA TOUR action in 2016.
Jordan Spieth (8-1): The Golden Child will continue to see these short prices on a weekly basis, regardless of poor course history or lack of any recent play. He finished with another top 10 this week, showing that the oddsmakers are correct in posting those lines.
Dustin Johnson (16-1): His first time returning since the victory at Sheshan International, two years ago. He didn’t skip a beat with a T5 this week.
Bubba Watson (16-1): It’s always tough to win the same event in back-to-back seasons. A T35 should still be considered a disappointment for the bomber.
Rickie Fowler (16-1): The fan favorite is always a little overpriced in the betting markets. It’s no surprise to see him priced at 16-to-1, but he likely should have been in the mid-20s to be honest.
Keep your eyes peeled for a Monday finish at the Sanderson Farms Championship. There are very few fantasy implications that go along with that event, but the winner certainly gains his fair share of exemptions, invitations and FedExCup points.
Next week, the action fully returns to North America as they tee it up south of the border for the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Playa del Carmen, México.