The average winning score of The American Express since 2011 is 24.5 shots under par. It's basically the same (23.8) if you just look at the last five years.
The courses may be toughened just a little with no amateurs in the field this year. The pro-am format has been scraped for one year due to the pandemic. Even if you toughen it up the setup a tad, it's still very likely this turns into a birdie-fest. They are playing in Palm Springs so the weather is always perfect.
That brings up the question, is it better to target golfers that circle more birdies than the field or is it better to more efficiently avoid bogeys? I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this question. The answer is both. To keep up in a shootout, you need to do everything right in the scoring categories.
Let's look for those birdie makers and also see who can avoid bogeys with the best of them.
You can't contend in a shootout without at least making 20 birdies, more likely needed 25 to 30 by week's end.
These golfers have been the most consistent at circling more birdies than the fields they've faced, over the last six months:
John Augenstein (small 6 round sample)
Ryan Moore (small 8 round sample)
James Hahn ($20): The Cal-Berkeley product roared of the gate this season with three straight top 10s. He said he was finally healthy again and it certainly showed on the game log. He's slowed his pace since then but still plenty to like about his recent form when you consider he is minimum-priced on Yahoo this week. Hahn has 99 birdies in 22 rounds this year (4.5 per round). That is exactly what you need this week at PGA WEST.
The other way to keep pace in a shootout it to remain steady and not make many errors. If you keep your bogeys under 5 for the week then you really just need 20 to 25 birdies to contend in a shootout.
Here are the most consistent bogey avoiders, over the last six months (minimum of 20 rounds).
Patrick Reed ($42): You may have noticed that Reed made his name onto both lists. His game is perfect for an easy scoring environment. In fact, he won this event back in 2014 so there is some evidence beyond the recent numbers. Reed might be someone to build around this week if you need some firepower at the top.
Hopefully these stats will give you some names to dive into when it comes to researching your final selections this week over at Yahoo!