The U.S. Open has passed, a USGA controversy is still brewing, and a one-time victim of a U.S. Open horror story has entered into Oakmont lore forever. Wow, that was quite the week.
But like life, golf never stops moving. At the professional level, it’s never content staying in one place and making it’s home known. We’re onto the Quicken Loans National and Congressional. Long ago, we remember a curly-haired young Irish golfer make an epic comeback from a Masters collapse. This week, that fellow made an appearance on Feherty.
As for the picks this week, I (Troy Klongerbo) will not be making picks. The U.S. Open was enough craziness for me to be in a spell all day Monday and now Tuesday, today, is my birthday. So I have passed the baton this week onto the Sports Monte Ryan Rauch, who’s been joining us each week for a while now. He has picks to help you navigate the field at Congressional.
The Quicken Loans National took a little break from Congressional last year when the event was held at Trent Jones Golf Club.
A lot of scoring records fell last year, but we should expect high scores this week thanks to the 7,500+ yard par 71 monster that will test this weaker-than-average field. Players who will do well this week will have to be able to hit the ball a long way, but GIR is also extremely important thanks to the small bentgrass greens that will run fast, though not as fast as last week’s Open.
Players who played the US Open (especially those that made the cut) will have an advantage on the greens since they’ll be used to rolling the ball on such quick surfaces.
Targeting long hitters, who hit a lot of greens and are good putters… sounds like us amateurs on the weekends, doesn’t it?
Last week, we targeted some sleeper picks with some moderate success. This week, we are going to look at some of the higher end plays you’ll want to use to anchor your lineups. While you won’t be able to roster all of these players, they stand the best chance to perform well while not seeing the highest ownership percentages this week.
5. Webb Simpson ($8,700) – Simpson isn’t as long as you’d like for someone to be, but he makes up for it by hitting a lot of drivers in the fairway, and he ranks 25th on tour in approaches from 200+ yards, so he is able to still hit a lot of greens with longer clubs in his hands. His putting leaves something to be desired, but he’s 3/3 in made cuts at this course, and before last week, was riding two straight top 15 finishes. Simpson is a creative player from around the greens, which will help him save par where other players might lose strokes.
4. Byeong-Hun An ($9,600) – Many will look at An’s price tag and avoid him, but that is exactly why smart DFS players would dig a little bit deeper to see that An, the 27th ranked player in the world, might be a sneaky way to win your contests this week. An played well at the US Open last week, finishing 23rd in an obviously elite field. An has the length (33rd on tour in Driving Distance), and is eighth in birdie average, which is more important in DFS games than actual golf. As long as An makes the cut, he will score a lot of points, and has the talent to put together a run that can win this event.
3. Kevin Chappell ($9,400) – Chappell finished T3 here when the US Open was held at Congressional, and he’s improved tremendously as a player since then. He’s in the midst of his best season as a pro, and he’s made the cut each time he’s teed it up at Congressional since then. Chappell ranks tenth in the FedEx Cup standings right now, as he’s finished inside the top 10 five times already this season. He’s 10th on tour in SG: Tee to Green, and ranks inside the top 60 in Driving Distance, GIR, and proximity to the hole. If his putter is working this week, he’d be a great pick in cash and GPP games.
2. Charley Hoffman ($10,500) – Hoffman plays better in Texas, but he should feel right at home at Congressional this week, as the weather looks to push it’s way up into the 90’s. Heat aside, Hoffman plays best on long courses, and while his length is solid (39th on tour), it doesn’t explain why he picks up more than 1.1 strokes on the field on courses that play more than 7,400 yards. He’s 7/7 in made cuts at this course, including a third place finish in 2014, and he ranks inside the top 40 in both SG: Tee to Green and SG: Total.
1. Brendan Steele ($9,900) – Steele is 24th on tour in Total Driving, which will allow him much better angles into the greens this week, especially if he’s able to find a lot of fairways. Steele also ranks 12th in driving distance, and sits inside the top 75 on tour in both approaches from 200+ yards and Par 4 scoring. He’s made the cut in 3/3 events at Congressional, including a fifth place finish in 2014 and a 16th place finish in 2013. His backdoor T15 last week was his second top 20 finish in a row. Overall, Steele’s the perfect balance of history, form, and stats that makes him our top DFS pick this week.
Ryan Rauch is the owner and lead writer for Sports Monte, a fantasy sports website that provides proven research for season-long and DFS games. He has played golf his whole life and lives and works out of Columbus, Ohio. For more information, follow @SportsMonte on Twitter.