Sleeper Picks: Humana ChallengeJanuary 17, 2012
Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist
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Note: Beginning in 2012, fantasy expert Rob Bolton will provide his list of sleeper picks for every tournament. This week, he focuses his below-the-radar selections for the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
Camilo Villegas The first-timer at the Humana was inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking a year ago at this time. He's currently 97th, and it would be worse if he didn't fix an issue with his grip in the second half of 2011. To wit, he rattled off five consecutive top 25s worldwide, four of which were top 10s before ending the year with a pair of forgettable results in Asia. Despite that late-season slide, he's projected for a bounce-back season. PGA West is a nifty fit for a guy that once ranked among the elite in birdie average on the PGA TOUR.
Jason Kokrak Many are making comparisons to Gary Woodland, which makes sense since Kokrak also thrashes it off the tee, but I "see" more Phil Blackmar and Michael Putnam. Time will tell where the PGA TOUR rookie leans if he doesn't carve out his own niche, but he matches up considerably well this week. First, all three of last year's playoff participants -- Woodland, Bill Haas and eventual champ Jhonattan Vegas -- are bombers like Kokrak. Additionally, Kokrak ranked second in birdie average on the Nationwide Tour in 2011. If you pay any attention to the developmental circuit, you know that you absolutely must make birdies to survive. The same requirement exists this week.
Danny Lee Missed the cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii where he hit seven (of 14) fairways, 10 greens and took 30 putts in both rounds. Looking for a better result if not a breakthrough this week given that he led the Nationwide Tour in both birdie average and par breakers in 2011. Also ranked 12th in greens hit, sixth in putting and he can move it off the tee.
Vaughn Taylor Making his 2012 debut. If he wasn't a q-school grad, he'd have cracked "Horses for Courses" in my Fantasy Insider if not the Power Rankings. Instead, he has an axe to grind to regain his status among the top 125 in earnings, and this week's stop is a sensible site at which the reclamation could begin. He's 5-for-5 at the Humana with two top 10s and another top 25 (T25, 2011). From 2006-2010, he ranked no worse than 40th in birdie average.