Emergency 9: Fantasy golf advice from Round 4 of Valspar Championship
March 11, 2018
By Mike Glasscott, PGATOUR.COM
Paul Casey captures first PGA TOUR win since 2009 at Valspar
Here are nine tidbits from the final round of the Valspar Championship that gamers can use tomorrow, this weekend or down the road.
Casey on Point
Paul Casey fired a final-round 65 to post 10-under-par 274 to win the Valspar Championship at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Florida. The Englishman picks up his first TOUR win since the 2009 Shell Houston Open and his first win worldwide since the 2014 KLM Open (European Tour). Casey joined the European Tour this season to improve his chances of making the Ryder Cup team. This won't hurt!
What a difference a day makes, as Casey played in the final group on Saturday with Corey Conners. The rookie beat him by three shots and Casey dropped to T11, five shots off the lead. Casey's final round included six birdies and one bogey to tie the low round of the day (65). The key to his victory was his excellent short game. He navigated three difficult up-and-downs in The Snake Pit to close his round and post THE number. His card for the week was spectacular, as he finished in the top 10 in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (6th), Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green (7th), Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (3rd) and was 15th in Strokes Gained: Putting. His previous best finish at this event was T37 in four tries.
Gamers have always rated Casey, minus the lack of wins, because when he makes the cut, he cashes very nice checks. He's made 168 cuts on TOUR and 104 have cashed in the top 25. Of those 104 top-25 finishes, 51, nearly half, have painted the top 10. Of his seven starts this year, six have cashed for T19 or better. His last MC on TOUR was the 2017 Sony Open.
Gamers' Choices -- PGA TOUR Fantasy Game presented by SERVPRO
This group was the definition of all or nothing! If you're not playing the chalk, you're dead. If you're not picking the correct chalk, you're dying. Fantasy golf is hard!
Gamers' Choices -- PGA TOUR One & Done presented by SERVPRO
This one is going to sting for the Justin Rose supporters, while the #NappyFactor army will be much happier at the end of today than they were yesterday. Next week, we'll see if Tiger Woods breaks the Dustin Johnson record for usage in this format.
There's no point to rehash all 1,239,398 stats revealed about Tiger Woods this week. I learned that he is not the finished article, but I was more than encouraged by his performance on a track that he's unfamiliar with playing. He struggled on the greens to find the proper speed and line and was obviously fooled a few times. Sunday's red shirt didn't bring the magic with his iron game either, as he didn't have too many makeable birdie putts. I would assume this all changes next week at Bay Hill where he's won eight times. The momentum is real and so is the "back" in comeback. Next stop is the winner's circle.
Reed-ing Between the Lines
The "other" red shirt on Sunday needed just two shots on the final green to force a playoff with Casey. Patrick Reed took three instead, including the first two from essentially the same spot, and did not force extra holes. Shot No. 1 climbed most of the hill before returning to his feet. Shot No. 2 was what he had in mind for his first attempt. Gamers in all formats exhaled regardless since this was his first top 10 since September and third at Valspar.
Play Them All
It's hard to be patient, but those of you who did with #NappyFactor Sergio Garcia were rewarded. The first-time father-to-be posted 69-65 on the weekend to cash for solo fourth. His wife is due next Sunday, so he's out at Bay Hill. His next event will be WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in her native Austin. ... Reigning champion Adam Hadwin ended up being low Canadian for the week, posting T12. His final round 68 continued his excellent play at Innisbrook and on TOUR, as he's inside the top 12 for his third event running. The confluence of course form with recent form was an easy one for gamers this week.
No Country for Old Men
The 40-year-old Paul Casey wasn't the only "old dude" who played great this week. Rory Sabbatini, who will turn 42 in April, fired 67-69 for his first top 10 since the Wyndham last summer. ... Ryder Cup Captain Jim Furyk, 47, continues his legend as a course horse at Innisbrook. This was his third top-10 finish since his win in 2010. It is also his first top-10 finish in 18 events dating back to November of 2016. ... Presidents Cup Captain Steve Stricker, 51, continued his hot form, as he rode the momentum from his PGA Champions victory in Tucson to T12 this week. In three TOUR events this yea,r he's cashed for T31 or better. ... Zach Johnson, 42, has now hit the top 25 in six of seven events this season after T16.
Corey Conners couldn't handle the leaderboard on Sunday and who can blame him? Those were some big boys breathing down his neck. This experience will be worth more than the T16 paycheck, his best ever, moving forward. ... Sadly for gamers Justin Rose had a front-row seat in the final group to Conners' 77. This was a disappointment for gamers, as Rose (and Conners) has had plenty of winning experience and didn't have to worry about the circus playing with Woods. Rose will be second choice next week at Bay Hill. ... Sam Burns made a bogey on the final hole that knocked him out of the top 10 (T12). He doesn't have status on TOUR, so he loses an event moving forward. He's in the field at Bay Hill next week and Memorial in June. There's no doubt about his talent, as he led the field in Strokes Gained: Putting, but there is no guarantee about his schedule.
Garcia and Reed led the field in birdies with 18. ... Casey only made four bogeys and a double on the week, while Hadwin had only five bogeys to lead the avoidance department. ... Alex Cejka returned to action this week after WD at The Honda Classic and led the field in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green. ... Matt Wallace defeated Andrew Johnston in the Hero Indian Open. Emiliano Grillo continued his excellent play, finishing sixth. He's in the field with jet lag at Bay Hill next week. Tweet of the day: