Fantasy Insider: Waste Management Phoenix OpenThe TOUR leader in birdies, Jeff Overton now sets his sights on TPC Scottsdale, where he has two top 25s.January 29, 2013
On Monday, PGATOUR.COM announced that its new full-season fantasy game will begin with next week's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Gamers will select four golfers for every tournament with the objective to collect as many FedExCup points as possible. Every golfer will be allowed a maximum of 10 starts. Prizes will be awarded every week with the season-long champion receiving a shopping spree worth $1,000 at a PGA TOUR Superstore.
A separate challenge will come in the form of a traditional bracket game for next month's World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship. The winner of this game will received an autographed flag from the golfer that wins the tournament.
As it relates to this week's Waste Management Phoenix Open, you can find my one-and-done selection, analysis and season totals in The TOUR Report on Wednesday. Also located there will be additional breakdown ("The Stats Suggest") of what recent winners of the tournament have in common.
On a Roll
Jason Day ... Closed out the Farmers with a 66 to finish T9. The last time he opened his season with a T9, it was at Kapalua in 2011. He'd go on to total 10 top 10s and net nearly $4 million. Needless to say, salary gamers that hopped aboard are salivating.
Jimmy Walker ... The man loves himself some fourth-place finishes as all of his last eight top fives fit that description. En route to a T4 at last week's Farmers, he ranked 11th in the all-around, which happens to equal his overall rank on TOUR. It's an angle that would play quite well at TPC Scottsdale.
Jeff Overton ... His streak of consecutive rounds of par or better snapped at 22 in the third round (75) of the Farmers, but he leads the PGA TOUR in total birdies and ranks 10th in the all-around. Two top 25s in five appearances at TPC Scottsdale.
Graham DeLaet ... Arrives on the coattails of a T9 at Torrey Pines where he ranked inside the top 16 in total driving, greens hit, proximity to the hole and strokes gained-putting.
Luke Guthrie ... The rookie made early noise at the Farmers where he eventually settled for a share of 21st place, ranking 22nd in total driving and T22 in greens in regulation. Five top 30s in seven career PGA TOUR starts.
Horses for Courses
Bill Haas ... Off to yet another good start to a season. Shared ninth place last week at Torrey Pines to extend his streak of top 10s in January to five consecutive years. Owns a pair of top 20s at TPC Scottsdale, the more recent of which came last year (T19).
Bryce Molder ... One of a plethora of local residents in the field this week. In his last three appearances, he's posted two top 15s. Tied for 16th at the Humana Challenge two weeks ago.
John Rollins ... Hasn't missed a cut in 10 starts, half of which have gone for top 15s, including last year's T8. Started this season with a pair of top 20s to put an end to concerns that an uneventful second half of 2012 would bleed into the new season.
Y.E. Yang ... Two top 10s in three appearances at TPC Scottsdale, and last year's missed cut came at a time when he was bothered by a shoulder injury. Meanwhile, he's carried over a little bit of the momentum with which he closed out 2012, logging a T20 at Waialae; now has top 20s in four of his last seven starts worldwide. All things considered, he's a relative sleeper this week.
Brendon de Jonge ... Funny how golf works sometimes. He opened his season with eight consecutive rounds in the 60s and didn't post a top 45. Last week at Torrey Pines, he shot 74-66-73-69 and finished T15. Given he's burying birdies again, it's more impressive that he overcame adversity at the Farmers than it is concerning that he was blown by at Waialae and PGA West. Both of his cuts made in four starts at TPC Scottsdale are top 25s.
Kevin Na ... TPC Scottsdale could provide the shot in the arm he needs. He's 0-for-2 this season despite an actual scoring average of 69.60. In seven starts at this event, he's posted five top fives, including a T5 a year ago.
J.B. Holmes ... Can't omit the guy whose pair of PGA TOUR victories have occurred at TPC Scottsdale. Also finished T5 two years ago. Despite this track record and his propensity to survive most cuts, his value is in the long-term. However, consider giving him a look if you're in a two-man one-and-done.
Sean O'Hair, Jhonattan Vegas, Ryo Ishikawa, Ken Duke, Brian Davis, Davis Love III, Chris Stroud and John Merrick ... All have started the season 0-for-2.
Not So Fast
Kyle Stanley ... The defending champ continues to struggle. After finishing last of 30 at Kapalua, he's gone 1-for-3 with a T67 at Waialae. Poor putting continues to prevent him from posting red numbers consistently.
Robert Garrigus ... While he's fresh off a career-best T6 at Torrey Pines, he's broken par just once in his last six rounds at TPC Scottsdale, missing the cut in all three appearances. That said, I've been a long-time fan of what he can do to a golf course. It's possible that he's ratcheted up a notch on the learning curve of harnessing his skill set. Still, without a greater sample size, the conservative play this week is preferred.
Tim Clark ... We can ignore his missed cut at the Humana Challenge because he completed 54 holes in 9-under and shootouts widen the potential field of contenders. Furthermore, we should expect more of the kind of form that led to his runner-up finish at Waialae, but he lands here because he hasn't competed at TPC Scottsdale since 2004 and he's missed the cut in all three starts.
Mark Wilson ... Normally nails on the West Coast Swing, he's a mere 1-for-3 with a T11 at the 30-man opener at Kapalua. He stumbled out of the gates in each of his last two starts, and then rebounded only to fall short of the cut lines. Sterling record at TPC Scottsdale where he won in 2011 and has three other top 20s. If you listed a track where he'd be expected to snap out his funk, this would be it, but gamers can't overlook his inconsistency upon arrival.
Carl Pettersson ... Good week to let him fly solo. His only top 25 of five cuts made in seven appearances was a T25 in 2009. He'll heat up and furnish many more opportunities to plug him in.
David Toms ... Making his second start of the year (T79; Humana). In his last 10 trips to TPC Scottsdale, he's survived seven cuts, all going for top 20s. However, he's missed his last two cuts and three of the last four.
Back in the Saddle
Kris Blanks ... If you follow him on Twitter, you already know that he's taken us through his injury, confusion over the diagnosis and recovery for months now. If he can give it a go, it will be his first relevant action since finishing T4 at qualifying school. He hasn't competed in a PGA TOUR event since mid-July. Given four starts on a Major Medical Extension to earn $257,451 and retain status. Short of that and he'll land in the reshuffle category for the remainder of the season.
Jason Kokrak ... Withdrew at the turn of his second round at Torrey Pines North last Friday with a bad back. He entered the week with high expectations after sharing eighth place at the Humana Challenge the week prior.
Troy Kelly ... The latest to acquire an illness, he had to call it quits after one round at Torrey Pines last week. He's 1-for-2 at TPC Scottsdale with a T57 in 2011. Hasn't posted a top 45 anywhere since losing in a playoff at last year's Greenbrier Classic.
Kevin Sutherland ... Returns after nearly one year away to allow neck and back injuries to heal. Eleven starts remain on his medical extension.
Steve Marino ... Capped off a three-week sprint with a T15 at Torrey Pines. It helped take a bite out of the requirement of the terms for his medical extension, but we don't need to worry about that. In fact, he's already earned 125 percent of his entire take in 2012. Enjoy the ride, salary gamers.
Spencer Levin ... Recovering from surgery on his left thumb, it was a surprise that he appeared in the field in the first place since he circled next week's stop at Pebble Beach as the potential fork in the road for what he does with the remainder of the season. Stay tuned.
Brandt Jobe ... Missed the cut at Torrey Pines by five strokes, and then pulled out of the field at TPC Scottsdale. Nine starts remain on his medical extension.