If you're rationing starts in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, it's important to keep a couple of things in mind as we navigate through Segment 3.
In the short-term, the RBC Heritage presents a smart opportunity to invest in second-tier commodities in what is an impressive field of 132. Harbour Town surrendered an average distance of all drives of just 273.0 yards last year. That was second-shortest of all courses and indicative of its history. Of the remaining seven stops in Segment 3, only it and Colonial Country Club (Charles Schwab Challenge, May 23-26) are cozy, so you'll have your chances to open the throttle to chase the bonus points.
All of the remaining tournaments in Segment 3 will have ShotLink measuring every stroke. This includes the PGA Championship on May 16-19. It's the only major that utilizes it.
Because next week's Zurich Classic of New Orleans is a team event, PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf will be dark. Ignore that stop if you're mapping out starts for any of your charges. However, PGA TOUR Fantasy One & Done will be in play as it is for all 46 PGA TOUR events.
PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf
My roster for the RBC Heritage (in alphabetical order):
Byeong Hun An
You’ll find my starters in Expert Picks.
Others to consider for each category (in alphabetical order):
Scoring: Charles Howell III; Sungjae Im; Dustin Johnson; Si Woo Kim; Jason Kokrak; Matt Kuchar; Scott Piercy; Jordan Spieth
Driving: Tommy Fleetwood; Lucas Glover; Charles Howell III; Sungjae Im; Jason Kokrak; Matt Kuchar; Kevin Streelman
Power Rankings Wild Card
Tommy Fleetwood … I know, I'm a tough crowd. He strides into his debut at Harbour Town having getting ousted from the Match Play in pool play and after finishing a forgettable T36 at the Masters where he failed to break 70 in every round, and he doesn't appear in the Power Rankings. Hey, this field is stacked, so it's proper time to remind all gamers that omissions from the Power Rankings don't default to lack of confidence. Statistically, he has all of the tools, and while course experience hasn't mattered in this tournament, it still must be respected by those who have it.
Jordan Spieth … Just not at his price tag in DFS. Consider rostering in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf only. We've been trained not to lean on his course history this season as merely making cuts doesn't meet expectations, but no worse than a T12 (2014) in three trips can't hurt his confidence upon arrival.
Brandt Snedeker … As the winner here in 2011, he's among the throng who have proven that great putters are not neutralized by small greens. Yet, it's his only top 10 in 13 appearances, so that plays into the narrative of Harbour Town as a consistently fair track. Hit and miss this season, he's recorded a pair of top fives, the latter at TPC Sawgrass a month ago. Marry the promise with the success and course knowledge at Hilton Head, and he's an easy endorsement.
Jason Kokrak … Continue to lean on the big guy. He can handle it. He connected top 20s here in 2014, 2015 and 2016. He's also been a fixture on leaderboards with seven top-20s in the last three months. That includes top 10s in four of his last five starts. Slots 12th on TOUR in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
Cameron Smith … He should be in the Power Rankings on talent alone, but he's in a rut at the moment. That said, his floor is higher than most at Harbour Town where he's 3-for-3 with a scoring average of 69.42 since 2015. Zero worries.
Charley Hoffman … While he couldn't find a low one at Augusta National (T29), he's percolating again. The runner-up finish at TPC San Antonio speaks to his comfort level on that course (where he's the all-time earnings leader), so it stands to reason that the rally will keep rolling at Harbour Town where he's registered two top-10s and two top-25s in the last seven editions.
Kevin Streelman … A wonderful convergence of trends what with a 6-for-6 slate at Harbour Town since 2011 (T7 last year) and a solo sixth in his last start at TPC San Antonio where he's also a horse. Do not hesitate.
Scott Stallings … It's time to revise our expectations from reserving for long-term ownership in deeper leagues to consideration on a weekly basis. And it's not so much due to a fit as it is his commitment to a stronger consistency over time. As we do, his value will be underrated, but because you still need to guard against a regression to the mean, surround with more reliable chips when you make room.
Mackenzie Hughes … Similar to Brian Harman and Ollie Schniederjans a few weeks ago, the Canadian has earned some attention of late. He's recommitted and it's showing, but I still want to see him sustain it over time. He got hot after an 0-for-4 skid and he missed the cut in his debut at Harbour Town last year.
Charles Howell III
Satoshi Kodaira … What shouldn't be forgotten was that when he broke through at Harbour Town last year, he was inside the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking and already on our radar. It's just that success on the Japan Golf Tour hasn't translated into even a fraction of it in the U.S. a high percentage of the time, so we were right to remain patient. He's since won again on his home circuit, but it's his only top-15 finish anywhere in the last 12 months. Currently 151st in the FedExCup and without a top-35 finish in a full-field, stroke-play PGA TOUR event since a T35 at the 2018 Open Championship.
Marc Leishman … As he's elevated to a spot off to the side on the top shelf, the dearth of positive course history hasn't applied often. However, in a satisfactorily deep field on a track where he's logged only one top-25 (T9, 2013), and with spotty form upon arrival, this is an opportune time to give him a blow. He'll be back in our crosshairs next time out.
Corey Conners … It's been a whirlwind, hasn't it? I was mildly surprised to see him commit to his third start at Harbour Town (2 MCs) only because of the timing of his breakthrough victory at the Valero Texas Open and last-minute showing at the Masters. And this is his fourth straight week on the road.
Zach Johnson … Well, that injection of something special didn't appear on the Florida Swing. He hasn't made much noise at the Masters recently, either, so we can ignore last week's T58, but he has to sharpen his irons before regaining our confidence. It's his precision upon approach that sparked the love affair in the first place. At worst, expect a cut made at Harbour Town based on experience and ball flight alone.
Charl Schwartzel … This may seem obvious to newer gamers, but once upon a time, he was a cornerstone to make the cut and provide predictable support. Alas, he's been just about everything but this season. Since a burst in Puerto Rico (T6) and PGA National (T16), he's just 1-for-4 with a T61 at Corales.
Returning to Competition
Cameron Champ … He sat out the last month following a sore back that forced him to withdraw during the second round of THE PLAYERS. He missed the cut in his previous two starts and hasn't connected for a top 25 in a full-field event since the fall. Leave him be as he returns and makes his debut at Harbour Town.
Louis Oosthuizen … He would have been making his second appearance at Harbour Town (T7, 2015). Shared the 36-hole lead at last week's Masters before fading to T29.
Martin Trainer … This will give him a second consecutive week off. No doubt that his win in Puerto Rico has forced him to reconstruct his schedule, but it's always a little strange to see a rookie withdraw after any commitment deadline.
Sung Kang … Even though he's made only one cut in four tries at Harbour Town (T11, 2017), it's curious that he'd withdraw from an invitational, but he's all but set to qualify for the Playoffs at 63rd in FedExCup points. Since a T14 at Pebble Beach, he's 7-for-7 with three top 20s.
John Huh … This is his third straight early WD since missing the cut at THE PLAYERS. No news has surfaced to explain why and he hasn't shared anything on social media.
Power Rankings Recap – Masters
Power Ranking Golfer Result
1 Rory McIlroy T21
2 Justin Rose MC
3 Tiger Woods Win
4 Dustin Johnson T2
5 Rickie Fowler T9
6 Jon Rahm T9
7 Bubba Watson T12
8 Justin Thomas T12
9 Paul Casey MC
10 Hideki Matsuyama T32
11 Francesco Molinari T5
12 Louis Oosthuizen T29
13 Matt Kuchar T12
14 Brooks Koepka T2
15 Sergio Garcia MC
16 Marc Leishman T49
17 Jordan Spieth T21
18 Patrick Reed T36
19 Jason Day T5
20 Henrik Stenson T36
Wild Card Phil Mickelson T18
Sleepers Recap – Masters
Kiradech Aphibarnrat T49
Patrick Cantlay T9
Stewart Cink MC
Hao Tong Li T43
Kevin Na T46
Thorbjørn Olesen T21
Birthdays among active golfers on the PGA TOUR
April 16 … Michael Thompson (35)
April 17 … Nick Taylor (31)
April 18 … none
April 19 … Matt Jones (39)
April 20 … John Senden (48)
April 21 … none
April 22 … Eric Axley (45)