Sleeper picks: Open

October 09, 2012
Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Columnist

Note: Fantasy expert Rob Bolton provides his list of sleeper picks for every tournament. This week, he focuses on the under-the-radar selections for the Open:


Patrick Reed ... You know his story by now. The six-time open qualifier on the PGA TOUR this season didn't need to grind out another berth because the event gave him a sponsor exemption. In 10 starts, he's posted three top 25s among six cuts made. That includes a T22 in Las Vegas last week, where he ranked inside the top 20 in both greens in regulation and strokes gained-putting. Given that the clock is ticking for him to earn a 2013 card via his non-member earnings -- he'd rank 181st with at most two starts to burn, including this week -- he would serve himself well by starting strong at CordeValle. It's an approach that has worked time and again in the open qualifiers as well as at TPC Summerlin last week where he matched a career low with an opening-round 65..


Colt Knost ... Snapped out of his funk with a share of 13th place last week in Vegas. He sat inside the top five with two holes to go, but closed with a double bogey at the par-3 17th hole and a triple at the par-4 18th. In his first 70 holes, he incurred just three bogeys. After opening last year's debut at CordeValle with a birdie-free 76, he survived the cut on the number with a bogey-free 67 in his second round. He'd go on to shoot 67-71 to earn a tie for 54th. His strengths are hitting fairways (18th on TOUR) and rolling the rock (36th in strokes gained-putting). In 10 cuts made this year, he's posted five top 25s.


Russell Knox ... The PGA TOUR rookie has survived his last five cuts. His T13 last week was a personal best. He ranked T4 in both fairways and green hit at TPC Summerlin; also co-led the field with two eagles. The Scot's strengths fit CordeValle, too. He's 41st on TOUR in accuracy off the tee and 25th in greens in regulation. He's also 15th in proximity to the hole, which is a valuable split on greens that average 8,300 square feet.


Billy Horschel ... Attempting to secure his 2013 PGA TOUR card from the conditional status category. He's made only 14 starts but he's 147th on the money list thanks to 12 cuts made highlighted by a solo third at the True South Classic. His tee-to-green game can play anywhere but its value is inflated at CordeValle. In his only previous appearance at the host track, he shared seventh placed last year, ranking inside the top 20 in fairways hit, greens in regulation and putting. He also played the back nine in 13-under with just one bogey all week.


Gavin Coles ... There are only so many venues on which the light-hitting Australian can contend without losing strokes off the tee. CordeValle is on the short list, literally. It checked in with the second-lowest average driving distance a year ago. Coles, who ranks 185th on TOUR in length, can instead rely more on other elements of his game. He's 44th in fairways hit, 16th in proximity to the hole and 17th in strokes gained-putting. Also worth of a mention is that he did his best work on the Tour the last two years in the latter stages of the season.