After a short break, the PGA is back this week with the Hero World Challenge. Many people will be keeping up with this tournament as Tiger Woods is making his first start since very early in the year. An extremely small number of golfers are set to participate in the tournament as only 18 golfers are in the field, many of which are near the top of the OGWR. It is to be played at the Albany development in the Bahamas which is a Par 72 measured at 7302 yards. This course has been the venue for this event for the last couple years now. Last year’s winner was Hideki Matsuyama, and the runner-up was Henrik Stenson. Aside from good form and the small sample size of course history, the key statistics that we will be looking at for this tournament are Par 4 Efficiency (450-500 yards), ball striking, birdie or better %, and Proximity (150-175 yards). Now let’s get into some picks!
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Upper Price Tier
Brooks Koepka DK $9,200 FD $8,200
Koepka has proven time and time again, especially over the course of last year, that he is able to compete with the best in the game. He maintained the best average leaderboard position over the 4 Major tournaments last year. This includes his WIN at the U.S Open. As of late, Koepka has only participated in one tournament in the 2017/2018 season and that was the WGC-HSBC Champions. In a relatively strong field event, Koepka was able to finish runner-up (2nd) firing 21 birdies over the 4 rounds. Overall, Koepka’s prominent ability to put up fantastic results in these sort of events is really something to look out for. Last year, Koepka participated in this event but he only finished T13/18. In 2015 however, he finished in 7th. Although not exceptional results, Koepka does have great experience and sustains a solid form heading into the event this week. More can be justified by his course fit and statistics. Heavily due to his inconsistent accuracy, Koepka’s ball striking ranking is below average but he still does maintain a top 10 driving distance which is important at any course measured at more than 7300 yards. Moreover, Koepka ranked 111th in Par 4 from 450 – 500 yards but he maintained a 19.02% birdie or better percentage on Par 4s and 24.10% birdie or better percentage overall which were both top 20 in the PGA. He is definitely one of the best birdie makers on tour. As for his approach shots from more than 150 yards, Koepka’s proximity stats are decent as he ranked 35th from 150-175 yards and 6th in 175-200 yards which suggests a great ability to get the ball within birdie making distance on the green. Many of Koepka’s statistics are poor due to his early season struggles last year but as for his recent form, this tournament seems to be in his favor and he makes for a great top player.
Lower Price Tier
Tommy Fleetwood DK $6,800 FD $6,500
Fleetwood has had a busy start to the season thus far as he has already participated in 7 events, most on the European tour, making every single cut and finishing in the Top 25 every time. Most recently, Fleetwood came in 6th at the UBS Hong Kong Open consistently shooting all 4 rounds under 70. In probably his only stronger field event of the season, the WGC-HSBC Champions, Fleetwood had a pretty good week finishing 20th and ranking top 20 in the field for both fairway accuracy and greens in regulation. Thus, he comes into this tournament in great form at a respectable, low price tag. He has never participated at the Hero World Challenge in his career as this will be his first appearance. Fleetwood’s stats on the European tour are solid and suit this course very well. He ranks first in the entire tour in greens in regulation and this implies a lot of birdie opportunities and great consistent approach shots from long distances. Additionally, he ranks 10th in driving distance, so his ball striking is probably one of the best in the field. Fleetwood has a great mix of consistency and upside given his innate birdie making ability and solid high results as of late. He seems to be one of the safer options from the lower price tier. He can certainly get a top 10 finish in the field of 18 this week.
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As our main PGA writer, Gabriel D’Antonio knows all the ins and outs of golf. As a team golfer for many years, Gabriel knows how to spot the best PGA players. And as a fantasy sports player, Gabriel knows the ins and outs of winning! Check out his articles when it comes time for the pros to hit the links.