The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
After last week with the new course and weaker field, we’ll get a familiar course this week at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. Along with the familiar course, we’ll get a stronger field that features 12 of the top-30 golfers in the Official World Golf Rankings.
As always, I back-tested various metrics within our PGA Models to find out which have been the most valuable at Colonial Country Club. Per the Trends tool, here is how the top 20% of golfers in various metrics have done (in Plus/Minus valuation) at this course. Historically, the tournament has yielded averages of 47.57 DraftKings points and a -2.25 Plus/Minus with a 50.7% Consistency Rating to the field.
I’m listing only the metrics that tested positively above the baseline:
- Recent GIR: +7.45
- Recent Adjusted Birdie Avg: +6.62
- Long-Term Putts Per Round: +6.02
- Long-Term Missed Cuts: +5.96
- Long-Term Adjusted Birdies Per Tournament: +5.49
- Recent Driving Accuracy: +5.29
- Course Driving Accuracy: +5.05
- Recent Par-5 Scoring: +4.13
- Course Putts Per Round: +2.25
- Recent Par-4 Scoring: +2.24
- Long-Term Scrambling: +1.91
- Long-Term Par-5 Scoring: +1.80
- Recent Missed Cuts: +1.80
- Course Greens in Regulation: +1.58
- Recent Putts Per Round: +1.48
- Long-Term Adjusted Round Score: +1.47
- Long-Term Par-3 Scoring: +1.39
- Long-Term Driving Accuracy: +1.00
- Recent Adjusted Round Score: +0.65
- Recent Driving Distance: +0.60
- Course Count: +0.32
- Course Adjusted Round Score: +0.24
Colonial Country Club is a Par 70, 7,209-yard course that is one of the more difficult courses on tour, ranking seventh among 50 locations last year. After back-testing the metrics for Colonial CC, the first thing I noticed is that accuracy off the tee, birdie-makers, and excellent ball-strikers will be rewarded. With the narrow fairways, the first challenge will be at least keeping the ball in play. However, getting on the green in regulation is only half the battle; players will still need to capitalize on birdie opportunities, as three different putting metrics back-tested well here. And those that miss greens in regulation… well, hopefully they’re good scramblers.
Jordan Spieth ($11,700) checks in with the highest salary and the highest odds to win (10%), which shouldn’t be surprising considering he owns the best Long-Term Adjusted Round Score (LT Adj Rd Score) of 68.1. Aside from those numbers, Spieth hasn’t finished worse than 14th at Colonial CC in his past five appearances:
Spieth is the perfect fit for this course because he can scramble (61.7% LT Scrambling), putt (28.8 LT PPR), and hit GIR (70.4% LT GIR). He’s also reasonably accurate off the tee with his 60.3% LT DA. Spieth is also entering this tournament in decent recent form, hitting 77.8% of GIR, 71.5% of fairways, and averaging 20 birdies per tournament. While Spieth hasn’t finished better than 21st over his past two tournaments in May, his overall metrics are encouraging.
Among all the top-priced golfers below Spieth, you can make a case for any of them as they all fit this course quite well in their long-term form:
When it comes to Jon Rahm, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, and Webb Simpson, you’re going to be splitting hairs. They all have comparable odds and LT Adj Rd Scores, along with the ability to hit GIR, put the ball in play off the tee consistently, putt well, and scramble. Your choice from this group will likely come down to how your rosters are constructed from mid-range and value plays. In tournaments, they may boast similar ownership. Historically, golfers with comparable LT Adj Rd Scores and Vegas odds have averaged around 18% ownership in large-field GPPs:
The Value Plays
One way to use FantasyLabs to find potential value golfers in our Models is to leverage our LT Adj Rd Score metric. If you sort the field by LT Adj Rd Score, you are looking at a list of players who have been the best golfers over the past 75 weeks. Among these golfers, those who have low salaries make great value plays.
Steve Stricker ($7,900) isn’t flashy, but he gets the job done. Over the past 75 weeks, Stricker has hit an incredible 71.8% of GIR and 74.7% of fairways. Not to mention he can scramble as well, avoiding bogey or worse on 64.4% of holes after missing the green within that same time frame. As a result of his excellent scrambling, Stricker’s averaged just seven bogeys per tournament. Additionally, his 19.5 recent birdies per tournament mark trails the marks of only Jimmy Walker and Spieth. All four of the previously-mentioned metrics are top-three marks in the field.
Adam Hadwin ($7,600) has been steady this season and has yet to miss a cut:
He’ll come into this tournament in solid recent form, boasting a 68.4 Recent Adj Rd Score, hitting 68.8% of GIR, and nailing 63.4% of fairways. Further, Hadwin is familiar with this course as he hasn’t missed a cut here in his past three appearances. Overall, Hadwin’s putter has been lacking (29.8 Recent PPR), but he’s still making cuts because he’s doing everything else right. If his putter can get going, Hadwin could contend here.
Chez Reavie ($7,600) had a hot start to this PGA season but has since fallen off a cliff, with two missed cuts and two made cuts with a 30th-or-worse finish in his past four starts. That said, Reavie is an excellent fit for this course, as it rewards accuracy and not distance. Reavie has hit 72.3% of fairways, 66.5% of GIR, and has avoided bogey or worse on 62.7% of holes (both marks similar to his recent form) over the past 75 weeks. Further, his putter is scorching hot right now: He’s averaging 27.5 putts per round over the past six weeks. This could be a potential bounce-back spot for Reavie.
Beau Hossler ($7,700) is another golfer who has a balanced game that fits Colonial CC. He’s also in good form, with five straight made cuts over the past six weeks. Within that same time frame, Hossler is hitting nearly 70% of GIR and fairways. Not only is he hitting GIR, but he’s capitalizing on his birdie opportunities, averaging 17.3 birdies per tournament.
If you’re feeling frisky, Ben Crane ($6,900) is projected for 0-1% ownership. He can be volatile, sporting a 70.7 LT Adj Rd Score and a missed cut rate of 34% over the past 75 weeks. That said, Crane is on a heater (of sorts) with three straight made cuts, hitting 73% of GIR, 78.6% of fairways, and averaging 18.5 birdies per tournament over the past six weeks. At his price tag, just a made cut would suffice to pay off his salary-based expectations — which he’s done over the past three weeks, averaging a +27.88 Plus/Minus.
The Bump and Run
Emiliano Grillo ($8,600) is as steady as it comes for a mid-range golfer. He possesses a low 17% missed cut rate over the past 75 weeks, and he hasn’t missed a cut this season. Further, Grillo has the ball-striking (69% Recent GIR) and accuracy off the tee (69.6% Recent DA) to succeed here.
Chesson Hadley ($8,300) will make this column for the millionth time in a row as he continues to play excellent golf. Since the Houston Open, Hadley has finished 20th or better in every tournament. Moreover, his balanced game is perfect for Colonial CC, hitting a stellar 69.4% of GIR and 61.8% of fairways over the past 75 weeks. He’s also an excellent scrambler, avoiding bogey or worse on 61.3% of holes within the same time frame. Hadley appears to be a safe bet yet again, especially if his putter stays hot (27.8 putts per round over the past six weeks).
Staying on the same page with hot golfers… Patrick Cantlay ($9,000) and Hadley each boast a 67.9 Recent Adj Rd Score, which is the fourth-best mark in the field. Overall, Cantlay’s long-term form isn’t far off from his recent form, which is reassuring. Over the past six weeks, Cantlay is nailing greens (71.5% GIR) while hitting 64.3% of fairways. He’s also been capitalizing on his birdie opportunities with 18.5 per tournament. Cantlay has historically been a safe play, missing just 3% of cuts over the past 75 weeks.
Zach Johnson ($8,500) is coming off a missed cut at The Players Championship, but outside of that appearance he’s been one of the most consistent golfers you can roster this year:
Since 2011, Johnson hasn’t missed a cut at Colonial CC. He also won the event in 2012.
Don’t forget to visit our suite of Tools to research all of the golfers. Good luck this week!
Pictured above: Emiliano Grillo
Photo credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports