Snedeker, Snedeker, Snedeker.
You’d probably seen the ads before, but you probably didn’t see Brandt Snedeker play like that in real life. Well, he did play like that finally at the Wyndham, where he managed a wire-to-wire victory in the final event before the FexEx Cup playoff events.
The Northern Trust is the first of three FedEx events that comprise of the top golfers in the FedEx points standings. To qualify, you have to be in the top 125 in FedEx points, which barely puts a guy like Seamus Power in the field and excluding former Major champion Sergio Garcia, who came close last week but couldn’t finish high enough to be in the Top 125 this week.
For DFG purposes, it makes for an interesting week. While the top players in the world like Dustin Johnson would still like to win, if he finishes in the middle of the pack or even misses the cut, he will still be competing next week, whereas Power, who sits at 125, pretty much needs a win or a Top 5 finish to have a chance to play the following week.
The course for the Northern Trust in Ridgewood, New Jersey is a long Par 71 that runs 7,385 yards. It will be pretty much the opposite of the birdie-friendly Wyndham – this is a challenging course with a lot of upslope holes that require some good ball striking, finished with Poa greens that will be on the faster side. Aside from narrative plays, personally I am looking at all-around statistics for my choices, but I am trying to avoid to me I consider “overstrikers”, which are golfers that make their living trying to overpower holes off the tee. Guys with the discipline to club down to the 3 wood rather than just blasting it – those are the guys I’m looking for this week.
Francesco Molinari ($9,500 – DraftKings, $11,600 – FanDuel)
There hasn’t been a hotter golfer on the planet than Molinari, who not only has won The Open back in July but has finished in the Top 25 five times in his last six events. His game is so overall solid right now, especially in terms of around the green and bogey avoidance, he seems like a great choice this week. In the past he has struggled with the putter – that might be the only hesitation.
Tommy Fleetwood ($9,400 – DraftKings, $11,400 – FanDuel)
Like Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood, who could be the best ball-striker on the PGA right now, fits the bill on this course simply how he manages to keep his ball on the fairways and off of the penal rough and the trees lining the course. I like him because he takes away a good hunk of what I think could cause golfers trouble off the tee and around the green. If he does as expected, he should be right in the mix.
Zach Johnson ($8,700 – DraftKings, $9,900 – FanDuel)
In a world of big hitters he’s sometimes easy to forget, but Zach’s ability to land shots off the tee and bogey avoidance I think will serve him very well.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($7,900 – DraftKings, $10,500 – FanDuel)
Why he’s at a discount on DraftKings is beyond me, but RCB has the benefit of being a good all-around stats play and a narrative play, as he’s looking to close strong and get onto the Ryder Cup team. I feel he will be chalk at this price but he’s good chalk. I’ll have him on my teams.
Ian Poulter ($7,600 – DraftKings, $9,200 – FanDuel)
Speaking of Ryder Cup narratives, Poulter is a true grinder who just fell out of automatic qualifying spots for the Ryder Cup team last week. He should be grinding all four days, which makes him a terrific cheap pick.
Kyle Stanley ($7,300 – DraftKings, $8,400 – FanDuel)
You have to live with his occasional what-the-heck three-putt bogeys, but Stanley, if he makes the cut, is such a big potential pointmaker he’s difficult to ignore. Personally I think he makes the cut and will be on the big winning GPPs.