In this series, I’ll highlight six guys that my PGA models identify as high-upside players who are projected for low ownership. Note: these will not always be my core plays. I recommend building a core and finding one or two of these guys who fit your build to give you GPP-winning upside. For my core, find me in FTA+ chat each week!
Finally, here’s a breakdown of my model. You’ll find I refer to the top 10/3/1 percentages a lot. In my mind, Cut Odds is a floor projection, Earnings is a median/average projection, and the probabilities of a top 10/3/1 finish are akin to a ceiling projection. In GPP, we want ceiling above all else!
Let’s get to it.
Course Breakdown – Riviera CC
New this week! Many of you already know that I hate course history because the sample size for each player is too small. However, I believe I found a way to alleviate this issue. I ran a regression analysis on the top 20 and bottom 20 “course history index” rankings from DataGolf. Doing so increases the sample size to around 40 players averaging just under 20 rounds per guy. The model of best fit uses the players’ SGOTT, SGAPP, and SGATG, with SGATG being the heaviest influencer. SGP was comically useless to the model. To make the CH Model as predictive as possible instead of descriptive, I used career SG stats instead of event-specific SG stats.
Next, I created a custom model with Fantasy National using these three stats and the respective weights from the regression analysis. I’ll refer to this model as the CH Model throughout the picks. If you’re interested in seeing the full results of this CH Model, all you have to do is join FTA+, as I post the results in Chat!
I don’t believe Rory is the top play, but he comes at a discount in both price and ownership to JT and DJ. Furthermore, he actually ranks first over the last 50 rounds in the CH Model thanks to an average of .288 SGATG per round. My model loves him as well, as he comes in second to only DJ in both projected earnings and top 10 odds.
Tiger is a fascinating case study this week. Tiger has struggled at Riviera throughout his career and acknowledged as much last year. However, he also spoke at length about how he’s puzzled by his struggles here because he loves the course. Here’s an interesting and illuminating quote:
“I love the golf course, I love the layout, it fits my eye and I play awful,” Woods said last year. “It’s very simple. It’s just one of those weird things. It’s a fader’s golf course for a righty. A lot of the holes, you hit nice soft cuts and I used to love to hit nice soft cuts, and for some reason, I just didn’t play well.”
To add to the confusion, he rates shockingly well in the CH Model due to his elite .365 SGATG and .938 SGAPP. His CH Model ranks are 5th in his last 50 rounds, 9th in his past 24, and 6th in his past 12.
Despite all this, Tiger will be low-owned (especially for him) based solely on his career struggles, but as I hopefully just convinced you, there is plenty of reason to believe his fortunes will reverse here.
Oh, and he rates quite well in my main model, too.
Oosthuizen is projected for under 10% ownership, making me very intrigued, but there’s one thing giving me pause. Take a look at his rolling 50-round average SGAPP, using DataGolf’s True-Strokes-Gained tool:
For years, Louis was an elite iron-player. In the past year, his iron play has utterly collapsed. He remains a solid driver of the golf ball and is gaining .3 strokes per round around the green. Consequently, he ranks fairly well in the CH Model despite his poor irons.
Finally, there’s reason to believe this trend has already reversed itself for Louis. He hasn’t played a round with tracked SG stats since October, but his last three Euro-Tour events resulted in a 1st, 7th, and 4th place finish. It’s easy to imagine his iron-play is trending back up with those finishes, which would vault him way up the CH Model.
Tyrell Hatton & Sungjae Im
I’m putting these guys together for a reason. I made a chart to illustrate said reason:
In every single category, Im and Hatton stand out above Hadwin and Kokrak, yet ownership reflects the exact opposite. I will be hammering this situation in tournaments for the leverage boost.
For Hatton, it’s his .44 SGATG driving his solid projections. For Im, it’s elite performance off the tee paired with a solid short game.
List is 9th in the L50 CH Model, 14th in the L24, and 3rd in the L100. He drives the ball incredibly well (.745 SG per round) and is well above average with his irons and around the green (.3 and .2 SG per round, respectively).
2 MCs in his last 3 events has his projected ownership very suppressed, but he shines in my main model and his recent form isn’t all bad – he has two top 5s in his past six rounds. More importantly, his ball striking has been excellent over his last five events.Fantasy Golf