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. 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 – TPC San Antonio
Many of you already know that I hate course history because the sample size for each player is too small. However, I believe I have found a way to alleviate this issue. I run a regression analysis on the top 25 and bottom 25 “course history index” rankings from DataGolf. Doing so increases the sample size to around 50 players averaging just under 20 rounds per guy. To make the CH Model as predictive as possible (instead of just descriptive), I use career SG stats instead of event-specific SG stats to run the regression.
Next, I create a custom model with Fantasy National using these stats and the respective weights from the regression analysis. I’ll refer to this model as the CH Model throughout the picks. The model gives a rolling report of each players’ rank in the field over the last 4, 8, 12, 24, 50, and 100 rounds. I use a weighted average of the L12, L24, L50, and L100 ranks. 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!
This week, the model of best fit uses the players’ SGOTT, SGAPP, SGATG, and SGP. Around the green takes the cake this week, with driving slightly edging out iron play for second. Putting was barely statistically significant, so while it’s included, it has minimal effect.
Sungjae’s ownership projection isn’t low, but it also suggests people are scared of the price-hike. Here are the young stud’s ranks this week: 2nd in the CH Model, 3rd in top 10 odds, 1st in earnings projection, and 7th in odds to make the cut. His recent form is pretty sensational, too, as he’s gaining more than a stroke per event in all of the big three SG categories this week. In fact, if we look more closely at his performance around the green, we find he’s gained strokes with his short game in each of his past seven events, averaging +1.8 strokes per event.
Byeong Hun An
An projects very similarly to Im. He’s 1st in the CH Model, 6th in top 10 odds, 5th in earning projection, and 5th in odds to make the cut. His recent form might be even better than Im’s for this event. In his last five events, he’s averaging +2.5 SGOTT, +2.9 SGATG and, like Sungjae, another stroke with his irons. His downfall has been losing strokes on the greens in 9 of his past 10 events, but even a mediocre putting week from him should put him in contention. I’m more than happy to eat the chalk with him.
List is a clear GPP-prototype. He’s 5th in top 10 odds, 2nd in earnings projection, yet only 13th in odds to make the cut. His top-5 CH Model ranking makes me confident in his chances to perform closer to his ceiling than his floor this week, so I’ll be heavily invested in yet another bad putter.
Unfortunately, we have to get a little more creative with the rest of the picks because this field is quite weak. Cauley’s off-the-tee performance really concerns me, but his short game is excellent. He’s just 49th in odds to make the cut because of his tendency to lose strokes off the tee. However, his CH Model, top ten odds, and earnings projection ranks are 19th, 18th, and 16th respectively and he’s gained strokes around the green in ten consecutive events. Projected for just over 5% ownership at a very affordable price, he’s fully in play.
Matt Jones was outstanding for us at < 3% ownership at the Vaspar and he’s popping once again. Jones is gaining a ton of strokes off the tee and consistently gaining around the green, as well. His irons have left a lot to be desired, but the guy is $7200 in a weak field, we can’t have everything we want. Despite his recent surge in form, he’s projected for single digit ownership again. The main model doesn’t love him, but he’s 9th in the CH Model.
Fade – Jason Kokrak
This is a tough one. Kokrak leads the field in projected ownership at 25%, but for good reason. He’s one of hottest players on tour, particularly with his irons. However, he’s just 8th in made cut odds at 78%, is surrounded by lower-owned plays who rate better overall for us (An, Glover, List, and Im), and his one weakness lately has been SG:ATG. Kokrak is losing strokes around the green in his last 5, last 10, and last 20 events. His long term SG:ATG is -.135 per round. Next, over his last five events, he’s gaining over 1.25 strokes per round with his irons. Tiger Woods owns the highest long-term SGAPP at .89 per round. In other words, 1.25 for Kokrak is unsustainable, suggesting there’s more risk in the Kokrak pick than the public is perceiving.
I still think he’s a good pick as long as you’re diversifying elsewhere, but he’s someone I’m comfortable full-fading because of the obvious pivots and sky-high ownership.
Good luck this week and find me on Twitter at @alexblickle1!Fantasy Golf