As mentioned in yesterday's preview, there are likely numerous formulas for winning at Kualu Lumpur Golf & Country Club, but the one I find myself gravitating towards are players with Par 5 prowess and solid long-iron games.
A struggle has been how to handle players that competed at TPC Summerlin yesterday, then had over 24 hours of travel time to reach their final destination. While a fade seems in order, I've seen several players tweet about just arriving who didn't compete last week; the most recent being Rickie Fowler. In the end, I have to trust that these guys know how to manage their schedule.
With fingers crossed, here we go:
- Keegan Bradley - A young guy, who should bounce back from any travel woes, ranked inside the top 30 in Par 5 Birdie or Better, Par Breakers and GIR from 200+ in 2013 and played most recently in the Presidents Cup. Claims the top spot because there isn't any apparent drawback. For one-and-done players, it's too risky to burn him here.
- Phil Mickelson - Why not, right? He is the true class of the field and could easily find himself in contention on Sunday.If you're looking for a statistical reason, he was first in Par Breakers and sixth in Par 5 Birdie or Better in 2013. Like Bradley, don't even think about burning an OAD here.
- Sergio Garcia - This is a little bit of a gut feel, which is generally dangerous in fantasy golf, but I could certainly see it working out in this case. This is a no-cut event, but its worth noting that he went 17 for 17 on the PGA TOUR in 2013. That's true consistency. Finished inside the top 20 in each of his last three TOUR starts. Solid in the splits I considered this week, and worthy of a OAD look.
- Charley Hoffman - I'm drooling over some of his numbers as it may relate to this course. His 2013 PGA TOUR season rankings were eighth in Par Breakers, ninth in Par 5 Birdie or Better and and 15th in GIR 200+. He's the highest ranked guy who played last week and finished fourth, which bodes well for form. Could be a really solid OAD option, but I could see the scenario where it doesn't go well early and he tanks it.
- Jimmy Walker - Well, he's got a win and a T12 to start 2013-14, so the question isn't form as much as stamina. I don't have a great feel on how important it is to find fairways at this week's course, but that's been a big struggle to start the year. He's ranked outside the top 70 in driving accuracy in those tournaments.
- Bill Haas - He's turning into the type of player you can throw in any top 10 without much of an argument. Not saying he's Matt Kuchar yet, but a strong Presidents Cup and the ability to play many different types of courses make him a prudent play.
- Charles Howell III - Solid start to the season with a T33 at the Frys.com and a T5 at the Shriners, he's a good par 5 player and can be counted on for birdies.This is a case of having a decent idea of what you're getting.
- Hideki Matsuyama - He continues to exceed expectation of late, gaining a sponsors invite into this event. Had to pull out of the Shirners, but could mean he's better rested than over half the field.
- Bubba Watson - A little bit of a bag of Skittles, but I like the feel (scary word) of Watson when the expectations are lower. I doubt he gets much buzz this week. His length should make three of the par 5s reachable with irons, and the lengthy par 3s shouldn't bother him.
- Marc Leishman - Missed the cut at the Frys.com Open immediately after his first Presidents Cup, but had a week off to recover. The Aussie should feel more at home that some in the current time zone. No doubt a risk, but aren't they all this week?
- Rickie Fowler - Believe it or not, Fowler makes for an interesting OAD option. Has a little of the Bubba Watson vibe going, and could benefit from flying in under the radar. Other than a top 10 at The Barclays, didn't play especially well in his other two Playoff starts but has had ample time to recover and recharge.
- Kiradech Aphibarnrat - I had to throw him in, and not just because I love his last name. He was the winner of the 2013 Maybank Malaysian Open at this week's venue, which has to count for something. Don't bite too hard on course history alone, considering the overall weakness of the field that week in comparison to this week, but if you are dead set on not using a OAD on someone you may want later he could be the risky choice.
No next five this week.
Since the tournament kicks off on Wednesday night on the East Coast of the U.S., I'll close out the coverage with tomorrow night's post.
Best of luck, as this week may require a little more luck than most!