This week, the Tour heads to the Greenbrier. The course was recently renovated after flooding caused the cancellation of the 2016 edition. When digging deep into the course, we see that this event often ends up being a birdie fest. The landing areas are wide enough this week to where I don’t see much advantage to players who are of the accurate type off of the tee. I think I’m going to focus on guys who have been dominating on approaches and short game but have been struggling off the tee. I think these players will swing a bit more freely at this course knowing that they can miss the decently wide fairways and still recover. With that being said, here are this week’s picks:
Stewart Cink $6,900
Cink has been throwing away shots off the tee but has been near dominant in other areas of his game, especially approach shots. When he has kept the ball in play, Cink has one of the highest birdie rates on Tour. He has eight top 30s in his last 11 starts on Tour. I look for Cink to record another top 30 this week with plenty of birdies that will more than pay off his $6,900 salary.
Harris English $7,000
English has been at the bottom of the Tour lately due to his Strokes Gained: Off the Tee statistic, losing shots to the field in every event he has played this calendar year! In his last five starts, English has still been able to rack up three top 30s by being near the top of the Tour in SG Approach. On a course that provides some room off the tee, I wouldn’t be surprised to see English contend. He is one of my favorite bets of the week at 60-1 considering the weak field.
Jimmy Walker $7,800
Walker at $7,800 provides elite upside. When Walker is on, he is a birdie machine and often finds the winner’s circle. Similar to Cink and English, his weakness is off the tee. Walker seems to be comfortable at the Greenbrier as shown by his three top fives in his last five starts. If Walker can keep the driver in play, I think he can rack up another birdie-laden top five.
Bubba Watson $9,800
Much will be said this week about Bubba owning a house at the Greenbrier. Don’t let that fool you into playing him in your lineup. Bubba’s recent decent play has been due to increased performance off the tee, which will not help much on this layout. He is still struggling with approaches and his putter, which could cause him to become frustrated at this week’s birdie fest. In past years when Bubba was playing better, he recorded three top 30s but no top tens. Even at $9,800, I think he will be around 15% owned, and I would love to fade that ownership.
Russell Henley $9,300
Henley has been able to keep it together the past two events (after missing his prior two cuts) by relying on elite driving. He is near the bottom of Tour in SG Approach over the last couple months. Unless he has a hot putter, I don’t see Henley finishing in the top 20 this week, which is needed to pay off his $9,300 salary.
I expect Lee, the 2015 champion, to be the highest-owned player this week in most leagues. He has been playing great as of late, making six straight cuts including three top-6 finishes. Lee is near the top of the field over the past few months in SG Approach and SG Putting. Look for him to be on the front page of the leaderboard on Sunday.
If you have Kisner left, this is a good place to use him. He has continued his hot play over the past few months and now heads to a course where he finished runner up in its last edition. If it comes down to an iron and putting contest, it is hard not to choose Kisner.
Back to the well on Lingmerth this week. If you didn’t use him last week, this week is a viable option as he is playing great (five straight top-26 finishes) and has great course history (three top 16s in three starts).
Ted Potter (125-1 to win, 6-1 top 10)
Potter, the 2012 champion, loves this course. In his other two starts, he has finished sixth and 26th. He has been on the Web.com Tour this year and had some success as shown by his four top-6 finishes in his last eight starts. At 125-1, he is a great value this week.
Johnson Wagner (80-1 to win, 5-1 top 10)
Wagner is the perfect combination of current form and course history. He finished fifth last week at the Quicken Loans. He has made his last five cuts at the Greenbrier, highlighted by a second in 2013 and an 11th in 2011.