Paulie's Picks: 2017 WGC-Bridgestone

Well, that was another amazing week as we almost picked up our 9th win of the calendar year! We had close calls with top five finishes from Hoffman, Finau and our longshot Hagy. Let’s keep the heater going into some of the larger events of the year.

This week, the Tour heads to the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone in Ohio. This is a limited field event with no cut so I expect standings on DraftKings to be very condensed. Firestone is a long par 70 course which has difficult fairways and greens to hit. With that being said, I’m going to favor length and ball striking as that has often led to success on this course. With the course playing long and the potential for rain, I expect a lot of approaches from 150-200 yards so I will also look at players who succeed from that distance.

DraftKings

Start

Rory McIlroy $11,400

For DK purposes, I absolutely love the fact that Rory fired his caddie. So much of the general public will take that to mean that Rory is struggling and will not play him this week. In all reality, Rory is on the verge of breaking out and I expect him to win one of the next two weeks (if not both). Fresh off a 4th at the Open Championship, he heads to Firestone where he is very comfortable. He hasn’t competed here since his 2014 victory, but he does have a total of four top 10s in his last five starts at this event. Rory is known as one of the best drivers of the golf ball and that is put on display at Firestone. At $11,400, look for Rory to only be owned by 10-15% of players and that will give us a great advantage when he wins on Sunday.

Justin Rose $9,900

Rose is a horse for this course. He has finished in the top five in three of the last five years. The combination of less than stellar play at the Opens (54th at Open and MC at US Open) and the popular players around him should keep Rose’s ownership down which makes him all the more attractive. He is a very consistent ball striker who can maneuver his way around the course en route to another top five this week.

Kyle Stanley $6,700

Stanley jumps out in my model this week. He is known as a great ball striker who hits the ball long and makes a lot of birdies. At $6,700, I expect him to be one of the more highly owned players (especially among the experienced DK players). In his one previous appearance he finished 16th. With no cut and a lot of upside, Stanley is the guy I am plugging into my lineup first this week.

Sit

Sergio Garcia $9,200

Garcia is usually one of the most consistent golfers on the planet. A few things have me fading him this week. First, he has only one top 20 in his last seven starts here. On top of that, he just got married last week so I’m not sure how sharp his game is right now. At $9,200, I expect the casual player to roster Garcia, but I think your money's better spent rostering other similarly priced players.

One-and-Done

Jon Rahm

If you still have Jon Rahm in your arsenal, I think this is the week you should use him. He is an extremely long hitter who excels on difficult tracks that require a great tee to green game. If he can keep his emotions in check, I expect him to finish top five this week. His game is very similar to the stars that have succeeded here in the past (DJ, Rory and Tiger). In 12 of his last 16 events he has gained at least five shots tee to green in comparison to the field. That’s something that is hard to ignore. His metrics pop off in my model as he is fourth in birdies, second in driving distance and third in SG Tee to Green in this field. I think the fact that he hasn’t played this event before will temper his ownership a bit in your one-and-done league as well as on DK.

Rickie Fowler

Fowler loves Firestone as evidenced by his top 10 finishes the last three years. He also has finished in the top 16 in 10 of his last 13 events. Rickie has been knocking on the door all year. I think he might contend here and pick up another victory against one of the strongest fields in golf before heading to Quail Hollow next week.

Adam Scott

Scott has five top 15 finishes in his last seven appearances at Firestone. He has shown some flashes of brilliance this year. At a course which rewards length and ball striking, Scott is a good choice.

Longshots

Bubba Watson (70-1 to win, 5-1 top 10)

Yes, I admit I am not a fan of Bubba. But…I am a fan of buying a player at rock bottom odds. With Bubba’s struggles this year his odds have plummeted. Last year he was 22-1 at this event. Was he really three times as likely to win this event last year compared to this year? I think not. He has shown some flashes of brilliance during the Open and Canadian Open. On a course that requires length, ball striking and creativity… look for the 2015 runner up, Watson, to surprise this week.

Kyle Stanley (125-1 to win, 9-1 top 10, 100-1 first round leader)

As mentioned above, Stanley is a great DK play this week. Well, he is also a great longshot bet. Oh and by the way, Stanley is in the first group Thursday in a twosome, so his first round leader odds at 100-1 seems pretty enticing to me.

 

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