Josh Culp

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Web Rankings: The Finals 25

Monday, October 2, 2017


#11 Jonathan Byrd
Strokes Gained Rank: 3rd
Age: 39


Byrd is a great example of the fine line between PGA TOUR status and Web status. After a 15-for-32 record in his 2002 PGA TOUR rookie season, he's posted a cuts-made ratio over 50% in every season he's made an appearance (except for one). That lone exception came in 2013 when he missed three months due to wrist surgery. That's all it took to derail his consistent PGA TOUR status. Now he's back on track after shining in the Web.com Tour Championship. He nearly skipped the event after missing the cut in his last two starts and feeling down about his game. Luckily, he changed his mind. The five-time PGA TOUR winner is past his prime, but he's definitely fantasy relevant, especially in deeper formats where a cut made is all that you need from him. 

 

#12 Matt Jones
Strokes Gained Rank: 12th
Age: 37


Missed out on his card after the 2015-16 season by the narrowest of margins. Still found 20 starts last season on the PGA TOUR, going 12-for-20 but nothing inside the top 10. Twirled four rounds of 68 or better in the Web.com Tour Championship to regain his TOUR status. If we're looking for a spot to invest in the Aussie, he's posted four finishes of T15 or better at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and three top-7 finishes at the John Deere Classic. On four occasions, the 2014 Shell Houston Open champion has finished T67 or better in the FedExCup standings. 

 

#13 Shawn Stefani
Strokes Gained Rank: 13th
Age: 35


Had a breakout season in 2015 with 10 top 25s on the PGA TOUR, in 26 starts. Over his next 55 starts, he's found just six top 25s. Losing his status at the end of the 2016-17 season might have been the kick he needed to get back on track. Missed the cut in the first two Finals events but finished with a pair of top 20s to regain his PGA TOUR card. Stefani won twice back in 2012 on the Web.com circuit (his rookie season) but he's still searching for his first win on the PGA TOUR. The Texan has nine career top 10s with two of them coming at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. If nothing else, make a note to look closely at Stefani when that event rolls around. Is currently a stepfather but he and his wife are set to have their first child together in December. After his strong finish at the Web.com Tour finale, Stefani cited the change in perspective after the pregnancy news (#PreNappyFactor).

 

#14 Joel Dahmen
Strokes Gained Rank: 20th
Age: 29


Impressed with his long game during his 2016-17 rookie campaign but also finished outside the top 170 in strokes gained around-the-green as well as strokes gained putting. Only cracked the field in 16 events last year but he gained 2.5+ strokes off-the-tee in three of those starts and 2.5+ strokes approaching-the-green three tournaments, as well. That kind of long game is the stuff of PGA TOUR winners, but he will need to improve his short game. Big Time.

 

#15 Jonathan Randolph
Strokes Gained Rank: 19th
Age: 29


The Ole Miss product has 10 career top 30s on the PGA TOUR, with four of them coming in alternate-field events. With 149 career rounds on the PGA TOUR, he's been inside the top 3 after just one of them (never leading or co-leading). Has seven podium finishes in 56 starts on the Web.com Tour, so perhaps he's still just trying to adjust to the PGA TOUR course styles. Has plenty of talent, but he needs to make a big leap to become fantasy relevant this season.

 

#16 Bronson Burgoon
Strokes Gained Rank: 16th
Age: 30


Looked very promising in his 2016 rookie season on the PGA TOUR. He went 16-for-27 with seven top 25s to his credit. That fell just short of making the FedExCup Playoffs (131st, needed to finish inside the top 125 to retain his card). On top of that, an injury knocked him out and he wasn't able to return until July of 2017. From there, he was slow to shake off the rust but entered the Web.com Tour Championship with three top 25s in his last five starts, two of them doubling as top 10s. He is also right in the mix in the finale, as I type this. He's a born-and-raised Texan, so it might be worth waiting for the Texas Swing. His top three finishes on TOUR have all come on courses with bermudagrass greens.

 

#17 Alex Cejka
Strokes Gained Rank: 17th
Age: 46


The German has played 355 events on the PGA TOUR. That includes a win at the 2015 Puerto Rico Open. We know he has skills but we also know he has injury concerns, as you'd expect out of a 46-year-old. As for his skill set, I'd call them PB&J skills. He has the peanut butter (approach play) and jelly (around-the-green skills) but he's missing the bread (off-the-tee and putting). Can't ignore his career record of 206-for-355 but you also can't ignore the fact he's posted just six top 10s since 2011. In the seven seasons prior to that he'd picked up 20 of them. He's lost a bit of his luster but still worth considering in weaker-field events.

 

#18 Rob Oppenheim
Strokes Gained Rank: 4th
Age: 37


He's naturally attracted to bubbles it seems, finishing 26th on the 2015 Web.com Tour money list, 50th in the priority ranking that year. The following year he finished 51st in the priority ranking to just miss his chance to graduate again. This season he finished 27th on the money list, missing out by two spots. However, he showed up big time in the Web.com Tour Finals to play his way back onto the PGA TOUR. This 37-year-old has just three top 30s in 28 career starts, so it's hard to really get excited about that. 


#19 Troy Merritt

Strokes Gained Rank: 18th
Age: 31


Has pegged it in at least 20 starts in each of the past four PGA TOUR seasons. Hasn't always produced consistent results but usually pops up just enough to keep his card, cracking the FedExCup Playoffs in three of the past four seasons. That wasn't the case this season as he went 12-for-28 to finish 151st in the FEC race. After a missed cut to kick off the Web.com Tour Finals he rattled off back-to-back top 10s to secure his PGA TOUR card. With 155 career starts on the PGA TOUR, there isn't much guesswork here. We know he generally hovers around 50% in terms of cuts made and then pops out of the blue, once or twice a year. Owns five podium finishes including the most notable, a win at the 2015 Quicken Loans National. 


#20 Martin Piller

Strokes Gained Rank: 22nd
Age: 31


Skipped an event late in the season to be with his wife as she played in the Solheim Cup. He ended up missing out on The 25, but karma played in his favor as he still managed to punch his ticket back to the PGA TOUR after collecting a solo fourth at the DAP Championship. The Texan has just three top 20s in his career on the PGA TOUR, two of them coming in his home state (T4 at 2016 Valero Texas Open and T6 at 2016 DEAN & DELUCA). His closest comparable in my eyes would be Peter Malnati. They both lean heavily on their flat stick which works a little better on the Web.com Tour where courses are not set up as tough, tee-to-green. As we know, Malnati used that flat stick to win on the big stage, gaining nearly 12 strokes putting that week. It will take a similar effort for Piller to reach the winner's circle. The smart play is to avoid him except for events in Texas, then only consider him in the deepest of formats, as a boom-or-bust option.


#21 Ryan Armour
Strokes Gained Rank: 11th
Age: 34


If you blinked you might have missed him last year on the PGA TOUR. The 41-year-old didn't find a top 25 until the final event of the regular season (T4 at the Wyndham). It was the fourth top 10 of his career as he eclipsed the 100 start checkpoint on the PGA TOUR. Has proven he can pop on occasion but he's posted back-to-back top 25s just twice in his career on the PGA TOUR. Good luck guessing when his "form" will arrive.


#22 Steve Wheatcroft
Strokes Gained Rank: 24th
Age: 39


Battled through injuries and illness last year en route to a 9-for-17 record on the PGA TOUR season. That was good for just 179th in the FedExCup race. Wheatcroft is 42-for-71 on the PGA TOUR, a solid ratio for the 39-year-old. Despite the strong cuts-made ratio, Wheatcroft has pieced together just six career top 10s in 150 starts. His upside is a bit limited but his work with the flat stick can hold up against nearly anyone on TOUR. 

 

#23 Chad Collins
Strokes Gained Rank: 23rd
Age: 39


Much like Wheatcroft, he is an aging veteran with little upside (historically). Collins has eight top 10s in 180 career PGA TOUR starts (4.4%) which is very similar to Wheatcroft who sits at 4% after 150 starts. Collins does nearly all of his magic on, or around, the greens. That doesn't bode well for week-to-week consistency but he certainly has the short-game skills to shine on any given week. In particular, I generally like to target these short-game wizards on easy courses. Adding to that, he's reached 20-under or better on three occasions (PGA TOUR). His game sets up better for Web.com Tour course setups, but he can still play the role of deep sleeper whenever an easy tee-to-green course rolls around. 

 

#24 Brett Stegmaier

Strokes Gained Rank: 25th
Age: 34


Another golfer we know plenty about. He is on the wrong side of the spectrum when it comes to a cuts-made ratio (28-for-59). The aging Florida Gator has a trio of top 10s in those starts. As you might expect from someone who attended Florida and now calls Florida home, bermudagrass is the place to target the Stegosaurus. Six of his seven career top-25 finishes have come on courses with Bermuda greens. 

 

#25 Nicholas Lindheim
Strokes Gained Rank: 24th
Age: 32


The late bloomer went 9-for-22 in his PGA TOUR rookie season. Putting proved to be his biggest (only?) asset last year as he ranked 35th in strokes gained putting but 180th or worse in the remainder of the strokes-gained sub-categories. Lindheim didn't pick up the game until he was 19-years-old and didn't attend college to hone his craft. Despite his lack entry into the game, he doesn't let that handicap him, winning twice now on the Web.com Tour. However, his early results show that he may be too far behind the boat in terms of tee-to-green play on the PGA TOUR. He lost strokes off-the-tee in every start he made last year and gained strokes on approach in just four starts. It's really hard to contend when you lean so heavily on the short game.



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Josh Culp joined Rotoworld in 2014. The DFS enthusiast from Iowa State can be found on Twitter @futureoffantasy.
Email :Josh Culp



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