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Playing the Tips

NBC Predictor: Valspar Championship

by Josh Culp

Golf Channel (NBC Sports Predictor App)

The Golf Channel has an exciting fantasy golf game for 2019.

The format is simple as you pick six head-to-head matchups. Then you pick a winner and winning score. 

The winner/winners split the weekly prize of $1,500. Anyone that earns 60 points for the week is also given an entry to the FootJoy $100,000 Championship which is a multi-week elimination-style contest that will take place later in the season. 

We will provide our picks for the format below and then provide some notes about why we chose our matchup picks or why we like a certain golfer to win. 

Josh Culp 
@FutureOfFantasy

Top Weekly Score: 85 pts

Matchups: 
Dustin Johnson over Jason Day
Sergio Garcia over Patrick Reed
Webb Simpson over Bubba Watson
Jon Rahm over Paul Casey
Jim Furyk over Steve Stricker
Henrik Stenson over Gary Woodland

Winner: 
Sergio Garcia (-10)

 

Josh's Notes: 

DJ may be 0-for-2 at Innisbrook Resort but he's elevated his game since 2010. Johnson has bested Day in 10 of the last 16 events where they both entered the field (1 tie). 

Garcia and Reed are two of my favorites this week in Tampa but Garcia has nine worldwide top 10s over his last 12 starts. I will ride that hot hand and hope the Snake Pit doesn't bite him too hard.  

Bubba Watson will typically show his hand at a course before posting strong finishes there. Here at the Copperhead Course he is just 3-for-7 with one finish inside the top 15 (a solo 3rd in 2010). 

Rahm and Casey is a tight race for me but Rahm will get the slight edge with eight worldwide top 15s in his last nine starts. 

Furyk is finally healthy again and it's showing with his results since last summer's Wyndham Championship (T4). Including that strong finish, he has now posted top 15s in five of his last eight starts. Also has a win and three other top 10s on his Valspar resume. 

Lastly, we have Woodland v Stenson. Many will see the Valspar win on Woodland's resume and assume this is a great course for him. Not so fast. If we remove that 2011 victory from the equation then he's gained just 8.3 total strokes over the field in 22 rounds at the Copperhead Course (0.38 SG Total per Round). Stenson's long-iron game is a perfect fit for the course and he's shown it with 25.9 strokes gained in 14 rounds played here (1.85 SG Total per Round).

 

Mo Yoshimoto 
@Bears3423” 

Top Weekly Score: 65 pts

Matchups: 
Dustin Johnson over Jason Day
Patrick Reed over Sergio Garcia
Webb Simpson over Bubba Watson
Paul Casey over Jon Rahm
Jim Furyk over Steve Stricker
Gary Woodland over Henrik Stenson

Winner: 
Patrick Reed (-10)

 

Mo's Notes: 

I had Rory McIlroy as my winner two weeks ago (as defender) at Bay Hill and he finished T6. Last week, as noted in this space, I had a strong inclination to go right back with McIlroy at THE PLAYERS but opted for Sergio Garcia instead. Oops. McIlroy, of course, won, while Sergio back-doored a T22 with 67.

Obviously then, if I've learned anything, I should go right back to the well with Garcia this week. To strengthen that theory, he's the ONLY player in the field that has posted consecutive top-10 finishes in their two most recent visits to the challenging Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort (4th/2018; T7/2013).

The contrarian that I am, however, leads me to this week's pick, two-time Valspar runner-up Patrick Reed, who naturally, is grouped with Garcia the first two rounds.

Reed, the current Masters champ, followed Garcia's major breakthrough the year prior, and enters off a steady (not spectacular) 12 consecutive made cuts with six top 25s in his last eight starts. He's also recorded three top 10s in his last four Valspar appearances, including a T2 last year and a P2 in 2015. 
 

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