Out of the Rough: The Zurich Classic
We didn’t come out on top this week but we made our money back, that’s half the battle. Our all-in attempt on Adam Hadwin didn’t pan out as he didn’t place in the top ten, but did hold his own across the weekend with a -7 finish. Our best finisher was Shane Lowry who we rode through The Masters into this past weekend. He finished T3rd at -12. I was really pleased with the outing Joel Dahman had who cost just $6,800 on DraftKings last week. He finished -9 for a T12th at less than $7,000. It’s easy to make some money when that happens. The Tour takes a break from stroke play and turns its attention to the unique Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana.
Collin Morikawa (-7) - T26th
Shane Lowry (-12) - T3rd
Billy Horschel (-8) - T21st
Adam Hadwin (-7) - T26th
Joel Dahman (-9) - T12th
Cameron Smith (+1) - MC
Matt Fitzpatrick (+3) - MC
Jason Kokrak (-6) - T35th
Mito Pereira (-7) - T26th
Luke Donald (-1) - T56th
We’re back to another Pete Dye designed course at TPC Louisiana for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
TPC Louisiana is a Par 72 course that plays at 7,425 yards and features Bermuda Greens.
This tournament is a bit different than most match play events as it features 80 two-golfer teams where the top 35 teams will make the cut into the weekend.
The first two rounds will be played as best ball and the final two rounds will be played as alternating shots.
All 160 golfers in the tournament can be played this week but only one golfer per team can be played in any given DFS lineup. However, either of the pairing will score the same across DFS play.
The event was won last year by the Australian team of Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman.
I have been relying heavily on the recent success and further development of my formula. It has led me to a decent amount of money across the last month plus, but it is essentially worthless here.
When it comes to team events there is little to no way to use statistics to gauge or predict success outside of previous team-related success. Successes at previous Zurich Classics or QBE Shootouts, Ryder and President Cup teams.
I guess we’ll do our best to find players who are both playing well currently, have a history of playing together or, as it comes to any Pete Dye designed course, have success in Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP.)
Also look for golfers with a hot putter to rely on and golfers with success at Pete Dye designed courses as a whole.
I’ll lead things off with the team of Marc Lesihman & Cameron Smith ($10,200.) I relied on Cameron Smith a week ago after his strong outing at The Masters but he missed the cut at the RBC Heritage. These two are the defending champions of the event after beating Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel in a playoff at -20. When it comes to recent team success, you can’t get much better than the defending champions. Additionally, Lesihman is 45th on tour in SG: APP and 18th in Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT.) Smith is currently sixth on tour in SG: APP and third in SG: PUTT. Lesihman’s last outing was a T30th at The Masters and a T35th at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Cameron Smith was one of the hottest golfers on tour heading into last week with a T3rd at The Masters and a win at The Players. Also consider Viktor Hovland & Collin Morkiawa ($10,700.) When it comes to star power, these are arguably the two biggest names in the field. Morikawa is currently the World number two and Hovland is fifth. How can we not include the two guys ranked in the top five in the World? Both are two of the best ball strikers on tour and we already talked about how important that was for TPC Louisiana along with all Pete Dye designed courses. Hovland and Morikawa rank third and seventh respectively on tour in SG: APP and both are top 50 in terms of SG: PUTT. Both played with different teammates a year ago, as Morikawa missed the cut with Matthew Wollf and Hovland placed T25th with Kris Ventura.
Next up we have Talor Gooch & Max Homa ($9,100.) I love the value you’re getting out of these two here. These are two very good ball strikes that can also get it done on the greens as well. Gooch and Homa are currently ranked 16th and 34th respectively in SG: APP and 85th and 52nd repressively in SG: PUTT. This duo did play this event together a year ago to the tune of a -14 finish at T17th. Gooch quietly placed T14th at The Masters two weeks ago and Homa had a T13th at The Players not that far back. With a top 20 finish at the event under their belts and playing great golf between the two of them, their value at just above $9,000 is a steal in my books. Also consider Shane Lowry & Ian Poulter ($9,500.) Shane Lowry is one of the hottest golfers on the entire tour and carries this partnership through this week. He has back-to-back T3rds at the RBC Heritage and The Masters. Dating back to February 27that the Honda Classic, Lowry’s worst finish was T35th at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and outside of that, his worst finish was T13th at The Players. He’s currently fifth on tour in SG: APP and 14th in SG: PUTT. Poulter’s best result on the season came back at the QBE Shootout which too is a team stroke play event with a T8th. Since February 27th and the Honda Classic, Poulter has missed just one cut out of six cuts as well.
We’re starting to get into the money making rounds. We’ll kick things off in the middle round with the Canadian and Adam Duo of Adam Hadwin and Adam Svensson ($8,000.) I know I went all in on Hadwin last week at the RBC Heritage and that didn’t pay off for me but it’s not like he played an awful tournament as well. Hadwin is currently 13th on tour in SG: APP as Svensson is top 50. Hadwin is also 51st in SG: PUTT. Hadwin has also had one heck of a month on tour. Dating back to The Players he had a T9th there, a T7th at the Valspar Championship and T4th at the Valero Texas Open prior to the RBC Heritage last week. Svensson finished T26th last week as well. Neither of these two have played this tournament before but I have high hopes this week. Also consider Chris Kirk & Brendon Todd ($8,200.) I really like the way each other compliments the other’s game here. Kirk is currently 36th on tour in SG: APP but 127th in SG: PUTT. Todd is 127th on tour in SG: APP but fifth in SG: PUTT. Kirk is an above average ball striker as Todd is an elite putter. In the first two best ball rounds, this should help them get into the weekend. Strategy will then play crucial for this duo. Kirk did have a nice three tournament stretch between mid February to Early March with a T14th, T7th and T5th at the WM Phoenix Classic, The Honda Classic and Arnold Palmer Invitational respectively. Todd finished T26th last week and T8th three weeks prior at the Valero Texas Open. These two played the event together last year and placed T27th.
With just two price ranges remaining, we’ll kick off the penultimate one with the duo of Doug Ghim & Matthias Schwab ($7,700.) These are two great ball strikers with one of them being great on the greens as well. Ghim and Schwab currently sit 49th and 44th in SG: APP respectively and Schwab is also 21st in SG: PUTT. Schwab didn’t play this event last year but Ghim did, where he placed T11th. Ghim had a T6th back in early March at The Players and Schwab has missed just one cut in his last seven events dating back to early February. In that same time span he had three top ten finishes as well. With Ghim’s recent success at the event and course as well as Schwab’s hot play, I think this duo is a great play. Also consider Troy Merritt & Robert Streb ($7,800.) So this team didn’t make the cut at this event a year ago but I think there’s something about them this year. Troy Merritt has missed just one cut in his last eight outings dating back to early January, highlighted by a T4 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and Valero Texas Open. Streb has made two cuts in his last three tournaments including a T7th at the Valspar Championship. Merritt is excellent on the greens currently ranked 22nd on tour in SG: PUTT as well as 68th in SG: APP. Streb is top 75 in SG: PUTT. I think this team is being slept on a bit.
Last week we did very well in this price range and that propelled us into the money with one of our lineups. We’re hoping to repeat that type of success this week again with this sub $6,900 price range starting off with Joshua Creel & Chad Ramey ($6,500.) I was looking for a balanced approach here in this lowest price range and this is what I found. Creel is 23rd on tour in SG: PUTT as Ramey is 65th in SG: APP. Ramey also isn’t that bad in terms of SG: APP as he’s just behind the PGA average. Ramey is also playing really well as of late, making four of his last five cuts and winning the Corales Puntacana Championship and also placing top five at the Puerto Rico Open. Although Creel is struggling as of late, with the way Ramey is playing and striking the ball, add in Creel’s great putting, I think this team can make some noise. Also consider Chase Seiffert & Hank Lebioda ($6,800.) Seiffert and Lebioda did not play in the event together last year and both missed the but in their respective pairings. Seiffert has made three straight cuts including two top 25’s and is currently 24th on tour in SG: APP. Lebioda is also top 100 in both SG: APP and SG: PUTT, bringing a balanced approach to Seiffert’s great ball striking.
Strokes Gained: Proximity to Course
Strokes gained: Proximity to Course (SG: PTC) is the patented statistic developed by Lenny of the Out of the Rough Podcast. Each week, we will pick a golfer local to the course to be his SG: PTC choice. Last week it was Brian Harman who went -6 and finished T35 at the RBC Heritage.
This week he's rolling with father and son due Jay and Billy Haas.
SG: PTC Past Results
The Honda Classic - Chase Seiffert (+1) - T25th
The Arnold Palmer Invitational - John Pak (+8) - T52nd
The Players - Billy Horschel (WD)
The Valspar Championship - Sam Ryder (-1) - MC
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play - MC
The Valero Texas Open - Adam Long (-5) - T35th
The Masters - Patrick Reed (+6) - T35th
The RBC Heritage - Brian Harman (-6) - T35th
One and Done
*Rules: A golfer can only be played once all season unless the chosen golfer wins the respective tournament. If the chosen golfer wins, he can be used again. We will keep track of success via monetary earnings to add value to bigger tournaments. We will track my choices for the rest of the season below.
This week I’ll ride with one of the former champions and go with the Aussie Marc Lesihman. I hit it big once already with Shane Lowry and want to continue to save some of the “bigger” named types of golfers for larger paying tournaments. Let's see what Lesihman and Smith can do for me this week.
The Masters - Shane Lowry ($870,000)
The RBC Heritage - Adam Hadwin ($54,844)