After a thrilling finale to the RBC Heritage that saw Matt Kuchar hole a bunker shot on the 18th to seal a one-shot victory over Luke Donald, TG Fantasy Golf heads to the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, New Orleans.
Last year’s field averaged 70.75, making the course the seventh easiest par-72 of the season. After a tough winter that’s made it hard to grow the rough, combined with a favourable forecast for this week, we could be in for some more good scores this time round. Last year’s winner Billy Horschel missed 25 of 56 fairways, but hit 82% of greens in regulation, suggesting that the lack of punishing rough makes on-target approaches more important than accuracy off the tee.
With a large number of the top 50 giving this a miss (world number 11 Justin Rose is the highest ranked player taking part), there’s potential to look outside the big names and pick up some good points-to-cost value in your fantasy team. Six of the last nine winners were first-time champions, so don’t be afraid of plumping for a few players currently sporting empty trophy cabinets.
Here’s our team this week:
Rickie Fowler, £1.8m
Showing good form with a top five finish at the Masters that followed a sixth place at the Shell Houston Open the week before. This will be Fowler’s fourth straight year at the event, and he notched a respectable T-10 in 2012.
Justin Rose, £4.5m
This will be his seventh appearance at an event which has netted him three top 20 finishes, including the last two years. With two top 15s in his last three starts, including a T-14 at the Masters, Rose is showing some good form, and the premium on ball striking could play into his hands.
Ryan Palmer, £1.2m
Palmer has recovered from the hip injury that led to an 82 at Valero and finished T-7 in Houston. He tied for fourth at this event in 2012 and shares the course record with a 64.
Russell Knox, £0.7m
Knox also has a 64 under his belt at this track, and with five straight cuts made, including two top 10 finishes, is showing some very encouraging form. Several young players have picked up their first victory here, and Knox is enjoying a strong maiden season.
Matt Every, £1.0m
Bounced back from a disappointing Masters to finish T-12 at Harbour Town last week. He’s got seven top 15s in his last 13 starts, including a win at Bay Hill five weeks ago.
Keegan Bradley, £2.6m
With none of the world’s top 10 competing, world number 21 Bradley can add some star power to your team. Some good form this year, including a second place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (finishing one shot behind Matt Every), has seen Bradley shoot his back into Ryder Cup contention, and a good performance here could push him closer to a spot at Gleneagles. His length of the tee (averaging over 300 yards) offsets his lack of accuracy (58.78% of fairways hit) and could mean the course is set up perfectly for him to make a charge.