Fantasy Golf Preview - WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and French Open

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Every sport fan loves a fairytale and we got two in the space of two days. The world number 607 winning the Quicken Loans National at Congressional and Iceland beating England.

The latter probably wasn't quite as welcome, but Billy Hurley III's hometown victory will take some beating as the best story in golf this year.

Not that any fantasy managers were able to revel in his first-ever victory on the PGA Tour. His name is so obscure that the whizz kids who developed the TG Fantasy Game hadn't even registered him!

The big winners were those who backed the Tour veterans, with Vijay Singh, Bill Haas and Ernie Els all finishing inside the top five in Virginia.

In Europe, Henrik Stenson justified his billing as the pre-tournament favourite at the BMW International Open and became the fifth man inside the world's top 10 to deliver maximum points in the last seven gameweeks.

Crucially, the world's top four all return to action this week as they look to build some much needed momentum ahead of the Open in two weeks' time.

But while Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth will be teeing it up stateside for the first time since the US Open, world No.4 Rory McIlroy has made the short trip across the channel to support the 100th French Open in Paris.

The Northern Irishman is one of 10 Europeans ranked inside the world's top 50 who will be converging on the newly-remodeled Le Golf National course ahead of the Ryder Cup in 2018.

They include two-time winner Graeme McDowell, last year's champion Bernd Wiesberger and the English trio of Danny Willett, Chris Wood and Lee Westwood.

On the PGA Tour, Shane Lowry will be looking to defend his title at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but faces stiff competition from 11 of the world's top 15 players.

Firestone is perhaps most notable for being the longest par 70 (7,400 yards) of the non-Major courses and also features the longest par five of the season (the 667-yard, 16th).

History shows the biggest hitters usually prosper, so the TG Tipster expects to see the American trio of Day, DJ and Bubba Watson contending at the top of the leaderboard.

 

Top five fantasy picks this week...

Brooks Koepka (£13.5m) – WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

The American is still awaiting a first win this season but the TG Tipster fancies him to add a second PGA Tour victory to his CV this week. The American finished sixth on his debut at Firestone last year and arrives in Ohio in superb nick after notching runner-up finishes at the Byron Nelson and the St Jude Classic. A T13 at the US Open may have been overlooked, but it could have been so much better had it not been for a five-over par 75 in his opening round.

Jason Dufner (£8.5m) – WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

Firestone may be renowned as a drivers' golf course, but history shows accuracy is just as important. Dufner is pretty good on both counts and he was ranked first, fifth, 35th and fourth in his last four starts for GIR. He also has a decent record on par 4s this season (23rd in scoring average) which bodes well considering Firestone has 12 of them. If you still need convincing, he's playing in his home-state of Ohio and has performed strongly at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in the past, with a seventh-place finish and a T4 in 2012 and 2013 respectively. He's also coming off the back of a top 10 at Oakmont, his second in his last three starts, and has now made 13 of 15 cuts this season. No wonder he's highly fancied this week.

Thongchai Jaidee (£12m) – French Open

We love stats at TG and history shows that you have to scramble well to contend at the French Open. The top-five scramblers finished inside the top six last year, so it makes sense to back someone who has made a habit of getting up and down this season. Jaidee looks a good bet (he's second in scrambling on the European Tour) and has proven form on the par-71, 7,331-yard course, albeit pre-redesign. He finished 10th last year and was a runner-up the year before.

Martin Kaymer (£11.5m) – French Open

Le Golf National has been a happy hunting ground for the two-time Major champ, yielding his third European Tour victory in 2009. Since then, he's posted five top 15s in his past six starts at the Paris course and arrives in good form. He has finished fifth, sixth and seventh in his last three appearances in Europe and the TG Tipster fancies his chances of ending a two-year winless streak.

James Morrison (£7.5m) – French Open

Last year's runner-up is something of a course specialist around Le Golf National. He was the 54-hole leader in 2011 and has made the weekend in four of his last five starts in Paris. He did withdraw from the BMW International Open last week which is a slight concern, but then Stenson won that event after pulled out of the US Open the week before. A fourth place finish in his penultimate outing at the Lyoness Open, coupled with another two top 10s since mid April, shows that his game is in pretty good shape too.

For the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational tee times, click here.

For the French Open tee times, click here.