The Daily Contrarian: CIMB Classic
Degen’s the 2017 season is officially off and running with SoCal Steele rallying for some Sunday Redemption and claimed the victory he let slip away in 2015. Simultaneously Patton Kizzire was suffering the fate so many players trying to close out their first tour victory suffer…they choke! Kizzi did just that with some terrible drives and mis-hit approaches in the closing stretch, I would expect Kizzi to bounce back rather quickly during this swing season though, so don’t go writing him off after a week or two. This week we are off to Muggy Malaysia for the CIMB Classic, with defending champ Justin Thomas coming off a short stint with a mustache and a top 10 last week. (Hint: JT is a great pick again this week). This event should be a seasonal favorite The Fantasy Golf Degenerates co-host Kenny Kim, if for no other reason that the larger than usual quantity of Asians to choose from. Now that we know Si Woo Kim is in play for 75% of Kenny’s lineups, let’s get started into some less than traditional picks this week.
Safeway Recap: Last week TDC picks went 6 of 9 for 66% made cut with 2 Top 10’s/ 4 Top 20’s/ 5 Tops 25s. Casey and JT came through as expected inside the top 10, while HVIII and Rahm bring home the last of the group inside the top 20.
Course: TPC Kuala Lumpur is not very long and the fairways are about average to hit, the important thing to note about this course and tourney in general is the frequency in which golfers are gifted the holy grail of ball striking conditions. Lift, clean and place has been in effect here more often than not. This increases the importance for hitting the fairway, in order to take advantage of the ruling should it come into play again this week (it will). As you can probably tell by the vast disparity in skill sets of course horses here, any type of game can win here (Bombers and Plodders alike).
Kenny’s weekly course description is where its at! Check it out here.[Course Preview and Picks - CIMB Classic | ProjectRoto]
T.D.C. Major Stats at TPC Kuala Lumpur:
1. SG: T2G
3. SG: APP
4. Par 4 scoring
5. Bogey Avoidance
6. Total Driving (optional)
Top Shelf $11,600-10,100
Hideki Matsuyama $11,300 (Est 17% Own): Like I said, there are a lot of Asians to choose from this week (Yes, I know Hideki is Japanese) and my favorite Asian this week is expensive. Hideki-Bot should justify his price this week given his recent form and #1 ranking in my stats model on a course that should help negate his less than stellar pigeon toed putting stroke. He is riding high after his home country win and looking to kick start his 2017 campaign in what should feel like a bit of a home game for him having never finished outside the top 25 since the event has been played at this course. If Hideki can keep both his hands on the club he should find plenty of birdies being 6th in the category and 3rd in SG APP and 14th in par 4 scoring
Middle of the Road $9,900-8,100
Byeong Hun-An $9,400 (Est 12% Own): My second (and final) Asian of the week is also at the upper end of the pricing spectrum. An is coming into the event off a brutal DQ in which he signed for an incorrect score and his recent form has been the definition of boom or bust in the previous events to that unfortunate DQ, which I suspect could push his ownership down a bit lower than I am projecting depending on the tournament you are in. I am looking for An to bounce back here and get a little redemption after his DQ last time out that coupled with his style of play and high birdie making potential and a no cut format that given the wet conditions an accurate bomber like An could be a beacon of point scoring even if he has a slightly higher projected finish. His high price and the options directly above and below him should keep his ownership in check to point that working An into a lineup could really help differentiate yourself.
Branden Grace $8,400 (Est 9% Own): The South African is making a quiet entrance into the 2017 season and seems to really be under the radar so far this week, that might be because we haven’t seen him on the PGA Tour since the BMW Championship then he missed the cut at the Alfred Dunhill. Even before all that he had 2 MC and T41, so there is a good reason for him to be under the radar. Grace statistically should do well here even though he doesn’t rank highly in BOB% or Bogey Avoidance; he is 14th in par 4 scoring, 19th in total scoring avg, 13th in SG APP and 15th in SG T2G. If those stats along with the ownership level aren’t enough to convince you, look no further than Harbor Town where he gets to keep his driver in the bag thus he fares much better, which he should be able to do a bit this week. He also has a 17th her last time around and rates highly as a SG specialist in no cut events (per Josh Culp at Futureoffantasy.com). I willing to give him a pass on the MC at the Dunhill since it is a weird format and multicourse event. Grace has the talent to win an event like this and at $8,400 he is a steal as well, Grace will certainly find his way into a few of my lineups.
The Wells $7,900- Lower
Ian Poulter $7,300 (Est 7% Own): The flamboyant Englishman is back in action after surgery and already pissing people off (as usual) by snubbing his title defense and instead deciding to play in Macau last week (speculation was in prep for this event). Where he opened with a bogey free round and was right in the mix until late Saturday, not showing too many signs of rust and displayed plenty of enthusiasm for being back in the game. With no stats and no course history and a single event for recent form, call this a gut play. Poulter having been part of the defeated Euro team at the Ryder Cup, I bet he is hungry to show what he could have done if he would have been able to play (not to mention Patrick Reed and Ryan Moore are in the field this week). I also give Poulter a slight boost for already being acclimated and in the region ahead of this event.
Charles Howell III $7,000 (Est 9% Own): BOUNCEBACK!!! Chucky Three Sticks laid an egg last week and screwed plenty on a week where getting 6/6 through proved tougher than expected. CHIII statistically doesn’t set up all that well here but he seems to fancy the course with both his appearances going for a top 10 or better. His recent form and MC last week should help check his ownership around or below 10% with the options below him. Also CHIII is a Paspalum specialist according to Josh Culp, gaining 1.739 strokes.
Marcus Fraser $6,400 (Est 4% Own): Does anyone remember the Olympics, me either only that some swimmer lied about being robbed and sparked an international incident. But before all that there was Marcus Fraser, the pride of the Australian sand belt who led the Olympic competition for a while before settling for a T5. You might recall that was also a short course with Seashore Paspalum greens. Fraser is not going to light the world on fire here but he has the game to compete in an event like this on a short scorable course if his putter gets hot. Again this is more a gut play, but this event and field feel a bit like the Olympics.
Cameron Tringale $6,300 (Est 1%): We have finally hit rock bottom (sort of, Derek Fathauer is less) but if I am suggesting Cameron Tringale then we are certainly at the bottom my faithful readers…but here we are, so let me make a case. In 2015 he was 34th in scoring average, 28th in Bogey Avoidance, 37th in SG T2G, 16th in BS and 31st in the all-around rankings…yet he is near min price? I wonder why? Oh ya, because it’s Cameron Tringale and he has missed something like 15 cuts in a row (actually 3), but since we don’t have a cut I don’t really care about that. I do however care about the fact that in 2015 he finished 14th here. With plenty of time off leading up to this event there is a good chance that he has worked a few kinks out of his game and this looks like a perfect get right spot for the Triangle with virtually no ownership and some decent upside.
Tastes like Chalk: I like to go against the grain, but just in case you are a bit timid and need a hit of chalk dust to keep you from a pre round tilt fest this week…I got you covered!!!
Paul Casey $11,600 (Est 24% Own): Casey seems to have picked up where left off with his T2G game that is on fire and a putter that has been steadier than normal, at some point Popeye is going to stop coming in the top 5 and is going to win one of the weaker field events. Don’t expect this week to be much different, Casey is off to a hot start and it doesn’t look like he will cool off in balmy Malyasia this week. Just be careful who you decide to pair him with to keep your line up unique.
Ryan Moore $10,600 (Est 28% Own): The clincher at the Ryder and the figurative David falling just short of slaying Goliath in at the Tour Championship makes his season debut at a place that might be renamed after him should he find victory a 3rd this time in Kuala Lumpur. Moore loves this course and it shows in his score cards. If you are making multiple lineups this week, Moore seems like a must play in this spot…I just hope his Ryder Cup hangover isn’t still in effect.
About the Author: James is an avid DFS player and golfer. I write and dole out contrarian picks and PGA humor on The Fantasy Degenerates blog. I am high energy and enjoy discussing DFS. Looking to get into a podcast soon. Have a background in economics and analysis, amateur writing, and enthusiast of all great things achieved through pushing human physical and mental abilities.