We were exactly one week too early on the Patrick Reed train, as he followed up a woeful performance at The American Express with a Short Game masterclass en route to victory at the Farmers Insurance Open. Obviously his performance on the course will be overshadowed by the embedded ball controversy. A wise man once told me if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying, and in that regard, nobody tried harder to take down this tournament than Mr. Reed.
As we expected coming into this tournament, it was a top-heavy leaderboard that demanded length off the tee and a strong short game to score well and avoid bogeys-or-worse. Viktor Hovland, Xander Schauffele, Tony Finau, Rory, Jon Rahm, and Adam Scott all found themselves in the Top 10 by tournament’s end. On the other hand, surprise sleepers Henrik Norlander, Luke List, Peter Malnati, and Rory Sabbatini also found themselves in the Top 10. Let’s take a look at how the betting card faired and what we can take away from the Farmers to prepare for the Waste Management Phoenix Open next week.
- Marc Leishman +4100: -5 (T19)
- Adam Scott +4800: -7 (T9)
- Bubba Watson +5000: +3 (MC)
- Louis Oosthuizen +7000: -4 (T30)
- Gary Woodland +7000: E (T48)
- Cameron Smith +7000: +1 (MC)
- Brandt Snedeker +19000: -3 (T32)
If I was going to bet one player this week, it would have been Adam Scott, and he gave us a good 54-hole sweat before strolling through his pedestrian Sunday +1 performance. Cam Smith followed up a stellar -6 Thursday round on the North Course with a putrid +7 performance on the South, making for a nice early exit. While Adam Scott’s Top 10 finish was fine, the #PlayAllTheAussies strategy was not as formidable as Farmers events in years past, as Cameron Smith, Cameron Davis, Marc Leishman, Jason Day, and Matt Jones all fell short of expectations.
Given the pedigree of past champions here, we knew this was not the event to play outright bombs, so even in hindsight, can’t have any regrets on the process of filling out this outright card.
Although I didn’t put my own money on it, we were on the nose with the Wolff Missed Cut and Tony Finau Top 5 predictions in Faves & Fades.
Matchups (Season Total: 7-5-1)
- Adam Scott +110 > Jason Day (W)
- Hideki Matsuyama -125 > Victor Hovland (L)
- Marc Leishman -125 > Francesco Molinari (L)
Tough to win Matchups when two of the guys you bet against finish in the Top 10 and so the overall season record takes a dip after going 1-2 this week.
Scott over Day was never in doubt, as Jason Day looked lost with his new mixed bag and played his way to an early weekend exit. I was bullish on veterans with strong short games here and looking at the final leaderboard, Viktor Hovland was one of very few exceptions to break that mold, as he was never in doubt to finish ahead of Hideki. Francesco Molinari was on the outside looking in at the cut line during the weather stoppage, but came back to finish -1 in his last two holes to make the cut on the number. From there he caught fire on the weekend and overcame a solid outing from Leishman on his way to a T10 finish.
We’ll look to right the ship next week, still in search for that first Matchup sweep.
One & Done
- Brooks Koepke: MC
Woof. Brooks started his round with so much promise, sitting towards the top of the leaderboard -3 through his first 9. And then it all went terribly wrong for the final 27 holes.
From a game theory standpoint, I couldn’t have been happier to get Brooks at 1% owned in the OAD league, while 24% of the field went to Tony Finau. But by tournament’s end, those 24% were sitting pretty with Tony Finau’s T2 finish. We’ll have an uphill climb next week, but still plenty of golf to be played.
I usually play the larger GPPs, but this week I landed on just one Single Entry DK lineup. It stings to see that just one week after my Reed + Burns core missed the cut and sunk my lineups, they both pop up here in the optimal lineup. I was able to get 5/6 through the cut, but aside from Adam Scott, the rest of the lineup progressively moved backwards on the weekend. In hindsight, I could have pivoted off of Brooks to Finau or Sungjae in a similar range, but I did really like the way Brooks’ numbers stacked up for Torrey Pines.
I touched briefly on Cameron Davis as a fit for the #AussieNarrative and am not surprised to see Ryan Palmer continue his strong recent play here en route to a T2. Will Zalatoris and Max Homa are two players I gave long looks at, but ultimately faded due to their Short Game shortcomings. Both look to be in a groove and will have to plays to consider for the weeks ahead.
My biggest regret this week is fully fading Patrick Reed and Sam Burns after they sunk my lineups last week. They were in great buy low spots, especially Burns priced in line with Gooch in the $7K range, and with Torrey Pines offering such a unique, stark difference to PGA West the week prior, it would have been smart to buy low on two players whose stats lined up well here.
It was a conservative approach to fade the young guns like Zalatoris and Victor Hovland, but knowing Jon Rahm burst onto the scene here in 2017, I think I could have given that a little more consideration. We also learned that Xander is finally capable of playing well at this track, and Rory can continue to be faded as a top-priced play until he shows us something on Sundays.
And that’s it, another week in the books! All focus now shifts to TPC Scottsdale.