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Fantasy Golf Picks: Zurich Classic Sleepers & Starts

RotoExperts Staff April 25, 2016 3:56PM EDT

Zurich Classic
Defending Champ: Justin Rose

FNTSY Sports Network’s Pat Mayo and Geoff Fienberg debate their Zurich Classic picks and the week in betting at this week’s PGA Tour stop at TPC Louisiana…

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Zurich Classic Field
156 Players | Top 70 & Ties Make the Cut | First Tee Time: 8:00am EST

With the odd schedule rotation this season, the big loser in terms of quality is the Zurich Classic. Traditionally, it’s not like New Orleans is THEE destination for elite talent, but 2016 is worse than usual. Yes, three of the world’s Top 10 are in the Bayou – Jason Day (1), Rickie Fowler (5) and Justin Rose (10) – yet just ten of the Top 50 will be teeing off: Byeoung Hun-An (31), Charley Hoffman (34), Marc Leishman (35), Danny Lee (42), Billy Horschel (44), Daniel Berger (47), and Smylie Kaufman (49). With 156 players in Zurich Classic, the dearth of talent will be even more pronounced. If you’re looking for some local flavor, there’s a quartet of LSU Tigers in the field: David Toms, Andrew Loupe, Ben Taylor and Kaufman.

Zurich Classic Key Stats

Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
Greens in Regulation
Par 3 Scoring 200-225 Yards
Par 5 Scoring
Birdie or Better Percentage 50-125 Yards

Zurich Classic Course
TPC Louisiana | Par: 72 | 7,425 Yards

For the second time in three weeks, we’re back at a Pete Dye design. Keep that fresh in your mind moving forward too, THE PLAYERS pops up on the schedule two weeks from now. As a refresher…

Pete Dye Courses on PGA TOUR
  • TPC Sawgrass (The Players Championship)
  • Harbor Town (RBC Heritage)
  • TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship)
  • TPC Louisiana (Zurich Classic)
  • Austin Country Club (2016 Match Play)
  • TPC Stadium Course at La Quinta (2016 Careerbuilder)
  • Crooked Stick (2012 BMW Championship)
  • Whistling Straits (2015, 2010, 2005 PGA Championship)
  • Kiawah Island (2012 PGA Championship)

No, not all Dye designs are created equally, however TPC Louisiana shares the common traits of blind shots, wildly differing hole lengths and awkward hazards across the layout. For a sample of track records on Dye-Designs check out Future of Fantasy’s Golfanac.

It’s always nice to research those numbers, but TPC Louisiana has historically been the easiest of those tracks due to its unique layout. Fortunately, the yardage for the holes tend to remain relatively consistent in clumps. For example, all four Par 3s measure between 200-225 yards. There are also four Par 4s under 400 yards. A quick glance at the approach shot distribution reveals two distinct shots that will matter the most this week: Those from around 200 yards and beyond and wedge play from 125 yards and in. Hitting greens in regulation with long irons will help solidify a place on the leaderboard, but sticking wedges from in close and converting those birdies will decide the winner.

Zurich Classic Picks

Jason Day – No need to get bogged down with too many numbers when only one matters. Day’s the top player in the world in an event with a distinct lack of depth. Eat the chalk and take him.

Rickie Fowler – Ditto for Fowler. Yes, some may be fearful off Fowler’s #SB2K16 excursion with Smylie Kaufman, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas over the weekend, but not I. Rickie’s not running a triathlon after a booze-binge, he’s playing golf. He’ll be fine. If you are concerned, I suggest Chris Kirk as a contrarian option in the Yahoo! A-List.

Justin Rose – Again, no need to overthink the defending champion. Sometimes you’re better off fading the popular selections, and other times all that will do is lose you ground on everyone else in the standings. This is one of those other times.

David Hearn – After struggling to make to the weekend for the first few months of 2016, Hearn has quietly been finding his game. The Canadian’s made three of his last four cuts leading up to, what’s been, one of his favorite courses over the years. Hearn’s never missed the cut in six tries at the Zurich Classic, and rates Top 25 in the field in Greens in Regulation and Par 3 and 4 birdies or better.

Jamie Donaldson – The Welshman hasn’t made a move up the world rankings in a while, but he’s certainly been treading water, with no signs of exhaustion on the horizon. Donaldson’s been no worse than T21 in his past three starts (T21 Masters; T19 Shell; T18 Match Play), thanks in large part to his short game. He’s fourth in the field in birdie or better percentage from inside 125 yards, second in SG: Putting and 20th on TOUR in Par 3 scoring. He’ll have to hit more greens than normal, but if he can drive the ball close to field-average, he’ll be in the mix.

Cameron Tringale – The lofty results haven’t materialized for Tringale lately, but he’s made three consecutive cuts (60/57/27) and returns to a track where he’s had his most success. In the past five years, Tringale’s caught the early flight from New Orleans just once, with four T20 in that span, including a T2 in 2015.

Billy Horschel – Despite holding a Zurich Classic win, Billy Ho Train has a pretty spotty record at TPC Louisiana in his career (48/MC/1/MC/26). Still, the important thing to note with Horschel his his recent form, primarily, is it trending towards a win? It certainly looks like it. He has three T20s in his last four stroke events and is coming off a season-best T4 last week in San Antonio.

Steve Stricker –  You can make a solid case for the red-hot Daniel Berger in your final roster spot, but I’ll be going with the veteran savvy of Stricker. He did well in his only comparable event this year – T7 at Valspar – and has been lights out in New Orleans in his career. Before missing the cut in his second start returning from back surgery last year, Stricker posted four T15s his five previous Zurich Classic finishes. He’s currently leading all players on the greens (1st SG: Putt), is second in the field from less-than 125 yards, and sits sixth overall in Par 3 scoring. There aren’t many tracks where the 194th ranked distance driver can still compete, this happens to be one of them however.

The Pat Mayo Hour covers the entire scope of the Fantasy sports landscape from Football to Reality TV, daily and yearly leagues and everything in between. You can watch the Pat Mayo Hour every weekday at 3:00pm EST, 8:00pm EST and Midnight on the FNTSY Sports Network Television channel or on your Apple TV, Xbox, Roku or Amazon Fire Stick. If you have a Fantasy question, general inquiry or snarky comment, ship it to Mayo at PatMayoHour@gmail.com and the best will be addressed on the show. 

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