A First DFS Look Ahead to the Quicken Loans National
Course: TPC Potomac (Potomac, MD)
Yardage: 7,107 – Par 70
Purse : $ 7.1 M
Field: 120 Players
*Past Quicken Loans Champions
|2016||Billy Hurley III|
Bubba Watson delivered in heroic fashion, finishing with a back-nine 30 on Sunday to finish the Travelers Championship with a seven-under 63 and his third victory of 2018. Bubba entered the day six shots back of Paul Casey. Knowing he had to go low, he lit the golf course up. After starting with four straight pars, Watson kicked it into gear, finishing the final 14 holes of the tournament with eight birdies and just one bogey. When he stepped onto 18, Watson and Paul Casey, who was a few holes behind Bubba, were tied for the lead. Watson bombed a drive that left him just 73 yards on a 444 yard hole. He’d stick his approach shot some three feet from the hole and knock it in to put the pressure on P.C. Casey, who’d been struggling the whole day, would bogey 16 and 17 to fall back into a four-way tie for second with Beau Hossler, Stewart Cink, and J.B Holmes, while Watson would pick up his third win of the year.
It’s been a very weird uprising for Watson. He’s this first player on Tour to win three times this season in what has become literally an all-or-nothing year for him. Outside of his three wins, he had a T5 at the Masters and a T9 at the WGC-Mexico Championship. He’s failed to record a Top 25 finish in any of the other 10 tournaments he’s played in. I think if you’d ask Watson, would he rather be in the Top 10 every week and have just one win this season, or have the season he’s having, he’d gladly stick with what he’s done so far this year.
One more thought on Bubba Watson. He seems to have become more of a course hero than a guy who competes every single week. Of his 12 wins on Tour, three have come at Riviera (Genesis Open), three at TPC River Highland (Traveler’s Championship), and two at Augusta (Masters).
The tour now heads a few hours south to Potomac, Maryland where the Quicken Loans National will take place this Thursday. The Quicken Loans National is the final 120-man field invitational of the season. Hosted by TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm for the second year, we now have a smidge of course history to look at compared to last year, when there had never been a PGA event played here.
Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler are your headliners this week in a seriously underwhelming field. Teeing up alongside mostly players who are scrambling to keep their Tour card is Thai international Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Francesco Molinari, Jimmy Walker, Marc Leishman, and the newly turned pro 19-year-old Joaquin Niemann . The next wave of players features a big group of H’s in Chesson Hadley, Bill Haas, Adam Hadwin, James Hahn, J.B. Holmes, Billy Horschel, and Beau Hossler. Then we have a group of lower-mid-tier players like Si-Woo Kim, Jamie Lovemark, Kyle Stanley, Kevin Na, Rory Sabbatini, and Gary Woodland, whose hot start to the 2017-18 season feels like years ago.
Last year was the first time that TPC Potomac hosted a PGA event, so we now have one year of previous course history to look at and see who had success here. Unlike last week, we’re not going to see players shooting 62-63 type scores. Kyle Stanley won last year in a playoff against Charles Howell III. Both were just seven-under for the tournament, so birdies are not going to be coming in bunches like we saw last week at TPC River Highland. As usual, with Par 70 courses, Par 4 scoring average is very important this week. Potomac’s challenges feature numerous creeks and streams set out to cause havoc and make players think on their tee and approach shots. Good ball striking from tee-to-green is the best way to navigate TPC Potomac. Last year’s champion Kyle Stanley was a beast from tee-to-green all season long and he proved that a solid tee-to-green game gets it done here.
Driving distance is not as important as driving accuracy this week as many shorter hitters had success at the site last year. There are six Par 4 holes that play between 450-500 yards, and two more that are 440, so players must be dialed in on approach shots ranging from 175-200 yards with many shots being played from that range. On courses like this where it’s doubtful that we’ll see double digit scoring, players who can scramble well will gain an advantage here. Big numbers can come into play quickly if a golfer does not know how to scramble efficiently. Saving par by performing damage control will go a long way at the site, as it’s not all about birdies this week.
Par 4 Scoring
Strokes Gained: tee-to-green
Approach Proximity 175-200