Valspar Championship Preview – Picks and Sleepers
The tour remains in Florida this week with the Valspar Championship from Tampa Bay. This event is played at the Copperhead Course at the Innisbrook resort and previous winners include Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh and K. J. Choi.
Last week was a fascinating one that saw J.B. Holmes dominate all week at Doral only to falter in the final round. At first it looked like Bubba Watson was heading for the crown only to see him struggle on the back nine and Dustin Johnson took full advantage with an incredibly solid round that saw him claim the crown. DJ was my number one pick last week, so let’s try and do it again.
Valspar Championship Picks & Fantasy Sleepers
Henrik Stenson – Stenson had a very solid week at the WGC Championship event and will be looking to kick on this week. Things seem to have been a little quiet for the world number 3 in recent weeks; however one look at his form paints quite a story. His last nine events have seen one win, 5 top five finishes and top 25 finishes in eight – just one missed cut in Abu Dhabi. Stenson is a very solid pick this week.
Adam Scott – Scott returned to competitive golf this week after a long break where he became a father, changed his caddie and returned to a short handled putter. Because of these changes I didn’t expect too much last week but he was excellent, bang in contention for much of the tournament, finishing tied 4th. If Scott performs as well again, this week might be his.
Matt Kuchar – Kuchar started off the season well with two top five finishes in his first four events. A five week break saw him return to play at Doral last week where rounds of 73 and 75 got him off to a very average start. However solid rounds of 70 and 72 at the weekend in very tough conditions saw him rise up the leaderboard and he’ll be in great shape for this week.
Jim Furyk – Whenever I see Furyk is playing I find it very hard to leave him out of any line up, such is his consistency. In his last 13 events his WORST finish is T23rd, so you’ll know you’ll get 4 solid rounds every week from Furyk. He is a previous winner here and has also finished in the top 20 here for the last 2 years. He is struggling to get that W right now, but Furyk is perhaps the most consistent player on the Tour in the last year.
Daniel Berger – Berger has been one of my sleepers this year, but unfortunately this is no longer the case, him making big headlines when losing a playoff to Padraig Harrington in the Honda Classic. This came at the end of a run where he finished 10th, 24th and 10th, so was no flash in the pan. For me Berger could have a year much like Jordan Spieth in 2013, so exciting times are ahead.
Graham Delaet – edit – looks like Delaet is out for this tourney. Delaet has had something of a mixed year so far. A couple of missed cuts have been joined by a couple of top ten finishes, so it’s difficult to see exactly where his game is. He missed the cut at the heavily weather affected Honda Classic last time out, but he’ll welcome a return to the Valspar Championship where he has finished in the top twenty in the last couple of years.
Retief Goosen (sleeper) – This pick is a little bit of a curveball, although there is plenty of reason for picking him. This year has seen him play 5 events so far with four cuts made and a top ten at the Northern Trust Open where he led for much of the way. Goosen has won this tournament on two occasions in the past so will welcome a return. This time last year Goosen was outside the world’s top 300, but is now back inside the top 200, so his game is improving (he missed much of 2013, so is fighting his way back up the rankings).
Brendon Todd (sleeper) – Todd has been very consistent this year so far, with four top 25 finishes in his six events. Last week saw Todd have rounds of 72, 73, 72 and 73 at the Blue Monster, which might not seem impressive, but it shows his game is in great shape, at a course where at least one round in the high 70’s was achieved by much of the field. In his last 58 tournaments, Todd has only missed 8 cuts, so it’s a good bet that you’ll get 4 rounds from this player most weeks.
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