Fantasy Golf Picks, Odds, and Predictions for the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge
2017 CareerBuilder Challenge Fantasy Preview
We bid a fond farewell to Hawaii following a two-week jaunt, and Justin Thomas could be forgiven for buying a house on the island and never coming back to the Continental U.S. following his heroics these past few weeks.
After winning the Tournament of Champions JT followed up by becoming the youngest man in history to shoot a round of 59 on his way to a seven-shot victory at the Sony Open; incredibly his third PGA TOUR title of the 2016-2017 campaign already. The 23-year-old will be one to watch in this year’s majors for sure.
From Hawaii we say hello to the West Coast and Coachella Valley for the first celebrity Pro-Am of the calendar year: the Careerbuilder Challenge, which will once again be sponsored by the Clinton Foundation. One of those tricky rotating course events with three different tracks hosting the first trio of rounds, this is an excellent test of mettle for a field slightly low on quality with the elite seeking their fortune elsewhere.
Still, that’s good news for DFS managers who thrive on low ownership!
Last Week’s Fantasy Results from the Sony Open
We took a gamble last week on picking two lower priced Top Tier picks rather than a top-heavy stud that drains most of your salary cap. It turns out that strategy worked against us as both Walker and Snedeker suprisingly failed to make the cut.
Despite losing our top guys, we managed a solid T4 finish from Jaime Lovemark who greatly outperformed his Vegas Odds and another Top 10 finish (T8) from Charles Howell III.
Additionally, four of our five picks from our Tuesday Sleeper Report made the cut (all coming off 50/1 or greater Vegas odds) with our top finisher being Luke List (13th).
It was a gamble to run with Justin Thomas right after his victory in Maui, but he followed it up big time with a ton of Fantasy points. His stock will inevitably get higher on DK rosters but it remains to be seen how long JT can ride his current wave of momentum.
Last Week’s Fantasy Results from the BMW South African Open
Despite the struggle in Hawaii, we had the pretty stellar showing last week on the European Tour. Five of our six selections made the cut at Glendower Golf Club and three finished in the Top 7. Our horse pick, Rory McIlroy, grabbed a solid second place finish after losing to Graeme Strom in a playoff.
With four rounds sub 70 (+5 extra DK points) and a 2nd place finish (+20), there is no doubt that Rory finished with the most fantasy points for this week’s event. He managed to dunk 21 birdies and three eagles over the four days.
Fisher Jr. (T5) and Drysdale (T7) combined with McIlroy (2) made for an easy cash in on the European Tour this week.
The 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge Field
With Justin Thomas taking a well-earned break and luminaries such as Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Rory McIlroy, and Rickie Fowler seeking (more) fortune on the European Tour’s own Desert Swing, the trend for this tournament struggling to attract elite-level fields continues in 2017.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. Reigning champion Jason Dufner will attempt to defend his crown against Ryder Cup ace (and former event winner) Patrick Reed, while West Coast specialist Phil Mickelson will be looking to build upon his third place finish in 2016.
The fantasy picks in the rest of the field include a major winner in Zach Johnson, quality European exports Francesco Molinari and Soren Kjeldsen, Nick Watney (who’s still on the comeback trail following injury), talented young hopefuls Emiliano Grillo, Jon Rahm and Aaron Wise, as well as the incredibly-well named Kenny Pigman and former champions of this event Bill Haas, Jhonattan Vegas and Charley Hoffman.
This Week’s Course Preview
This is the second edition of the CareerBuilder Challenge that will feature this trio of courses in rotation: the TPC Stadium Course, which will also host the final round and measures in at 7,113 yards for its Par 72; the Nicklaus Tournament Course (Par 72, 7,159 yards) and La Quinta CC, which measures 7,060 yards and has a stroke index of Par 72 also.
The Stadium Course garners the most attention thanks to its tariff of difficulty, which back in the late 1980s at least was considered one of the toughest tests on Tour. The Pete Dye design disappeared from the circuit until the 2016 renewal of this event, where it played far easier.
The Jack Nicklaus designed Tournament course is said to be ‘forgiving off the tee but demanding around the greens,’ with well-placed hazards in the final third causing the occasional headache. The extra room off the tee certainly contributed to the low scoring in 2016, however.
La Quinta was the easiest of the three courses, certainly through round one anyway, with a stroke average of 69.596; bettering the 69.424 set by the Nicklaus and the 71.825 mark of the Stadium Course. Early leaders Dufner and Jeff Overton played the Nicklaus first up and Anirban Lahiri and Jerry Kelly played La Quinta, while only four of the top-30 after round one tackled the Stadium Course first up.
Weather Forecast for La Quinta, CA
Squally desert rain is unfortunately the early forecast, with Thursday and Friday both likely to see some wet stuff with a chance of precipitation set at 75% and gusts of wind of up to 14 mph. Needless to say, it could be a rather interesting opening 36 holes.
The good news is that the forecast suggests matters will calm down in time for the weekend, and while it won’t be warm – and strong gusts will still prevail – at least minimal rain is expected.
It appears as though Friday could be a soggy day, so take your umbrella if you’re heading to the course!
Last Year’s Results from the CareerBuilder Challenge
Jason Dufner ended a title drought dating back more than two years with his victory here in 2016, and he still needed a clutch putt on the seventeenth of regulation play to force a playoff with Sweden’s David Lingmerth.
After sharing the first extra hole, Duf-Man held his nerve to clinch victory on the second after Lingmerth failed to make par. That was heartbreaking for the Swede, who carded 62-65 over the weekend to force extra time only to taste defeat for the second time in a playoff in this event; the first coming back in 2013.
Ol’ Lefty tied for third with Kevin Na and Andrew Loupe, with Adam Hadwin, Luke List, Jamie Lovemark, Bill Haas, and Si-Woo Kim making up the rest of the top ten. The likes of Tony Finau, Steve Stricker, Luke Donald and Zach Johnson missed the cut.
This Week’s Broadcast Schedule
- Television Broadcasts
- Thursday-Saturday: 7:00pm EST – 10:30pm EST (Golf Channel)
- Mobile Broadcasts (PGA TOUR LIVE):
- Thursday-Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (featured groups), 3-7 p.m. (featured holes).
- RADIO: (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com)
- Thursday-Saturday, 1-7 p.m.; Sunday, 2-7 p.m. (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com).
Where to Play Fantasy Golf for the CareerBuilder Challenge this Week
Some of the attention this week will certainly be on the European Tour raft of contests, but there is still plenty for DFS managers with an eye on this side of the pond to sink their teeth into.
- PGA $250K Birdie: With $250,000 guaranteed and a potential shortfall in entries due to the increased uptake on the European Tour, this is a fantastic opportunity for DFS managers wanting to build their bankroll (the top 200 places pay $50) and scrap for the $15,000 top prize.
- PGA $200k Dogleg: A 7,000 entry contest that pays a top prize of $20,000!?! That sounds good to us. The top 1,170 finishers will trouser a minimum of $50 too.
This Week’s Fantasy Notes for the CareerBuilder Challenge
The 2016 edition of this tournament was notoriously difficult to predict given that a new trio of courses were in rotation, and there was plenty of surprise when Jason Dufner ended a two-year barren streak with victory.
But Duf fully deserved his victory and at a highly respectable mark of -25 too; following in the low-shooting footsteps of former winners Bill Haas (-22), Patrick Reed (-28), and Brian Gay (-25). Even with the change of tournament structure, the emphasis was still on low-scoring.
That could well be the formula again this week, but it depends on the weather. A little rain and a light breeze will help players to go low, but stronger winds and heavy rain – meaning delays and interruptions – could turn the event into something of a free-for-all.
So what did we learn from Dufner’s triumph? Well, he was certainly in decent form, finishing ninth (RSM Classic), first (albeit in the Franklin Templeton Shootout), and ninth (Sony Open) in his prior three outings, and clearly that confidence helps heading into a multi-course, pro-am event like this.
The basics were in place too, with Dufner hitting 75% of fairways throughout the week and the same amount of greens, although with a Total Driving rank of 54th we’re not going to go overboard on performance from the tee. Instead, we ‘re going to place an emphasis on decent putting – he gained 1.48 strokes on the field with his flat stick, and Par 4 Scoring: Dufner played the regulation holes in -12.
All in all, seven of the top ten in 2016 gained at least 1.00 shots on the field with their putter, and 6/10 via Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, so a decent all-round contribution will be required.
Our Top 5 (and Top 2 Sleeper) Fantasy Picks and Odds to Win the CareerBuilder Challenge
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Fantasy Golf Predictions This Season (2016-2017)
Total Top 3s
Total Top 10s
Total Top 25s
Total Winners Picked
Total Runners-Up Picked
Total Made Cuts (Includes Sleepers)
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