Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fantasy Golf: The Sony Open in Hawaii

The first PGA Tour event of the season with a full field of competitors begins this week in Hawaii at one of my favourite courses, Waialae Country Club. Last week saw Jordan Speith kick off the New Year by winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions by a whopping eight strokes. He won’t be teeing up this week, so we will have to look elsewhere for our fantasy points. But perhaps we won’t have to look too far? Last year’s winner Jimmy Walker won this event by nine and will be fancied to post another low scoring round. He won the year before that too, but no-one has managed to win this tournament three years in a row before. Could Walker be the first?

Before we take our usual look at the fancied golfers for this event, let’s cover what fantasy games we will be participating in and how the picks will be laid out. Selections will be divided into three groups according to Yahoo Fantasy Golf; A, B, and C. PGA Fantasy has done away with the simple ‘pick any four golfers’ game and is now solely represented by the AVIS Fantasy Golf game, where you select four starting golfers who gain points for you each round, and two golfers who you can sub in if need be before the start of each days play. You may pick any golfer from the field for this game, but you can only use a golfer three times during each segment of the AVIS game (of which there are four, this one finishes at the end of January). To replace the original PGA Fantasy, we will be now playing the Golf Channel’s Fantasy Golf game. In this game you select four players, one from each group. These groups are divided up by world ranking.

As I’ve said, selections will be shown according to Yahoo groups, which picks for each section underlined. Picks for the Golf Channel Fantasy game will have a (G1),2,3, or 4 after their name, corresponding to which group they were selected from. AVIS PGA Fantasy picks will have an (AVIS) or (AVISsub) after their name to indicate where they were picked in that game. Phew! I hope that isn’t too complicated.

So on with the picks. Jimmy Walker will be one of the favourites here having won the last two times he played here. It’s also his birthday this week, if you believe in that kind of thing. Russell Henley and Johnson Wagner won here the two years before Walker, and could well be in contention again. The second most selected player in Yahoo and AVIS is Brandt Snedeker. He finished last week in third and will be the highest placed finisher from that tournament to play in the absence of Spieth and Reed.

Zach Johnson is the third most selected player in Yahoo, probably because of his good record on Bermuda grass greens. But he has only finished inside the top 10 here once (T8th) so I’ll be avoiding him I think. Looking further down the list; Chris Kirk has had two top 5s here in recent years. Charles Howell III has an excellent record here spanning back almost 15 years. Plus he has the longest run in Golf Channel Fantasy Group 3 without missing the cut and is a strong selection there.

Here are this week’s picks. Good Luck Everyone.

Group A

Russell Henley (AVIS)

Chris Kirk (AVISsub)


Group B

Brandt Snedeker (AVIS) (G2)

Jimmy Walker (AVIS)

Charles Howell III (G3)

Troy Merritt

Brendon Todd


Group C

Matt Kuchar (AVIS) (G1)

Graeme McDowell

Lucas Glover (AVISsub) (G4)

Johnson Wagner

Peter Malnati

Daniel Berger

Will Wilcox

Marc Leishman

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