FANTASY GOLF NINE BRIDGES. SIX GOLFERS

FANTASY GOLF

NINE BRIDGES. SIX GOLFERS

BEAST DOME NATION.
*BLURB FROM MUNTRADAMUS*
It is rare I let anyone write on BEAST DOME. Those that have been part of BEAST DOME through history of time can probably count on one hand the amount of other writers they have seen on BEAST DOME.
I am making an exception as one of my close buddies from 7th Grade who knows as much about Golf as I know about NFL/NBA/MLB, he may know more since he actually played with Professionals. He was looking for a platform to get his Fantasy Golf knowledge out there after previously being the #1 contributor on Bleacher Report for Fantasy Golf. You will be able to tell right away that this guy knows what he is talking about.
With that being said, enjoy the wisdom and the Free Monkey Knife Fight Picks for the Golf Tournament this weekend. I present to you my good friend, and your new Fantasy Golf Expert.

JAMES DALTHORP

Hey guys, this is James Dalthorp and I’m excited to jump into the fantasy golf world again. You may know me from the 2011, 2012 and early 2013 seasons where I was one of the main fantasy writers on the PGA Tour while I worked on some independent production for CBS Sports and worked for the now shut down Golfmanna.com (I was @jd3golf on Twitter, the Golmanna Facebook page is still up). Thanks to anyone who supported that site and my blog!
I know all your other fantasy references first hand and I know the players. I was an All-American in High School, played on scholarship at Arizona State (finished at Lamar U.), and briefly played as a professional. Rickie Fowler and I represented Southern California on a state team in So Cal. I have a few wins as an amateur. I’ve played in 2 USGA events and made the cut, finishing T20 in stroke play at the US Pub Links in 2009 and T40 at the US Junior in 2004. I won my first tournament on one of Tiger’s home courses in Long Beach as a kid. I’ve worked at some amazing clubs around the country as a caddy (Cypress Point) and a coach. Life and golf are synonymous. There are ups and downs. Just like the way popular music goes in waves, golfers go in and out of swing flaws and mental cues. Ebbs and flows. I know the drill!
I’ve got an eye on all the guys inside and out of the ropes – and most importantly, I know the courses – and I’ve taught the game as well. As time goes on, you’ll see why I put heavy emphasis on certain aspects of the game and what you need to know about your picks. I’m used to being out on Tour and watching these guys, but with all the video nowadays – it’s easier than ever to keep up with your picks. I’ll keep an eye on their technique, you worry about the lineup. Take in all the resources you can!
This week, the PGA Tour travels from Houston to the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges at Jeju Island in South Korea. It’s a new season with a different schedule but there’s plenty of familiarity for the top guys looking to position themselves early for 2020… and perhaps a chance to become a member of the elite few with a Presidents Cup berth.
With a few weeks to take it easy since the majors, some of the alpha dogs are looking to claim ownership of a 2019 season that wasn’t up to their standards. For some, this will be a hungry field of breakout stars looking to put those savvy veterans to shame. If you’re looking for a dramatic finish instead of a runaway victory, this would be a good one to watch. The course yields low scores, but it doesn’t typically let a guy run away from the field. I would expect one of the younger guys to end up in a duel coming down the stretch like the one we saw with Marc Leishman and Justin Thomas a couple years ago. That was a great indicator of what you can see here – with a risk reward par five finish. Doesn’t get any better than that.
When I was a player, I always thrived on a tee time with a few things that excited me: a good pairing that was competitive, a good mix of tee times (weather permitting), and starting out on a nine (if they are reversed) that I’m comfortable on. I’ve asked some Tour players if they think starting out on the 10th hole is an advantage sometimes, just being able to perhaps get things going with an easier start and putting birdies up early… and some guys agreed. Others, like Nick Watney, don’t believe in that theory. They’ll say that whatever nine they start on, things are going to go well. I appreciate the honesty of guys who are open to thinking otherwise. I think they play better on tougher tracks.
The Nine Bridges is a class venue, one that I think would suit a match play format. That being said, it reminds me of a softer and less tricked up Kapalua as well. It’s an island topography where the winds can switch directions and require some keen target practice since you’ll be picking long distance targets that aren’t supported by your typical backdrops. It’s video game scenery, something out of Golden Tee. I haven’t played this track but the undulations and doglegs make it a true test, worthy of a championship like this one – where the field is smaller and the quality of play is demanding from tee to green. Without a cut to worry about, some guys might feel some freedom knowing they’ll get their direct deposit back.

1. My top pick is Justin Thomas.

Coming off some strong finishes of late, he’s ready for another win and in good form. He’s the rare guy in the field who is young, hungry, and yet full of veteran credentials. He’s won here before and he’s in a great pairing: going off early on the 10th hole with Phil Mickelson and Marc Leishman. Playing with Leishman will remind him of the championship experience here – and Mickelson will give him a great sense of humor to go about his day, as Phil is always a memorable playing competitor. Starting off the tenth tee, he’ll have a chance to set the tone early on the par fives and get the tough holes done early. Thomas is coming off a year where he had a career best finish in the Masters, a tournament that has been his worst major in the past. I like that, it tells me he’s learning and morphing his strategy.
Doubters would argue that he had a poor finish here last year. I would say, he found something! His final round 68 was a far cry from the other lackluster rounds, which should leave him with a good taste in his mouth coming into this one. With his past experience and a little more evolved mindset, he has a great momentum burst mentally before he hits the first tee. I would bet he’s a little hungry, too. Tony Romo beat him in the first round of the Safeway – and even though it was just one round and it was one shot, bet your house that he’ll remember that. After his second missed cut of the year at the US Open, he’s been trending like a mean hornet. From a 36th, 11th, 12th, a win, and then a good Tour Championship, he’ll be in good form. Plus, he thrives around this time of year.

2. Victor Hovland

Normally, I don’t think this would be a lock. But Victor has to be in a great mindset. Last week, the guy he took down in the US Amateur he won, Cole Hammer, and had a very interesting week in Houston. He was on top of the leaderboard early despite double bogeys in at least one of each of his four rounds. To see those mistakes and still be in contention, it tells you the level of play of these young guys coming out. Hovland and Hammer differ in some respects (seeing Cole on the leaderboard last week probably gave Hovland an instinctive level of dopamine). It’s premature to rule out his game.
Hovland is a fantastic ball striker with his irons. He tends to do well on courses where most guys who work the ball from right to left struggle. His trajectory and ball control is effective near the ocean where the fan can turn on without warning. If the putter is hot, he’ll be in contention. Since checking his Instagram account, he just left the Ping factory and went through the putter vault. I think he knows how valuable that off time to focus on his putting will be in the coming year, where he’ll be looking to make his mark as a professional.

3. Pat Perez

Fantasy fans might be upset that Perez pulled out of the Houston Open last week. Some speculated, due to PGA Tour announcements, that the WD was due to a wrist injury. Well, he was actually a late entry for this week’s event. Getting the week off of rest from Houston should help Perez, who thrives on random controversy. His wife cleared up the confusion on social media. He’s a guy who does things his way – and he tends to win at events in bucket list, exotic locations. He likes to practice in places like this – and he’s not a range rat.
Perez also has a super hot putter. I’m jumping on that. His stats were solid in Vegas, where putting is key. He’s a guy known for his ball striking, so if the putter is working – look out. When he putts well, he’s always in the game. With a no cut event, he won’t be worried about taking risks. Since this course has some risk reward elements, he’ll be in freeform and probably enjoy this layout. Coming from an Arizona base, he’s used to playing in an environment like this one – where there’s a lot of stimulation all around the course and most players make their mistakes off the tee.

4. Hideki Matsuyama

He’s got a few top ten finishes here and has quietly been peaking for this one. He’s a great ball striker and one has to think he’s more comfortable on the grass than most here. With a 66-69 finish over the weekend here last time around, he’ll know what it means to put together six sub 70 rounds in a row.
Matsuyama has a great short game, and if the conditions get windy, I would expect his knowledge of the course and adaptable nature to handle anything that comes his way. He’s had such a steady season without a victory. It will be interesting to see if he can cap off the year with a win or head into 2020 as another underrated dude. I don’t think Hideki is going to win, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he did. He’s the definition of due.

5. Phil Mickelson

Had to go read the transcripts for this one. Phil’s always a gambler, and there’s reason to believe he’ll be playing like he has most of 2019. However, Phil tends to bring out the best in his game when it matters leading up to big events. He cares deeply about those team events. With the Presidents Cup on the horizon, it’s clear that he’s made improvements on the parts of his game that were lackluster in the regular season. He’s happy with the direction his iron play is going – and if he keeps that going into this week – he’ll enjoy playing a course which comforts his natural improvisation. He wants a Presidents Cup bid – and you can bet he’s going to focus on a 9 month plan to win that final, elusive major. He may only have two more chances – next year at Winged Foot, and in 2021 in his home town at Torrey Pines!

6. Scott Piercy

Going with a pure ball striker here who played well here last year. Piercy is the type of guy you always see on the leaderboard at an event where the winning score is over 20 under par and the courses are made for patience and a mentality that requires more and more birdies. He wants to score with his irons – which makes him deadly on a second shot golf course. I get the sense that he typically needs to be firing on all cylinders to win – where as some guys can win if they just putt well or strike it their best. His consistency makes him a guy who is always in the hunt – and that makes him a good bet to have in your back pocket.
A couple years ago, he snagged Chez Reavie’s overnight lead when the wind subsided. If the wind is down, he seems to always be dangerous.

My Questionable Picks

-Jason Day has been struggling with his back. I don’t think he’s ready for the big stage quite yet. I’m a big believer in his practice regimen and the way he prepares for events. However, he’s not a safe bet at all.
-Brooks Koepka is the best player in the game right now – but I don’t think this will be one of his runaway wins. His game peaks around major time and we’re a long way from April. He might be a little burned out.
-Gary Woodland has been struggling a bit since the US Open. He’ll be looking to “turn things around.” Hopefully that’s no the way he sees it, but it’s still tune-up time. He’s rebooting the engine. 50/50 call.

Sleeper

-Jazz Janewattananond has some wins overseas and his T14 at the PGA Championship impressed me. I think he’s the new Russel Knox – look for him to win an event like this one, but don’t expect him to add any colored jackets to his wardrobe.
-Chez Reavie has some decent success here and he’s coming off a great season.
Enjoy the weekend and good luck with your picks. If you want my FanDuel Rosters/DraftKings Rosters and My Monkey Knife Fight Picks this week. Signup Below with the BEAST DOME Promo Code and I will hook you up.

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MONKEY KNIFE FIGHT PICKS ROUND 1

1.  Scoring Average: Hovland +0.5 over Horschel

At first glance, Billy Horschel over Viktor Hovland might not seem like a sure thing. Billy Horschel, traditionally, has a very strong 1st round scoring average. He set a USGA record with a 60 at Hazeltine in the US Amateur in the first round – and his first round scoring average is BETTER than his other four rounds in the past few seasons (this year his final round was slightly better). However, in more recent statistics, that might just be attributed to the fact that courses are set up a little easier in the tougher schedule he plays. Plus, it’s impossible as a player to avoid the fact that the first round is much more important in a tournament that has a 36 hole cut – and this event does NOT. Horschel’s average has also been a little less consistent since he switched over to PXG equipment. He’s still a solid contender, but there’s not a real sense of urgency for him right now. His job is secure and he’s settling into a new era in his career with a young family.

The real nod, though, is to Hovland. His scoring average as a rookie is 67.85, Early hall of fame numbers, and Horschel’s 2019 average is 70.644. Add the half stroke, and you’re looking at a full 3 shot difference. More reason to take Hovland: he won’t have any issue adjusting to a foreign time change. He’s from Norway – and he’s probably going to enjoy a slight change of pace, especially since he’s only 21 years old and could probably handle any jet lag without any lack in energy. I mean, I’ve never seen that kid look tired. Horschel, meanwhile, does not have a good track record overseas. Last year in this event, he shot 74-74-71-71. In 5 starts at the British Open, he has 4 missed cuts and a T30 in 2015. Hovland has shown no sign of struggling to learn a new layout.

2. More Birdie or Better: Fleetwood vs. Matsuyama

This is another good one to watch and work with. Matsuyama’s birdie or better percentage is promising over the course of his past few seasons: 9th in 2019, 16th in 2018, 3rd in 2017. Don’t forget, that 2019 statistic is finalized as well. That means he improved his percentage by double since the previous season, where he was top 3 on the PGA TOUR before. Add the fact that Matsuyama finished his last two rounds here with 66-69, and you can bet he’ll have fond memories heading into round one. Hopefully in the practice round, too.
Fleetwood’s only question mark is how he’ll play at this track. He does not have an established handicap since this is his first time around Nine Bridges. I’ve seen some fantasy guys put Fleetwood in their lineups this week, but PGA Tour’s fantasy board leader Sean Martin and others aren’t touching him. Overall betting odds put Fleetwood at 20-1 this week, which are generous odds (Matsuyama is 14-1) to win. I’d say that even though Fleetwood is getting back into form, that won’t guarantee an explosive start. Fleetwood, despite 7 pro wins, has never won on the PGA TOUR.

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