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Best bets and steals at the Frys.com Open

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The PGA Tour’s 2015-2016 season begins this week at the 2015 Frys.com Open. Not a very long off-season, I know, but that means DraftKings weekly fantasy golf is back!

In this week’s fantasy contest, $400,000 is on the line with $100K going to the winner. There’s golf to be played and money to be made; don’t miss out on the opportunity, especially since I’m here to help you with my “best bets and steals” below.

Click here to ENTER the contest.

The Course 

silveradomembers.com

silveradomembers.com

The North Course at Silverado Country Club located in Napa Valley, California, measures 7,171 yards in length, plays to a tournament par of 72, and has served as the temporary home for the Frys.com Open in both 2014 and 2015. The golf course was re-designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. in 1966 and recently updated by World Golf Hall of Fame member and owner, Johnny Miller.

The Frys.com Open is the opening event for the 2015-2016 season on the PGA Tour and its field includes both world No. 3 Rory McIlroy, world No. 7 Justin Rose, as well as Presidents Cup savior for the United States, Chris Kirk.

Check out my best bets and steals below.

Martin Piller ($5,500)

MartinPiller

2014-2015 Web.com Tour season stats

  • All-Around Ranking: 432 (39th)
  • Par 5 Birdie or Better Leaders: 41.53% (83rd)
  • Total Driving: 148 (T-89th)
  • Putting Average: 1.719 (T-9th)

Piller previously played on the PGA Tour during the 2011 season finishing 193rd in the FedExCup. He won twice at the Albertson Boise Open and Digital Ally Open and earned $343,649 in official money during the 2014-2015 Web.com Tour season. Piller is a strong putter and likely to make the most of his return to the PGA Tour.

That said, he struggled in his last few starts of the Web.com Tour season, but his upside as evidenced by being a multiple winner on that tour in 2014-2015 makes him a worthwhile bet. While consistency may become an ongoing issue for Piller, those weeks where he puts all the pieces together are going to provide significant return on investment. Piller can play and win on the PGA Tour when at his best.

Steve Marino ($6,100)

2014-2015 Web.com Tour season stats

  • All-Around Ranking: 280 (4th)
  • Par 5 Birdie or Better Leaders: 45.86% (44th)
  • Total Driving: 112 (T-137th)
  • Putting Average: 1.740 (T-24th)

Marino is a former PGA Tour player and steal this week in Napa Valley with 173 career starts, 57 top-25s, including four second-place finishes, and more than $9 million in earnings. Having suffered a knee injury in 2012, Marino eventually lost his status on the PGA Tour for the 2014-2015 season.

Based on his play on Web.com Tour in 2014-2015, he was able to earn PGA Tour status for the upcoming season. With vast experience, a well-rounded game, and a seemingly healthy knee, Marino would appear ready to once again compete. He will be playing hard from day one and looking for a fast start to his second chance on Tour. Marino is a veteran with too much experience to overlook.

Ollie Schniederjans ($6,800) 

OllieSchiederjans

Ollie played in four PGA Tour events last season after turning professional upon finishing T12 at The Open Championship as an amateur. His best PGA Tour finishes in 2014-2015 were a T15 and T22, at Tiger’s tournament, the Quicken Loans National and RBC Canadian Open, respectively.

Ollie is a former No. 1-ranked amateur and winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal based upon the same in 2014. He was No. 1 for 41 weeks, is a two-time Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year, and is a two-time first-team All-American at Georgia Tech. Ollie is inevitably going to compete on the PGA Tour, but unlike other players on this list, he is not presently exempt. Having been given a sponsor’s exemption, Ollie will be playing to win and believe it or not, he can do it.

Zac Blair ($7,300)

2014-2015 PGA TOUR season stats

  • All-Around Ranking: 793 (112th)
  • Par 5 Birdie or Better Leaders: 43.13% (75th)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 0.362 (142nd)
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 0.520 (11th)

At 5 feet, 6 inches, and 155 pounds, Blair is arguably the biggest surprise on the PGA Tour last season, given the emphasis on length at the professional level. He will inevitably continue to master the art of putting, especially as his familiarity with venues on the PGA Tour grows.

Whether Blair will threaten this week at the Frys.com Open depends on his ball-striking, but having finished T12 last year at this event and course he likely is feeling comfortable in Napa Valley. Blair earned more than $1.2 million in earnings on the PGA Tour last season and finished in the top-25 eight times in his rookie year. When he starts climbing the leaderboard this week, do not be the least bit surprised as Blair is a steal.

Jamie Lovemark ($7,500)

JamieLovemark

2014-2015 Web.com Tour season stats

  • All-Around Ranking: 314 (10th)
  • Par 5 Birdie or Better Leaders: 57.14% (1st)
  • Total Driving: 130 (T-67th)
  • Putting Average: 1.731 (17th)

Despite leaving the University of Southern California early and turning pro in 2009, Lovemark has encountered many obstacles in his time as a touring professional, including back surgery in his early 20s. Nevertheless, he put together a solid year on the Web.com Tour and solidified his place on the PGA Tour in 2015-2016 by finishing 4th on that tour’s money list.

Lovemark also has 64 career starts on the PGA Tour and more than $1 million in career earnings. Provided he is truly healthy, Lovemark is now 27 years old and seemingly ready to live up to those expectations so many others had for him in 2009-2010. Physically, he seems to have all the tools to succeed and it will be shocking to very few when Lovemark starts challenging for PGA Tour titles. Even as early as this week.

Charles Howell III ($7,600)

2014-2015 PGA TOUR season stats

  • All-Around Ranking: 840 (126th)
  • Par 5 Birdie or Better Leaders: 42.94% (79th)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 0.557 (38th)
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: -0.217 (T-144th)

A veteran of the PGA Tour, Howell has amassed career earnings of almost $29 million. A two-time winner, he finished in top-10 three times in 2014-2015 in 30 total events. Last year at this same event, Howell made the cut, but ultimately finished T71.

There is little doubt that Howell is capable of winning on the PGA Tour, with 23 top-10 finishes in the past five seasons. While his ball-striking statistics from last season fail to evidence it, Howell has no problem tee to green. A hot putter will put Howell in position to win not only this week, but other events in the 2015-2016 season.

Patrick Rodgers ($8,000)

PatrickRodgersNike

2014-2015 PGA TOUR season stats

  • All-Around Ranking: 627 (58th)
  • Par 5 Birdie or Better Leaders: 48.68% (20th)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 0.105 (91st)
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: -0.001 (107th)

Rodgers, like some other well-known youngsters (Justin Thomas and Ollie Schniederjans, in particular) is inevitably going to find success on the PGA Tour and remains a steal this week. He played both the PGA and Web.com tours last season, but earned his current status on the former by way of his earnings in events played through sponsor’s exemptions. Rodgers was precluded as a result from playing in the Web.com Tour Finals and thus unable to improve his priority ranking.

Irrespective of the same, expect Rodgers to be a weekly threat this year, especially at those events where he finds his stroke on the putting greens. He did miss the cut last year at this same event, but in 17 total PGA Tour events in the 2014-2015, Rodgers earned more than $1 million. His year was highlighted by a T2 at the Wells Fargo Championship and third place at the Barracuda Championship. Rodgers has the pedigree and skills to win not only this week, but almost every week he tees it up to play on the PGA Tour.

Emiliano Grillo ($8,800)

2014-2015 The European Tour season stats

  • Driving Accuracy: 68.5% (17th)
  • Greens in Regulation: 71.8% (34th)
  • Putter Per GIR: 1.762 (52nd)
  • Race to Dubai: 515,558 (59th)

Seemingly destined to win on the PGA Tour in the very near future, Grillo has primarily played on The European Tour since 2012. In limited starts on the PGA Tour last season, he notched two top-10s, including, a T2 at the Puerto Rico Open.

Grillo earned the opportunity to play on the PGA Tour in 2015-2016 based on his play during Web.com Tour Finals, including a win at the Web.com Tour Championship. He possesses a game that’s sharp from tee to green, making the biggest challenge to a successful year Grillo’s lack of familiarity with PGA Tour courses from week to week. Grillo has critical experience as a professional golfer, and even as a PGA Tour rookie his name will be one to watch at the Frys.com Open.

Daniel Berger ($8,900)

DanielBerger

2014-2015 PGA TOUR season stats

  • All-Around Ranking: 499 (25th)
  • Par 5 Birdie or Better Leaders: 50.16% (T-8th)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 0.617 (33rd)
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: -0.193 (142nd)

Berger finished 11th on the final FedExCup points list and he was selected by his peers as PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. While he struggled mightily at times last season missing 14 cuts (seven in a row at one point late in the year) in 31 total events, Berger also notched 6 top-10 finishes highlighted by second place finishes at both the Honda Classic and BMW Championship.

A strong week on the greens in Napa Valley will inevitably place Berger in the thick of things, much like it did in Chicago during the FedExCup playoffs. There is little doubt Berger will win on the PGA Tour as the question is not if, but when.

Justin Thomas ($9,300)

2014-2015 PGA TOUR season stats

  • All-Around Ranking: 324 (7th)
  • Par 5 Birdie or Better Leaders: 55.36% (1st)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green: 0.881 (17th)
  • Strokes Gained: Putting: 0.043 (95th)

Thomas is a must bet every week this season on the PGA Tour, even as his value aligns with talent and upside, which is the case for the Frys.com Open. In other words, he remains a steal, given his numbers from 2014-2015. He was as deserving, if not more than Daniel Berger, of the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award based on consistency. Thomas finished 32nd in the final FedExCup rankings, just missing out on the Tour Championship, and earned over $2.2 milion.

He posted seven top-10s and made 23 of 30 cuts, despite missing each of the first two cuts last season, including, at this same event. Importantly, Thomas has demonstrated the all-around game and length necessary to compete on the modern day PGA Tour. Any week where he finds his rhythm on the greens, Thomas will be a legitimate threat to win. And that first win will inevitably open the flood gates to several more, so get on board before it is too late.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Jang Hyung-sun

    Oct 14, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Cordevalle is a better track than Silverado. I can’t wait til they play at The Institute. I love that track- Fry’s own course.

    • Tom

      Oct 15, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      Cordevalle is a chipmunks course for wanna bee’s.

    • Tom

      Oct 18, 2015 at 5:58 pm

      Something tells me you already knew that Fry’s would be pulling out of the sponsorship. Well get a club house built and “The Institute” rated and get back to the PGA we need you.

  2. Tom

    Oct 13, 2015 at 3:08 pm

    Ror’s is there,entourage in tow. Great event at a beautiful challenging course.

  3. Rors

    Oct 13, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    All the new young guns, eh. What about McIlroy? He’s been forgotten, has he?

  4. Pingback: Frys.com Fantasy Golf Primer | GolfJay

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