Emergency 9: Fantasy advice for the Waste Management Phoenix Open
Here are nine tidbits from the first round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open that gamers can use tomorrow, this weekend or down the road. Be looking for the Emergency 9 shortly after the close of play of each round of the tournament. Know Thy Enemy These were the top-10 picked golfers in the PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO. I'm trying to figure out why the rest of the people didn't play Matsuyama this week. I would love to hear the reasons why he was omitted from lineups based on his last four years on the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course. He was 59-under-par in those events entering this week. Bill-ding a Lead Bill Haas has provided nothing but frustration to weekly and season-long fantasy owners in the 2018 season. His T17 to open the new season at the Safeway Open was followed by a five-event stretch that included three missed cuts and nothing better than T54. He had success on the "old" TPC Scottsdale but he didn't break par in his only visit to the redesign in 2015. Haas was selected on less than one percent of rosters this week in the PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO. He hit 16 of 18 greens, circled five birdies and an eagle against zero bogeys for 64 (-7) but I'm not getting out the ink pen just yet. Billy Clubs Another renowned ball-striker is just two back as Billy Horschel stalks the lead. Horschel's last few months are very similar to the leader but he at least has three consecutive top-30 finishes at TPC Scottsdale the last three seasons. Bogey avoidance was one of the keys this week in The Confidence Factor and Horschel's card (66) didn't have any either. He painted 10 of 14 fairways, three more than Haas and hit just one less green. It's his first, bogey-free round since last year's Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard on Sunday. Automatic for the People Bubba Watson used to be one of the first names on the team sheet annually at the WMPO. From 11 starts prior to this year he accumulated seven top-25 and four top-10 finishes from nine weekends. He rattled off a stretch from 2012 to 2016 where he didn't finish worse than 15th before a MC last year. Watson only had three top-10 finishes in the entire 2017 portion of the season. Don't Do Me Like That Here comes Jon Rahm, again! This week we heard defending his first title on TOUR, plus his win the week before at CareerBuilder Challenge mixed in with some poor ball-striking and putting was the reason he couldn't get over the finish line at the Farmers Insurance Open. Well, that's fixed. He led the field in strokes-gained: off-the-tee and in fairways hit (12/14) plus found 14 of 18 GIR. I'm back on board in the desert! Caution Chris Kirk opened with 66 Thursday and that's the fifth time in seven trips to Scottsdale that he's posted 67 or lower in the opening round. The biggest check he's collected from these five events has been T24. Where's Webb? The fifth-most picked player in the PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO is toiling with Jordan Spieth, J.B. Holmes and others at 1-over-par (T83). Every week I point out some bizarre stat or quandary that gamers scratch their heads about and Simpson covers me tonight. In his previous seven starts here he's played his first round under par. That streak was broken. The last three events here he hasn't broken par on Friday. Gamers will hope down is up this year but there wasn't much on Simpson's scorecard that suggested an anomaly. Gulp. Spaun and Done I'll have the PGA TOUR Fantasy One & Done presented by SERVPRO stats for you tomorrow but that won't do you any good if you went with J.J. Spaun this week. He withdrew after 10 holes on Thursday so if he's in your PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf presented by SERVPRO, he needs to be subbed out. Study Hall Interesting reading from Rob Bolton, who is on site this week, that Billy Horschel suggested that pins were tough on Thursday. The weather is non-existent this week so your lineup will reflect how aggressive you choose to be with your six-man teams. I'm still shocked that almost half of you did not roster Matsuyama this week. WHAT ARE YOU SAVING HIM FOR??? Rant over. ... Playoff participants Alex Noren and Ryan Palmer both shot even-par 71 today and will need a response tomorrow. ... Tom Hoge was featured at PGATOUR.COM earlier in the week. He carded a 73. There's not a jinx for this, right? RIGHT? ... Monday qualifier John Oda couldn't continue his Monday magic as he shot a 76. ... Martin Laird, who led after 36 and 54 holes last year, is back at it again after opening with a 68 (-3).
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