The PGA Tour continues its stay in F-L-A with a trip to Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, Florida this week as the field deals with Copperhead a week after trying to tame the Blue Monster.
Patrick Reed outlasted the field last week and dealt with the tough conditions the best to win by a stroke and become the youngest player to claim a WGC Championship. In our Fansided & Friends fantasy golf group, (details to join here) “18 Holes Bar” took the win for the week with a 182-point week behind Reed, Rory, Bubba, and Dustin Johnson. Overall, Touchdown Jackrabbits retook the lead from Team Tiger as the top spot remains within 100 points of the top 18 entries in our deep 50-entry group.
You may not recognize the name of the Valspar Championship since it is a new title sponsor. Last year this event was the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank and for the four previous years was called the Transitions Championship. The history in those events is relevant to this week, though, since all of those events were held on the same course.
Copperhead is always a unique challenge since not all the big names are in play although 10 of the top 30 are expected to tee it up this week. The stretch you’ll hear about this week are the three finishing holes dubbed “The Snake Pit.” You can read more and download your scorecard for the weekend here where there’s also some pretty cool pictures of the course.
Here’s who will be on my roster based on current form and past history at Copperhead:
Luke Donald: Donald finished 25th last week at Doral, but he finished with a solid 72-69 after an ugly 82 in the second round. He won this event two years ago in a playoff and followed that up with a top five last season. Prior to his win, Donald also put up a t6 in 2010.
Matt Kuchar: Kuchar shot three straight 74′s to finish t13 last week. He has top-15 finishes in all his tournaments this season except for one and has been in the top 15 in the last two tournaments at Innisbrook.
Jordan Spieth: Spieth picked up a top ten finish at this event last year and comes in off a final round 69 at Doral. His t34 last week snapped a string of four straight top-20 finishes.
Jason Dufner: Dufner is coming off top ten finishes in his last two tournaments in the two recent WGC events. Last year, he put up his fifth straight top-30 finish at Copperhead highlighted by a tenth place finish in 2012.
Webb Simpson: Simpson has played this event four times and has been in the top 17 each time. His best finish was runner-up back in 2011, and he’s been pretty steady so far this season. I’ve used several Simpson starts, so I’ll start with him on the bench but his current form and solid history make him an option worth owning.
Bryce Molder: Molder is my sleeper pick in the B pool coming off a pair of top 10′s at Pebble Beach and Riviera. He made the cut last year and was in contention until a tough Sunday at Copperhead where a late double-bogey in the snake pit dropped him from the top 25. In 2012, he finished t20 as well, so I think he’s got a good chance to have another strong finish this week. Other B-List options I like include Bill Haas, Graham DeLaet, and Brian Stuard
Harris English: English has been in the top 20 in eight of his last ten tournaments after a t16 at Doral. He also has a good history at Copperhead where he finished t7 last year. English doesn’t have a win yet on Tour this season, but that could definitely change this week.
Sang-Moon Bae: Bae has rested since putting up his best finish of the season with a t12 in the Northern Trust Open a month ago. He lost in a playoff two years ago and made the cut last year finishing t43. He’s a risky pick, but with English in such a groove it’s one I feel that I can take. Other options from the C-List include Cameron Tringale, Will MacKenzie and K.J. Choi