Gamers have seen carnage on the cut line over the last few weeks.
That will be the new norm this season as the new top-65 and ties cutline rule does its thing.
On the bright side, the field is trimmed to just 144 (instead of 156) this week. That will make it just a touch easier to get your golfers through the cut line. Emphasis on just a touch.
Golfers in the field will be doing battle with Silverado Resort and Spa's North Course which has hosted this event for each of the last five years.
Poa annua greens are known to be tricky in the afternoon but chilly morning temperatures typically balance things out here in Napa. I will be interesting to see if that holds true this year as the event is played in last September instead of early or mid-October.
Thursday (R1): Temps start in the low 60s but reach 85 by 2 PM. Winds at 5 MPH increasing to 10 in the PM.
Friday (R2): Upper 50s in the AM before reaching 75 by 2 PM. Winds a 7-to-10 MPH
No precipitation in the forecast so we shouldn't have to worry about any delays this week. Ideal tee times this week are probably going to be in the 11 AM to 1 PM range as they avoid the chilly mornings but also don't have to deal with all of the afternoon winds and less afternoon poa.
The best part about season-long leagues is the draft. You don't get that same rush with normal DFS contests but there is hope still. DRAFT has come along to fill that void and I'm having a lot of fun playing in their weekly golf drafts.
The first place to start is to build your pre-draft rankings for the week. I will point out a few golfers I think are overvalued in the raw rankings and a few that are undervalued in the raw rankings.
Phil Mickelson (68.36 Projected Pts): Silverado has been happy hunting ground for Lefty over the last few years. He enters with three straight top 20s in Napa. The problem? He hasn't finished better than T48 in 10 straight events on his current game log.
Kevin Chappell (66.29 Projected Pts): It was great to see the '59' at The Greenbrier but he still finished outside the top 45 by week's end. There is still plenty of rust on the tires so it's a bit risky to draft him at 10th which is where he sits on the pre-draft rank boards.
Sungjae Im (38.91 Projected Pts): Surprise, surprise. Im remains near the bottom of the board when it comes to Projected DRAFT points. The young Korean just lost in a playoff at the Sanderson Farms and finished inside the top 5 at Silverado last year.
Harold Varner III (55.59 Projected Pts): He's a fantasy machine when he's dialed in. He typically gets dialed in on courses that give him a lot of short irons or wedges. That will be the case this week in Napa. HV3 beat the field average in 13-of-16 rounds played at Silverado Resort and Spa.
Heading to California, it's important to be comfortable on poa annua greens...
Looking at sample-size-adjusted performance on poa greens over the last three 3 years (PGA, KFT, Euro Tour) the top 15 performers on a per-round basis looks like this:
Charles Howell III
Other than raw performance, we can also look at who shows the biggest improvement on poa (versus their baseline). Using that as the criteria, the following names pop:
Five of the six have ties to California, or at least the West Region (Kevin Na, Vegas). CH3 would be the exception there.
The problem is the lack of form from this bunch. All of them should be considered boom-or-bust options due to subpar form.
Robby Shelton: Has started the season with back-to-back top 30s. He's gained 8.5 strokes tee-to-green combined, in those two events. He's gained strokes off-the-tee in all eight rounds and also positive in approach in 6-of-8 rounds. Silverado's North Course will reward that kind of ball-striking so I will take a chance on him staying hot this week. He finished top 35 in all three poa annua starts on the Korn Ferry Tour last season.
Best of luck in all your contests this week!