Fantasy Golf Picks, Odds, and Predictions for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Fantasy Preview
Despite its cruel scheduling in-between a major and a WGC event, the RBC Canadian Open managed to serve up some entertaining golf last week.
Two of our picks, Dustin Johnson and Byeong Hun-An, were level at -17 with Whee Kim and Kevin Tway heading into the final round, and so spectators were assured a frenetic finish.
It didn’t quite pan out as DJ just did what he does best; make birdies and keep the field at arm’s length. The fact he had 18 PGA TOUR titles, and An, Kim and Tway have none between them, was perhaps the biggest clue of all as to how the tournament would turn out.
Johnson might just fancy an outstanding hat-trick in the coming weeks: victory at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, which starts on Thursday, and next week’s fourth and final major of the year: the PGA Championship at Bellerive.
Stranger things have happened…
The PGA TOUR splits into two again this week, with the best in the business teeing up at the Firestone Club for the WGC-Bridgestone and the best of the rest will head to the scenic Montreux G&CC for the stableford-format Barracuda Championship.
Most of the focus, from a DFS perspective and the eyes of the golfing world, will be on Akron, Ohio though so that’s where we’ll be putting our attention this week.
Can Tiger Woods bag a PGA TOUR win at a venue he has won eight times at in the past? We’ll dive into that an a lot more in a minute, but first let’s wrap up last week’s results.
Tiger Woods of the USA in action during the final round of the Open Championship at Carnoustie Golf Club on July 22, 2018 in Carnoustie, Scotland. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Last Week’s Fantasy Results
We’re back in the winner’s circle with a solid 1-2 punch at Glen Abby last week. Our Top Tier pick was DJ, and sure plenty may have seen that coming, but more importantly having Byeong Hun An as a mid-tier pick certainly helped us cash in.
With the win, DJ marks our forth winner picked this year and An marks our 10th runner-up on the season. Additionally, our GPFP algorithm indicated a high projected fantasy points (119.00) for DJ and he certainly met those expectations!
Dustin Johnson poses with the trophy during the final round at the RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey Golf Club on July 29, 2018 in Oakville, Canada. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
The 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational Field
Given that WGC prefix you know the drill here: the best players from all over the world are invited to tee up, and that includes many of the OWGR top-50 and 29 of the top-30 players in the FedExCup standings.
Newly minted British Open champion Francesco Molinari makes a swift return to action, and he will be joined by Johnson and British Open runners-up Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy.
Jordan Spieth, who showed signs of life at Carnoustie, will line up alongside fellow ‘frat pack’ members Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas, US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Masters winner Patrick Reed.
The European charge will be led Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson and Alex Noren, while the likes of Patton Kizzire, Ted Potter Jr and Andrew Landry get an invite courtesy of their wins on Tour earlier in the campaign.
USA’s Jordan Spieth and USA’s Justin Thomas during preview day three of The Open Championship 2018 at Carnoustie Golf Links, Angus. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
This Week’s Course Preview
Firestone is a fitting host for such a prestigious event, and the players are assured a decent test of their credentials this week.
This is the longest Par 70 on the WGC circuit at 7,400 yards, with seven Par 4s measuring more than 460 yards apiece. And don’t forget the sixteenth hole: a 667-yard Par 5 which earned the nickname ‘the monster’ from Arnold Palmer.
These days bombers can find that green in two, although with a downhill rolling fairway and pond protecting the front of the green, only the brave need try.
It will come as no surprise to learn that the monster was one of several holes that averaged over par last year, and indeed only two averaged under par. This is a tough course from start to finish, with very little let-up.
The difficulty begins off the tee, where tree-lined fairways occasionally offer very little real estate to work with. There has been plenty of rain in the area (more on that later) so the rough is likely to be as penal as ever, too.
The Bentgrass/Poa greens are super-fast – as sharp as 13 on the stimp, depending on the weather, and with false fronts and shaved edges these can be tough to hold; especially true if the sun and wind dries them out.
There are some subtle elevation changes here too, so all-in-all the players can forget an easy lead-in to the PGA Championship!
Hideki Matsuyama of Japan plays a shot on the ninth fairway during the final round of the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club on August 6 in Akron, Ohio. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Weather Forecast for Akron, OH
The forecast from Monday through Wednesday is for “scattered thunderstorms,” although the actual percentage chance of rain ranges from 40-60%. It’s one of those weather predictions where even the experts don’t really have a clue what is about to happen.
So keep your eyes peeled to social media for live updates, and clearly if there is significant rainfall then the softer conditions will help to determine who makes our draft and who doesn’t.
According to the same forecast the actual four days of golf should be dry enough, with Thursday dawning warm and fairly settled, with minimal wind.
There’s more of the same on Friday before Saturday could be a cracker; 88 degrees and winds of no greater than 8 mph.
The event should conclude in another warm, dry and largely wind-free affair, but as ever stay tuned to the up-to-the-minute forecast for more accurate predictions.
Last Year’s Results from The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
A closing round of 61 – by far the week’s best – secured a first WGC title for Hideki Matsuyama here 12 months ago.
The Japanese ace was two shots back heading into the final round behind Zach Johnson and Thomas Pieters on -9, with Scott Hend lurking on -8.
Matsuyama’s round of 61 was four shots better than the next best of the day, and it will come as no surprise to learn that he won by five clear from Johnson, six from Charley Hoffman and eight from Pieters.
The group tied in fifth – Paul Casey, Rory McIlroy, Russell Knox and Adam Hadwin – were on -7; nine adrift of the winner!
Where to Play Fantasy Golf for The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational this Week
You will see lots of ‘it’s Tiger week!’ given the GOAT’s record at Firestone, but remember that the Tiger Woods of the fused spine era is a different player to the one who got it done eight times here before.
Could he win? Absolutely, but with high ownership expected he is an easy fade this week. That will help games who take a different route in this pair of contests:
- PGA $650k Drive the Green: Use your Tiger-less roster to take down this $5 contest, which is serving up a top prize of a cool $100k!
- PGA $475k Club Twirl: You’ll have to stump up $44 entry for this one, but the rewards are obvious: a top prize of $100k, plus the chance to double your money for finishing inside the top 12.5% of players.
This Week’s Fantasy Notes for The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
With demands placed upon the players from tee to green – never mind on these super-slick greens – clearly the winner this week will have the all-round package to beat an elite field.
There will be 76 take to the tee at Firestone, but it would be fair to say that around half of those names can be omitted from our inquiries simply because they aren’t of the required standard to win a high-profile WGC event.
Indeed, of the last five Bridgestone Invitational champions, you could argue that Shane Lowry is the only anomaly to that ‘class act’ category, but then he finished second in a US Open, so at some point he was certainly among the best in the business.
Length off the tee is obviously an advantage at this layout, but a touch of accuracy doesn’t hurt either; you don’t want to be trying desperately to spin your ball to hold these tricky greens out of wet rough, that’s for sure.
So Total Driving, with a slight emphasis on length, is a decent place to start.
Arguably the key stat is Greens in Regulation, in which Matsuyama thrived 12 months ago. He found 75% of greens from just 50% of fairways hit, which confirms his approach/recovery game was in fine working order. Hoffman, Pieters and Casey, who all finished inside the top-five, ranked third, third and fifth respectively for GIR.
Matsuyama’s winning mark of -16 rather skews the picture of just how difficult Firestone is, and let’s not forget that just three players finished double-digits under par. While 35 players finished under par, 40 ended the tournament in the + numbers, and so err on the side of caution as far as birdie-makers are concerned.
Perhaps, with 12 of the things, Par 4 Scoring and Bogey Avoidance might be important this week, especially if the course dries out.
As far as correlating courses are concerned, it is hard to draw parallels with any other property. That said, the list of Bridgestone champions have largely played well at Augusta – probably the tree-lined fairways and fast Bentgrass greens being the link, while Matsuyama has won at layouts with elevation changes (Phoenix Open) and in Ohio (Memorial Tournament). Perhaps those serve up some food for thought.
Our Top 5 (and Top 2 Sleeper) Fantasy Picks and Odds to Win The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
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Fantasy Golf Predictions This Season (2017-2018)
Total Top 3s
Total Top 10s
Total Top 25s
Total Winners Picked
Total Runners-Up Picked
Total Made Cuts (Includes Sleepers)
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