The PGA Tour again heads to a course where previous experience won't be an asset for golfers or Squad Up owners. The Quicken Loans National will be played at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farms in Bethesda, Md., for the first time since 2006, when the course was known simply as TPC Avenel. The course previously held the Kemper Open, and it underwent severe renovations before reopening in 2009 to host Web.com and Champions Tour events.
A smaller-than-normal field is also weaker than usual. Just 11 of the top 25 in the FedExCup standings and only five of the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking will be in attendance. Sixteen players in the field have won at least one event this season, with Justin Thomas being the only two-time champion of the 2016-17 season.
This is the fourth-last event prior to The Open Championship, and the FedExCup playoffs are just eight weeks away.
Sample tournament lineup
|G5||Charles Howell III||30.9||59K|
According to FantasyInsiders, the key stats to monitor for this week are Par 4 Scoring (P4S), Strokes Gained: Approach (SGA), and Birdie or Better Percentage (BoB).
- Top Play - Stanley: Stanley missed the cut in just one of his past eight events, recording three top-10 finishes during the recent stretch. He finished just 57th at last week's Travelers Championship, after having U.S. Open week as a vacation. He has been a consistent cut-maker, and the thin field could thrust him into the top 10 once again. Only Justin Thomas is a better statistical fit to the course.
- Value Target - Ryan Ruffels (25K): Ruffels will make his 13th career and fifth PGA Tour start of the 2016-17 season. He has played predominantly on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica this year, finishing second in each of his past two events. The weak field can allow for an easy transition from the secondary tour on which he has had success.
- Fade - Hudson Swafford (51K): Priced just above Stanley, Swafford is part of an upper class in Group 1 which can be avoided completely. Swafford ranks just 71st in P4S, 105th in SGA, and 63rd in BoB. He finished 66th in a weak field at the Travelers, snapping a spell of four consecutively missed cuts.
- Top Play - Lingmerth (43K): Lingmerth has made each of his past seven cuts, though he has failed to crack the top 10 in that time. He doesn't rank inside the top 70 in any of the three key stats, as he has relied heavily on impressive putting ranks. His 28.06 putts per round rank third on tour.
- Value Target - Gavin Kyle Green (25K): The 23-year-old will make his third PGA Tour start of his career this week. He previously finished 69th at the CIMB Classic in October of 2016 and missed the cut at the Safeway Open. His best finish as a professional was a runner-up at the Hero Indian Open of the European Tour in March.
- Fade - Adam Hadwin (71K): Hadwin has a top finish of 22nd in his past eight events, missing one cut. While he has won this season in a much stronger field than he'll be a part of this week, his recent form has dropped him to a rank of 70th in BoB. The thin field has inflated his salary, but he hasn't shown the recent ability to lead a field even of this caliber.
- Top Play - Tony Finau (61K): Is the No. 3 favorite of the selected statistics, ranking 14th in P4S, 28th in SGA, and 10th in BoB. He made each of his past four cuts, finishing as high as 13th at the Byron Nelson Championship. His lone PGA victory came at last year's Puerto Rico Open, a notably weak-field event.
- Value Target - Schniederjans: He's had the past three weeks off to rest, after a stretch of six made cuts which included a top finish of third. He ranks 36th in BoB and 32nd in SGA among the key stats. In 13 made cuts, he has picked up four top 10s, showing a strong chance of being credited with Squad Up's placing bonus.
- Fade - Patrick Reed (104K): Reed has shown improvements of late, finishing fifth last week and 13th at the U.S. Open. It was just his second top 10 of the season, and still doesn't justify such a high salary in a year lacking success. He doesn't rank inside the top 50 in any of the key stats.
- Top Play - Brendan Steele (72K): Steele's top statistic is a rank of fifth in P4S, but he also comes in at 31st in SGA and 17th in BoB. He finished 14th last week, and 13th at the U.S. Open as part of a run with four made cuts and one top-10 finish.
- Value Target - Trey Mullinax (25K): Mullinax has a tremendous statistical ranking for someone available at such a discount. He ranks 21st in P4S and 27th in BoB. He missed the cut last week but finished ninth at the U.S. Open for his first top-10 showing of the season.
Fade - Wesley Bryan (79K): Bryan has played six events since his breakout victory, but he missed three cuts and didn't finish higher than 29th. He ranks 25th in SGA but outside the top 70 in each of the other two key statistics for the week.
- Top Play - Bill Haas (82K): Haas lacks significant upside in regular fields, but he is a consistent cut-maker with a window of opportunity this week. He took last week off after his fifth-placed finish at the U.S. Open, providing some rest. He ranks a reasonable 21st in P4S and 41st in SGA.
- Value Target - Wyndham Clark (25K): Clark missed the cut in his PGA debut last week, but the NCAA star will have another shot at the Quicken Loans National. He'll be playing on PGA Tour Canada's Mackenzie Tour full time next season, but he projects to get as much experience as possible on the big tour while he can.
- Fade - Si Woo Kim (92K): Kim finished 13th at the U.S. Open, but he also has a missed cut and a withdrawal in just three events since his victory at THE PLAYERS. He ranks outside the top 150 in each of the three key stats.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)
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