As 64 of the top players in the world head to Texas for the World Match Play Championships, the rest of the PGA Tour will journey to Puerto Rico for the annual event at Coco Beach Golf & CC. Many remember this event being held at one of Donald Trump’s namesakes, but the course was forced to change its name to Coco Beach after the licensing fees to use the Trump title became too costly.
This tournament provides a wonderful opportunity for both the players, and fans. With so many members of the Tour competing in the match play event, it provides fans with an opportunity to follow players they don’t get a chance to follow as often. At the same time, this event is the perfect opportunity for players to provide themselves with the opportunity to have a big week and even notch that elusive first win of their careers. It can be easy to forget just how incredibly talented these players are, and the Puerto Rico Open allows us to once again be reminded that even though we don’t always see certain players on Sunday afternoons competing for a win, they are still tremendous talents who are exciting to watch.
Here are some of the players to keep an eye on this week a Coco Beach.
Will Wilcox - A big week at this event last year, finishing one shot out of the playoff. This sets up as a terrific venue for him to notch his first Tour win - something which I have been calling for a while.
Cameron Smith - Quietly establishing a presence out on Tour. Working on developing greater consistency in his performance, he certainly has the game to make a run up a leaderboard, as his performance at last year’s US Open revealed.
Graham DeLaet - Two top-10s so far this season (Sony Open & Valspar Championship), with his most recent coming two weeks ago at Innisbrook GC. Considered one of the best ball-strikers on Tour when his game is in top form.
Aaron Baddeley - While he hasn’t been turning many heads, it has been exciting to see Baddeley begin to show signs of his former self. The past few years have seen him struggle to make cuts, but this is becoming a thing of the past.
Luke Donald - The former world number one has struggled to get his game back to where we are accustomed to seeing it, with his best finishes this season being twenty-something place finishes. Don’t be surprised however to see him make a charge this week. There is a certain confidence that can come when playing as a former world number one in an event such as this.
Brendan de Jonge - Shown time and again that he has the game to compete in deep fields, so certainly someone to watch for this week.
David Hearn - After a solid summer of 2015, his game has not been where many would have predicted it would be at this point. Solid play at Bay Hill however very well may serve as the boost he needs to make a run this week.
Ian Poulter - One of the top ranked players in the field this week. If you are taking him on a fantasy roster, be careful, as he is on the shortlist to get into the match play field.
John Daly - Finished T10 at this event last season, and is seeking to get his game into shape for his upcoming debut on the Champions Tour. Is always a bit of a wild card, but there is no denying that he is a tremendous talent who certainly does have game.
David Toms - A veteran who continues to produce on a regular basis. Finished T4 at this event in 2014. His experience will certainly serve as an advantage this week.
Rob Oppenheim - This journeyman showed last week at Bay Hill that his game is in a good place. A great time for him to be heading to an event like the Puerto Rico Open.
Adam Svensson - The young Canadian has been highly touted, and proved that he has game by cruising to a seven-shot victory at Q School back in December. While I’m taking him as a sleeper, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him make a serious run this week, despite his missed cut last week at the Web.com event.
And now my DraftKings lineups for this week.
This week is an interesting one for making picks. I’m so used to trying to “fit in” players with large price tags, but with so many of those players in the match play event, this isn’t necessarily the reality. Take for instance my picks for Team B. Each of these players are ones who I see as due for big showings, and all are coming at very reasonable draft values. I actually have almost $13,000 remaining to draft with, but if there is one thing I know, it is that golf is rarely predictable, and leaderboards certainly don’t follow rankings. This is just another reason why DraftKings is such a fun platform - you don’t have to be an expert to compete.
Luke Donald - $9,600
Jonathan Byrd - $9,000
Cameron Smith - $8,700
Aaron Baddeley - $7,600
David Toms - $7,500
Brandon de Jonge - $7,300
Shawn Stefani - $6,800
Nick Taylor - $6,700
Steve Wheatcroft - $6,000
Rob Oppenheim - $6,000
Scott Stallings - $5,900
Erik Compton - $5,700
This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly #FantasyGolf series. Each week we preview the upcoming PGA Tour event and highlight some of the players we'll be keeping an eye on. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family.
Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.