Sunday Fantasy Golf Update, January 24, 2016

With another championship Sunday upon us, it’s time for our weekly Sunday Fantasy Golf Update, January 24, 2016 edition.

Fowler Wins Sunday Shootout in Abu Dhabi

All the pre-tournament hype was about the showdown between the number one player in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR), Jordan Spieth and #3 Rory McIlroy. But it was the world’s sixth ranked player who stole the show on Sunday at Abu Dhabi.

American Rickie Fowler shot a final round 69 to emerge on top of a crowded leaderboard and win the European Tour’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. He finished one shot ahead of Germany’s Thomas Pieters. Pieters, himself coming off a break-out season that saw him win twice on the European Tour in 2015, shot a final round 67.

It was Fowler’s first win of the 2015-2016 season after three victories in 2015, and will once again start the discussion of expanding the so-called “Big Three” to a Big Four at the top of the world of golf. To add fuel to the fire, the win moved the Murrieta, California native to 4th in the OWGR, setting up a season long battle between the four twenty-somethings.

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As the PGA Tour heads back to the mainland, here are our Tuesday Fantasy Golf Notes, January 19, 2016 edition.  A quick look at stories that made headlines in the world of golf on the weekend, and there impact on the rest of the 2015-2016 season.

Gomez becomes a multiple PGA Tour Winner

Argentina’s Fabian Gomez won for a second time on the PGA Tour on Sunday, beating American Brandt Snedeker in a sudden-death playoff to win the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Gomez, who won for the first time last June at the FedEx St. Jude Classic, confirmed a return trip to Kapalua next January for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.  Right now the field includes the 37-year old and World #1, Jordan Spieth.

The victory also got the late-blooming native of Chaco closer to his goal of being named to the Argentine Olympic team for this summer’s games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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It’s the first Monday round-up of the calendar year, and maybe not surprisingly, Jordan Spieth is once again the lead story in golf.  Here’s a few things that caught our attention on the weekend.

Number One dominates at Kapalua

To say Jordan Spieth was the class of the field on the weekend is kind of like like saying that Bill Gates has money.  It gives a general idea but doesn’t convey the true magnitude of the situation.  Plain and simple Spieth’s win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions was a thumping that makes Holly Holm’s destruction of Ronda Rousey look like a minor disagreement among friends by comparison.

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In this three part series, Razzball.com’s golf editor, Joe MacDonald, will give you his selections of the Top 30 players at the end of the 2015-2016 FedEx Cup season.  In installment number one on Sunday, we looked at the guys who will rank in the Top 10 at the end of the year. On Tuesday, the erstwhile editor made his selections for positions 11 through 20.  Today, in the final article in the series, MacDonald chooses the players who will round out the field at the 2016 Tour Championship. 

The whole process of picking the Top 30 in the 2015-2016 FedEx Cup is a challenge, but this final article, is without doubt, the most difficult piece in the series.  The top 10 was easy, and barring injury or other natural disaster, all of the players listed in our Top 10 should be at East Lake for the Tour finale.

Positions 11-20 was a little more challenging, and we did go out on the limb on a couple of players, but again, we are pretty confident that most of the players we chose for the middle ten will at least have a spot in the field for the Tour Championship.

But now it gets hard.  We considered more than 60 players in trying to determine our final ten.  Major champions were snubbed.  Players with a history of playoff success were completely ignored.

So for better, or worse, here are our picks for positions 21 through 30 in the 2015-2016 FedEx Cup final standings. As in the first two installments in the series, OWGR indicates a player’s current placing in the Official World Golf Rankings and FEC indicates where he finished in the final 2014-2015 FedEx Cup Standings.

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In this three part series, Razzball.com’s golf editor, Joe MacDonald, will give you his selections of the Top 30 players at the end of the 2016 FedEx Cup season.  In installment number one on Sunday, we looked at the guys who will rank in the Top 10 at the end of the year. Today, MacDonald will select players 11-20 and the series will conclude on Saturday with positions 21-30.

Okay, I’m the first to admit it.  Picking the Top 10 was the easy part.  Even someone with a passing interest in the PGA Tour, probably could have picked most of the guys in our first installment of predictions.

To refresh your memory, our Top 10 was Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose and Kevin Kisner, in that order.

Now we look at player 11-20, a little more challenging, but still lots of predictable names. OWGR indicates a player’s current placing in the Official World Golf Rankings and FEC indicates where he finished in the final 2014-2015 FedEx Cup Standings.

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In this three part series, Razzball.com’s golf editor, Joe MacDonald, will give you his selections of the Top 30 players at the end of the 2016 FedEx Cup season.  In installment number one, we look at the guys who will rank in the Top 10 at the end of the year. On Tuesday, MacDonald will select players 11-20 and the series will conclude on Saturday with players 21-30.

2015 was a great year for the FedEx Cup (FEC).  We saw a great battle between Jason Day and Jordan Spieth , that saw Spieth ultimately win his first Fed Ex Cup with a victory at the Tour Championship.

Going into the final event, Spieth and Day, as well as Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler, had destiny in their own hands, meaning a win would secure the title. That meant you had five of the top six players in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) battling for the Cup, a dream scenario for the tour and all golf fans.

We expect all five of those players to be in contention for the 2016 FedEx Cup, as well, but they will face challenges from some familiar faces, and maybe a newcomer or two, as the 2016 season reaches it’s climax.

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As the 2015 year quickly fades away, here’s our weekly look at things we noticed in the world of fantasy golf, for the week ending December 6, 2015. It was highlighted by tour de force performances by Marc Leishman and Bubba Watson, the continuation of one great run and the end of another and a new rising force in the golfing world.

1) Marc Leishman Wins at Nedbank

In a dominating performance, Australia’s Marc Leishman beat a select, but high quality field at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. The 32-year old had rounds of 68-68-66-67 to beat Sweden’s Henrik Stenson by six shots and third place finisher Chris Wood by 10.

It was Leishman’s first top 10 since he lost in a playoff to Zach Johnson at the 144th Open Championship at St. Andrews in July, and continues a trend of playing well on quality golf courses and in big events. His other top finishes last year included Top 10’s at the Memorial and at the WGC-Cadillac Match Play event.

The one thing lacking in Leishman’s career to this point has been consistency and hopefully this win will be a springboard for a very successful 2016. He has to be considered a favorite to be the next Australian to win a major.

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New Providence, Bahamas – With a new venue, and a host with an uncertain golfing future, the 17th Hero World Challenge begins Wednesday at the Albany Resort in the Bahamas.

Tiger Woods, the tournament host and a five-time champion of the event, is on the shelf after back surgery and it doesn’t look like he’ll be back any time soon. Defending champion and World Number One, Jordan Spieth, is back after his dominating, tournament record -26 total last year, albeit on a different layout.

The new course adds a little bit of uncertainty to the event, but, undaunted, here is our projected order of finish for the 18-player field. Players are listed with their position on the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) and their assigned salary on Draft Kings (DK), a leading daily fantasy sports site.

The Favorites

1) Jordan Spieth, USA (OWGR=1, DK=$11,200) – The defending champ is coming off a solid performance at the Emirates Australian Open, where he finished T2. Eight top 10’s in his last nine events speaks to the consistency we’ve come to expect from the reigning PGA Tour player of the year.

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South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel returned to one of his favorite places in the golf world on the weekend, and the resulting, and somewhat predictable, victory has vaulted him back into the Top Ten of Razzball.com’s Fantasy Golf Rankings.

The 31-year old from Johannesburg won his fourth Alfred Dunhill Championship and his 10th European Tour title on Sunday with a 4-shot victory over France’s Gregory Bourdy. Schwartzel’s previous wins in the event came in 2004, 2012 and 2013. He’s finished in the top two in the tournament eight of the 12 years it’s been played at the Leopard Creek Country Club.

The win moved the 2011 Masters Champion into 8th place in the weekly Fantasy Golf Rankings, up from 26th place the previous week. It was also Schwartzel’s second consecutive top five finish after his T4 at the DP World Tour Championships in Dubai the previous week.

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Matt Jones of Australia survived a near disastrous start, that included a double bogey and a triple bogey on a nervous front nine, to hold off two world number ones and win the 2015 Emirates Australian Open.

The 35-year old Jones finished up with an unlikely two-over par 73 and a one shot victory over the current number one player in the world, Jordan Spieth and former world #1 Adam Scott.

Jones started his final round in the worst possible way, bogeying the first hole and making a double on the par-3 second. The Sydney native recovered with birdies on the fourth and six holes, but gave them back with triple bogey seven on the par-4 ninth, to go out in 4 over par, 39, six-under par for the tournament.

Jones settled himself on the back nine, holing a bunker shot on #12 for par, before making birdies on 14 and 16 to claim his first win on the Australasian Tour and a second worldwide win, to go with his victory in the 2014 Shell Houston Open.

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