The 2017 PGA Tour season has seen its share of surprise winners. So was it really a surprise that Kyle Stanley hoisted the trophy last week this past weekend at the Quicken Loans National? The short answer is no.
The long answer — also no — is because Kyle Stanley had been almost nonexistent on PGA Tour leader boards for a long time. His win on Sunday was the second of his career and his first since 2012. It’s been a long battle back to the top for Stanley, but his season has been solid thus far.
As for the rest of the field, there were plenty of big time performances and big time disappointments — just like there is every week. And with that in mind, there were plenty of fantasy players who had good Monday mornings and plenty who wished it would never come.
Here’s a look at those excelled near our Nation’s Capital — and those looking for a Monday Mulligan:
Kyle Stanley — As mentioned before, there have been plenty of surprise winners on tour in 2017 — and on the surface, Stanley would fall right into that category. That said, his 2016-17 campaign has been a solid one, so, to the trained eye, he might not be that big a surprise. After making the cut at even par, Stanley played the weekend in 7-under and held off Charles Howell III in a playoff for career win No. 2.
Charles Howell III — You may not ever think of him when someone asks, “who would you trade places with if you could,” but Charles Howell III is quietly someone you might want to. He may not be a prolific winner like Phil or Tiger or Rory, but the guy can get it done. For one, he’s never finished outside the top 125 in FedExCup points. For those taking Howell late looking for some consistent back end points, they got much, much more — almost a win — en route to likely fantasy domination. Howell is always a name to consider thanks to that consistency.
Rickie Fowler — After missing out on his first major title at the U.S. Open, you might’ve thought that Rickie Fowler would come up a touch flat in the weeks following Erin Hills. That, however, hasn’t been the case. In his last four events, Fowler has logged a T-2, MC, T-5 and T-3 finishes. There’s not a pro alive that wouldn’t take that kind of roll heading into the season’s third major. Had it not been for a double-bogey-6 on the par-4 14th on Sunday, Fowler likely would be atop this list with career win No. 5. That said, fantasy owners aren’t complaining this morning.
Marc Leishman — I hate to feature Marc Leishman in the “bogey’s” section of the list since he really didn’t play poorly at all. In fact, he finished T-5 — another great fantasy performance for the Aussie. Leishman makes the list here primarily because I wanted to talk about him even though he didn’t finish top-3. Anyone who hasn’t got him firmly planted on their radar for the Open Championship is a clown. Few players offer the type of consistency that fantasy owners crave than Leishman.
Xander Schauffele — For many, Xander Schauffele’s performance last week at the Quicken Loans National was a disappointing one — myself included. Perhaps it was foolish to expect a rookie to stay as hot as Schauffele has been, but as I’ve noted before, the hot hand is usually a good bet. In this case, we were bitten by great expectations. Schauffele’s performance wasn’t even that bad (he tied for for 35th) but still felt like a gut-punch for owners taking him early.
Billy Hurley III — Last year’s QLN champion was a popular “horses for courses” pick this week for many — many who didn’t do their research! In what can only be described as a glaring oversight, those who picked Hurley based on his victory in this even last year must’ve missed one (or both) or two things: The 2017 even was played at a different venue than last year and Hurley hasn’t been great this season. Combine that with the distractions that come with defending a title for the first time in your career and it’s no surprise Hurley’s play was mediocre at best.
Justin Thomas — Just two weeks from epic 63 at Erin Hills and valiant run at his first major title, Justin Thomas has returned to planet Earth a bit. After an opening round 74 and Friday 71, Thomas missed the cut for the fifth time this year and for the second consecutive week. While there’s no reason to push the panic button, you might want to shy away from the 24-year-old star for the next week or two until he can get back on track.
Cameron Tringale — It’s a widely known fact that Cameron Tringale is a wild card when it comes to fantasy golf because he is just that — a wild card. After flashes of brilliance at times in 2017, Mac Triangles is still a question mark on a weekly basis. At the Quicken Loans National it was all bust and no boom as Tringale missed the cut at 15-over following rounds of 75 and 80 on Thursday and Friday.