Entering Sunday with the 54-hole lead, Kevin Chappell found himself in a position he’d been in before with the chance to do something he hadn’t: win on the PGA Tour. With a pack of hungry players tightly bunched just a couple a strokes back, it would take something incredible from the UCLA product…
Could he pull it off? Would I be talking about him if he hadn’t?
Anyway, the Valero provided some drama for golf fans this weekend with a phenomenal finish on Sunday. For fantasy golfers, the week gave us more than a few surprises — from the winner of the event all the way down to some of the big name losers.
Here’s a look at who shined, and who faded away:
Kevin Chappell — First of all, congratulations to Kevin Chappell. The talented young star collected his first career PGA Tour win on Sunday in his 173rd start. Second, congratulations to everyone who had this stud on their roster. Chappell closed with a clutch birdie on 18 to avoid a playoff with Brooks Koepka and finish off his first win in style.
Brooks Koepka — A popular pick in nearly all fantasy formats, Koepka’s late charge on Sunday moved him up from the “Bogey” list this week. Entering the final round, Koepka was in the hunt but not really setting the world on fire. His final round 65 shot him up the leader board. His birdie on 18 gave him the lead in the clubhouse at 11-under. Unfortunately for him, Chappell matched his feat and went on to claim his first career win.
Tony Finau — Last week, I predicted big things in San Antonio for Tony Finau and as it turned out, the numbers didn’t lie. Had it not been for a rough Saturday and a ball in the hazard on 18 on Sunday, it very well could have been Finau celebrating the win. For fantasy owners, however, the third place finish was exactly what the doctor ordered. Look for the solid play to continue in the coming weeks.
Charley Hoffman — It pains me to say this, but I was very wrong about the trajectory of Charley Hoffman’s post-Masters performance. I predicted an uptick in results following his great week at Augusta but the opposite has been the case. Since the Masters, Hoffman has missed a cut and finished T-40. He hasn’t broken 70 since Masters Thursday and shot 71-72-73-74 at the Valero. I’d proceed with caution for a couple weeks here as Hoffman seems to have cooled off a bit.
Adam Hadwin — Adam Hadwin’s 82 on Saturday at the Valero would have been good enough to take money from me — unfortunately for him, I don’t play on the PGA Tour. Hadwin, who was one of the season’s early story’s, has cooled significantly. While he’s still a stud and should be considered on a week to week basis, he might want to consider taking some time off and take that honeymoon.
Matt Kuchar — Ho, hum — another week of Matt Kuchar getting favorite money, another week of Matt Kuchar being mediocre at best. It’s hard to pick against him, but until he shows something other than mid-pack finishes, I can’t say I’ll be adding him to my roster. You should think twice, too.
Luke Donald — Just a week removed from his runner-up finish at the RBC Heritage, former World No. 1 Luke Donald slid back into oblivion. Donald hasn’t won on tour since the Transitions Championship in 2012 and, aside from his annual top-3 at Harbour Town, there isn’t much to write home about. Donald continues to be a fantasy bust and some to be avoided in almost any format.
Zach Johnson — I have a hard time believing this slump will continue, but for the foreseeable future, Zach Johnson has earned himself a seat on the bench. Johnson hasn’t finished a Tour event under par since the Honda Classic and missed his second cut of the season. While Johnson will rebound, you need to proceed cautiously in all formats with the 2-time major champion.
Ian Poulter — Coming into action at the Valero Texas Open, Poulter needed a top-30 finish to retain his PGA Tour card. That didn’t happen. Now, Poulter’s future in America seems up in the air, though I’m sure you’ll see him again. Sponsor’s exemptions and other loop holes will have him making at least another handful of starts this year for sure. That being said, he need needs to be avoided like a scorned ex-girlfriend .