The PGA Tour returns stateside and heads to the desert for the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation. The tournament changed to a more traditional format last year with just four rounds as opposed to the previous five and also switched to a professionals only final round. This year the format remains the same with the same rotation of three courses: PGA West’s Palmer Course, the Nicklaus Private Course, and the La Quinta Country Club. Expect low scores to be the norm and the winning score to bel well under -20. Mark Wilson won last year’s Humana with a -24.
Last week at Waialae, Russell Henley burst onto the scene with a dominating win in his first PGA Tour event. Not many had him on their fantasy team to be sure, and as a result scoring in our 18-entry group was down a bit. Click here for info on how you can join our group for free.
For the second week in a row, my entry was the high scorer with 181 thanks to a nice finish from Tim Clark and a big round 3 from Harris English. I’m off to a great start in the top 1% of all the entries with 395 points ranking me all the way up to 225 overall. Unfortunately, my picks aren’t always this great, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts to be sure.
Can you beat me this week? Here’s who I’m starting:
Phil Mickelson: Mickelson is an obvious choice and is sure to be a popular pick as he makes his season debut. Mickelson is one player that some entries push to their 10-pick limit, but it’s worth using one here based on his incredible history at the event. He’s the all-time money leader in the event and two-time champion. While his current form is a bit of a question since he hasn’t played this season, he did finish last year strong with five consecutive top 15 finishes highlighted by a pair of t2’s.
Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker’s t8 last season was the first of his seven top 10’s on Tour which ultimately led to the FedEx Cup. After finishing solo third at the season-opening Hyundai, Sneds took the week off last week (although his doppelgänger was sighted winning last week’s tournament by some). He can pile up birdies in a hurry if his putter is going and could easily win this tournament.
Matt Kuchar: Kuchar is as steady as they come. He piled up another top 10 finish last week finishing in a tie for fifth. He also has fared well here in the past with four top 25s in a row with a high of co-runner up back in 2010.
Bo Van Pelt: BVP makes his season debut this week as well. He finished last season as a regular on the leaderboard with seven events in a row where his worst finish was t26. He can pour in birdies if he gets in rolling and does have a top five here in the past although it was back in 2009.
John Senden: My only international player is Aussie John Senden who finished t6 here last year for his fourth career top 10 at this event. He started the year in Hawaii with a t26 last week while carding a solid 69-66-66-69.
David Toms: Toms tied for sixth last year with Senden and is benefited by the lack of length at this venue. Toms has played this event off-and-on since 1996 with four top 20s highlighted by a t3 in 2000.
Robert Garrigus: Garrigus had a nice 2012 on the PGA Tour with three co-runner up finishes including last year at this event. He had a total of seven top ten’s including three of his last four events last season finishing with a t2 at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in the Fall Series, the event where he claimed his lone PGA victory in 2010.
Harris English: English had the low third round last week on his way to a top 10 finish. He notched a top 20 here last year in his rookie year on tour and I see him on his way to a breakout season.