OAD — CareerBuilder Challenge

It’s the first pro-am event of the year in the desert of California!

That means long rounds, light rough and easy hole locations so birdies are the order of the week.

There’s plenty in here to enjoy and an appetizer from my man, @RobBoltonGolf:

Each week I painfully writhe and wretch trying to figure out the proper strategy to find a player that will hit the top 10. Wins are great but aren’t likely, so I’m satisfied with having a chance to hit the big money. Missed cuts are absolutely the death in this game, but even the surest of things don’t always happen in the reality world of fantasy golf.

History Channeled:

2015-16 Season total: $5,978,929; 47 events

  • Wins: 2 (Matsuyama, Hoffman)
  • Seconds: 0
  • Thirds: 1
  • Top 10s: 9
  • Top 25s: 18
  • MC: 8 (Mickelson, FIO; Oosthuizen, SHO; Chappell, Colonial; Casey, Memorial; Woodland, FESJC; Hearn, RBC Canadian; McGirt, Wyndham; Justin Thomas, DBC)

2016-17 Season total: $6,533,509 45 events

  • Wins: 1
  • Seconds: 1
  • Thirds: 1
  • Top 10s: 12
  • Top 25s: 20
  • MCs (10): Grayson Murray (Safeway Open); Patton Kizzire (SFC); Jamie Lovemark (CB Challenge); Jimmy Walker (FIO); Charl Schwartzel (Genesis); Russell Knox (Honda); Henrik Stenson (API); Thomas Pieters (Zurich); Kevin Kisner (WFC).


2018 Thermometer:

Event Golfer Place Money
Safeway Open Tony Finau 2nd 669,600
CIMB Classic Paul Casey T7 218,166
CJ CUP @ 9 BRIDGES Keegan Bradley T47 23,759
WGC-HSBC Champions Hideki Matsuyama T50 51,875
Sanderson Farms Chesson Hadley T2 464,400
Shriners Patrick Cantlay WIN 1,224,000
OHL Classic Kevin Chappell MC 0
The RSM Classic Charles Howell III MC 0
Sentry TOC Kevin Kisner T17 99,333
Sony Open Brian Harman T4 256,266
Total Events: 10 Top 10s: 5 Top 25: 6 $3,007,399

Well, well, well, LOOKY HERE at all of this false hope that will follow me on through the 2018 part of the schedule!

I don’t want to jinx anything, my picks usually handle that, but it’s time to make a run at this.

Last week:

Well, I’m batting .500 on Marc Leishman fades in this format but that’s not any good. I have absolutely ZERO regrets playing Harman when he’s in the form of his life and will gladly pocket the quarter of a million dollars. His T4 pushed me over the $3 million mark in just 10 events so not even I can complain.

To be fair, minus #WhatsCookin, the rest of my picks were absolute rubbish.

It happens.

Fantasy Golf is hard.

My Choice: Brian Harman — T4

Close Second: Marc Leishman — T47, Russell Henley — MC

Outliers: Hudson Swafford — T54, Brian Gay — T58

Gut Shot(s): Charles Howell, III — T32 (already used), Jamie Lovemark — MC

Rank Outsider(s): Austin Cook — T18


This week:

Back to the mainland and back to the California desert for another visit since this even started in 1960. Palm Springs is so passé; it’s the Coachella Valley now, fam.

Whatever. Just go low.

The CareerBuilder Challenge swapped out 66 percent of their courses two years ago so course history doesn’t speak volumes this week. For more details, please READ THIS.

The winning score without weather was 25-under-par (tied) in 2016 and 20-under last year when it was chilly and breezy.

This will be the third week in a row that multiple birdies will be necessary to contend. Guys who grind out pars and don’t usually go low shouldn’t be on your radar this week.

Birdie leaders at Sony Open (playing this week):

(Gary Woodland and Ollie Schniederjans made 24 to T-1)

Sam Saunders – 23

Patton Kizzire – 22

Brian Stuard – 22

Tom Hoge – 22

Scott Piercy – 22

James Hahn – 22

Webb Simpson – 22


My Choice: Jason Dufner

Close Second: Webb Simpson, Jon Rahm, Brendan Steele

Outliers: Adam Hadwin, Chez Reavie

Gut Shot(s): Bud Cauley

Rank Outsider(s): Austin Cook, J.J. Spaun, Talor Gooch


Keys this Week:

Fade or follow, I’m not worried either way!


Only three internationals have won this event since the turn of the century. The last was Jhonattan Vegas in 2011.

This even began in 1960 and Johnny Miller is the only player to defend.

Should I be saving guys for later?

I wrote this last week but it bears repeating:

If you can predict the future, why are you playing? The short answer is “yes”.

The long answer is maybe.

Every gamer should have a FLEXIBLE plan for majors, WGC, THE PLAYERS and FEC Playoffs. But as I wrote last week, if you’re saving players for “later” and you’re dead last, what good is that going to do? I agree you’ll need some bullets in the gun down the road, but if the road is a dead end, one-way street, what’s the reason for it? We’ll keep this discussion fluid as the season goes along, undoubtedly!

Should I take a flier this week?

I don’t think this is the worst idea for a couple of reasons. In a birdie-fest on courses playing less than 7,200 yards, the field should be WIDE OPEN. Also, since 2007 there have been multiple first time winners including San Diego natives Charley Hoffman (2007) and Pat Perez (2009) plus Bill Haas (2010), Vegas (2011) and Swafford last year.

Where have I been?

As most of you know, I’m now on board at PGATOUR.COM and will be handling The Confidence Factor every week plus post-round fantasy wrap-ups, The Emergency 9, Thursday through Sunday.

You should find some helpful hints in those pieces to navigate the waters of fantasy golf.

Don’t forget to check Rob Bolton’s Twitter feed for all the PGATOUR.COM Fantasy info!

Argue? Disagree? Whatever is clever!

You do you.

I’ll do me.

We can learn from each other.

Thanks for reading!

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