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Valspar Championship Preview and Key Stats

The PGA Tour is back stateside this week and heads to Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead course for The Valspar Championship. It’s a Par 71 course that plays around 7,300 yards on average. In 2017, the field averaged about .5 strokes over par per round as they made their way through the Palm Harbor, Florida course. Last year, Copperhead featured three of the Top 100 most difficult holes out of the 900 holes they played. Let’s take a look at how successful golfers have fared at this course in each facet of the game.

Off the Tee

It’s no secret that this is a “less-than-driver” course. In my 115 course database, Copperhead falls outside of the top 100 in driving distance importance. It doesn’t explain 1% of the variance in golfers’ Total DraftKings points at this event. Driving Accuracy, on the other hand, reveals about 5% of the DK Points scored which is in the top-third of the course database I have. Off the Tee game, in general, doesn’t mean a whole lot here. The distance and accuracy numbers are relatively flat from winners to top twenty-five finishers. If you want to bake in some Strokes Gained: Off the Tee into your model, I won’t blame you…but don’t focus too much on it.

On Approach

Compared to a typical tour event, the greens at Copperhead are slightly more difficult to hit. There’s a premium on ball-striking at this event, with 30% of Total DK Points being explained by Strokes Gained: Approach. The gap between the average Top 25 finisher and the winner in SG: Approach is significant. Of the 69 golfers who have posted top-five finishes since
2007, 38 have ended up in the Top 15 in Strokes Gained Approach. As usual, we see that hitting 50 greens in regulation is the magic number that pushes you over the top.

Around the Green

Whenever we see greens that are slightly more difficult to hit, we see a spike in importance for scrambling and Strokes Gained: Around the Green. Most weeks, around the green game is statistically insignificant, but it does pop slightly this week. 76-of-132 Top 10 finishers ended up in the Top 25 of SG: ARG.

Other Stats to Consider

Proximity (175 Yards+):​ Approach shots will mostly be taken from more than 175 yards during the tournament this week. While I don’t weight a stat like this too heavily, I do use quirky, more specific stats like this to try and identify value guys.
Par 3 Efficiency (200-225 Yards):​ This is another quirky, specific stat that can help you identify players you may have overlooked. There are three holes which fit in this yardage range on the scorecard.

mjones

I host a podcast called Bogey Free which can be found on iTunes or YouTube. I'm one of the PGA Analysts at DraftKings. On this site, you can find me talking Football Redraft or PGA DFS. Follow along on Twitter @MattJonesTFR to stay up to date.

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