The Career Builder Open comes to us this weekend from La Quinta, California, near the Palm Desert, which also happens to be one of the primo golf destinations in the country, per Wikipedia.
The Career Builder begins as a Pro-Am, with one amateur per pro, while foursomes play one of three courses — PGA’s West Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta Country Club, and the Stadium Course — over the first three days. By Day 4 the field is narrowed down to the final 70 pros and one more stab at the Stadium.
Among the courses, La Quinta logs in at 7,060 yards, Nicklaus 6,951, and the Stadium 7,204, with the troika all bearing 72 pars.
The Coachella Valley (yep, where the summer rock concert is held) promises a dry, clean environ for the ball to fly, though the potential for desert winds always looms in an arid valley.
As usual, I am looking for accuracy, so I zeroed in on Greens In Regulation (GIR) from 150-175 yards out, the close game, and, of course, who seems to have the hot hand.
Brian Harman ($11,100): I have played Harman the past two weeks, and no one has been hotter, so I am not expecting a cooling down in the desert. The kid has made all five cuts, has five top 10’s, and is averaging 95.3 points per weekend.
Phil Mickelson ($10,000): Man-love, I am sorry to say, but very consistent man-love as Phil returns to the tour having made the cut both times he has played thus far. Phil has one top 10 and is averaging 97 points, and if steady is the name of the game, Phil’s pic is in the dictionary.
Jhonattan Vegas ($7500): Vegas finished at seven at the Sentry two weeks ago and, like Harman, has made the cut all five attempts, averaging 71.6 points with one top 10. Add in Vegas ranks #4 GIR and this pick is a no brainer.
Martin Flores ($7000): Another sort of man-love, Flores, despite his 204 ranking at GIR, seems to deliver for me when I select him. Flores does have four cuts made over five attempts and is bagging a mean of 61.8 points.
Richy Werenski ($7000): This week is clearly stars and scrubs, and Werenski is another scrub who plays well when I roster him. Richy is #130 in GIR, but that is still a decent 64.58% and I need some cheap plays this time, so there you have it. He is four of seven in cuts, but scoring just 46.7 points, so sneaking through the weekend is what I am hoping for.
Corey Conners ($6900): The sleeper has quietly made six cuts in six tries, and though he is just averaging 62.1 points a weekend, just playing all four days is what I am looking for with this selection. Conners does rank at #61 in GIR from 150-175.
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