Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: Valspar Championship
Coming off a team event in New Orleans, the PGA Tour travels along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico to arrive at Palm Harbor, Florida for the Valspar Championship at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club.
The event was moved to its mid-March slot as the follow up to THE PLAYERS Championship in 2019, and this year's move to late April was announced even before the 2020 edition had to be cancelled last year due to the COVID pandemic.
We'll gain some good intel throughout the week as far as whether the course will play to its typical difficult standards.
The 7,340-yard par 71 features narrow, tree-lined fairways and overseeded bermudagrass greens.
The Copperhead Course is consistently one of the most difficult regular rotation courses on the schedule, and just once in the past seven years has the winning score been better than 10-under par.
Of particular note is the closing stretch, with the grueling final three holes earning the moniker "The Snake Pit."
Finding the fairway and securing good position off the tee takes priority over distance this week, and overall, the Copperhead Course challenges every aspect of the PGA Tour golfer's game. Windy conditions have historically complicated things, and a big question mark this week is just how similar the course will play compared to its usual March slot.
For now, the start looks clear and sunny, with showers expected over the weekend. The rainy conditions are certainly worth monitoring throughout the week to see if they start moving up and affecting one wave more than another.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club -- Copperhead Course
Distance: 7,340 yards
Tees/Fairways/Rough: Celebration bermudagrass overseeded with ryegrass
Greens: TifEagle bermudagrass overseeded with poa trivialis
The par 71 plays differently than most, with an extra par 3 instead of the one fewer par 5. Each of the par 3s is between 195 and 235 yards, and all four par 5s are at least 560 yards.
The tight scoring conditions have led to some down-to-the wire finishes: since 2012 there have been three playoffs, four one-shot victories, and one two-shot victory.
The margins are razor thin, and fates can turn quickly in daily fantasy contests with a bunched up leaderboard.
There should also be some opportunities for live betting before or even during the final round to back a big number if it looks like the leader has been skating by with some luck.
Long, tough Florida courses with windy conditions and a heavy emphasis on iron play call to mind PGA National (Honda Classic) and Bay Hill Club & Lodge (Arnold Palmer Invitational) for comparison purposes.
Innisbrook borders the Gulf of Mexico rather than the Atlantic Ocean so it's not a perfect match, and other courses outside of Florida showing some leaderboard overlap include Quail Hollow Club (Wells Fargo Championship) and -- perhaps surprisingly -- Connecticut's TPC River Highlands (Travelers Championship).
These stats have proven vital to success in the Valspar Championship at the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club.
|Key Stats for the Valspar Championship at the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort|
|Strokes Gained: Approach|
|Strokes Gained: Around the Green|
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s|
|Proximity Gained from 200+ yards|
Find the fairway and knock it close on the second shot. Easy game. Innisbrook has plenty in store for the field this week, and with varied looks off the tee, golfers have to use their full arsenal of tricks to find the optimal path to a birdie opportunity. The fairways are some of the narrowest on Tour, and the tree lines make even the slightest error practically unrecoverable.
Much of the field will club down off the tee, which mitigates the advantage of some of the top golfers and brings many more golfers into contention. No matter their driving prowess, elite iron play is an absolute must this week. Golfers will need the be able to flush their long irons -- not only on their long approaches into the par 5s but also on each par 3 and each time they leave the driver in the bag for their tee shot.
In low-scoring affairs, capitalizing on the par 5s makes a huge difference. The winner ended up inside the top five in strokes gained on par 5s in seven of the past eight installments and led the field in three of those occasions.
Historically the wind has tormented many here, and wayward tee shot will often set up awkward scrambling opportunities. That leads us to look to strokes gained: around the green to find golfers who can bounce back when the hole doesn't go according to plan.
Course History Studs
Paul Casey is the two-time defending champion here, his only two PGA Tour victories over the past decade. He's been one of the most consistent players in the world over that period but has only found the winner's circle at the Copperhead Course.
Patrick Reed missed the cut in 2019, but in the four years before that, he had three top 10s including two runners-up.
Henrik Stenson's game has dropped off significantly since the last time this event was held, but he boasts some of the best recent form with finishes of T24, MC, T7, T11, and 4th.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.