Stenson’d at Bay Hill

Photo Credit: Neil Parker

It didn’t take long for one-and-done fantasy golf to become a favorite. It’s a nice spinoff of NFL survivor pools and typically provides a weekly viewing interest. Unfortunately, Henrik Stenson missing this week’s cut denied me of watching my selection take a run at the win during Sunday’s trip to Bay Hill.

For those unfamiliar with the one-and-done format, each week you select a golfer and receive his winnings for that tournament. Once you select a player, you cannot use him again that season. Whoever selects the golfers that earn the most winnings at the end of the year takes home the loot. It’s pretty simple.

Thankfully, Stenson was my first missed cut of the season, but it’s still a big step backward because he should have been counted on for a solid payout. Not only do I miss winnings this week, but I’ve also burnt an exceptional player with no reward.

In my largest pool, I’m now likely sitting closer to the middle of the pack than hovering around the top-10 percent. Rickie Fowler’s win at the Honda Classic and Charles Howell III’s second-place finish at the Famers stand as my only two significant cashes, and catching the leaders will take a heater.

Last season, I was in a similar spot and crawled back into the race and a payout, so here’s hoping to make it two years in a row. Looking back, here’s a few of the strategies and approaches I took.

 

Elite players don’t need to be in elite form

Jason Day was in a minor funk until he wasn’t last season. He won the 2016 edition of the Arnold Palmer Invitational after a missed cut, T-11 and T-23, and then he followed up with a victory at the WGC Match Play. Also, following his collapse at the Masters, Jordan Speith missed a cut and then finished T-18 before winning at the DEAN & DELUCA. Being in strong form is helpful, but it isn’t essential for the best of the best.

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Keep strength of field in mind

Bill Haas is a world-class player, but he hasn’t won an event with a deep field since taking home the Fed-Ex Cup in 2011. He also has just one top-10 finish in a major. Haas lost in a playoff at the 2016 Valspar Championship, which was a shallow field. Those are the events to turn to the middle-of-the-pack types. It’s rare that a major or deep-field tournament has a leaderboard that isn’t filled with higher-end players.

 

Don’t look too far ahead

Injuries happen, players get the yips on the greens or they just lose their game. Additionally, other players will emerge. Billy Horschel’s 2014 run during the Fed-Ex Cup championship serves as a perfect example. Horschel finished the year with a T-2 and consecutive wins against the best of the best. If you save elite players for the final weeks, you risk missing out on players in elite form.

 

Keep your records updated

It seems simple, but people consistently forget to send in their pick, or select the same player twice. Taking it a step further, you should have a map of the players you want to use. There are 26 tournaments remaining (depending on the settings of your pool), so you should have a cheat sheet of 35 to 40 players to target. Having four top-10 players left for three tournaments can happen easier than you think.

 

Don’t forget that this week’s WGC Match Play begins on Wednesday, either.