For the final stop of the Florida swing, we head to the Copperhead Course (par 71, 7,340 yards, POA Trivialis greens) of the Innisbrook Resort located in Palm Harbor for the Valspar Championship this week. This par 71 has been the only venue to host this tournament since it was added to the annual PGA TOUR schedule in 2000. Due note that the 2020 edition of the Valspar was canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Sam Burns is the two-time defending champion of this event, winning both times at -17.
Similar to most of the tracks on the Florida swing, the Copperhead Course is a challenging venue that favors accuracy over distance. The fairways are narrow and surrounded by thick rough that has reportedly grown all the way up to 3.75”, which is nearly an inch longer than in previous seasons. As always at the Copperhead Course, using less than a driver to find the fairway at a higher rate is going to be a strategy used by most of the field, making OTT stats not a focus for research this week.
With tiny putting surfaces at the Copperhead Course, prioritizing elite iron players, however, is essential, with four of the last five Valspar champions ranking top-seven in SG APP during their victories. The size of these greens also makes golfers who rank well in SG ARG strong choices at the Copperhead Course. Of the last four victors at this track, two finished the event top-10 in the category.
The Copperhead Course is an untraditional par 71 that features nine par fours, five par threes and four par fives. Of these holes, the par fives have been the most vital for success over recent years, making strong par five players the best targets. For four consecutive seasons, the Valspar winner finished the tournament top-four in SG on the par fives at the Copperhead Course.
Lastly, this Florida venue is home to Poa Trivialis greens, just like we saw at TPC Sawgrass for the PLAYERS Championship this past week. This rare putting surface can also be found at TPC Scottsdale, where the Waste Management Phoenix Open is played, and seeking out golfers who have had success on this uncommon green type could be a real difference maker for your lineups this week.
This week’s field consists of 142 players, including six of the top-30 ranked golfers in the world. As of Monday, Justin Thomas is the current betting favorite on DraftKings Sportsbook at +1100. There will be a standard top-65, and ties cut following the first 36 holes, and below, I break down four of my favorite sub $7.5K DraftKings value plays for the Valspar Championship.
Ben Martin ($7,400) – Martin enters this week as the maker of five of his last seven cuts, with three of these finishes being top-25 results. This recent success for him can mostly be attributed to some stellar ball striking, with the 35-year-old ranking seven in SG APP across his past 24 rounds. In this compelling form, Martin has top-20 upside at the Copperhead Course this week, where he has made 2-of-3 cuts for his career.
David Lingmerth ($7,300) – Lingmerth has never missed a cut at the Copperhead Course in four appearances and is on the heels of his best finish of the season, with a T6 at the PLAYERS Championship last week. The Swede impressively ranked seventh in both SG APP and SGP among the world-class field at TPC Sawgrass and has now made four straight cuts, with one of those finishes being a T10 at the Honda Classic two weeks ago. Lingmerth clearly has a knack for competing in the sunshine state and is vastly underpriced for the upside he brings to this weak field.
Eric Cole ($7,300) – Cole has never competed at the Copperhead Course before but is currently playing the best golf of his career. The 32-year-old has made eight of his past 10 cuts, including three top-30 finishes in his last four starts, most impressively with a runner-up finish at the Honda Classic. During this 10-event stretch, Cole has gained strokes with his irons in all but one start and has shot under par in 29 of his 40 rounds. This stellar form has moved him up an eye-popping 285 spots in the world golf rankings. Cole should be priced above $8K, given the weak competition he faces at the Copperhead Course this week, and he is a very tough value play to ignore at this low price tag.
Dylan Wu (6,800) – While Wu missed the cut in his Valspar debut last season, the 26-year-old is in far better form this time around and should advance to the weekend in his second attempt at the Copperhead Course this week. Wu has made eight of his past 10 cuts and has impressed during the Florida swing, with a T10 at the Honda Classic and a T35 at the PLAYERS Championship. During the latter finish this past week, Wu not only gained strokes with his irons for the third time in his last four starts but also with his flat stick on the POA Trivialis greens of TPC Sawgrass, which bodes extremely well for the Northwestern product this week, with the Copperhead Course presenting the same type of putting surfaces. Wu has been less than 2% owned in DraftKings’ main GPP of the week for all 11 of his starts this season and is an outstanding GPP target at this low salary.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.