2022 Sanderson Farms: Keegan Bradley, Nick Hardy May Provide Value Sunday
Pictured: Keegan Bradley. (Photo by Raj Mehta/Getty Images)
It was a mixed-bag effort from our golfers on Saturday. The third round head-to-head play of the day, featuring Kevin Streelman over Nick Taylor, was not to be after the American missed multiple five-foot (or shorter) putts on the back nine en route to a one-shot loss.
The wager had a chance until the final hole, when Streelman was faced with a putt just outside 13 feet for birdie and Taylor had a seven-foot par save. However, as was the case throughout the day, Streelman came up inches short and his Canadian opponent found the bottom of the cup. My model projected us to have a 0.57-shot edge in expected performance when I took into account my baseline totals and mixed them with the actual strokes gained outcomes that were delivered in round three, so we will chalk it up to us landing on the wrong side of variance.
On a more positive note, the 110/1 outright selection of Mark Hubbard that I mentioned on the Action Network Links + Locks podcast will have a chance entering Sunday. Hubbard catapulted himself to the top of the leaderboard after posting a seven-under 65 on Saturday and it doesn't hurt that we have a few other options lurking in Dean Burmester (five back) and Davis Riley (six back).
It should be an exciting conclusion to an event with a jam-packed leaderboard. Let's see if we can find value to take advantage of on Sunday.
If you aren't doing so already, you can find me on Twitter @TeeOffSports. There I will provide my pre-tournament model, a powerful and interactive data spreadsheet that allows user inputs to create custom rankings for golf. That sheet is free and released every Monday, so be sure to check it out and construct your own numbers from my database of information.
Top-Five Projected Win Equity Golfers For Sunday
It is worth noting that Sepp Straka jumps up to fourth and moves Grillo and Bradley back a spot when I remove some of his negative bias from my model. I like the place I am in with my 110/1 pre-tournament ticket on Hubbard and will be standing pat in that sector entering round four.
Round Four Value Candidates In DFS/Head-to-Head
The matchups have been incredibly slow to enter the space this week. I waited as long as possible to get started on this article, but not all odds are available at the time of this writing. So, instead of delivering a basic piece and waiting for one or two selections, let's talk about some undervalued commodities heading that you should be considering.
The ball-striking has been immaculate for Nick Hardy over the opening three days. In fact, he's the only golfer in the field to produce over three strokes gained on his driving and approach totals. Any semblance of a short game likely would have had him pushing toward the lead at this event heading into the final round, but let's keep an eye out on his matchups when numbers start trickling in.
Hardy is the most extensive climber in my model to crack the top 20 head-to-head values from my pre-tournament assessment, and as I alluded to previously, my sheet believes a fair estimate for him would have been two shots off the lead and in third place. That isn't a massive difference compared to some golfers, but it is enough of an edge for us to dive deeper into the potential of him being a value play on Sunday.
I think the consensus outlook for Keegan Bradley will be that his 5.46 strokes gained putting mark is set to come to a crashing halt on Sunday, which I would assume is more accurate than not. However, some in the industry get overly caught up in their infatuation with putting metrics that they can't see the whole picture.
Bradley is the most significant value mover in my model who now finds himself in the top 10. While you could argue certain players, such as Sam Burns, will have a more difficult time exceeding their expectations when I run my stats, it is a noteworthy shift in Bradley's trajectory total. Sure, I am a little cautious about his ability to string together high-end data patterns in back-to-back rounds, but he is one of only eight golfers who checks all three of these boxes:
- Players who have gained a minimum of 0.75 strokes ball-striking on two of three days.
- Golfers who haven't overachieved their ball-striking by more than 10 spots during any round.
- Remaining participants inside the top half of expected head-to-head value.
You can find the complete list in the image below.
I don't know what is happening to Davis Thompson during the back nine of his rounds, but we have now encountered a 27-hole stretch where Thompson has only produced one birdie en route to shooting a five-over par to close out his days.
It is an abnormal statistic for us to be talking about for someone who has made the cut in a non-bogey test, but my model is at a loss for what is going on numerically. According to my sheet, Thompson should be in 13th place. Even when I consider his daily meltdown status, it feels like we could be sitting on a big round out of seemingly nowhere. I am interested to see if markets overreact to the poor final stretches he has produced and end up generating matchups with him against inferior-rated competitors.
The last golfer I will talk about here is C.T. Pan, someone I had trepidation playing pre-event, but the total collection of my baseline data being added to his performance over three days has shot him into being a top-25 value on the board.
Eight golfers in the field have earned strokes daily with their driver and irons, which you can see in the image below.
If you want to get extremely wild on some head-to-head options, choices like Paul Haley and Zecheng Dou are unique routes to consider, but I prefer Pan's historical long-term production.