The CareerBuilder Challenge
The CareerBuilder Challenge
After a couple of weekends in beautiful Hawaii, the PGA Tour moves back to the mainland this week for the CareerBuilder Challenge in La Quinta, California. It’s a unique tournament in that players don’t just play one course four times.
Hudson Swafford won the tournament last year with an aggregate score of 268 (20-under). If all goes well this year, he would love to join Johnny Miller (1974 and ’75) as the only player to win the tournament in back-to-back years.
But a solid slate of challengers is going to have something to say about that. But who has the best shot and who should you pick for your daily fantasy golf team?
First— how about a little information about the courses and weather?
The tournament will take place on three courses:
- Stadium Course at PGA West: 7,300 yards, par-72; A Peter Dye golf course, it has been rated one of the best courses in the world and one of the toughest in America.
- Nicklaus Tournament course at PGA West: 7.204 yards, par-72; It has been called very forgiving off the tee, but extremely demanding around the greens.
- La Quinta Country Club: 7,060 yards, par-72; The course was designed by Frank and Lawrence Hughes and has been a part of the tournament for 51 of the 56 years it’s been held.
The weather shouldn’t play much of a factor if any. No rain is expected in the days leading to the tournament or on the days of it. Winds are expected to be light (5 MPH) on Thursday. It will be partly cloudy and just a little chilly with the temperature expected to be around 64 degrees.
The wind picks up on Friday (13 MPH) when the temperature drops into the mid-50s. But it drops down to 7 MPH on Saturday and 4 MPH on Sunday. Temps for the last two days are expected to be in the low 50s.
When trying to choose a daily fantasy golf team, it is always going to be worth taking a look at a tournament’s reigning champion (assuming he comes back). Hudson Swafford clearly can play the course (or in this case courses) well- and Hudson Swafford certainly did just that last year to earn his first career win.
However, he did play the last two weeks in Hawaii at the Sony Open and Tournament of Champions. He made the cut in each and finished under par, but he was only 6-under at the Sony Open (t54) and 2-under at the Tournament of Champions (t27).
So, while history is on his side, he hasn’t been doing a great job of swinging the clubs of late. He hasn’t been doing a bad job, of course, which still makes him worth considering.
Other golfers worth considering for your daily fantasy lineup include:
- Jon Rahm: Ranked third in the world, Rahm ended last year on a great run with four top-seven finishes. In recent weeks, he has only played in the Tournament of Champions, but he played well recording a final score of 276 (16-under). It was good enough for a second-place finish. After shooting a 9-under at the CareerBuilder last year, he won the Farmers Insurance Open the following week.
- Adam Hadwin: After starting the tournament last year at 3-under after the first two rounds (71 and 69), Hadwin fired a 59 in the third round and leaped over the competition on the leaderboard. He shot a 2-under on the final day and lost to Swafford (who shot a 5-under) by a single stroke.
- David Lingmerth: After losing in a playoff twice, to Brian Gray in 2013 and Jason Dufner in 2016, could this be the year for Lingmerth? He is familiar with the courses and can clearly play them well. But the question is can he play better than everyone else? He last played in November at the RSM Classic where he tied for 17th (11-under).
- Charlie Reiter: If you like long shots, then Charlie Reiter is the perfect choice for you. He is a local high school golfer and the first amateur to ever play in the tournament. If you believe Disney movies can be true, this has the makings of one. Of course, playing with other amateurs and playing in a professional tournament are two completely different things.
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