Fantasy Tip Sheet: Zurich Classic

Graeme McDowell (file photo)

Bubba Watson is back in action for the first time since his breakthrough victory at the Masters. Another major winner in Keegan Bradley will also be at the Zurich Classic in New Orleans.

But it is one ranked outside of the top 50 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings that has our fantasy panel a bit intrigued.

Former U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell has show signs of his game returning to form, including a final-round pairing with Tiger Woods at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

McDowell was T-12 at the Masters, T-9 at the Honda Classic and T-13 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, so he has knocked on the door over the past month.

As for our panel, Jeff Rude had the best week at the Valero Texas Open by picking Matt Kuchar and Charley Hoffman, while Alex Miceli had the best overall pick in Ryan Moore. Jim McCabe retains the overall lead, but lost some ground after he made only $12,710 this past week.

Here is a look at our picks for this week:

Rank Winner Wild Card Last Week
Rude Justin Rose

Four top-8 finishes in six starts since the beginning of March, including victory at Doral. Fifth on PGA Tour money list, 10th in world.

Ernie Els

Before missing cut at Heritage, had five consecutive starts in which he finished in the top 21. That includes a par of top 5s. Seems to be playing with a renewed vigor, sense of urgency.

Winner: Matt Kuchar ($112,840); wild card: Charley Hoffman ($112,840). 2012 total: $4,590,417.

McCabe Jason Dufner

Made a spirited bid to win here a year ago and all he has done for the last two years, it seems, is mount chances to win. Given that he gets married next week, here's a chance to offer himself a memorable wedding gift.

Graeme McDowell

OK, he missed the cut here a year ago. But that was then . . . this year he's much better settled, has played beautifully (T-13 or better in five of six starts) and seems well prepared for first win of the year.

Winner: Harris English ($12,710); wild card: Vaughn Taylor (MC). 2012 total: $5,747,319.

Martin Keegan Bradley

You know you're having a good season when your worst finish is 27th at a course, Augusta National, that is traditionally unkind to first-timers. Bubba Watson, the man who won that Masters, also is a good pick, as he is the defending Zurich champion. This will be Watson's first event since his Masters win.

Cameron Tringale

The third-year pro is getting better each season. He already has three top-10s in 2012, including eighth-place finishes in his past two events. He finished 18th at the Zurich last year.

Winner: Fredrik Jacobson ($78,120); wild card: Harris English ($12,710). 2012 total: $3,417,459.

Miceli Steve Stricker

After a week off, Stricker is a solid choice to play well.

David Duval

Hitting the ball nicely, but can he make putts is the question.

Winner: Brendon de Jonge ($11,594); wild card: Ryan Moore ($179,800). 2012 total: $5,502,275.

Ringler Charles Howell III

Howell continues to play well in 2012, missing just one cut in 11 starts. Finished in the top 30 in last six starts and his form in New Orleans is strong with second-place showing here in 2009.

Graeme McDowell

At times this year, McDowell is displaying his U.S. Open form. Has posted three tops 10s worldwide since January and is coming off a T-12 at the Masters.

Winner: Fredrik Jacobson ($78,120); wild card: Chris Stroud ($51,460). 2012 total: $4,191,639.

Lavner Steve Stricker

A lot to like about Stricks at TPC Louisiana. Has finished outside the top 13 only once in his past four starts there.

Cameron Tringale

Finished eighth in his past two starts (Houston, San Antonio), and tied for 18th in NOLA a year ago.

2012 total: $78,120.

The Zurich Classic field, according to the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings:

  • 3. Steve Stricker
  • 4. Luke Donald
  • 5. Webb Simpson
  • 12. Bubba Watson
  • 13. Charles Howell III
  • 17. Peter Hanson
  • 22. Carl Pettersson
  • 23. John Senden
  • 24. Bud Cauley
  • 25. Nick Watney
  • 27. Keegan Bradley
  • 28. Rickie Fowler
  • 30. Spencer Levin
  • 32. Retief Goosen
  • 35. K.J. Choi
  • 36. Justin Rose
  • 41. Robert Karlsson
  • 45. Jason Dufner
  • 48. Jeff Overton
  • 49. Pat Perez
  • 50. David Toms
  • 52. Graeme McDowell
  • 54. Chris Stroud
  • 57. Ernie Els
  • 58. Brian Davis
  • 62. Bryce Molder
  • 63. Harris English
  • 67. Kevin Streelman
  • 71. Ryan Palmer
  • 72. Cameron Tringale
  • 74. Trevor Immelman
  • 78. Brandt Jobe
  • 82. Greg Chalmers
  • 84. Charley Hoffman
  • 85. J.B. Holmes
  • 86. Brian Harman
  • 88. Geoff Ogilvy
  • 90. Ben Crane
  • 92. John Rollins
  • 95. Brendon de Jonge
  • 102. Matt Every
  • 103. John Mallinger
  • 104. Josh Teater
  • 105. Chez Reavie
  • 108. George McNeill
  • 109. Gary Christian
  • 112. Scott Piercy
  • 113. Jerry Kelly
  • 114. Lucas Glover
  • 115. Andres Romero
  • 116. D.A. Points
  • 122. Ricky Barnes
  • 124. Jimmy Walker
  • 126. Brian Gay
  • 129. Kris Blanks
  • 131. Chris Kirk
  • 132. Rod Pampling
  • 135. Blake Adams
  • 137. William McGirt
  • 138. David Hearn
  • 141. Bill Lunde
  • 142. Jonas Blixt
  • 143. Tim Herron
  • 150. Seung-Yul Noh
  • 157. Harrison Frazar
  • 163. Camilo Villegas
  • 166. Russell Knox
  • 167. Boo Weekley
  • 169. Chris Couch
  • 173. Nick O'Hern
  • 174. J.J. Killeen
  • 182. Jr. Potter
  • 183. Michael Putnam
  • 189. Marco Dawson
  • 193. Erik Compton
  • 194. James Driscoll
  • 198. Ken Duke
  • 199. John Merrick
  • 200. Greg Owen
  • 205. Danny Lee
  • 207. Briny Baird
  • 213. Mark Anderson
  • 214. Vaughn Taylor
  • 218. Chris DiMarco
  • 224. Martin Flores
  • 225. Miguel Angel Carballo
  • 228. Jason Bohn
  • 230. Justin Leonard
  • 231. Michael Bradley
  • 239. Roberto Castro
  • 240. Ben Curtis
  • 241. Scott Verplank
  • 246. Billy Horschel
  • 248. D.J. Trahan
  • 250. J.J. Henry
  • 252. Nathan Green
  • 257. Will Claxton
  • 258. Graham DeLaet
  • 259. Hunter Haas
  • 267. Bob Estes
  • 270. Jason Kokrak
  • 271. Garth Mulroy
  • 283. Troy Matteson
  • 284. Scott Stallings
  • 296. Kyle Reifers
  • 298. Cameron Beckman
  • 299. Kevin Kisner
  • 300. Mathew Goggin
  • 302. Stephen Ames
  • 307. Billy Hurley III
  • 317. Steve Wheatcroft
  • 318. Joe Ogilvie
  • 324. Sunghoon Kang
  • 326. Troy Kelly
  • 329. Jeff Maggert
  • 335. Tom Pernice Jr.
  • 343. Gavin Coles
  • 344. David Mathis
  • 352. Tommy Biershenk
  • 353. Tim Petrovic
  • 354. Alex Cejka
  • 362. Colt Knost
  • 365. Tommy Gainey
  • 379. Steven Bowditch
  • 386. Matt Jones
  • 405. Bobby Gates
  • 425. Rocco Mediate
  • 432. Richard H. Lee
  • 459. Ryuji Imada
  • 460. Matt Bettencourt
  • 489. Stuart Appleby
  • 510. Daniel Summerhays
  • 518. Edward Loar
  • 526. Alexandre Rocha
  • 527. Brendon Todd
  • 528. Angel Cabrera
  • 552. Jamie Lovemark
  • 571. Patrick Sheehan
  • 576. Kyle Thompson
  • 582. Roland Thatcher
  • 594. Derek Lamely
  • 597. Scott Brown
  • 610. Daniel Chopra
  • 688. Scott Dunlap
  • 712. Chad Collins
  • 718. Stephen Gangluff
  • 752. David Duval
  • N/R. Charlie Beljan
  • N/R. David Byrne
  • N/R. Fred Funk
  • N/R. Phillip Hui
  • N/R. Hank Kuehne
  • N/R. Joey McLister
  • N/R. Jake Narro
  • N/R. John Peterson
  • N/R. Patrick Reed
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