Expert picks: Humana Challenge

Zach Johnson's strong play in 2014 has him among the favorites for the Humana Challenge (shown here during last week's Sony Open).

Zach Johnson's strong play in 2014 has him among the favorites for the Humana Challenge (shown here during last week's Sony Open).

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2:44:01 AM ET. 04/17/2014




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Zach Johnson is among the experts' favorites for this week's Humana Challenge in Southern California on the PGA Tour.

Harris English is another name frequently mentioned, along with Brendon de Jonge among sleepers. This week's tournament is a pro-am, so Tour players will be paired with an amateur for the first three rounds – all played on three different courses.

Our crew of experts has taken a look at the field and has narrowed it down to a handful of favorites, guys you should consider in your fantasy leagues and a few long shots that register on our radars.

(As a guide, the "Don't forget about" category is one that showcases other big-name, highly-ranked players we considered for "favorite" status; the "Keep an eye on" category is a player outside the top 20 for this week; and the "Sleeper" category is self-explanatory.)

Take a look:

• • •

Jim McCabe, Senior Writer

The favorite: Brandt Snedeker

Don’t forget about: Harris English

Keep an eye on: Scott Stallings

Sleeper: Brian Stuard

Comments: Snedeker is a birdie machine at a birdie festival, but English is playing as well as anyone. . . . Like Snedeker, Stallings makes birdies in buckets. . . . And there's something intriguing about Stuard, who was T-10 here a year ago after being T-5 at Sony. Guess what? He was T-10 at Sony last week, so that bodes well for this week, no?

• • •

Jeff Rude, Senior Writer

The favorite: Zach Johnson

Don't forget about: Webb Simpson, Harris English

Keep an eye on: Charles Howell III

Sleeper: Jason Kokrak

Comments: Johnson is turning into a world beater, particularly at courses where wedge play is vital, which is all of them. He has won two of his last six PGA Tour starts and has finished in the top 10 in nine of his last 12. And that doesn't count his victory at Tiger Woods' short-field event in December. . . . Simpson has finished no worse than seventh in three starts this season. . . . Ride English now because he's a hot horse and a budding star at only 24 (four top-11 finishes in last five Tour starts, including victory in Mexico). . . . Howell lost a playoff here last year and is coming off a T-8 at the Sony Open. . . . Kokrak top 20 in three of his four starts this season and was T-8 at Humana last year.

• • •

Alex Miceli, Senior Writer

The favorite: Gary Woodland

Don’t forget about: Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson

Keep an eye on: Brian Gay

Sleeper: Jerry Kelly

Comments: Length in the desert can make a difference. Woodland showed in Maui that he is ready for the 2014 season, if the putts fall his length will be a big advantage. . . . Simpson and Johnson have already had a good season; have to always look to them to win in any event they are playing in. . . . Gay is defending and while its tough to repeat, you can discount returning to a place you have had success at. . . . Kelly showed his game is still capable at the right venues; do you ride a hot horse or is the ball park to big for the 47-year-old? That’s why he’s a sleeper.

• • •

Adam Schupak, Senior Writer

The favorite: Bill Haas

Don't forget about: Robert Garrigus, Brendon de Jonge

Keep an eye on: John Senden, Ryan Palmer

Sleepers: Kevin Chappell, Charlie Beljan

Comments: Bill Haas is a past champion here in 2010 and finished second in 2011; he comes out early to practice for this event with his dad, Jay, and great-uncle, Bob Goalby. . . . Harris English, who is red-hot, very well could contend too. . . . Others with a good track record here include Robert Garrigus (second in 2012), John Senden, and Kevin Chappell (West Coast guy). . . . Ryan Palmer ranked Nos. 4 and 6 the past two years in birdies from the fairway. . . . This is a tournament where you have to go low, which is also why I like Brendon de Jonge. . . . Charlie Beljan – a feast-or-famine guy who notched his lone win at Disney, another birdie-fest – is my wildcard pick.

• • •

Lance Ringler, Senior Writer

The favorite: Zach Johnson

Don’t forget about: Charley Hoffman, Harris English

Keep an eye on: Brendon Todd, Brendon de Jonge

Sleeper: Camilo Villegas

Comments: Zach Johnson has started the year with a win and a T-8. No reason to think he would not be a good pick in your fantasy league this week. . . . Camilo Villegas is trending towards regaining the form we had been used to seeing from him on weekend leaderboards.

• • •

Nick Masuda, Director of Digital

The favorite: Keegan Bradley

Don’t forget about: Billy Horschel

Keep an eye on: Rickie Fowler

Sleeper: Scott Piercy

Comments: I firmly believe this is going to be a huge year for Bradley, and I think he starts the season hot. . . . Fowler working with Butch Harmon could be a storyline to watch all season long, as the kid has talent. . . . How Piercy is so low in our rankings, I don't know, but he'll have a big bounce-back season in 2014 after a sluggish '13 campaign.

• • •

The Humana Challenge field according to Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings

  • 10. Webb Simpson
  • 12. Zach Johnson
  • 18. Keegan Bradley
  • 23. Brendon Todd
  • 24. Bill Haas
  • 27. Charley Hoffman
  • 30. Harris English
  • 32. Brandt Snedeker
  • 34. Brendon de Jonge
  • 35. Charles Howell III
  • 37. Billy Horschel
  • 38. Rickie Fowler
  • 40. Boo Weekley
  • 43. Ryan Palmer
  • 45. Gary Woodland
  • 48. Ben Martin
  • 49. John Peterson
  • 51. Freddie Jacobson
  • 53. Matt Jones
  • 54. Chris Stroud
  • 56. Will Wilcox
  • 59. Justin Leonard
  • 60. Russell Knox
  • 66. Kevin Stadler
  • 67. Jerry Kelly
  • 68. Michael Putnam
  • 69. Jeff Overton
  • 72. Bryce Molder
  • 75. Bo Van Pelt
  • 77. Stewart Cink
  • 80. Josh Teater
  • 82. Camilo Villegas
  • 83. Pat Perez
  • 84. Roberto Castro
  • 85. Kevin Chappell
  • 86. Brian Davis
  • 87. Peter Malnati
  • 88. Stuart Appleby
  • 90. David Hearn
  • 91. Carl Pettersson
  • 92. Daniel Summerhays
  • 94. Jason Kokrak
  • 96. John Merrick
  • 97. Robert Garrigus
  • 99. Tim Wilkinson
  • 101. Richard H. Lee
  • 103. John Senden
  • 105. Spencer Levin
  • 106. Jonas Blixt
  • 111. J.J. Henry
  • 112. James Driscoll
  • 113. Matt Every
  • 114. Martin Laird
  • 116. Will MacKenzie
  • 117. Cameron Tringale
  • 118. Brendan Steele
  • 124. Brian Gay
  • 126. Martin Flores
  • 128. Scott Brown
  • 129. Retief Goosen
  • 131. Justin Hicks
  • 132. Tim Clark
  • 136. Nicolas Colsaerts
  • 139. Luke Guthrie
  • 146. Brian Stuard
  • 155. William McGirt
  • 156. Morgan Hoffmann
  • 157. Rory Sabbatini
  • 158. Patrick Reed
  • 160. Nicholas Thompson
  • 162. Brian Harman
  • 163. Ryo Ishikawa
  • 165. Greg Chalmers
  • 166. John Rollins
  • 169. Chesson Hadley
  • 170. Jason Bohn
  • 171. Kevin Na
  • 172. Jim Herman
  • 174. Ken Duke
  • 177. Charlie Wi
  • 178. Sang-Moon Bae
  • 179. Ted Potter Jr.
  • 181. Scott Piercy
  • 183. Davis Love III
  • 185. Wes Roach
  • 191. Edward Loar
  • 194. David Toms
  • 195. Mark Wilson
  • 201. Danny Lee
  • 206. Brad Fritsch
  • 214. Erik Compton
  • 215. Ben Crane
  • 222. Joe Durant
  • 223. Chad Collins
  • 230. James Hahn
  • 231. Brice Garnett
  • 234. John Mallinger
  • 236. Billy Hurley III
  • 238. Chad Campbell
  • 241. Ben Curtis
  • 245. Kevin Tway
  • 248. Seung-Yul Noh
  • 250. Geoff Ogilvy
  • 251. Y.E. Yang
  • 252. Heath Slocum
  • 254. David Lingmerth
  • 256. Scott Stallings
  • 265. Jeff Maggert
  • 272. Aaron Baddeley
  • 285. Hudson Swafford
  • 289. Trevor Immelman
  • 299. D.J. Trahan
  • 306. Steven Bowditch
  • 312. Kevin Kisner
  • 316. Troy Merritt
  • 322. Lucas Glover
  • 326. Bud Cauley
  • 342. Sean O'Hair
  • 345. Tyrone Van Aswegen
  • 346. Ricky Barnes
  • 353. Scott Langley
  • 355. Jamie Lovemark
  • 359. Troy Matteson
  • 372. Will Claxton
  • 375. Charlie Beljan
  • 378. Robert Allenby
  • 386. Alex Aragon
  • 387. Tommy Gainey
  • 392. Andrew Svoboda
  • 397. Mike Weir
  • 408. Johnson Wagner
  • 436. Lee Williams
  • 492. Scott Gardiner
  • 505. Andrew Loupe
  • 509. Stephen Ames
  • 519. Jonathan Byrd
  • 556. Chris DiMarco
  • 563. Derek Ernst
  • 569. Bobby Gates
  • 609. John Daly
  • 635. Scott Verplank
  • 642. Jesper Parnevik
  • 665. Lee Janzen
  • 841. Scott McCarron
  • N/R. Blake Adams
  • N/R. Harrison Frazar
  • N/R. Steve Jones
  • N/R. Alan Scheer
  • N/R. Briny Baird
  • N/R. Paul Goydos
  • N/R. Dudley Hart
  • N/R. Peter Jacobsen
  • N/R. Brett Quigley
  • N/R. Mark Brooks
  • N/R. Justin Thomas
  • N/R. Jhonattan Vegas
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