The Desert Classic has changed names quite a bit, but the simpler name in 2019 pays homage to the original Palm Springs Desert Classic all the way back in 1960. This is the 60th anniversary of the event that used to bear Bob Hope’s name and was most recently known as the CareerBuilder Challenge.
We’ll be looking at a rather large field here for a very unique tournament. The cut is after 54 holes for this one and three different courses are played. The PGA West Stadium Course is used for Sunday’s final round and players participate on the Stadium Course, Tournament Course, and the course at La Quinta Country Club over the first 54 holes.
Our goal, as always, is to find the top value prices for golfers to put together strong tournaments and be the difference in those GPPs, H2Hs, and 50/50s.
CT Pan ($8,400) – In my tournament preview at BangTheBook.com, I mentioned a lot of players that finished up well in 2018 or played well in the Asian swing in the fall. Those players tend to have value because they have been replaced by guys who have played more recently. CT Pan is one of those guys that has been replaced. Pan finished 30th, 23rd, 22nd, and 16th in the fall swing before missing the cut at the RSM Classic. Pan was second in the Wyndham Championship last year at fourth in the Dell Technologies Championship. He finished 35th in FedEx Cup points. Don’t sleep on a guy like him early in the year.
Beau Hossler ($8,000) – This is one of my favorite plays of the weekend. Beau Hossler played a ton of golf late last season and it was pretty clear during the fall swing that he was a little bit gassed. Hossler hasn’t been seen since the OHL Classic and he missed the cut there. The 26-year-old had five top-10 finishes last year and finished sixth in strokes gained putting and top 50 in strokes gained overall and strokes gained off the tee. He took major strides forward after missing the top 10 in all of his events in 2017. Hossler played well en route to finishing 20th last year with a 64-69-73-68 tournament.
Chesson Hadley ($7,600) – Hopefully Chesson Hadley can knock off the rust in short order. We haven’t seen Hadley since he missed the cut at the RSM Classic, but he finished seventh at TPC Summerlin and second in Kuala Lumpur at the CIMB Classic. Hadley played pretty well early in the season last year with a third at the Safeway Open and a second at the Sanderson Farms. So far, he’s off to another good start. Hadley had seven top-10 finishes last year after not having any in 2017 or 2016. He was 30th in strokes gained last season and comes in at a very reasonable price this week.
Jason Dufner ($7,400) – Jason Dufner likes playing at this event. He won it in 2016 and has played extremely well on the PGA West Stadium Course. Dufner shot 67 in the final round in both 2015 and 2016 and shot 68 in the final round in both 2017 and 2018. That means that he’s a guy that can make up some ground for us on Sunday, assuming he makes it through the 54-hole cut. We’re getting a cheap price here because of how poorly he played in Hawaii last week, but he did get to fly out early for California.
Joaquin Niemann ($7,600) – It wasn’t that long ago that Joaquin Niemann was priced among golf’s best, both in the DFS world and the betting world. It seems like the youngster has been forgotten. Niemann had a brilliant 2018 year, but he ran out of gas late in the season with the rigors of playing week after week. He hasn’t played in two months now, so it’s a good time to back him. The 20-year-old had four top-10 finishes and six top-25 finishes. He’s off to a slow start as a full PGA Tour member, but a lot of that had to do with fatigue late last year. He’s going to get that first win sooner rather than later.