We have a very top-heavy field this week for the Valspar Championship. Five players are commanding $10,000 or more salaries and Gary Woodland is knocking on the door at $9,900. Unlike last week at The PLAYERS Championship, the depth of the field just isn’t quite there. That means you’ll be forced to pay a higher price for the second and third-tier guys.
All in all, this looks like a week for the deep divers to have even more of an edge. Even horse for course guys like Adam Hadwin and Jason Kokrak are hovering in the mid-$8000s. That means our task is quite a bit tougher this week.
Per usual, we’ll seek out the value picks that allow you a better opportunity to roster the top players in this week’s look at the Valspar Championship at Innisbrook.
Jason Kokrak ($8,600) – Even though the price is high, it is really hard to overlook Jason Kokrak this week. He struggled with the flatstick at TPC Sawgrass, which he has done all season long, but he’s going to a course where he feels a lot more comfortable with the putter. Kokrak tied for eighth last year, had a top-10 in 2015, and was in the top 15 in 2014. He’s made all 10 cuts this season and had a run of five top-20 finishes in six weeks snapped with last week’s 47th at the PLAYERS. He’s actually ninth in strokes gained tee-to-green this year, so he’s been swinging it well. Of those in the field this week, only Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland, and Sergio Garcia rate better in that department than Kokrak.
Sungjae Im ($7,700) – Sungjae Im heads into the Valspar with a little bit of rest. He missed the cut last week at TPC Sawgrass. After missing the cut at the Genesis Open, Im had a week off and then opened 70-64 at the Honda Classic before going haywire in the third round. Last week, he was all over the place with an ace, a couple eagles, and two double bogeys. The week prior, he finished third at Bay Hill in the Arnold Palmer. In a field lacking depth like this one, Im is one of the more talented players. His lack of experience may hurt on a tough course like Innisbrook, but it’s hard to argue with the ball-striking ability. This will be his 16th event, so fatigue is a little bit of a worry, but he’s hard to pass up at this price with this field.
Trey Mullinax ($7,100) – Length off of the tee can be your friend here at Innisbrook. It helped Trey Mullinax to an eighth-place finish last year at 5-under. He missed the cut in 2017, but did follow up an opening-round 78 with a second-round 69 to get back on track. Four of his last six career rounds have been under par at Innisbrook. He’s struggled with the course on Day One, which is a worry, but last year he cut that 78 down to a 72. He played well at Pebble Beach and TPC Scottsdale earlier in the season, so he does have a couple of solid finishes on his resume. Hopefully he’ll make some putts, which has been his problem, as he’s done well with driving and GIRs, but hasn’t gotten enough birdies to capitalize. We’ll pay the low price for his upside here.
Jonas Blixt ($6,200) – Jonas Blixt has been fairly reliable this season. He’s not going to go out and win an event, but rostering him at $6,200 to make room for somebody like DJ, Rahm, or Day makes a lot of sense with the way that this field is set up this week. Blixt has been putting well this season. Perhaps some rest will help the Swede, as this will already be his 12th event of the season, but first since late February. He tied for 22nd in his last trip to Innisbrook back in 2017. His worst round was a 72, which isn’t bad at all on a track like this. He also tied for 22nd in 2016. You can do a lot worse at this point if you’re running low on funds.
Akshay Bhatia ($6,000) – The PGA Tour debut for Akshay Bhatia is this week’s Valspar Championship. The 17-year-old from North Carolina is the top-ranked junior player in the country. He’s skipping college to go pro and is knocking on the door of being the nation’s best amateur player, let alone best junior. This is a big stage and he’ll be facing PGA Tour pin placements, but he has all of the tools to move up the ranks and show something special this week.