Well ladies and gents I'm back once again sooner than expected and ready to give you all some insight for this somewhat unexpected Euro Tour contest on DraftKings.
After all the excitement of a superb US PGA Championships, the European Tour have 2 events running this week.. One being the Saltire Energy, Paul Laurie Match Play which of course due to its format is not available for fantasy golf and The Fiji International which to my surprise for various reasons is being run.
The Paul Laurie Match Play is undoubtedly a European Tour event, with most of the regulars competing in what is becoming a very popular tournament.
Unfortunately this means that we are left with an extremely weakened field for the Fiji International and an event that will have very little coverage other than the usual highlight reels or delving deep into the net to find a streaming to help ease any sweats.
As i mentioned earlier I'm a little surprised with this event, mainly due to its classification and involvement from the European Tour. When looking at the field only 12 players have playing rights to compete on a regular basis at this level and an incredible 2 players from a field of 148 actually come from European countries.
Anyway this tri-sanctioned event also involving the ISP Handa PGA Tour of Australasia and the Asian Tour may present us with an opportunity to benefit. From what I can gather there is far less interest in this upcoming event, with many fantasy golfers either not bothering to compete or at least trimming back their usual investment. There would also appear to be a massive lack of general information available, with many individuals or companies choosing not to cover or offer info. Lets just hope I've done my job properly and I've dug deep enough over the past few days so we have much more than an edge over everyone else.
The Star Studded Field
Three former Masters Tournament Champions are confirmed in the field this week. Argentina’s Angel Cabrera, a two-time Major winner who triumphed in the 2007 U.S. Open and 2009 Masters amongst his 51 professional victories, joins Fiji’s Vijay Singh and Canada’s Mike Weir, who secured their Green Jackets in 2000 and 2003 respectively.
Home favourite Singh will tee it up this year on the course he revamped - the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course – with the 54 year old instrumental in the redevelopment of the championship layout since the 2016 tournament concluded.
Australia’s Brett Rumford, who sealed his sixth European Tour title at this year’s ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth, 18 year old Phachara Khongwatmai of Thailand, who finished in second place behind the Australian in Perth, and three-time European Tour winner Jeunghun Wang of Korea will also travel to the beautiful surroundings of Fiji.
Joining them is the current World Number 92 Scott Hend, a two-time European Tour winner and nine-time Asian Tour winner, who impressed at the recent WGC-Bridgestone International where he finished tied tenth.
Other than that there's not much more to 'Singh' about, most players will be unknown other than a few like Ryan Fox who I have been writing about frequently this year and all will certainly be keen to take advantage and add a European Tour Victory to any list of accolades they hold.
With the sparkling backdrop of coral reefs and the Pacific Ocean on 15 out of the 18 holes, Natadola Bay provides perfectly manicured seashore paspalum grass for golf to be enjoyed all year round.
Measuring 7,146 yards, the par 72 championship golf course is renowned for its breathtaking views. The course was originally designed by three-time Major winner Singh in 2009. Who has also overseen major renovations ahead of this year’s event, to include wider fairways, flatter greens and a finessed layout.
In total 12 of the 18 holes have had some form of alteration and the front nine has been rerouted, with the signature par three, the 227-yard eighth hole, set to be a focal point fot the players and the fans this week.
Natadola Bay was officially opened in June 2009 with the staging of the Fijian Open, with the course since hosting the 2010 Fiji Open, the 2011 Nomura Cap, the 2012 Natadola Bay Fiji Classic and now the Fiji International.
With all of this in mind there is some course history for me to work off of, however due to its restructuring, very different field and a venue highly controlled by its weather, this should almost be taken as a new event in its own right.
I will be looking to provide an update on the weather and any info regarding am or pm waves later this evening through twitter.
As this course is renowned for strong winds and with recent developments to make the course more playable in tougher conditions, I want to give this area some real attention, could easily be the difference between getting 6 of 6 through to the weekend or not.
Key Stats and Strategy
In previous years, the par 4's have been the area where most shots have been dropped. I think this year it will be crucial for any potential winner to play solid golf on these holes and then of course take advantage of those much easier par 5's.
With it not being the longest course, distance inst going to be essential, however as always a bomber who's hitting it straight could have a huge advantage.
Due to the courses location I will also be looking at players who can control their ball flight in windier conditions. (obviously highly dependent on forecast and strength of winds)
If you are playing multiple line ups and hunting down that GPP victory, don't be scared to mix things up a little and take a gamble on a few names you may never of heard of before. Ownership of many of the names previously mentioned will no doubt be extremely high and there is no guarantee that the chalk will come through, bare in mind many competing this week are desperate to break through and although I'm also guilty of having already called this a weakened field please don't be mistaken about the quality that will still be on offer. Almost every player in this field is capable of scoring and performing well and this may be their big opportunity to showcase their skills.
My Picks - Less the description as I ran out of time and completely forgot the event is 12 hours ahead of me
$9,000 - $10,000
Brett Rumford $9,100
$8,000 - $9,000
Siddikur Rhaman $8,800
Austin Conelly $8,100
Gavin Green $8,000
$7,000 - $8,000
Adilson De Silva $7,400
P. Khongwatmai $7,200
Daniel Fox $7,100
$6,000 - $7,000
Todd Sinott $6,800
Jason Norris £6,800
Yan Wei Liu $6,600
Best of luck everyone, fill up those empty contests and take advantage of a massive lack of interst. Any questions fire them across quick and I'll try my best to help