Expert picks: Puerto Rico Open


While many of the world's best take on the Blue Monster at the WGC Cadillac Championship (our expert picks for that event can be found here), a full field will look to conquer Trump National GC at the Puerto Rico Open, and our experts offer up their fantasy choices below. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin;'s Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.

Ryan Ballengee

Group 1: Brendon de Jonge: Makes a lot of birdies and has finished in the top 15 in each of his last two Puerto Rico starts.

Group 2: Michael Bradley: Winner in two of the last three events here.

Group 3: Martin Flores: Has been making money in his second full year on the PGA Tour, including a top 10.

Group 4: Will Claxton: Most consistent player of the lot in a group of mostly struggling players.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Kevin Streelman: Slept with the 54-hole lead here last year, but was forced to a 3rd place finish after a 73 on Sunday.

Group 2: Michael Bradley: The two-time champion here works magic at Trump's place. They're his only top-10s in the last decade.

Group 3: Russell Knox: The Georgia product has the swagger to continue the trend of recent Bulldog success on Tour. His only made cut this year was at Mayakoba and he needs to take advantage of the opposite field event again this week.

Group 4: Jamie Lovemark: His one Nationwide Tour win came out of the country, in Mexico, and he finished T-28 here last year. He really needs to make some things happen this year, and this could be the spot.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Ryo Ishikawa: No, the Japanese phenom didn't get lost on his way to the WGC event at Doral. He's slipped outside the top 50 but his T-17 finish at the Match Play suggests he won't be outside for long.

Group 2: Michael Bradley: Because Michael Bradley always wins in Puerto Rico.

Group 3: Vaughn Taylor: He tied for 18th at Honda for his second consecutive top-20 finish in conditions that will be similar to those he will face this week in Puerto Rico.

Group 4: Peter Uihlein: Still trying to find his way in the play-for-pay world, but the former U.S. Amateur champion has too much talent to continue to struggle.

Gary Williams

Group 1: Brendon de Jonge: Started strong in 2012 with a pair of top-12 finishes at Sony and Humana. He's played well in this event, with a T-3 in 2010 and a T-14 last year. This could be a great chance to pick up his first PGA Tour win.

Group 2: Ken Duke: Duke has gotten off to great starts this year as six of his seven first round scores have been 69 or better. With the exception of a T-7 at Pebble, though, he tends to be undone by one bad round. If he starts well, he could be in contention this weekend.

Group 3: Billy Horschel: This young gun has a lot of potential but has struggled early in his career. Has shown he can play as an amateur and we're just waiting to see how good he can be as a pro.

Group 4: Steve Flesch: The veteran and four-time PGA Tour winner is trying to get his season going. He is making his third start after missing the cut in each of his first two events of 2012 and comes to a place where he finished T-28 in 2011.

John Hawkins

Group 1: Angel Cabrera: Former Masters and U.S. Open champion played well here last year.

Group 2: Hunter Haas: Finished T-3 here in 2011 and I expect another strong showing this week.

Group 3: Rocco Mediate: Saw some nice stuff last week out of the 2008 U.S. Open runner-up.

Group 4: Jamie Lovemark: He's gonna do something soon, it's just a matter of when.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Brandt Jobe: He finished T-7 in his first appearance here last year, but the clincher was a taut week at PGA National where he ranked T-3 in greens in regulation and shot par or better in every round en route to a T-16 showing.

Group 2: Michael Bradley: I was tempted by Kevin Stadler, but I can't argue against the all-time money leader and two-time champ at this event. Bradley also had a T-15 finish here in 2010.

Group 3: Vaughn Taylor: It's his first appearance, so I'm leaning on his recent play. He's finished inside the top 20 the last two weeks, including at Honda where he had to Monday qualify for a spot in the field.

Group 4: Rich Beem: Shaun Micheel is 4-for-4 here. Marco Dawson has two top-20s. Paul Stankowski has a pair of top-25s. Yet I'm going with the Beemer due to his steady T-12 at the Mayakoba where he was par or better in every round.

You can watch complete coverage of the Puerto Rico Open Thursday-Sunday on Golf Channel from 6:30PM-8:30PM ET.