Fact Pack: Zurich Classic


This week the PGA Tour heads to the 'Big Easy' for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. TPC Louisiana will play host to another full-field event, with low scores expected throughout the week on a course where traditionally the winning score can approach 20 under. With that in mind, here is a look inside the numbers to see which players may contend for the title and help your Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge team in the process:

Rickie Fowler has found a way to master 'Moving Day' thus far in 2013, but he has yet to translate that success into the final round. His 69.0 Round 3 stroke average is eighth on Tour, and Fowler has broken par in the third round six straight times to begin the year. His final round average is a full four shots higher, though, marked by Sunday 78s at both Doral and Augusta National. His Round 4 stroke average of 73.0 places him 159th on Tour, making his three top-6 finishes already this season all the more impressive.

Fantasy Challenge: Sobel, McMurry with Zurich Classic picks

• Those looking for a fantasy sleeper in the Big Easy may want to consider Jerry Kelly in Group 3. Though he's missed the cut here each of the last two years, Kelly won at TPC Louisiana in 2009, the most recent of his three career PGA Tour victories. Playing this season on a one-time exemption based on career earnings, Kelly is also coming off a fifth-place finish at Harbour Town, his best result since a tie for fourth at the 2011 Wyndham Championship.

• While Sunday's final round on Hilton Head was all about surviving high winds by making pars, this week's venue will require birdies by the dozen and few, if any bogeys. Since moving to TPC Louisiana in 2005, this event has seen only one player win while making more than six total bogeys during the week – Andres Romero, who won in 2008 despite eight bogeys. Last year, Jason Dufner made only four bogeys and went on to win a playoff over Ernie Els, who made just three bogeys across 72 holes.

• With his tie for ninth at Harbour Town, Richard H. Lee has officially gained 'intriguing sleeper pick' status. Lee, who finished fourth at Q-School last fall to regain his card, now has four top-15 finishes this year, including two in a row (T-13 at Valero Texas Open). After missing eight cuts in his first 10 starts last year, the University of Washington grad has greatly improved this time around, and his stat line shows it: Lee now ranks 18th on Tour in driving accuracy, 32nd in strokes gained putting and 35th in GIR percentage.

• After nearly every tournament to start the season saw a 54-hole leader go on to hoist the trophy, that trend has been reversed on the PGA Tour in recent weeks. Winners in 10 of the first 12 stroke-play events of 2013 did so after holding at least a share of the 54-hole lead, with the lone exceptions coming from Scott Stallings (Humana Challenge) and Bill Haas (Northern Trust Open). Since then, four straight events have been won by players coming from behind on Sunday: D.A. Points at the Shell Houston Open (trailed by 1 shot), Martin Laird at the Valero Texas Open (trailed by 5), Adam Scott at the Masters (trailed by 1), and Graeme McDowell at the RBC Heritage (trailed by 4).