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Expert Picks: 2014 Open

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This week marks the first event of the 2014-15 PGA Tour season, as players head to Silverado Resort & Spa for the Open. Each week, a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players, based on Golf Channel's fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and John Antonini; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; host Charlie Rymer and defending fantasy champion Ryan Lavner.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Jimmy Walker: Horses for courses and the defending champ has proven he knows his way around this one.

Group 2: Brooks Koepka: Fresh off a top-10 on the Euro Tour, expect big things from him in his first full PGA Tour season.

Group 3: Scott Piercy: Following an injury-riddled 2013-14 campaign, he should be back on the right track this season.

Group 4: Max Homa: West Coast kid will be in familiar environs, back near Cal, where he played his college golf.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Jimmy Walker: Began a torrid run of three victories in eight starts last year with his breakthrough at the Open and was one of the few bright spots for the U.S. team at the Ryder Cup.

Group 2: Brooks Koepka: Although according to the PGA Tour’s small print he is not technically a rookie this will be Koepka’s first full season on the circuit and he finished tied for ninth last week at the Dunhill Links Championship.

Group 3: Justin Thomas: A true rookie who many observers have dubbed the player to watch from this season’s Tour class thanks to his late victory at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship last month.

Group 4: Max Homa: Another first timer who seems destined for a Tour leaderboard and he kick started his professional career with a tie for ninth at last season’s Open.

John Antonini

Group 1: Jimmy Walker: He's never played the Open, but I'm not worried. He's the best player in the field and he generally begins his year with a strong performance. He was in the top 10 in his season debut in 2013 (Hyundai) and 2013-14 (McGladrey).

Group 2: Brooks Koepka: A long hitter, with one of the fastest club-head speeds on the PGA Tour. This guy's a legitimate player and should turn some heads in his first year as a Tour member. He was T-3 last year at CordeValle.

Group 3: Justin Thomas: The former Alabama star has a world of potential. Thomas led the Tour in birdie average, par-4 scoring average, and all-around rank in 2014.

Group 4: Max Homa: Yes, another youngster in his first PGA Tour season. Homa is a Tour grad from California who was T-9 at the Frys in his professional debut a year ago.