Fantasy Lookahead: Francesco Molinari returns to RBC Heritage in search of form

Francesco Molinari sat out out his second consecutive Masters tournament, after playing each year from 2010-2014. His absence this year was the result of a tumultuous start to his PGA Tour season. He has made five of seven cuts with one top-10 finish but has no other appearances in the top 30. He finished ninth in an ultra-competitive field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Course History

Molinari returns to Hilton Head, South Carolina and the RBC Heritage for the first time since 2011. He missed the cut that year, the second in a run of five consecutive missed cuts beginning with the The Masters and concluding with The Open Championship.

Molinari continues to search for his first career PGA Tour victory. He has fallen to No. 84 in the Official World Golf Rankings, after finishing 2015 ranked 66th. He’ll need to capitalize on a strong performance in his most recent outing while making his second run at Harbour Town Golf Links.

Statistical Breakdown

According to FantasyInsiders, the following are the most important statistics related to success at this week’s course:

Driving Accuracy (DA)
Scrambling (SCR)
Strokes Gained: Putting (SGP)
Par 4 Scoring (P4S)
Proximity to Hole (PH)

Here’s a look at how Molinari has fared in each of the key stats thus far:

DA SCR SGP P4S PH
95 T129 122 T112 T67

Though it’s been a disappointing year for Molinari, one stat stands out: he has made all 239 of his putts attempted from within three feet. He ranks 15th on tour with 27.86 putts per Round 1, though that number rises to 29.40 putts per round by Sunday.

He ranks seventh in Par 5 Scoring Average, but he’ll be hard pressed to make up ground with only three par fives on the course.

Daily Fantasy

Molinari enters this weekend with a middle-of-the-pack price tag, despite his recent struggles. It’s a result of the weaker field at Hilton Head this week. The higher than expected price tag will depress ownership even further.

Even with the struggles, it wasn’t all that long ago Molinari was at the forefront of the golf world. He has a pedigree for strong finishes, and he has the skill to surface near the top of the leaderboard at any time. He had his most successful season in 2014, when he made the cut in all 12 events and finished fifth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and sixth at The Players Championship.

With past success in strong-field events such as those he’s always worthy of some consideration when the field gets thinned out. He’s still worthy of a flier with extremely low ownership.

Season-Long Fantasy

The B-List is notably thin this week with Molinari ranking among the most prominent names despite his struggles. He won’t play in nearly as many tournaments as other names on the list, making him a decent selection this week while saving some other candidates who may be running low on starts.

Owners can take advantage of what has been some strong Round 1 play this season by using his start and then moving him to the bench for the weekend. This strategy will help save some starts for the other names and maximize Molinari’s strengths.

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