Fantasy Lookahead: Francesco Molinari to turn recent success into major result?

A tumultuous start to the 2016 golf season on both the PGA and European Tours for Francesco Molinari has been replaced by strong recent finishes on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. He placed eighth at the Quicken Loans National in his most recent PGA event, while he was the runner-up at this past week’s 100th Open de France.

Molinari finished four strokes behind winner Thongchai Jaidee, but had the best Sunday round of the field with a 5-under 66.

Course History

While Molinari turned professional in 2004, he didn’t participate in The Open Championship hosted by Royal Troon Golf Club that season. The Italian native hasn’t missed the cut at The Open since 2011, when it was held at Royal St. George’s Golf Club.

It followed a missed cut at St. Andrews in the previous season, and was part of a stretch in which Molinari missed the cut at The Open three times in a five-year span which included four appearances at the tournament. His best career finish at The Open Championship was a ninth-place showing at Muirfield in 2013, a tournament won by Phil Mickelson with a score of 3 under.

Statistical Breakdown

Here are the stats most suited for success at Royal Troon Golf Club:

Driving Accuracy (DA)
Proximity to Hole (PH)
Par 4 Scoring Average (P4S)
Scrambling (SCR)

Here’s how Molinari has fared in the selected statistics so far this season:

DA PH P4S SCR
76 68 113 47

Though Molinari doesn’t rank highly in any of this week’s key stats, the worst part of his game this season has been his putting. He ranks 174th on tour, losing an average of .363 strokes to the field.

He ranks 11th on tour in Round 1 Scoring Average, and should fare better with a later Thursday tee time. He may be able to get off to a quick start, if the weather cooperates, but he has faded drastically during the second and third rounds this season.

Daily Fantasy

Molinari’s DFS stock will be highly dependent on his yet-to-be-released salary, which has been highly variant this season. He’s mostly assured of a spot somewhere within the middle tier, but he has been shuffled throughout the highly populated grouping this season.

His experience and recent cut-making consistency makes him a candidate to be priced at the upper end. With only one top-10 finish on the PGA Tour this season he’ll represent a contrarian selection at a high cost.

He didn’t participate in the Masters or the U.S. Open this year, but he placed seventh at The Players Championship and ninth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, two of the PGA’s next-most marquee events.

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