Even as the weather gets better, it’s still too unpredictable to head up north. So the PGA Tour is moving to Palm Harbor, Fla., a place I’ve called home for over six years. The Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Golf Resort is one that I know better than most of the courses on the PGA Tour. I have played it each of the last four years and have gone to the event now since 2015, when Jordan Spieth won the event. Will that experience translate into the PGA DFS success on DraftKings and FanDuel this week when making my PGA DFS picks for the Valspar Championship? Well, that’s anyone’s best guess.
I share this to add context to the Course Guide section that walks through the Innisbrook Copperhead Course. As for the rest of the First Cut, in case this is your first time here, this is what you can expect to find in this article:
- Tournament and Format
- Course Commentary
- Course Facts and Figures
- PGA DFS Course Summary and Statistical Comparison
- PGA DFS Preview, including sweat sheet and optimal lineups from last year’s event
- Player Preview
PGA DFS Picks: The Valspar Championship
Having gone through its fair share of main sponsors, Valspar has been a mainstay now in the area since 2013. They bring uniqueness to the event and are always trying to add color. The event itself has been around since 2000, but for years it was just an alternate field and/or swing season event. Then in 2007, it was moved to March, where it had been every year up until this year, where it got bumped to late April due to scheduling around the Florida swing. If the WGC-Mexico doesn’t return to its normal week next year, this could be the long-term landing spot for the tournament. Since its inception, it has been played on the Innisbrook Copperhead Course.
The Course: Innisbrook Copperhead Course
In some ways, Copperhead is similar to the other tracks played here in Florida — tough and demanding off the tee. But this one is much tighter than all of the other ones. It also typically fits in right behind PGA National in terms of difficulty, as the second hardest of the four courses. Copperhead also features four par 5’s, one of them being the first hole, though that is one of the easiest holes on the course. The fifth hole is massively uphill with a totally blind second shot that many golfers aren’t able to get to in two and end up laying up. Next is the 11th with a tight landing area, and then a very long 15th that always plays in the wind, with a large pond guarding the green.
Needless to say, double-digit under par is typically a good score. Playing this a month won’t have any impact on the condition of the course or tournament given that there has been a ton of rain in the area recently and the course should be in prime shape. Copperhead has one of the more unusual setups on tour as well, with five par 3’s, nine par 4’s and four par 5’s. One would think that would make it easier, but that’s not the case; the par 4s are all difficult, with only one measuring under 400 yards. And that one is a layup off the tee anyway, so it plays longer than the stated number.
Course Facts, Figures and Walkthrough
Par 5, 560 yards
A short downhill par 5 that plays even shorter than the given 560. Golfers with length off the tee will have an advantage if they can keep the ball inside the corridor. There is a fairway bunker about 300 yards that comes in off the left, and the driving range is out of bounds on the right. It ranked second easiest on the course in 2019.
Par 4, 435 yards
The first of many tough par 4’s on the course, as this one does not allow golfers to use length off the tee all that much. The tee sits up on the hill by the first green and plays as a tight hole with water right and nothing but trees and out of bounds left. The hole is set up by an iconic tree that covers the entire left side of the landing area. The fairway also runs out the further you go, making length not really much of an advantage here.
Par 4, 455 yards
The same water hazard that is right of two comes into play twice here on three. Golfers are forced to lay up short of the pond, which courses the fairway at about 310 yards off the tee. It also runs up the entire right and side of the hole, with swampland and out of bounds left. There is nowhere to miss it here.
Par 3 194 yards
Players start to head back up the hill on this uphill par 3 guarded by bunkers all around. Three is a good score, as the hole played over par for the championship last year.
Par 5, 605 yards
Not only is it 605, but it is way uphill. Unlike most par 5s, golfers will struggle to make four, and there likely won’t be any eagles at all. Golfers don’t really need a driver. However, they will need to advance the ball down the hill to get past the over-hanging tree that guards the left side of the fairway at about 130 yards.
Par 4, 465 yards
This dog left-right hole is guarded by tall palm trees on the right-hand and left-hand side, and golfers will try to cut the corner and turn it into a birdie hole. However, the right-hand trees are magnets for golf balls off the tee, and many golfers will find themselves struggling to find somewhere to advance the ball, likely on their way to making a five of six on the hole.
Par 4, 429 Yards
Other than it being a relatively tight hole, golfers that have length and accuracy off the tee can turn this into a birdie hole quite easily. The magnet trees do not come into play unless a golfer really blocks one way right off the tee.
Par 3, 234 yards
There is no break on this course after the first hole. Every single hole can turn into a bogey hole quite easily. That doesn’t change here on eight, a lengthy, downhill par 3 with bunkers surrounding the green. Three again will be a good score.
Par 4, 430 yards
Another scorable hole for those who can find the fairway off the tee, as length should be an advantage here. The green complex sits up on top of a hill, so an elevated approach shot will trick some of these golfers.
Par 4, 445 yards
The start of the most scorable stretch of golf on this course, a shorter downhill par 4 that has trees and native areas both left and right off the tee. The fairway is relatively wide, so golfers should have plenty of birdie looks on this hole.
Par 5, 575 yards
The easiest hole on the course by far. The only thing required here is putting the ball in the fairway. The drive can get tricky, as players will not want to fly it too far down the right-hand side because they will be blocked out from going at the green. But even if they stay short of that, they should be able to reach the green with their second.
Par 4, 380 yards
A positional hole off the tee, as a large body of water comes into play at about 240 yards. The green is guarded by a bunker front right but is accessible with a well-positioned shot off the tee.
Par 3, 200 yards
One of the shorter par 3’s on the course is guarded entirely short on the right-hand side by that same body of water from hole 12. There will be plenty of water balls here this week.
Par 5, 590 yards
Length is definitely a factor on this hole, maybe the most significant advantage on the course. The hole has a wide-open driving area, but a golfer that puts himself on the right-hand side of the fairway will have a go at this hole in two. There’s a large body of waterfront right of the green, but there is plenty of room left and over the hazard to clear on the second shot.
Par 3, 215 yards
Another medium-length par 3 that normally will play into the wind but downhill. The green looks open and inviting from the tee, with no trouble right and a bunker left.
Par 4, 475 yards
The start of a brutal stretch of golf known as the Snake Pit. The challenging par 4 has trouble lurking on both sides, with trees and native area just left of the fairway and a pond stretching the entire right-hand side of the hole. This is the hardest hole on the course.
Par 3, 215 yards
Bunkers guard this uphill, 215-yard par 3 that requires another long iron shot. The green complex is very difficult and can provide some nasty pins on a few of the days, especially Sunday.
Par 4, 445 yards
An uphill par 4 that has fairway bunkers guarding both sides of the fairway. The length off the tee would provide an advantage, but Tiger Woods famously took an iron off the tee, leaving a much longer second shot than others last year. The green is two-tiered, so the work isn’t done after the drive.
Par and Yardage
- Par 71: 7,209
- It has consistently ranked inside the top 10 toughest courses on the PGA Tour.
- Five par 3s: 194, 234, 200, 215, 215
- Nine par 4s: 435, 455, 465, 429, 430, 445, 380, 475, 445
- Four par 5s: 548, 561, 575, 585
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Grass Types and Hazards
- Grass Type: TifEagle Bermudagrass
- Average Green Size: 5,822 square feet
- Water Hazards: N/A
- Bunkers: 74
- Rough Length: 3 inches
- Larry Packard in 1971
The Valspar Championship PGA DFS Slate Preview
There was plenty of demand last week, so the contest sizes are pushed back up, with the top GPP offering $200,000 to first and a flatter payout structure with $750,000 guaranteed.
PGA DFS Sweat Sheet for Copperhead Course at Innisbrook
The first hole is one of the easiest, and that and the 11th will make up 27% of the total scoring all day. Throw in the other par 5 on the backside, and just three holes accounts for 40% of the scoring. It is easy to see why the winning score is typically in the lower teens to high single digits and the DraftKings scores are lower.
The Valspar Championship Player Preview
The move to April has done wonders for this tournament, slotted in a few weeks after the masters. Most golfers take the week off after a major, and then not many stars ventured to New Orleans last week, leaving a plethora ready to play again three a few weeks after teeing it up at Augusta. In 2019 there was just one top-10 golfers here. This year, it’s not the same story at all. That will make it extremely hard for Paul Casey, who is looking for his third straight Valspar Championship, having won in both 2018 and 2019. A tight tactical course that isn’t long and doesn’t have the winning score get above -11 is ideal for Casey. Let’s see if the strong field changes that this year.
- 2019: Paul Casey
- 2018: Paul Casey
- 2017: Adam Hadwin
- 2016: Charl Schwartzel
Yahoo! PGA DFS projections for this week, the DraftKings DFS PGA showdown projections and the FanDuel PGA DFS ownership projections for this week are made and used by Alex Baker, the No. 1 DFS player in the world. PGA DFS rankings for Yahoo! will be posted at least a day in advance of any tournament. Looking for more DraftKings PGA DFS picks and PGA DFS picks?
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