PGA Championship Review
Brooks Koepka, who may or may not have been grown in some sort of scientific golfing laboratory, held off late challenges from Tiger Woods and Adam Scott to take his second Major of the year. No winner at the Approach, but we can’t complain about our picks last week. We had 3/3 made cuts, including a T6 from low priced B grade, B value, Gary Woodland. As well, our low-owned GPP flier, Thomas Pieters, who finished T6.
Also, that tournament was case in point for why you should fade any player over 40% owned even if it is Dustin Johnson (FanDuel), there’s simply too much variance in golf. Not sure why DJ is so allergic to moving day, but he has not been playing himself into contention of late in Majors. If that narrative builds, we may see him at reduced ownership for big tournaments moving forward.
The Wyndham Championship
The Wyndham Championship, played at the 7100-yard, par-70 Sedgefield GC in North Carolina, is one of the easiest courses on tour, with winning scores generally in the high teens, low twenties. There are eight P4s in the 400-450 range, which should give players scoring opportunities with she short irons. There are also four P3s and two P5s. The lack of distance on Sedgefield gives all types of players a shot here, with the advantage going to shorter, accurate hitters with hot putters.
- The last four winners placed an average of 49th in driving distance and 8th in driving accuracy.
- SG:P accounts for a higher percentage of scoring than your average PGA course
- Both long and short term GIR corelate well with success here.
This is a tough time of the year to trust recent stats that aren’t weighted against fields. A stroke gained at the Barbasol is not the same as a stroke gained at the British Open. Rich Werenski, for example, is second in my model on the strength of 13 Strokes Gained at the Barbasol. Don’t hate him as a play, but he doesn’t deserve to be second. Stats like these are also causing ownership bumps, so this is also a great opportunity to find value from players who didn’t place as well in much stronger fields.
This is a 156-player field with top-70 and ties making the cut.
Golfers who aren’t in the top 125 this week lose card for the 2018-19 season, and whenever this happens a narrative pops up that the guys who need to win will be extra dialed in. I don’t buy it. If you can’t get motivated to play well for millions of dollars every single week, I doubt keeping your card tips the scale. Or put another way, these guys are motivated every week – if they could magically up their game to begin with, they wouldn’t be in this position.
Oliver Schniederjans: DraftKings: Grade: A, Value: B; FanDuel: Grade: A, Value: B
Anyone nicknamed after a sweet skateboard move is alright by me. Ollie placed second at the Wyndham last year, so this isn’t exactly an under the radar play. He’s the only golfer on DraftKings in Awesemo’s rankings with an ‘A’ grade for points and an ‘B’ grade for value. The form hasn’t been great, but with a higher than average emphasis on SG:P, I’m willing to take the chance on this Bermuda specialist. He generally plays well on shorter Par 70s and he has a top-20 Vegas bargain rating on both sites.
- Top-10 in ST and LT putting on Bermuda
- Top-10 in LT BoB
- Top-25 in LT SG:P4 400-450
Rory Sabbatini: DraftKings: Grade: B, Value: A; FanDuel: Grade: B, Value: A
The other Rory is enjoying a renaissance on the PGA tour this season, with eight top-30 finishes in 2018. He had a 4th place finish here last year, so, like Ollie, he’ll probably receive decent ownership (13% this week on DraftKings) he’s still fifth in my custom model, so I’ll still be overweight. He has the number one Vegas bargain rating on DraftKings and is top-ten on FanDuel.
- Top-10 in LT and ST P4 400-450 scoring
- Top-5 in LT and ST SG: T2G
- Top-10 in LT and ST SG:P (Bermuda)
- Top-10 in BoB
Abraham Ancer: DraftKings: Grade: B, Value: B; FanDuel: Grade: B, Value: B
Ancer has continually popped in Awesemo’s rankings, but I never seem to find him on my rosters. I took a cursory look at his stats and none stand out, except one: his P4 scoring from the key 400-450 range, where, in the short, mid and long term, he’s top-five in the field. I was surprised to find him at 66-1 to win the tournament, with lower odds than players like Chesson Headley and Brendan Steele, so I’ll trust Vegas and Awesemo, and hope that the higher price means reduced ownership. Finally, Ancer makes for a great GPP pay, given his propensity to either top-five or MC.
- Top-5 in ST, MT and LT P4 400-450 scoring
- Top-15 in ST P5 scoring
- Top-10 in ST GIR
- Top-15 in ST DA
Low-owned GPP flier:
Hudson Swafford: DraftKings Grade: B, Value: A; FanDuel: Grade: B, Value: A
The Swaffbuckler (did I just made that nickname up?), is coming in at 3% ownership, with one of the best Awesemo grade and values in the price range on both sites. He’s top-25 in all the important GIR metrics and is coming off his best finish of the season, a top-12 at the RBC Canadian Open. I also like Bryan Wesley at 1%. Short course? Sign me up.
High-owned GPP fades:
Chris Kirk is obviously underpriced in this field, but he’s coming in at around 25% ownership on DraftKings. There are some nice low-owned pivots in that range though, including the rounding-into-form Dirt McGirt and the out-of-form Chesson Hadley and Brendan Steele. They are all projected at 5%-10% ownership. I sound like a broken record, but if you love him, just bet Kirk at 70-1 on an e/w and call it a day.
Full fade on Henrik Stenson and Webb Simpson, who are both projected at 35%+. No thanks.
Questions? Comments? Wanna tell me I suck? Gimmie a shout @nolan__kelly
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