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The Approach – PGA Championship

Nolan Kelly



Bridgestone Review

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner! We ate the chalk last week and took Justin Thomas, despite the projected 30% ownership. At the top of his game, Thomas is one of the best four golfers in the world, so to see him priced at $8700 on DraftKings, well, that’s as good as chalk is gonna get. I hope some of you got in on that egregious 30-1 Vegas pricing early and rode it to a profitable week.

Priced $2000 below Dustin Johnson, Thomas is going to be one of the highest owned golfers again this week, so if you want to fade, 14-1 on your local betting site isn’t a terrible way to hedge. Just don’t do it on the new DraftKings gambling site where the VIG makes Hesh Rabkin look like Albert Schweitzer.

The 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive

It’s time for the red headed stepchild of Majors, the PGA Championship – which somehow feels anti-climatic on the heels of the British Open, even though there are only four majors the entire year. Fortunately, the event moves to May next year, allowing us to finish the major season with the Super Bowl of golf.

Bellerive is a 7300-yard par-70 with zoysiagrass fairways and bentgrass greens. The fairways are wider than Bridgestone, but the rough is more punitive. If the greens are playing slow you’re going to see players pin seeking, not having to worry as much about overshooting the greens. Top 70 and ties make the cut with no MDF.

There’s a building narrative around the industry about this being a draw shot course, but I think that’s overblown. There are really only 2-3 holes where that might give strong draw players an advantage, so don’t go overboard. When you’re going blind, course fit is a lot of guesswork, so default more towards weighted scoring average, form and ownership. I’ll be using fewer individual stats this week, for that very reason.

The pricing

The pricing is soft at the top on both sites this week. Normally, high-end players don’t get good value grades from Awesemo, but we’re seeing a number of C’s and B’s at the top. At the bottom, it’s the opposite. Outside of the chalk in the lower range, there aren’t a lot of quality plays.

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Late addition

Thomas Bjorn has withdrawn with a back injury, Kevin Streelman will take his place. That’s an intriguing, low-owned option if these sites add him to the field.


I don’t have a lot of hot takes this week. It feels like the public are all on the best value plays, so I’m going to wait until Awesemo’s ownership projections are released later this afternoon to dictate which direction I want to go in.

The plays

Jason Day: DraftKings: $9000, Grade: A Value: A; FanDuel: $11700 Grade: A Value: B

Going back to 2017, Day has finished top-30 in 18 of his last 20 tournaments. That’s insane, especially when you consider that people haven’t been rostering him and the narrative around him has been that he’s out of form. I’m always wary of the eye test, but if you watched that final round on Sunday, you saw Jason Day spraying his drives all over the course on the back nine, only to be bailed out on multiple occasions by his other-worldly short game. As mentioned, the fairways are tighter at Bellerive and the rough more punitive, so if he can’t figure out his OTT game quickly, he could find himself in trouble. The flip side is, if his OTT and APP are working, no one is going to beat him. Given the win equity and low price, Day makes for an excellent GPP play. Day has the third best Vegas Bargain rating on DraftKings. Day came in higher than I expected, at 24% on DraftKings and 19% on FanDuel.

Joaquin Niemann: DraftKings: $7600, Grade: B, Value: B FanDuel: $9300, Grade: B, Value: C

Initially I had Paul Casey here, but was off on his ownership projection. He’s creeping up into that 25% range, which is getting into fade territory for GPPs. I thought Chilean Wunderkid Joaquin Neimann would garner more ownership, but at 7-10%, that’s a green light. Over his 42 rounds as a pro this year, he sits 2nd in the field in ball striking,  10th in SG:OTT and 5th in SG: APP.  So far, bentgrass has been his best putting surface.

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Gary Woodland: DraftKings: $7000, Grade: B, Value: A; FanDuel: $8900, Grade: B, Value: B

I’d heard Woodland getting talked up around the industry, but his ownership is coming in about 10 points less than I expected, at 6% on DraftKings and a paltry 2% on FanDuel. Woodland rates in the top-five in the field on correlated courses. He’s 6th in ball striking and 5th in SG: OTT over the last 50 rounds. He’s strung together a nice run of finishes over the past couple months after missing four cuts in a row.

Low-owned GPP fliers

DraftKings: Thomas Pieters, This is more of an ownership play than anything, with Pieters projected at 2% on DraftKings and less than 1% on FanDuel. After an erratic and slow start to the season on the Euro tour, Pieters has quietly strung together a nice run of finishes. He hasn’t missed a cut since May, a stretch that includes three top-20 finishes. If Pieters can keep it on the fairway, he has the length to contend at Bellerive.

FanDuel: Patrick Reed. If it turns out drawing the golf ball does factor in this week, Reed (A,C), makes for an intriguing play at 3% onwership. When he’s at the top of his game, he can compete with anyone.

Milly Maker Fades

With JT and DJ so heavily owned, if you’re going to roster them, opt to differentiate yourself at the bottom in GPPs.  On DraftKings, that means no ThunderBear Olesen  (15%) at $6700. If you’ve got FOMO, grab him at 100-1  and thrown an eight-place e/w.

FanDuel  Fades

Time for my weekly fade Dustin Johnson (A,B) take. His ownership seems to go up every week these days and we may have peaked, with a 45% projection from Awesemo. In a GPP, that’s 100% fade territory for me. Same refrain as last week: if DJ is your guy, move over to DraftKings and sacrifice a little value for half the ownership.

I've been obsessed with fantasy sports since as long as I can remember. Back in 1993, while seated in the last row of Mr. MacMillan's math class, I'm fairly certain a few buddies of mine and I invented daily fantasy sports -- popping down our fivers and using nothing more than a newspaper box score, we'd make our NHL player picks for the night's action. Twenty years later I started out playing DFS on DraftStreet, when three-max tourneys with 490 people were a big deal, and I've been hooked ever since. More than anything, I'm interested in using my technical writing skills to articulate and clarify our content in order to help you become a better fantasy sports players player. Armed with Awesemo's grades and the projections from our experts, we're here to help you take the next step. You can contact me by emailing [email protected].

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