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The Approach: PGA DFS Picks Based on Awesemo’s Rankings & Ownership Projections for The Zurich Classic

Geoff Ulrich

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DraftKings & FanDuel WElls Fargo Championship PGA DFS picks this week featuring Jon Rahm and Kyle Stanley based on Awesemo's expert projections

There is a brand new format this week as the Zurich Classic of New Orleans makes its return to the schedule. The team event was often marked as a week off for DFS purposes, but this year DraftKings has finally managed to work in daily fantasy golf contests based on the event. The pairs event features 80 teams of two golfers that will compete in both best-ball (Thursday and Saturday) and alternate-shot (Friday and Sunday) formats.

Obviously, with this event being new to the schedule, there is not a lot of history to fall back on for daily fantasy golf. The winning teams here haven’t always been the elite of the elite, and the first two seasons produced winners in the 50-1 range for betting — and also producing plenty of other long-shot surprises. TPC Louisiana is the host venue, featuring a nice blend of scoring holes that also tends to allow lots of birdies if the weather cooperates. The traditional par-72 course is a Pete Dye venue featuring Bermuda greens and easy-to-hit fairways, but it also brings water into play on eight holes. This event is a fun layout that has produced some exciting finishes over the seasons.

[DUSTINGRAPHICAD]

TPC Louisiana Stats and Info

  • Greens here tend to play a little easier. There is a higher rate of birdie putts made within 20 feet than at a regular PGA Tour venue (via Fantasy National).
  • Average driving distance at this event is about 5 to 7 yards below the tour average. This fact has stayed true, as the first two winning teams here didn’t feature a single bomber off the tee.
  • The four stroke-play winners between 2013 and 16 all gained four or more strokes putting for the week.

Putting Splits

The greens at TPC Louisiana are TifEagle Bermudagrass – the same style that was in play last week. These also tend to be easier to putt on, as players have trended towards making far fewer three-putts than at most other venues. Here is a more general look at some of the best and worst Bermudagrass putters in the field, relative to their strokes gained on other surfaces. Use caution with these in your fantasy golf picks; they aren’t the be-all, end-all, but they make for a nice tiebreaker.

Negative Bermudagrass Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds

  1. Justin Rose: -1 strokes on Bermudagrass +22 strokes on all other surfaces
  2. Patrick Cantlay: -3 on Bermudagrass, +17 on all other surfaces
  3. Kevin Streelman: -12 on Bermudagrass, +13 on all other surfaces

*+ equals total strokes gained | – equals strokes lost

Positive Bermudagrass Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds

  1. Dominic Bozzelli: +37 on Bermudagrass, +3 on all other surfaces
  2. Peter Uihlein: +32 on Bermudagrass, +6 on all other surfaces
  3. Sungjae Im: +39 on Bermudagrass, -6 on all other surfaces

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Daily Fantasy Golf Picks for DraftKings & FanDuel

Jon Rahm/Ryan Palmer: Grades: A | Values: C

This will be the third year that Ryan Palmer has played in this event, and two of those appearances have seen him land finishes of fourth or better. Initially paired with Jordan Spieth, he moved onto greener pastures in 2019 with Rahm, whom he promptly won the title with. Both men come into this year’s event in solid form, with Rahm remaining the true alpha here, as he’s first in the field in both strokes gained tee to green and off the tee over the last 50 rounds. Palmer is no slouch either, making 11 straight cuts and improving on the greens to the tune of three or more strokes putting in each of his last three starts.

From an Awesemo perspective, the choice here in the $11,000 range is easy. These two have a projected PGA DFS point total that is 4 points greater than the No.2 ranked team, and they also have a juicy top-six probability at 19.85%. Palmer-Rahm is the clear lead team in Awesemo’s daily fantasy golf projections and should have a great shot at returning big points. Although, that depends on whether they sneak through what should be a very competitive cut line at just 33 teams.

The Stats:

  • Rahm leads the field in strokes gained tee to green, ball striking and off the tee over the last 50 rounds, and he is coming off a fifth at the Masters where his Sunday round was the best of the day
  • Palmer has finished fourth and won here in two of his three appearances at this event; he hasn’t missed a cut in 14 starts on the PGA and ranks 10th in putts from 10 feet and shorter.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 28.5%

Jason Kokrak/Pat Perez: Grades: B | Values: B,A

Kokrak and Perez may be making their debut as a team this week, but they do have some experience playing together. The duo played together as part of a charity match last year, and each of them had decent results at this venue in the past. Perez finished as a solo runner-up here in 2018 with partner Jason Dufner and also has a top-10 finish at this event from way back in 2008. Kokrak made his debut at the team event here in 2019, finishing 22nd paired alongside Chris Stroud. Since then, Kokrak has made big strides in his game, including a career-defining win last year at the C.J. Cup.

Both men are high-end putters, and they should be carried by Kokrak’s ability off the tee, which has him ranked sixth in strokes gained off the tee over the last 50 rounds. These two also carry some of the best PGA DFS projections in the Awesemo model (outside of the handful of elite teams at the top) and have the best daily fantasy golf point projections and value score of any team under $9,000 on DraftKings this week. Even if they get a bit chalky, the recent form and course experience make them a terrific target in this price range.

The Stats:

  • Kokrak ranks fourth in strokes gained putting and sixth in strokes gained off the tee over the last 50 rounds; has produced 60 or more DraftKings points in each of his last eight starts.
  • Perez ranks inside the top- 0 in the field in putts from 15 to 20 feet, 10 to 15 feet and three-putt percentage; also finished second here in 2018 with a different partner.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 20.4%

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Low-Owned PGA DFS GPP Flier

Peter Uihlein/Richy Werenski

This team certainly isn’t going to jump off the page this week, as Werenski enters the event off three straight missed cuts. Uihlein has been plugging away at his trade on the Korn Ferry Tour of late, but there’s some added appeal here for him in this format. Werenski did finish fourth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational just over a month ago, so his form isn’t that off. He has also always been one to come alive at these weaker field events, picking up a win last year at another alternate-scoring event in the Barracuda. Uihlein is the real target here, though, as he is coming off a win on the Korn Ferry last week and also placed second at another Korn Ferry event last month. Uihlein is a great putter who has solid Bermuda putting splits (see above) and ranks fourth in three-putt avoidance and 13th in putts from 15 to 20 feet. Neither guy has found much success at this event, but both come here having grabbed recent career-defining wins and could benefit from Uihlein’s recent success. The team of Uihlein-Werenski is a solid target in the low-$7,000 range for tournaments this week.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 6.2%

DraftKings Top Three Under Five

I am targeting three players that should end up under (or close) to 5% ownership in bigger DraftKings GPPs. We are searching for boom-or-bust players here with an almost 100% focus on upside.

Beau Hossler/Tom Hoge ($7,000)

Obviously a lot is going to fall on Hoge for this group. His excellent ball striking is appealing of late, but he’s also paired with an elite putter and short-game maestro in Hossler. Hoge has finished 12th and 25th in his last two starts and has made the cut at the Zurich Classic in each of his three appearances (paired with J.J. Henry). This duo should remain under the radar in the PGA DFS ownership projections and possibly pump out a big result.

Kelly Kraft/Kevin Tway ($6,500)

Tway and Kraft are another duo who don’t carry great form but have a great history at this event. They closed with a 61 here in 2017 and finished third while also grabbing a 13th at this event in 2019. Tway returned to action and made the cut last week — his first event in two months — while Kraft broke a string of four missed cuts his last time out. They are a risky but high-upside team to target below $7,000.

Ben Martin/Chesson Hadley ($6,700)

Both Hadley and Martin seemed to be finding some form before missing the cut at Hilton Head last week. Perhaps that’s a good thing, as they both are coming off extra rest and looked fine in their last starts at Valero; Hadley finished 22nd and Martin at 34th. Hadley lit it up here in 2018 (fourth), and these two should be viewing this as a great chance to pick up some FedEx Cup points here.


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