The second major of the season is here as the tour heads to Kiawah Island, S.C. for quite the test at the PGA Championship. The Ocean Course sports an extremely long layout that is generating a ton of buzz for how it might play. The field includes the best in the world and a handful of PGA Professionals looking to make a miracle cut. There are massive DFS prize pools up for grabs, including a few millionaire makers at various price points. Let’s dive into the course and field to see who is worth selecting as PGA DFS picks on DraftKings and FanDuel this week.
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The PGA Tour heads to the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, which previously hosted the 2012 PGA Championship. The Pete Dye layout is no joke, measuring as a 7,875-yard par 72, which is sure to get people’s attention. There was similar buzz a few years ago at Erin Hills, and that turned out to be a course that was easily handled given the right conditions. Here the players are at the mercy of the ocean and wind, which could turn this into a brutal test if conditions turn ugly.
Despite the massive length, shorter hitters can be viable as long as they are able to either attack off the tee or set up long iron shots. If the wind picks up, there may even more scrambling opportunities, so keep that in mind if correlating lineups. If the course plays firm and fast without much wind, players will be able to go into double digits under par with several birdie opportunities on each nine. Pure ball striking is the name of the game this week, and gamers are going to want players in full control tee to green.
In terms of putting, players are on a paspalum greens, which is a surface not seen a lot beyond a few coastal tracks/island courses. Green speeds shouldn’t be anything special because the wind prevents them from setting it up that way. With limited sample size on these types of greens, do not read much into the putting splits.
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Another 156-man field is going to equate to another difficult 6-for-6 test. Things will get slighter easier than previous weeks for a few reasons, though, so hope is on the horizon. Top 70 and ties will be the cut line, which allows a little more room around Friday’s cut sweat. Add in that there are 15 to 20 PGA Professionals in the field, who virtually have no chance to make the cut, and the field reduces to a more manageable situation.
Rory McIlroy is in the top spot for salaries, followed by Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson. With this being a major, there are a bunch of top-end options and the next range doesn’t drop off much in terms of talent. This brings all types of roster construction into play, from two $10,000 players on a team to starting in the $9,000 range.
The lower range has a few PGA Tour regulars looking to break through. One thing to note is the lower range has guys coming over from Europe or Asia. This is where things become tricky with guys who have little to no PGA Tour experience and PGA Tour regulars who aren’t playing great golf. Euros are preferable this week, as this course is close to a links-style course.
DraftKings & FanDuel PGA DFS Picks: The PGA Championship
Top Priced: Justin Thomas $11,300 DraftKings, $11,900 FanDuel
Any discussion of the top tier in a major championship is going to involve splitting hairs in terms of who rates out the best. If any of these guys play their A-game, they are going to be in the hunt to wine. McIlroy showed how quickly they can flip a switch, as he missed the cut at Augusta only to win a few weeks later at a difficult Wells Fargo event. Ownership will play a role, and that is changing on the fly, so make sure to check out Awesemo’s premium ownership projections.
Thomas is looking like he may be under 10% owned and already has the PGA Championship win at the resume. He won at Quail Hollow, which hosts the Wells Fargo that he played in two weeks ago. Thomas’ ball striking is world class, and his combination of incredible iron play and strong around-the-green game is the sell.
The big question is, can he fix a very cold putter that has held him back in several tournaments this season? Although that is concerning, Thomas is a nice blend of ownership, floor and ceiling this week. Jon Rahm was a close second for me since he fits the course as well, but again, any of these guys could be starting points.
Also considering – Xander Schauffele, Viktor Hovland
Mid-Range: Tony Finau $8,600 DraftKings, $10,400 FanDuel
One of the toughest things in majors is deciding what to do with players coming in with questionable form. Patrick Cantlay is probably at the top of that list, but Tony Finau qualifies as well. Finau has missed three cuts since the start of April, and outside the 10th at Augusta, he hasn’t shown much form. That is a start contrast to his earlier 2021 results of fourth, second and second in a three-event span. The true form likely falls somewhere in the middle of those two ranges.
This course brings in a bunch of different types of players that can get the job done. Finau’s length and well-rounded game should serve him well here. He has gained off the tee in every event outside Valero this year, and that is step 1 in attacking the Ocean Course. The questions of if his short game can hold up and will his irons return are valid, but with Awesemo projecting Finau around 10%, it is worth finding out. Add in a slightly bonus that he was a winner on paspalum greens in Puerto Rico, and it’s strong a tournament play this week.
Also considering – Tommy Fleetwood, Paul Casey
Lower Priced: Alex Noren $6,600 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel
If loading up on the $10,000 or $9,000 guys, then gamers will need a few salary savers to round out lineups. The field is deep enough that there are some players, but at the same time, the $6,000 range has a lot of unknown names as well. Alex Noren is coming in at $6,600, and though the results haven’t been stellar, the trend of three straight top-25 finishes is encouraging, even if all of them hovered around that 20 to 25 range. Awesemo’s premium projections have Noren at just 3.5%, which allows for leverage without a ton of shares.
Noren played in the 2012 PGA Championship here, has plenty of experience in Europe with wind and coastal layouts, and is playing at level above most of the $6,000 players. His lack of length off the tee should be negated if the course is firm and fast, as the rollout will allow him a ton of extra distance. If he can keep the ball out of the hazards, his short game certainly will keep him afloat, and finding the weekend is enough here.
Also Considering – Russell Henley, Aaron Wise
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