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The Approach: PGA DFS Picks Based off Awesemo’s Rankings for the U.S. Open | 9/16/20

Geoff Ulrich



PGA DFS: Jason Rouslin presents strokes gained data for 30 golfers in the field for the 2020 Tour Championship, including Xander Schauffele.

The second major of the season starts this week as the 2020 US Open visits historic Winged Foot. The venue last hosted a U.S Open back in 2006, the site of one of the most dramatic final-hole chokes in major championship history, when Phil Mickelson’s double bogey gave Geoff Ogilvy a one-shot victory. Winged Foot will play as a traditional Par 70 this week that should measure up to 7,477 yards at its peak. Winged Foot will be about more than just length, though, as the undulating poa greens there were once described as the “toughest in the world” by Jack Nicklaus. Keep that in mind when making your PGA DFS Picks and PGA DFS lineups.

When the U.S. Open was last held at Winged Foot in 2006, the fairways and greens were near impossible to hold. Players drove the ball with 10-12% less accuracy than at an average Tour venue and hit 10% less greens on average as well. Expect similar stats this week — the a winning score almost certain to land somewhere over par.

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Winged Foot Stats and Info

• The venue features seven par 4’s that measure in over 450 yards in length
• The par-4 sixth hole will be one of two par 4’s that play under 400 yards this week, but it also features the skinniest fairway and a small green with a narrow opening
• The par-5 12th hole is likely to play over 630 yards and features a fairly severe dogleg, which will likely cause many players to lay up

Putting Splits

The greens at Winged Foot are listed as primarily poa annua and should play lightning quick. Here’s a more general look at some of the best and worst poa putters in the field relative to their strokes gained on other surfaces. Use caution with these; they aren’t the be-all, end-all, but they make for a nice tiebreaker.

Positive Poa Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds

1. Cameron Smith: +27 on poa, +14 on all other surfaces
2. Patrick Reed: +27 on poa, +18 on all other surfaces
3. Jason Day: +28 on poa, +9 on all other surfaces
*+ equals total strokes gained | – equals strokes lost

Negative Poa Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds

1. Matthew Fitzpatrick: +4 on poa, +34 on all other surfaces
2. Rickie Fowler: -3.5 on poa, +17 on all other surfaces
3. Gary Woodland: +3 on poa, +18 on all other surfaces

Related PGA DFS Content

PGA DFS Picks for DraftKings and FanDuel

Xander Schauffele: Grades: A+, Values: A

With such a high-class event on tap today, its important we don’t stray too far from the top this week. Schauffele doesn’t necessarily come cheap here — he’s $10,100 on DraftKings — but still rates out with a strong value rating in the Awesemo model. It’s hard to argue with his projections this week either, as this is a player who hasn’t finished outside the top 25 now in eight straight starts and sits top 15 in most major ball-striking categories. Schauffele’s record in tough events is also going to draw in several people as well. He’s finished sixth or better in each of the last three U.S. Opens and also sees his tee-to-green ratings go up at venues when the fairways become harder to hit, something that will certainly be the case this week. While he was beaten earlier in the season by Collin Morikawa, who he now shares a range with this week in DFS, the edge here does lean slightly to Schauffele. He makes for a great anchor play at the 2020 U.S. Open.

The Stats:

• Has accumulated four top fives at the majors over the last three seasons and only missed the cut at one major in his career (PGA 2017)
• Has gained three or more strokes putting in four of last seven starts on Tour and ranks ninth in putting from 5-10 feet over the last 50 rounds

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 18.3%| FanDuel: 20.3%

Daniel Berger: Grades: A Values: A

Berger posted a sub-par finish at the Tour Championship, landing just 15th there off the back of a final round of 73. The finish was disappointing, but he was capping off a busy season that saw him rise back into the top 20 players in the world. With invites to all of 2021’s majors now in his back pocket, he should be able to go hunting this week at the second major of 2020. Berger was great in 2018 at the tougher Shinnecock Hills, landing a sixth there, his best finish ever in a major. He comes in ranked sixth in shots gained tee to green over the last 50 rounds and is certainly capable of catching fire with his putter for a week as he’s gained over five strokes with that club four times in 2020. He ranks out as the best value in the $9,000 range on DraftKings this week and shouldn’t be overly chalky given his slow finish at the Tour Championship.

The Stats:

• Has gained strokes off the tee in all but one start in 2020
• 12th in putting from 5-10 feet over the last 50 rounds

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 13.3%| FanDuel: 14.7%

Low-Owned PGA DFS GPP Flier

Sergio Garcia

Garcia comes into this event ranked 7th in strokes gained tee to green stats over the last 50 rounds and sixth in strokes gained off the tee. The Spaniard has been absolutely killing it with his driver all year, gaining over two strokes with his driver now in four of his last five starts. While he’s been more inconsistent in majors of late, he’s also been a solid U.S. Open player in his career, landing a fifth as recently as Oakmont in 2016. While two missed cuts in his last three starts is certainly going to keep the masses off him this week, the tough test of Winged Foot will certainly play into his hands given his superior ball striking. If you believe the tough greens may actually level the field for a poor putter like Garcia, his price and ownership this week make him a great GPP target.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: : DraftKings: 3.8% | FanDuel: 2.0%

Bonus: DraftKings Top Three Under Five

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

Si Woo Kim ($7,200)

• Projected at 4.5% ownership on DraftKings
• Ninth in the field shots gained tee to green over the last 24 rounds
• Great around-the-green play of late and has shown improved off-tee play too. Consistency he’s shown in 2020 is the best of his career

Cameron Smith ($7,000)

• Projected out at 0.6% ownership on DraftKings
• Great pedigree, has landed two top fives in major championships already
• Positive short-term poa putting splits and increasing recent form; short game still ranks as one of best in world

Brandon Wu ($6,600)

• Projected with 1.9% ownership on DraftKings
• Won recently on the Korn Ferry Tour and is former resident of this area, knows Winged Foot extremely well
• Great pedigree and recent form

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