The Masters is here and features one of the best fields ever in terms of the parity and talent we have right now among the top-end players. The betting odds and form among the top-five-to-seven golfers this year is insanely close, and as a result we have an event where it feels like any one of a number of elite and fringe players could end up winning. The favorites are no doubt Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau, but we’ve seen the likes of Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Xander Schauffele, and even players like Patrick Cantlay and Patrick Reed come out on top in smaller elite fields — similar to the one we’re getting here. The Masters, of course, brings its own uniqueness, as experience typically does tend to matter here. Previous winners have almost all had some kind of solid result at the event before breaking through for their green jacket, and no first-time winner has been seen at the event since back in 1979. Let’s get into some PGA DFS Picks for your fantasy golf lineups on DraftKings and FanDuel.
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The course this week will undoubtedly play at least a little different than it usually does in April. Slightly cooler temperatures and early week rain will both play a part in this year’s running. Things could also cool down a bit on the weekend, which may make the course play longer than normal. Augusta will still be Augusta, though, and players who can take advantage of the short par 5’s and navigate the tricky par 3’s and par 4’s will have the best shot at winning here.
Augusta National Golf Course Stats and Info
• Par 72 venue that plays approximately 7,400 to 7,500 yards with pure bentgrass greens
• Last year’s winner, Tiger Woods, hit over 80% of the greens in regulation and went 8 under on the par 5’s (he was just 1 under par on the par 4’s)
• Experience matters — each of the past five winners had played and made the cut at Augusta at least once, with all but one (Danny Willett) having posted a top-20 finish or better in a previous season
The greens at Augusta National are pure bentgrass and generally play as some of the fasted in the world. It’s hard to find a proper comparison, although the bentgrass greens at Shadow Creek probably would give them a small run for their money. Here’s a more general look at some of the best and worst bentgrass 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 Bentgrass Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds
1. Brandt Snedeker: +38 on bentgrass, +22 on all other surfaces
2. Patrick Cantlay: +31 on bentgrass, +8 on all other surfaces
3. Charles Howell III: +24 on bentgrass, +4 on all other surfaces
*+ equals total strokes gained | – equals strokes lost
Negative Bentgrass Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds
1. Sungjae Im: +1 on bentgrass, +17 on all other surfaces
2. Bubba Watson: -16 on bentgrass, +4 on all other surfaces
3. Cameron Champ: -30 on bentgrass, -10 on all other surfaces
PGA DFS Picks for DraftKings and FanDuel
Dustin Johnson: Grades: A, Values: A, B
Johnson answered pretty much every question about his status for the year’s final major when he posted a second-place finish last week in Houston. Outside of a few missed putts down the stretch, Johnson looked like he was in very similar form to what we saw back in the FedEx Cup playoffs, as he gained 10.2 strokes tee to green for the week at Memorial Park and was dominant with his driver, gaining 5.2 strokes off the tee alone. Only playing once since the U.S. Open back in September isn’t ideal prep, but with Masters salaries getting released prior to Houston, Johnson’s odds have dropped to make him a near co-favorite with DeChambeau. Yet he remains as just the fifth-most expensive play on DraftKings, making him a huge value on the biggest DFS site.
Not only does Johnson rank out with the best overall value score on Awesemo of any player over $9,000, but he also has the best pure points projection of any golfer on the slate, and over three points more than DeChambeau, the consensus most expensive player in DFS this week. The stats are also backed up here by a player in his mid-30s who will be playing Augusta for the 10th time this week and has finished inside the top 10 in each of his last four Masters appearances. The stars seem to be aligning perfectly, and there is little doubt Johnson grades out as the best play on the slate this week from almost every statistical perspective.
• Ranks first in DraftKings points scored per round over the 50 rounds played.
• Hasn’t lost strokes putting now in five straight starts and has gained around the greens in six of his last seven starts.
• Ranks first in the field over the last 50 rounds in par-4 efficiency from 450-500 yards.
Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 32.1%| FanDuel: 28.3%
Tony Finau: Grades: B, Values: B
Finau feels like he could be a solid pivot play in GPPs this week. While Hideki Matsuyama admittedly grades out as a slightly better value on Awesemo, Finau is right behind him in terms of the projections and certainly has him covered in terms of actual major championship results. Finau’s consistency at the year’s biggest events is staggering when you look at them from afar, as the 31-year-old has now finished 10th or better in seven of the last 10 majors he’s started. Two of those results have come at Augusta National too, as he somehow managed to pull off a 10th here on debut two seasons ago after dislocating his ankle during the par 3 contest and went off in the final group last year, falling to a fifth-place finish.
He’s played twice since coming off a COVID-19 diagnosis and ranks third in par-5 efficiency and par-4 efficiency from 450-500 yards over the last 50 rounds. While his 24th in Houston may not jump off the page, it’s actually better than his leadups for the last two majors where he finished fourth and eighth, respectively. On Awesemo, he grades out as the second-best value under $9,000 and with nearly 10% less ownership projected than the most popular play in his range, making him a great pivot or part of a more balanced attack.
• Gained 10.5 and 12.7 strokes tee to green at the year’s first two majors.
• Has now gained strokes around the green in each of his last five starts.
• Seventh in birdies or better in the field over the last 50 rounds.
Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 19.4%| FanDuel: 19.1%
Low-Owned PGA DFS GPP flier
Here are Casey’s results at the last four majors: Second, 17th, 21st, 29th. Here are his results at the last four Masters: Missed cut, sixth, fourth, sixth. Based on that you wouldn’t expect this would be a player coming in at under 5% ownership projections on both major sites, but that’s where we are at. Casey’s lack of love this week is undoubtedly due to a lack of solid finishes since the U.S. Open, but it’s not like he’s gone completely off the reservation either. The Englishman had a couple rough outings in Vegas before steadying himself with a 35th at the Zozo Championship, where he gained strokes everywhere but on the greens. The slow patch would be more worrisome for me if we hadn’t seen him roll into TPC Harding in August with a similar leadup (he went missed cut, missed cut, 67th) before nearly stealing the win there. Casey’s experience is also the kind we pine for this week, and it’s worth noting that he still ranks eighth in this field in total shots gained at Augusta over the past five years despite missing the cut badly here last season. Casey’s a pay-up-for-depressed-ownership play that could help you avoid overly chalky builds in GPPs and lead to a big payoff this week.
Projected PGA DFS ownership: : DraftKings: 4.7%| FanDuel: 3.5%
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 here with an almost 100% focus on upside.
Brandt Snedeker ($6,900)
• One of, if not the best, bentgrass putter in the field by both recent and career form.
• Has started to show some life the last couple of weeks with his ball striking and gained 2.6 strokes and 1.5 strokes on approach with his irons in rounds 1 and 4 at Houston.
• Has a ton of experience to fall back on here and looking likely to be in the 3-4% owned range.
Matt Wallace ($6,800)
• Has gone through some rough patches as he works on reported swing changes, but he’s come alive a couple times this year with big finishes, including a top-five at the Memorial. He was also runner-up over in Scotland three weeks ago.
• Not the biggest hitter but great competitor with three wins and three runner-ups on the Euro Tour since 2018.
• Will be his second go through at Augusta — missed the cut last year — and should be better for it here as he comes in with better form and momentum in 2020.
Victor Perez ($6,500)
• He’s making his debut at Augusta, so there’s obviously more risk involved here, but we’ve seen players factor into the top 10 and even compete for the win on their first try.
• Winner of Alfred Dunhill Links in 2019. He also finished runner-up at a competitive BMW PGA field just a couple weeks ago and grabbed a 22nd at the PGA Championship in August.
• Ownership should be 1-2% here, so you won’t have to use much of him in MME entries to go overweight. If he’s clicking, he’s the type of talent who could grab you a top-20
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