PGA DFS Picks: Truthfully, I didn’t even know we had a tournament this week, and DraftKings decided to surprise us and give us $10,000 to first place! I’m all for that and doing a deep dive into some of these players we have never heard of. But that’s what makes it fun for me, and indeed finding the Bobby Macyntires, Kurt Kityamas, Guido Migliozzis, etc. before they win can be a very profitable thing long-term. So, I’ll give it my best shot, and maybe if a couple of you read it, you’ll get some useful info along the way.
Here’s what you can expect to see in the article:
- Tournament intro
- Course commentary
- Sweatsheet & scorecard
- DFS preview
- Player and statistical preview
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PGA DFS Opening Remarks
This is definitely one of the worst fields I’ve covered all year, as a bunch of new faces hit the European Tour in their version of the Fall Swing. This is the first of three tournaments to give some of these new faces hitting the tour a chance to compete and improve their status on tour.
These new faces I mention come from the Euro Tour’s version of the Korn Ferry Tour called the “Challenge Tour,” and in addition to that, players that got the tour card through European Tour Q School two weeks ago are also here.
In all, 15 players from the Challenge Tour are guaranteed full-time status under exemption 14. Golfers that ranked 16-45 also fall under the exemption category 21, which earns them a handful of starts throughout the year. 31 golfers from the Challenge Tour are in the field this week.
The Q School participants must place in the top 25 of the tournament, and if they do, they fall under exemption category 17, giving them an almost full-time schedule on the Tour.
Tournament Intro: Turkish Airlines Open
This Week’s Course(s): Leopard Creek Golf Club
Course & Tournament Commentary
Nestled on the outskirts of the Kruger National Park, the golf course see’s its fair share of wildlife throughout the week, especially crocodiles. The crocodile river is the only thing separating the course from the park. A few golfers will take their Friday afternoon time off and head into the preserve on a safari track (something that’s squarely on my bucket list). The course sits about four and half hours east of Johannesburg. For those of you that are interested, here’s where the tour is headed this week.
The tournament has been part of the rotation since 1995, and since 2005, the tournament has been played on Leopard Creek Golf Club. Let’s take a look at this week’s course.
Course Difficulty: The three winning scores from 2013-2015 were: Winning scores ranging from -13 to -22 and the cut line hovering around -1 and Even par each year.
Stimpmeter (how fast the greens are running): N/A
PGA DFS Sweatsheet
PGA DFS Preview
As I mentioned off the top 10K to first!
Fantasy Golf Player & Statistical Preview
Field Commentary & TV Coverage
When Eddie Pepperell leads the field in terms of OWGR, we know we are in for what could be a very titling week. But Pepperell has something to play for: with a good finish this week, he’ll pick up the necessary points to stay inside the top 50 in the world, which would earn him a trip down Magnolia lane in April. Justin Harding is the only other golf ranked inside the top 100 in the world competing this week, with newcomers Francesco Laporta, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Branden Grace rounding out the golfers ranked inside the top 150 in the world in this week’s field.
Erik Van Rooyen was a late withdrawal from the tournament, removed from the player list on the European Tour’s official site. However, DK didn’t catch it and priced him anyways. He was the highest-priced golfer in the field, but at this point, no one has him in the field. Do not roster him this week.
If you want to tune in to the coverage, we will get about two hours a day and two and a half hours on Thursday and Friday from 6:00 a.m.- 8:00 a.m. EST. Lock will be at 11:20 p.m EST Wednesday night, a seven-hour difference from local time (6:20 a.m.).
PGA DFS PICKS:
A couple of things before I dive into my picks that I want to bring up.
- The field size: it’s somewhere over 140 golfers, but the info is a bit harder to find on the Euro Tour in terms of alternates and replacements. DraftKings lists 138 players in the field.
- Since we only have data on 40 golfers, a statistical approach is a bit hard to accomplish this week, so recent form will have to be the biggest indicator.
- In addition to the point above, since not many golfers are known, ownership will be heavily concentrated on touted plays by the usual Euro Tour writers and odds.
High-End Picks: $9K+
Eddie Pepperell ($10,000)
I’m a little perplexed as to why the oddsmakers are favoring a few guys over Pepperell this week. It wasn’t long ago where he finished sixth at the Portugal Masters. Sure he had that brand building DQ at the Turkish Airlines Open, where he decided not to get any more golf balls and continue playing. That doesn’t make me nervous at this point. He finished eighth here a couple of years ago, so there is a bit of sense of comfort he may feel here at Leopard Creek this week.
Zander Lombard ($9,000)
Lombard earned his status on the Euro Tour after coming in the top 10 in Q School. A tough way to make on tour, he made the most of it by finishing in 59th in the Race To Dubai, easily retaining his card and improving his exemption status along the way. His specialty over the year was his irons, gaining almost an eighth of a stroke per round last year.
But it wasn’t his irons that helped him to an eighth-place finish two weeks ago. It was his off the tee game that served him best. A combination of those this week could put him contention to win his first title.
Value Picks: $7-8K
Calum Hill ($8,900)
I was impressed by the fact that in his first PGA Tour event, Hill gave himself a good chance over the weekend to earn himself some money. It looked like he may even need an additional start. He tailed off at the end, finishing in 48th, but against a much stronger field than this. We don’t have too much in the way of stats, and his Mayakoba stats don’t really do much to help his case. He hit just shy of 63% of his greens for the week. He earned his status through the Challenge Tour last year.
Richard Bland ($7,900)
A perennial Race to Dubai bubble boy, the 46-year-old Englishman failed to retain his Euro Tour card last year and had to go the Challenge Tour. He finished third on that tour. He is coming in hot of the heels of three straight top 15’s, including a top fjve in his last three starts. He’s played here a couple of times, finishing 44th in his last trip here in 2015, and 10th in 2012.
Deep Shots: Less than $7K
Lorenzo Gagli ($6,400)
This is purely a pricing play here. Gagli made 10/25 cuts last year and finished 109th in the Race to Dubai. The cut-made percentage isn’t great, but what I like about him is of the 10 cuts he made. He finished in the top 27 in eight of them. He has only one top 10, a second at the Omega European Masters, but at this price, anything inside the top 25 is a plus.
Brendan Stone ($9,400)
Francesco Laporta ($8,800)
Alexander Bjork ($8,500)
Jack Singh Brar ($7,100)
Julien Gurrier ($6,400)
For now, that’s all!
As always, message me on Twitter or in our Premium PGA Slack Chat if you have any fantasy golf questions.