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PGA DFS Picks: Data Driven Analysis for the Farmers Insurance Open | DraftKings

Jason Rouslin

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PGA DFS is filled with tons of useful information, but at times it can be overwhelming. The Awesemo golf team created a format to provide one condensed article that will analyze the four most important statistics for daily fantasy golf. This statistical overview will focus on recent form, course history, strokes gained and old-school statistics. In each category, I will provide notes and a data sheet to help with your PGA DFS picks for DraftKings and FanDuel contests. This week we’re focusing on The Farmers Insurance Open.

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Recent Form

We are a week into the California/West Coast swing, and only 17 golfers haven’t competed at least once in the last three weeks. That gives us over 130 rounds to analyze for a recent form section.

This field’s strength versus last week can really be felt here in the number of top-10s accumulated; last week only six golfers had multiple top-10s heading into the week, and this week there are 14. Corey Conners, Harris English and Jon Rahm each have three. Eleven others have two, including Brooks Koepka, Carlos Ortiz, Viktor Hovland, Billy Horschel and Rory McIlroy. 

Also with multiple-10s are Sungjae Im, Patrick Reed and Tony Finau, but they also are the only three golfers in the field with four top-25s over the last 14 weeks.

There are a handful of golfers that haven’t missed a cut in the last 14 weeks, but buyer beware — a bunch of made-cut streaks were snapped last week. Coming into this week, 22 golfers have made the weekend in all of their starts in this dataset. Some of the names I haven’t mentioned above include Hideki Matsuyama, Kramer Hickok, Matt Jones, Xander Schauffele, Will Zalatoris and Adam Scott. 

Lastly, I’d be remiss If I didn’t mention a couple of those golfers that are struggling simply due to variance turning their way. It worked for quite a few last weeks, as Luke List and others had their best finish in some time. Others, though, like J.T. Poston, Kevin Tway, Beau Hossler, Kristoffer Ventura, Nick Watney and Tim Wilkinson, will be looking to change their fortunes here this week in San Diego.


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Course History at The Farmers Insurance Open

A mainstay on the PGA Tour, as it should, Torrey Pines has provided us with great tournaments for years. Obviously, the treat is when the U.S. Open is here, which it is this year, so we get two looks at this pacific coast gem. Let’s take a look at who has performed best here in La Jolla since 2014.

Jason Day is in a bit of a state of flux when talking about where he’s at in his career. He can typically rely on a good finish in San Diego. He’s the only golfer in the field that has four top 10s since 2014, a span that includes two wins. A new coach and no signed equipment deal, however, leave much to be desired. Within his four top 10s, he also has two missed cuts.

Six others have at least three top 10s here since 2014, including Rahm, Finau, Marc Leishman, Charles Howell III, Brandt Snedeker, & J.B. Holmes. McIlroy is 2-for-2.

Eleven golfers have teed it up at least three times here since 2014 and have been able to cash a paycheck each time. Many of the names we’ve already mentioned, like Finau, Howell, Rahm, Reed, are among them, but some of the names we haven’t are Hossler (4-for-4), Adam Hadwin (4-for-4), Cameron Davis (3-for-3) and Tway (5-for-5).

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Strokes Gained 

Strokes gained is the best metric by which to measure and predict the tour for PGA DFS purposes. This is where we make our money on DraftKings and FanDuel. Strokes gained can primarily be broken down into four categories: Off the tee, on the approach, around the green, and putting. For this review, we are foregoing other categories such as strokes gained ball striking (which combines strokes gained off the tee and on approach) or short game (which combines around-the-green and putting data).

This week I’ll be changing up the data provided here. I’m going to be discussing the percentage of starts a golfer has gained strokes against the field in each specific stat.


For more strokes gained information, check out Awesemo’s Strokes Gained Tool, which has all of this information and more for both DraftKings and FanDuel PGA DFS contests! Click Here.


I am going back 27 weeks, which should include roughly 20-25 tournaments.

Strokes Gained off the Tee

With such a heavy emphasis placed on off-tee game this week, it’s important to take note of the golfers that are consistently gaining strokes against the field here.

There are only two golfers in the field that have more than five starts and have gained strokes off the tee in all of them: Scottie Scheffler and Rahm. Others like Zalatoris, Francesco Molinari and Ryan Brehm have done it in all of their measured starts, but none of the three have more than five starts. Others above 80% include Conners (94%), Cameron Champ (93%), Bubba Watson (93%), McIlroy (92%), Sam Burns (92%) and Jhonattan Vegas (90%).

Strokes Gained on the Approach

No golfer with more than four starts has been able to gain strokes on the approach in all of the starts. Conners and Matthew NeSmith have both accomplished this in 88% of their starts, only losing strokes twice. Emiliano Grillo (81%), Lanto Griffin (79%), Jason Dufner (79%) and Rahm (77%) round out the top five in terms of percentage of starts gaining strokes against the field.

Strokes Gained Around the Green

For golfers that have accumulated fewer than 10 starts, Molinari is the only golfer to gain strokes in every one. Granted, it’s only three. Others like Anirban Lahiri (83%) and Camilo Villegas (83%) have a couple of more starts but weren’t able to gain in all of them.

For golfers who have made at least 10 starts, English and Mackenzie Hughes have each gained strokes around the green in 14 of 17.

Strokes Gained Putting

Only three golfers in our entire dataset (with more than 10 starts) have gained strokes putting at a clip of 80% or higher: Hughes (88%), Cameron Tringale (82%) and English (81%).

Jordan Spieth once dominated this category, but he has fallen back in this race as well, gaining strokes against the field only 50% of the time.

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For the yearly strokes gained ranks, Click here.

Old School Statistics for PGA DFS Analysis 

Before strokes gained statistics were invented, the focus was on data like greens in regulation and driving distance/accuracy. The old standards can still help develop a player’s profile further, helping us identify potential strengths and weaknesses. I’ve chosen my five favorite old-school statistics for this week’s Farmers Insurance Open. Four of these will come from a corollary statistic from the strokes gained category, and we will add one additional scoring statistic. I’ve listed each golfer along with their ranking in the statistical category.

Total Driving

Gary Woodland (1), Rahm (9), Hovland (11), Doc Redman (13), Louis Oosthuizen (18), Scheffler (21), Vegas (22)

Driving Distance

Watson (2), Champ (3), McIlroy (4), Brehm (7), Rahm (8), Woodland (9), Jason Kokrak (10).

Greens in Regulation

Conners (4), Woodland (5), Rahm (6), Hadwin (7), McIlroy (8), Schauffele (9), James Hahn (12), English (14)

Scrambling 20-30 yards

McIlroy (1), Day (5), Sepp Straka (8), Hahn (10), Champ (10), Ryan Palmer (10), Spieth (14), Woodland (17).

Putting from 15-20 Feet

Malnati (1), Lahiri (2), Ventura (3), Woodland (6), Maverick McNealy (9), Scheffler (13), Ortiz (15)

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Data-Driven PGA DFS picks for Farmers Insurance Open

I know that was a lot of information to digest. At the end of each weekly article, I will provide a trio of names that appear with positive data in at least two of the four sections we reviewed and make for good PGA DFS picks on DraftKings and FanDuel.

  1. Rory McIlroy (shows up in all four)
  2. Jon Rahm (shows up in all four)
  3. Corey Conners (shows up in three of four)

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Jason established his roots in the littlest state that could...Rhode Island. But after 29 years of bitter cold, and only being able to play golf 4 months a year, upended those roots and moved to Florida. Now two years later, Jason is a husband to Sarah and father of James as well as two Labradors (Choco and Bella) and he dedicates his time to serve as the lead of PGA content at Awesemo.com. In the time he is not diving into the PGA stats and covering this week's current tournament, you can find him researching and trading stocks, on the golf course, or somewhere hopefully lost in nature with his dogs guiding him along the way. Want to chat? Have a question about Golf/Stocks or anything else? Hop on twitter and give him a message @dfsgolfer23. You can also contact Jason by emailing [email protected].

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