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DFS Golf Picks This Week & Expert Rankings for the American Express

Geoff Ulrich

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The American Express returns to its regular format this year, as amateurs will play in this event for three rounds, a format which will feature a unique 54-hole cut. For DFS golf purposes, the irregular cut and the rotation of courses is something to be mindful of for our daily fantasy golf picks on DraftKings and FanDuel this week. With three courses in play again, players will be frequenting the Pete Dye-designed TPC Stadium venue twice (once before Sunday and then again in the final round), and the Nicklaus Tournament venue (designed by Jack Nicklaus) and La Quinta once apiece.

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With the same target-style resort setups in play, this event should retain most of its usual flair and has a couple of big names in Patrick Cantlay (last year’s runner-up) and Jon Rahm (the 2018 winner). These venues also tend to favorite target golf, which means length off the tee is still important (there are four par 5’s) but only if shots are on line off the tee. The first- and second-place finishers in 2020 finished 98th and 158th in driving distance, so strokes gained on approach and short games are the focuses.

DFS Golf Rankings & Expert Picks This Week for American Express

TPC Stadium Club Stats and Info

  • Five of the past six winners gained three strokes or more on their approaches on their two measured rounds on TPC Stadium.
  • This is more of a ball striker’s venue where distance can still factor but generally needs to be controlled power given the tighter fairways, bunkers and water in play.
  • Approach shots tends to be highly basketed in the 150- to 175-yard range, while fairways are harder to hit than normal; the field averaged around 57% driving accuracy, which is 5% lower than tour average.

Putting Splits

The greens at all three courses are Bermuda, although this time of year they are over-seeded with poa, which probably gives a slight advantage to West Coasters. Here is a more general look at some of the best and worst Bermuda putters in the field relative to their strokes gained on other surfaces. Use caution with these in your daily fantasy golf picks; they are not the be-all, end-all, but they make for a nice tiebreaker.

Positive Bermuda Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds

  1. Russell Henley: +18 on Bermuda, -27 on all other surfaces
  2. Chesson Hadley: +40 on Bermuda, -3 on all other surfaces
  3. Matthew Wolff: +13 on Bermuda, +3 on all other surfaces

*+ equals total strokes gained | – equals strokes lost

Negative Bermuda Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds

  1. Jason Day: -3 on Bermuda, +20 on all other surfaces
  2. Patrick Cantlay: -1 on Bermuda, +30 on all other surfaces
  3. Justin Rose: +7 on Bermuda, +18 on all other surfaces

DFS Golf Picks & Fantasy Golf Rankings for DraftKings & FanDuel

Corey Conners: Grades: A, Values: B, C

The Awesemo Model has a pretty clear leader at the top but also has some strong upper-tier value plays that are spiking in the projections. The spikiest of the bunch is undoubtedly Corey Conners, who ranks fifth in overall rankings and has the highest points projection of anyone under $10,000 on DraftKings. Conners has shown progressively better ball striking over his last two starts and gained 5.9 strokes on approach alone last week. The continued loss of strokes around the green is a slight concern, but easier conditions for this pro-am event have elevated other ball strikers with terrible short games at this event; Hudson Swafford from 2017 is perhaps the best example of this phenomenon.

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Conners grabbed seventh- and fourth-places finishes at TPC Sawgrass and Hilton Head last year, so his performance on Pete Dye venues seems to be improving, and he is eighth in this field in strokes gained tee to green in long-term form on Dye courses. Conners has a great price point, is not projected to be very chalky and is a player who should breakthrough again soon.

The Stats:

  • Has gained 4.2 and 5.9 strokes on approach in last two starts; ranks first in strokes gained on approach over last 24 rounds.
  • Has one missed cut in last 20 PGA starts; playing American Express for third time.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 20.4% | FanDuel: 18.7%

Patrick Reed: Grades: A, Values: B, C

There are some bigger names in the $8,000 section on DraftKings, and many of them may not garner huge ownership numbers in the larger fields. One of the most popular may end up being Patrick Reed, but even he is projected for under 15% on both DraftKings and FanDuel for daily fantasy golf. Reed is coming off an interesting end to the year where he suffered from pneumonia and also had to deal with a Ryder Cup snub. However, he landed a third-place finish over the winter at the Hero Challenge and made a start in Maui two weeks ago, where he finished 15th.

Reed’s finish in Maui showcased his best putting week since last August. His ball striking in Maui still left lots to be desired, but it improved drastically after a terrible first round. He is a former winner of this event (way back in 2014, not on Stadium Course) and has the best points projection of any golfer under $9,000 on DraftKings. Taking the value on offer is a good idea, as Reed is obviously being discounted a bit based on his current world golf ranking and overall talent level.

The Stats:

  • Has gained strokes on approach at this event in six of his seven career starts; playing event for eighth time.
  • Showed good progression throughout the week in Maui, where he gained over four strokes putting; ranks 11th in strokes putting on Bermuda over last 50 rounds.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 13.2% | FanDuel: 10.8%

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Low-Owned Daily Fantasy Golf GPP Flier

Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Christiaan Bezuidenhout has been the epitome of consistency for DFS as he has just one missed cut in his last 25 professional starts and comes into off the best ball-striking week of his PGA career. Bezuidenhout landed a solid 17th place at the Sony last week, a finish that saw him gain 5.8 strokes ball striking. It was a week that could have been better too, as his typically sharp short game and putting were merely average to the field.

This event has seen plenty of winners who have put in decent starts at the Sony take a big leap forward. Bezuidenhout’s sharp iron play in the opener is also reminiscent of last year’s winner Si Woo Kim, who finished 25th at the Sony last season and then did well at this event. Bezuidenhout’s short iron game should also really come into focus again on this week’s short setups, as he ranks top 20 in proximity from all major distances under 200 yards. With an increase in salary, he is projected for under 10% ownership and makes for a good large-field GPP target.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 6.7%

DraftKings Top Three Under Five

This section will target three players that should end up under (or close) to 5% ownership in bigger DraftKings GPPs. These picks are boom/bust players with an almost 100% focus on upside.

Matthew NeSmith ($6,800)

Has made four of his last five cuts on tour and started to display better consistency around the greens. A player who can certainly get hot with his irons, he ranks 17th in long-term strokes gained on approach and was 17th at this event on debut in 2019.

Kramer Hickok ($7,200)

Hickok has started to showcase more and more potential on tour. The playoff loser from the Travelers last season enters off a solid start at the Sony, where he gained 5.1 strokes ball striking alone. He finished 21st at this event last year.

Dylan Frittelli ($6,800)

Frittelli is more of a pedigree play at this price, as his career accomplishments alone should have him ranked higher in a weaker field like this. Consistency has been an issue for him of late, but two top-25 finishes in his last four starts exemplifies some of the upside for paying down for him in large fields.

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PGA DFS rankings for today will be posted at least a day in advance of any tournament. The PGA DFS projections for today, the DFS PGA showdown projections for DraftKings and the PGA DFS ownership projections for today are made and used by Alex Baker, the No. 1 DFS player in the world. Looking for more DFS PGA stats and PGA DFS picks?

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