The PGA TOUR heads to La Quinta, California this week for the 2021 American Express, and PGA DFS has a full slate of high-end GPP play available. Below are some of my favorite PGA DFS optimizer picks of the week for both DraftKings and FanDuel based on Awesemo’s Top Golfers Tool. This tool was designed by Alex “Awesemo” Baker to provide leverage scores for each golfer in the field, based on their ownership, salary and the player’s chances of finishing inside the top six or winning the tournament. These picks combined with the site’s daily fantasy golf picks, projections and analysis should help with lineup construction.
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PGA DFS: Leverage Based PGA Optimizer Picks: American Express – 1/21
Usually a three-course tournament, the American Express will only be played on two tracks this year, the PGA West Stadium Course (par 72, 7,113 yards) and the Nicklaus Tournament Course (par 72, 7,181 yards). All of the 156 players will play a round at each of these venues over the first two rounds, then the final two rounds will be at the Stadium Course. The weekend rounds will follow a top-65, and ties cut after the first 36 holes. Clearly, the Pete Dye designed Stadium Course is the track that should draw all of our focus. Luckily, all of the SG data we have from previous editions of this event is specifically from the Stadium Course, the only one of the three tracks in La Quinta to use Shot Link.
Awesemo PGA DFS Leverage Scores: DraftKings: 3.4%, FanDuel: 3.2%
Knox failed to make the cut this past week in Honolulu, but it was only because of a poor showing with his flat stick. For the 6th event in a row, the 35-year-old was able to produce positive strokes T2G and on APP, but he lost 3.2 strokes on the greens at Waialae Country Club. Prior to this MC, Knox had posted three top-25s in his previous four starts.
While he has always been a weak putter, the Scottish pro can only improve from this performance. If he can remain consistent with his strong ball striking, Knox should bounce back with at least a made cut at the American Express. In six appearances at this event, he has made it to the weekend four times, including three top-30s.
Awesemo PGA DFS Leverage Scores: DraftKings: 1.6%, FanDuel: 1.4%
Similar to Knox, Bradley is an excellent ball striker who could easily climb the leaderboard this week if he can manage to have just an average outing with his putter. Over his last 12 rounds, the 34-year-old ranks first in SG APP, third in SGT2G, first in ball striking and 10th in SG OTT, but 156th in SGP.
We never can expect him to gain shots with his putter, but Bradley has been solid on the Bermuda greens at the Stadium Course over the years. This inlcudes a 4/4 record at the American Express. Not only is his course history spotless, but Bradley has finished top-25 or better in three of those four made cuts, most notably with a T7 in 2011. He ranks fifth in total strokes gained when we compare this entire field’s last 100 rounds on Pete Dye designed courses. Via Awesemo’s Top Golfers Tool, Bradley is expected to come in with less than five percent ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel this week.
Awesemo PGA DFS Leverage Scores: DraftKings: 2.6%, FanDuel: 2.6%
Do you believe in course history? Then look no further than Hadwin this week. In five career starts, the Canadian has never missed a cut in La Quinta. He has three finishes inside the top-6 on his resume over that span. Of all the golfer’s teeing it up this week, Hadwin has the most total strokes gained at the Stadium Course, and his 12.2 average finish is the best of all the players who have competed at the American Express more than once. However, he has missed three consecutive cuts heading into this week, hence his low expected ownership on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Given that he hasn’t played at the PGA level in over a month, Hadwin hopefully used the extra time off to prepare himself for this event that he loves. Rolling the dice on this course horse is an awesome opportunity to gain leverage this week.
Awesemo PGA DFS Leverage Scores: DraftKings: 1.8%, FanDuel: 1.6%
Moore has been out of action since last August with a back injury, but he will make his return this week at the American Express. After the very long layoff, it’s safe to assume the 32-year-old is close to full strength and the Stadium Course is the perfect place for him to kick off his 2021 campaign. If we exclude two withdrawals, Moore sports a 4/6 record at this multiple course tournament with an impressive three top-10 finishes.
Just last season, the five-time PGA TOUR winner recorded a T6 here in La Quinta. For the event, he ranked 4th in SG APP, T2 in GIR, T5 in SG on P4s and T7 in total birdies. The upside for Moore is evident this week and he should be a forgotten name in GPPs after such a long hiatus from the tour.
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