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The Approach: PGA DFS Picks & Expert Rankings for the Shriners Open This Week

Geoff Ulrich

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Geoff Ulrich's expert Shriners Open strategy and daily fantasy golf value picks for DraftKings & FanDuel lineups | Webb Simpson & Brooks Koepka

The PGA Tour has expanded its Las Vegas schedule this year, as it will see two stops in Las Vegas over the fall, the first of which is this week in the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The event has been around since 1983 and has been played at TPC Summerlin for over a decade. It is a popular stop for many top players, and this week’s field also has a few names from a OWGR top 20 that have yet to perform this fall. With some stars in this week’s Shriners Open field, there are likely to be less DFS golf sleepers, but we will nail down all the best daily fantasy golf picks for DraftKings and FanDuel throughout this article using Awesemo’s expert PGA DFS rankings and projections.

Brooks Koepka and Viktor Hovland headline the field, but they are also joined by a handful of other top-25 players like Webb Simpson, Louis Oosthuizen and last week’s winner Sam Burns. The course tends to bring out the birdies in bunches and ranked as the third easiest on tour last year (out of 41 venues). Altitude tends to make everyone’s drives go a little further this week, and three of the last four winner’s here have gained over three strokes on approach.

This article will utilize the Awesemo expert PGA DFS projections and daily fantasy golf ownership for DFS golf lineup picks this week on DraftKings and FanDuel.

TPC Summerlin Stats and Info

  • Par 71 that plays between 7,200 and 7,300 yards; features pure bentgrass greens and is approximately 2,700 feet above sea level.
  • Winners over the last two seasons (Martin Laird and Bryson DeChambeau) each gained over six strokes on their approach. Six of the top seven players at this event last season gained 4.5 strokes or more on their approaches for the week.
  • Venue features eight par 4’s under 450 yards in length; two of the par 5’s will play around 560 yards but will likely play much shorter given the altitude (efficiency from 500 to 550 yards may be worth looking at).

Putting Splits

The green type will change for the third week in a row here on the PGA, as TPC Summerlin features pure bentgrass greens. These should roll slightly faster than last week given the climate, although there have been some massive putting splits posted here by past winners as well. Use caution with these putting splits in fantasy golf picks; they are not the be-all, end-all, but they make for a nice tiebreaker.

Positive Bentgrass Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds

  1. Brandt Snedeker: +40 strokes on bentgrass, -1 strokes on all other surfaces
  2. Cameron Tringale: +38 on bentgrass, +15 on all other surfaces
  3. Andrew Putnam: +28 on bentgrass, +11 on all other surfaces

+ equals total strokes gained | – equals strokes lost

Negative Bentgrass Putting Splits, Last 50 Rounds

  1. Joaquin Niemann: -3 on bentgrass, +18 on all other surfaces
  2. Charley Hoffman: -6 on bentgrass, +18 on all other surfaces
  3. Sungjae Ima: -6 on bentgrass, +13 on all other surfaces

Shriners Open Daily Fantasy Golf Picks

*Grades are ordered DraftKings, FanDuel. Initial grade indicates a player’s strength of output for the week, with the value grade indicating their strength as a play in relation to their salary.

 
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Webb Simpson: Grades: A+ | Values: C

At courses where off-tee play is more of a neutral stat and strong approach play and putting get more emphasis, usually Webb Simpson gets a bump in both sentiment and projections. This week is no different, as Simpson leads all golfers in point projections for the week. He did not have the greatest 2021, as he suffered through a minor injury mid-year and never really got back to top form. That said, he finished 2020-21 with a 12th-place finish at the BMW Championship and recorded a seventh-place finish at the Wyndham in his fourth-to-last start, so his form looks to be headed in the right direction.

Simpson has gained over two strokes on approach in three of his last four starts and ranks 10th in this field in proximity from 125 to 150 yards. He remains one of the elite short iron players in the world and has been the most consistent player at this week’s venue over the last five years, as he leads the field in total strokes gained at TPC Summerlin over that span. As just the fifth-most expensive player on the board this week, he is a great target and is coming in with moderate ownership projections for once due to the deeper field.

The Stats:

  • Ranks 10th in proximity from 125 to 150 yards; has finished seventh and 12th in two of his last four starts on tour.
  • Leads the field in total strokes gained at TPC Summerlin over the last five years; won at this venue in 2013 and has finished 15th or better here the last five seasons.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 17.4%

Hideki Matsuyama: Grades: A | Values: C

This event has 15 players from the OWGR top 30 in the field, so it is easy to gloss over Hideki Matsuyama. He has yet to follow up on his big victory at Augusta, but he has come extremely close on a couple of occasions. While he faded a little at the end of the playoffs, Matsuyama bounced back quickly with a sixth-place finish at the Fortinet Championship a couple of weeks ago, where he gained 6.5 strokes against the field on his ball striking alone. He comes into this event ranked third in the field in strokes gained tee to green over the last 50 rounds as well, so his recent metrics suggest his $9,500 salary on DraftKings may be a little low (he is only the ninth-most expensive player).

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The Awesemo projections agree with this sentiment. Matsuyama not only has the fourth-highest points projection for this week’s event, but he also has the best value score of anyone over $9,000. Matsuyama is known for some wild swings with the putter, but he has gained over 2.5 strokes putting at TPC Summerlin in two of his three career starts here and generally has had his best career putting performances on bentgrass (see Augusta National). The upside is there with Matsuyama this week, and he is bringing in better form than a lot of the top players.

The Stats:

  • Ranks third in strokes gained tee to green and fourth in strokes gained on approach over the last 50 rounds.
  • Has slightly positive bentgrass putting splits over the last 50 rounds, and his last win on tour (Augusta) also came on bentgrass greens.

Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 16.9%

Low-Owned Daily Fantasy Golf GPP Flier

Matthew Wolff

Matthew Wolff was the pick in this column last week, and there are no concerns about including him here again. Despite a solid week at the Sanderson Farms (17th place) that saw him close with a 65 and a 68, there still does not seem to be a ton of positive sentiment around Wolff. He gained over a stroke on approach and off the tee in his last two rounds at Country Club of Jackson, and a recent change in irons may be proving to be the trick needed to get him back on track.

On top of the improved play, Wolff has also talked about being in a better state of mind, and since he is still at a young age, the bounce back could be dramatic. He finished runner-up at this event last season and has also seen his only win on tour come at another easier TPC setup (Twin Lakes), which was also set up for lower scoring. Wolff’s DraftKings price has gone down, so there is still not much belief from anyone that he will continue his good play. Take advantage because, once he gets in contention on a Sunday, he will not come at these prices or ownership levels for a while.

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Projected PGA DFS ownership: DraftKings: 6.8%

DraftKings Top Three Under 5%

I am targeting three players here that will end up under (or close) to 5% ownership in larger DraftKings GPPs. We are searching for boom/bust players here with an almost 100% focus on upside.

Ian Poulter

Ian Poulter is a pure spreadsheet play courtesy of the Awesemo projections, which have him as one of the best values of the week at just $7,000 on DraftKings. It makes sense, as Poulter was on a tear right before the Ryder Cup (eight made cuts in a row) and has even started to gain significant strokes with his approaches. It is his first time playing this event, but he will not be hampered much by his lack of distance off the tee given the altitude and easier setup.

Russell Knox

Russell Knox has picked things of late and comes into this event having gained over one stroke putting in three of his last four starts. Given how much Knox struggled with his putter in 2020 and 2021, this is a solid development. His ball striking has remained consistent, and he is a perfect style fit for TPC Summerlin, which does not require much off the tee but does require tight iron play and a hot putter. He is coming off a 29th-place finish last week and has made six of seven cuts at TPC Summerlin.

Rasmus Hojgaard

This is a pure talent-based play. Rasmus Hojgaard grabbed his third professional win since the end of 2019 a few weeks ago by taking down the Omega European Masters, another event that is played at altitude. His last two wins have seen him finish with rounds of 63 and 65, so he certainly has the firepower and moxie to compete in a low-scoring event like the Shriners Open this week. He may not even crack 3% ownership in a lot of the larger-field tournaments.


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