This column is a quick-hitter article to give you the stats you need to make informed PGA DFS picks for your DraftKings + FanDuel daily fantasy lineups and give you a couple of recommendations for the second round of the CJ Cup. On a typical Showdown contest, DraftKings will offer upwards of $50,000 to first for rounds 2 and 3 showdown and sometimes up to $100,000 for the final-round contests. They also provide weekend-long contests that have been offering $25,000 to first for most weekends. Lastly, FanDuel has also tried to get into the weekend-long and final-round contests, offering $10,000 and $5,000 to first.
Previous Round Recap
If you had told me that Tyrrell Hatton would beat Matthew Wolff playing in the same group together, and would beat him by 15 shots or more, I’d take that bet a million times out of a million. But that’s exactly what happened today, as Wolff’s stubbornness to try and get away from his right-to-left shot cost him breaking 80 today. He had -3.5 on FanDuel, and didn’t do much better on DraftKings. Hatton, on the other hand, had it going from the get-go. He went birdie, birdie, hole-out eagle to open up his tournament, finishing the day at 7 under.
Russell Henley was in the actual first group out, and he posted the second-lowest score of the day, with a 6-under 66. On one of the last putts of the day, Xander Schauffele had a chance to tie Henley and made the seven-footer for the second 66 of the day. The scoring average was slightly over par in round 1, coming in at 72.73. Admittedly, it was a little more difficult than I had projected, but I projected it prior to knowing about the rough length being longer than average.
Birdie or Better Leaders Through Round 1
- Tyrell Hatton (8)
- Jon Rahm (7)
- Joel Dahmen, Abraham Ancer, Justin Rose, Russell Henley, Tyler Duncan (6)
Strokes Gained Ball-Striking vs. Putting
Jon Rahm’s 5-under 67 was a good first-round score but paled in comparison to what it could have been if had made a couple of putts. He matched the field with his putter in round 1 but gained almost five strokes ball striking. Marc Leishman looks healthier, as he gained almost two strokes ball striking but lost over two with his putter for a 3.94 stroke difference. Joel Dahmen, Cameron Champ and Byeong Hun An round out the top five. Patrick Cantlay slides into the sixth spot here, something I’m sure will change over the next few days.
PGA DFS Slate Preview
12:45 p.m. EST
- DraftKings is offering $20,000 to first and $80,000 guaranteed for the second-round slate
General Strategy & PGA DFS Picks
Short game is proving to be a vital tool this week, at least in round 1. No one in the top three lost strokes with their short game, and only two golfers, Rahm and Dahmen, actually lost strokes against the field today, and only marginally. We’ll take a look at some guys that were able to navigate the short game today and have been hot with their irons recently.
Russell Henley ($7,000)
Henley has been on fire with his irons lately, and that continued again here in round 1, as he gained 3.27. When he can match that up with almost two strokes gained putting, he’s in play for a big finish. Maybe we are a round late here, and maybe the ownership will skyrocket, so if you are afraid of that, look to Dahmen or Si Woo Kim, who continues to be in form. Rahm, Schauffele and Hatton are also in play.
Stud or Value Pick Outside the Top 10
Patrick Cantlay ($9,300)
He won’t lose two strokes putting the rest of the week; you can count on it. His ball striking certainly seems to be back, or at least his tee game. While his irons are still not perfect, they are trending in the right direction. With so much focus going to Hatton, Schauffele and Rahm, Cantlay should continue to be low owned as he was for the week-long event.
Sneaky Pick Outside the Top 10
Billy Horschel ($7,000)
Gaining on both his approaches and putting, Horschel opened with a solid 2-under 70. He also gained almost two strokes putting, and for a guy that ranked highly in greens in regulation in round 1, that’s the type of stat combo you want to have.
Abraham Ancer ($8,300)
Cameron Smith ($7,000)
Justin Thomas ($10,800)
Shane Lowry ($7,500)
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