Every fantasy sport has its set of data that helps project what’s going to happen, and fantasy golf is no different. In professional golf, that’s done by a metric called Strokes Gained. Created by Mark Broadie, a Columbia professor, it measures a golfer against others on a shot-by-shot basis. It’s then compiled daily, weekly, and yearly stats, or however long your database goes for. The database we will be working with for fantasy golf and PGA DFS covers about 18 months’ worth of tournaments. While making PGA DFS picks is typically about recent form, we like to learn players’ strengths and weaknesses to better understand where they might perform best. Let’s dig in.
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Fantasy Golf: Strokes Gained Analysis | Bermuda Championship PGA DFS Picks
This is a 132 man field with the top 65 and ties making the weekend.
Seventeen of the 132 golfers don’t have any starts in my database. Sepp Straka has the most starts out of anyone accumulating 34 out of the last 46 weeks. That’s a lot of golf. Matt Jones, Kyoung-Hoon Lee, Brian Stuard and Troy Merritt all have over 30. Over the last five weeks, Brendon Todd is the only one with five starts, while Lee, Merritt, Chesson Hadley, Maverick McNealy and Rafa Cabrera-Bello have four.
Strokes Gained Total
- Data Set: Just four golfers have gained at least two strokes more than five times in the field: Denny McCarthy, Doc Redman, Cameron Tringale and Kristoffer Ventura. In comparison, last week over 50 of the golfers in the field had accomplished this.
- Looking at it a different way, in terms of percentage of starts and strokes gained over 1.5, Will Zalatoris has done it in two of three starts in the database and Ventura in six of 15 starts. No one else is above 40%, while Cameron Percy and Henrik Norlander are the only other two golfers to have done this in 30% or more of their starts.
- Digging even deeper, golfers that have done this in at least 24% of their starts include Harold Varner, Wyndham Clark, Peter Malnati, Chase Seiffert, Redman, McNealy and Tringale.
- Graphic: The most surprising thing to me is just how good Malnati played at the Sanderson Farms a few weeks ago. It really should have resulted in a win. Varner has gotten close, as has Redman. I’d feel comfortable starting my lineup with those guys this week.
- Doug Ghim, Todd, Varner and Malanti are only four golfers that have gained over 1.25 total strokes twice in the last eight weeks.
Strokes Gained Tee to Green
- Dataset: Varner hasn’t been able to match up a hot putter over the breadth of the data with the rest of his game, as he’s the only golfer with six starts where he finished with over 1.75 strokes gained tee to green. Emiliano Grillo is the only other one with five.
- Switching to a percentage and consistency as our barometer, Varner and Grillo are still Nos. 1 and 2 on the board, coming in with 46% and 36% of their starts ending in at least one stroke gained tee to green. That’s if you don’t count Zalatoris, who only has three starts. Ghim is the only other one above 30%, going 5-for-15.
- Graphic: Statistics would suggest that Camilo Villegas is in form but has yet to find his putting stroke. I’m sure most people are rooting for him given what he’s had to go through over the last couple of years. If you aren’t familiar with the story, here’s a link to it.
- Zalatoris, Ghim and Stewart Cink are the only golfers in the field that have gained more than 1.25 strokes tee to green twice in the last eight weeks.
Strokes Gained Off the Tee
- Dataset: With no Cameron Champ, Bryson DeChambeau or Rory McIlroy in the field, we get to talk about a few other names that are also good off the tee. Jhonattan Vegas is the best in this field (not counting Zalatoris) and has gained over a stroke five times in the dataset. Only Keith Mitchell has done it five times as well. Grillo, Varner, Redman, Straka, Will Gordon and Charley Hoffman have done it four times.
- If it’s consistency you are after, it doesn’t change much. Vegas has gained at least a half a stroke in 57.89% of his starts, while Redman and Ryan Brehm have done it in 50%. Zalatoris is 3-for-3 in gaining at least half a stroke. One other note, Gordon has been feast or famine, gaining over a stroke in four of 11 starts in the dataset, with those being the only four times he’s gained over a half a stroke as well.
- Graphic: Speaking of Gordon and going to exactly what I just said, he has the highest total strokes gained off the tee over the last 10 weeks. Others like Max Homa will be looking for another good off the tee week for a spark here in Bermuda.
Strokes Gained on Approach
- Dataset: Grillo has gained over a stroke 10 times in the dataset, the only player to do so. Redman has done it nine times.
- With percentage of starts over 0.5 strokes gained as our barometer, Grillo still leads, doing it in 64% of his starts. Wesley Bryan has performed very well with his irons since returning from injury, gaining a half a stroke in five of six starts. Zalatoris is 2-for-3. Percy and Tringale are both over 50%, as are Villegas, Varner, Redman, Russell Knox, Scott Stallings and Henrik Stenson.
- Graphic: Knox has become a bit of an enigma as his career rolls on. He flashes game every once and a while that makes you think he’s returning to the form he used to have, and gaining two strokes on approach a few weeks ago was one of those times.
Strokes Gained Around the Green
- Dataset: If it’s around the green work you think will prevail this week, as it did last year here at Port Royal for this golfer, then Fabian Gomez is your guy. He’s gained at least one stroke six times, the only golfer to have over five.
Strokes Gained Putting
- Dataset: Todd’s-24 win here last year kind of shows what a good putter can do here. So, if that’s the only angle you’d like to play, then McCarthy is your guy, obviously. He’s gained over 1.25 strokes nine times in the dataset. Andrew Putnam has seven, while McNealy, Todd and Beau Hossler have six. Patrick Rodgers and Stuard are the only others with five or more.
- Graphic: McNealy rode only his putter to a good finish a few weeks ago, one that saw him gain over 10 strokes putting for the week. Malnati was almost as good a couple of times. It is nice to see Hunter Mahan’s name up there, as his performance on the greens earned him a paycheck in Vegas.
Strokes Gained PGA DFS Sheet
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