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first cut

The First Cut: PGA DFS Preview for the Sentry Tournament of Champions l DraftKings & FanDuel

Jason Rouslin

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PGA DFS is back! Jason Rouslin has a first look at the best Sentry Tournament of Champions picks for daily fantasy golf | DraftKings & FanDuel

Hawaii Awaits. Those are two words that make the return of the PGA Tour all the more special. As much as I enjoyed becoming a master gardener again for three weeks, it pales in comparison to PGA DFS. In my opinion, there is no better DFS sweat than PGA DFS. Of course, I am a bit biased, but without question, PGA has one of the most passionate fan bases of any DFS sport. It’s also one of the most unique in that the main slate is a four-day sweat instead of your typical one-day contests. However, it doesn’t just stop there, as the Friday cut sweat is unlike any other sweat in the industry. I’m glad it’s back, and I’m sure most of you are as well.

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If this is your first time stopping into the article, first of all, thank you, and don’t forget to like and subscribe to our YouTube, where I provide you plenty of weekly PGA DFS content.

Here is what you can expect to find in this article, with some new additions:

  • The Tournament & Format
  • Course Commentary
  • Course Facts & Figures
  • PGA DFS Course Summary & Statistical Comparison
  • PGA DFS Preview, including sweat sheet and now featuring winning lineups from last year’s event
  • Player Preview

PGA DFS Picks: Tournament of Champions

The Tournament and Format

It seems like yesterday I was walking down the path to the Four Seasons, and Cameron Smith was walking back from the town center with his mom, carrying a 12-pack of White Claw. A man before his time, Smith provided one of many great moments that week in Maui. For those of you that are true fans of the PGA Tour, this experience is like no other.

With unparalleled access to the golfers and the incredible Plantation Course at Kapalua, it’s a recipe for a special week.

The Course

The Plantation Course at Kapalua

With remarkable views of the Pacific and Hawaiian landscape, the course really has all the elements. Typically winning scores easily approach the 20-under range, even with it being a par 73, but a whole slew of renovations last year helped provide a tougher test for the players than in years past. One of the most fun driving holes, the 18th, is an almost 700-yard par 5 that starts way up on the mountain and ends down in the valley. With Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau and Cameron Champ all scheduled to tee it up, I suspect we’ll see a plethora of 400-yard drives on it this year.

*An earlier version of this article listed Matthew Wolff in the field, he did not qualify.

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Course Facts & Figures

Par and Yardage 

  • Par 73: 7,596 yards

Course Difficulty

  • 20/41, 72.228 or slightly under par

Hole Dispersion:

  • Par 3’s: 218, 203, 164
  • Par 4’s : 520, 380, 424,  422, 516, 354, 420, 407, 305, 365, 549
  • Par 5’s: 532, 521, 555, 663

Grass Types & Hazards

  • Grass Type: Tifeagle Bermuda on the greens with Celebration Bermuda everywhere else.
  • Average Green: 8,700 square feet
  • Water Hazards: Zero. There are some lateral hazard areas but no defined water hazards on the course. More ravines and cliffs than bodies of water.
  • Bunkers: 93
  • Rough Length: 2.5 inches

Designer 

  • Coore & Crenshaw

Facts and Figures

  • Off the Tee: Incredibly wide fairways, to the point where an amateur could even hit about 70% of them. The golfers last year hit 76% of fairways, ranking second easiest on tour. Even though the 18th hole may provide the most 400-yard drives all year, the average drive hit here is just about 276 yards, which ranks it among the least out of any courses last year.
  • Approach to the Green: The greens are massive here, as noted above, and because of that, they are the absolute easiest to hit on tour. The field averaged just north of 75% last year.
  • Around the Green: The 25% of the time a golfer missed the green, he was able to get up and down 60% of the time, 15th easiest last year.
  • On the Green: The size and undulation of the greens rank it among the hardest on the PGA Tour in terms of overall putting average, ranking fourth hardest last year.

PGA DFS Course Summary & Statistical Comparison

All types of golfers have won here at Kapalua and in all different ways. Dustin Johnson did it with the big stick, almost holing it out on the par-4 13th for a one a few years ago. Last year Patrick Reed rode a hot putter to a playoff, but ultimately fell short of Justin Thomas, who won by gaining strokes throughout his entire bag. There are four par 5’s and a few shorter par 4’s, so I like elite distance here over accuracy.

Tour of Champions: Fantasy Golf and PGA DFS Preview

There are a couple of additions to this section. I will highlight the upcoming week and what contests are offered and go over the winning GPP lineups from last year’s three price points. Finally, we’ll look to the DFS sweat sheet to see where the golfers will be scoring the most DFS points this week. Let’s get started.

PGA DFS Slate Preview

The first draft of this written on Sunday night had these contests posted at the time of the article being finished:

PGA DFS contests

Previous Year PGA DFS DraftKings Results:

I’ll cover three buy-in levels — the large-field GPP, the high-dollar GPP and the single-entry mid-level buy-in. I’ll also provide a couple of notes on the overall scoring of the event.

Notes:

  • The average score for the tournament was 73.3 points, with the highest being 125 and the lowest being 38.5
  • Three golfers scored over 100 points

Winning Lineups

  • $8 Buy-In $400,000 Guaranteed:
    • A total ownership of 148%
    • It was the optimal lineup
    • The lineup was duplicated 22 times
    • The cash line for the contest was 495

  • $200 Buy-In Single Entry, $40,000 Guaranteed:
    • A total Ownership of 138%
    • The lineup was not duplicated
    • The cash line for the contest was 505

pga dfs sentry tournament of champions

  • $444 Buy-In, $150,000 Guaranteed:
    • Total ownership of 160%
    • The lineup was not duplicated
    • The cash line for the contest was 501.5

PGA DFS Sweat Sheet

There have been a few changes to the first three holes over the last few years, most notably, the third hole becoming almost 70 yards longer. That proved to be the toughest test for the golfers. They ranked fourth, first and second in terms of toughest and yielded a total of 23 birdies over the four days. The easiest three-hole stretch is 14 (a drivable par 4), 15 (a reachable par 5) and 16 (a shorter par 4). Combined they equate to about 25% of the total DraftKings scoring. The fifth hole, a very short par 5, equates to 19% of the total scoring. With so few chances on the front nine to score outside of the two par 5’s, golfers must be able to play them under par to keep pace with the field.

Previous Winners for The Tournament of Champions

  • 2020: Justin Thomas (-14)
  • 2019: Xander Schauffele (-23)
  • 2018: Dustin Johnson (-24)
  • 2017: Justin Thomas (-22)
  • 2016: Jordan Spieth (-30)

Player Preview

Just over half of the world’s top 50 golfers are here in the competition this week, including four of the top five. Dustin Johnson, a two-time winner of the event, is sure to be the odds favorite and highest-priced golfer on the slate. Defending champion Justin Thomas is also here, as is Bryson DeChambeau.

Since COVID impacted about a third of the season, the qualifications to get into this event changed. They added a condition where anyone who made the Tour Championship was eligible to play here this year. That helped players like Tony Finau, Harris English, Ryan Palmer and plenty more earn a trip to the beautiful island of Maui. How ironic would it be for a guy like Finau, who finds himself a bridesmaid more often than any other golfer in recent history, to win the even, that he’s never able to play in?

Even the back end of the field has players that are making their second trip to Maui, like Cameron Champ and Lanto Griffin. Once we have more information come out, which should be before 11 a.m. EST Monday, I’ll update the article.


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Jason established his roots in the littlest state that could...Rhode Island. But after 29 years of bitter cold, and only being able to play golf 4 months a year, upended those roots and moved to Florida. Now two years later, Jason is a husband to Sarah and father of James as well as two Labradors (Choco and Bella) and he dedicates his time to serve as the lead of PGA content at Awesemo.com. In the time he is not diving into the PGA stats and covering this week's current tournament, you can find him researching and trading stocks, on the golf course, or somewhere hopefully lost in nature with his dogs guiding him along the way. Want to chat? Have a question about Golf/Stocks or anything else? Hop on twitter and give him a message @dfsgolfer23. You can also contact Jason by emailing support@awesemo.com.

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