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The Approach – British Open Plays

Nolan Kelly



If you missed our Royal Carnoustie course preview yesterday, check it out here.

British Open Strategy

I can’t get a feel for how this course is going to play. Royal Carnoustie is baked and tee-shots are travelling ridiculously far. It’s hard to say what kind of player that gives an advantage to. On the one hand, you have Jon Rahm saying he’s going to drive the fairway bunkers to give himself short approaches or even drive the greens on some of these holes. That’s a risky strategy that could lead you to an eagle putt or some knee-deep fescue. Shane Lowry warned against it. On the other hand, Tiger Woods and Jason Day are saying their going to club down off the tee and take the extra accuracy without sacrificing much distance. With narrow fairways and bunkers and rough lurking everywhere, this seems like a safer strategy.

On top that, there’s rain in the forecast for Friday, which might make this whole conversation about the course moot. It’ll certainly soften things up a bit out there, depending on how much rain they get.

In 2007, scrambling correlated well to success at Royal Carnoustie, along with the usual suspects (BoB, Bogey Avoidance, SG: T2G).

Riding the waves

For us West Coasters, we finally get a chance to adjust our lineups shortly before the tournament begins. The 10pm/1am start time gives us a last-minute look at an accurate forecast, which could pay dividends. It did at the U.S. Open, and it did at the British Open two years ago. Right now, the AM/PM draw has a small advantage. They’ll be facing 5-9 MPH winds on Thursday, while the afternooners will get 9-12 MPH winds. On Friday the wind is more even throughout the day. These aren’t deal-breaker wind conditions, so don’t get too caught up in taking players from single waves.

Key players from the AM/PM wave (the earlier the better):

Phil Mickelson, Webb Simpson, Matt Kuchar, Patrick Cantlay, Emiliano Grillo, Matthew Southgate, Jordan Speith, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Casey, Patrick Reed, Tony Finau, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm.


The Stats:

Ball striking

Par four scoring (weighted)


Birdie or Better

The Milly Maker

With such a top-heavy prize payout, you’re going to have to create lineups that make you uncomfortable. Embrace it. Don’t play scared or safe. Because there’s so much variance in golf, you shouldn’t be afraid to take players who are 1-2% owned, who might not be getting the buzz or have the pedigree of other golfers. Remember, HaoTong Li won someone a million bucks last year.

The Plays

Henrik Stenson: DraftKings: $8200, Grade: A, FanDuel: $11600, Grade: C

Early on it looked as though Stenson would be mega-chalk on DraftKings. At $8200, he’s the most mispriced golfer in the field. An elbow injury and a withdrawal from the Scottish Open have left DFSers trepidatious and his ownership has declined as a result. Judging by his Instagram account, Stenson looks like a full go. He’s less of a bargain on FanDuel, but you’ll get him at half the ownership.

The stats:

  • 7th in ball striking (50 rounds)
  • 17th in BoB (50 rounds)
  • 1st in Bogey Avoidance (50 rounds)
  • 4th in weighted par four scoring (100 rounds)

Alex Noren: DraftKings: $8300, Grade: A; FanDuel: $9800, Grade: A

Two Swedes. I hope this isn’t motivated by psychologically repressed Sedin Twin withdrawal from this tortured Vancouver Canucks fan. Noren is a great links player who’s on a terrific run of form, coming off a win at the French Open. The 13th ranked golfer in the world does everything well: he’s top-30 in every one of the 12 statistics in my mixed condition model. He’s a little chalky, but makes for a safe play in cash games at that price.

Matthew Southgate: DraftKings: $6900, Grade:A; FanDuel: $7700, Grade: A

Southgate has 6th and 12th place finishes to his name over the last two years at The Open, he’s hot right now, with a 5th at the French Open and a 23rd at the Scottish Open, he’s a member of Royal Carnoustie and you’re getting him at around 3% ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel.  He ranks 6th in Greens in Regulation on the European Tour and 31st in SG: APP. He’ll be under 5% owned on both sites.

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Low-owned GPP fliers

How about Jordan Speith at 8% on DK  (Grade E,B). The defending champ has struggled with his putter this season (116th in the field over his past 50 rounds), and he’s not exactly in form (MC, MC, 42), but he’s still Jordan Speith and at 8% ownership I think it’s worth the gamble on a roster or two that he can find his form. Over the long term he’s second in the field from the key 400-450 and 450-500 par four distances, which comprise 11 holes on the course.

I also like Phil Mickleson (B, C), who is getting no love from the DFS community this week, at around 4-7% ownership on both sites. Phil is second in the field in Birdie or Better percentage, and top-five in sand saves and scrambling over the past 50 rounds.

If Bryson DeChambeau (B, D) is healthy, your getting a very good golfer at a decent price and very low ownership (4-7%).

Finally, Louis Oosthuizen (B, C), with his elite sand saves and scrambling games, is flying under the radar after a neck injury forced him to withdraw from the Scottish Open. Keep an eye on his status before lineup lock on Wednesday night.  If he plays, he could be a steal at 2% ownership on FanDuel.

The fades:

Emiliano Grillo: $6800, Grade C

I was expecting to go full-fade on Grillo at 20% ownership, but he came in at 13%, which makes him rosterable if paired with lower owned top players. Grillo’s stats are solid. He’s third in my mixed condition model that rates scrambling, ball striking, custom P4 scoring , BoB and sand saves. And he’s 18th weighted scoring average, and 22nd in SG:T2G on the tour this year.

Wait, why am I fading him again?

There just are too many players in that range with far lower ownership that could contend. I’ll take a Brian Harman at 2% or Jimmy Walker 1% over Grillo at 13%.

FanDuel: Jason Day: $11,700, Grade: D

I actually love Jason Day on DrafKings this week. For some reason, even at $8900, he’s not getting any buzz. Day’s scrambling, sand saves, around the green game, putting, and driving are all elite. If he’s just average with his irons, he’ll be in contention come Sunday. But over on FanDuel you aren’t getting that price reduction. He has the worst Vegas bargain rating in the field.

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I've been obsessed with fantasy sports since as long as I can remember. Back in 1993, while seated in the last row of Mr. MacMillan's math class, I'm fairly certain a few buddies of mine and I invented daily fantasy sports -- popping down our fivers and using nothing more than a newspaper box score, we'd make our NHL player picks for the night's action. Twenty years later I started out playing DFS on DraftStreet, when three-max tourneys with 490 people were a big deal, and I've been hooked ever since. More than anything, I'm interested in using my technical writing skills to articulate and clarify our content in order to help you become a better fantasy sports players player. Armed with Awesemo's grades and the projections from our experts, we're here to help you take the next step. You can contact me by emailing [email protected].

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