What an incredible Open Championship. Molinari, Tiger, and Rory helped me to a profitable week (especially in Showdowns) despite some painful MCs (looking at you, DJ) and a major letdown of a weekend from Keegan. The FTA Golf crowd is growing, so let’s keep the good vibes and $$$ coming.
Glen Abbey GC
Between DataGolf’s historical event data and Fantasy National GC’s course breakdown, I found some good stuff this week. Historically at Glen Abbey, the strokes gained stats drive the variance in scores in a pretty standard way (courtesy of DataGolf). However, Fantasy National GC’s course breakdown shows us something very cool: Players who have finished top 20 have historically hit fairways at the highest rate; from there, the higher the finish, the lower percentage of fairways hit. This paints a very clear picture that at Glen Abbey GC, bombers have extraordinary upside. Furthermore, they don’t necessarily have to be hitting fairways to realize said upside.
RBC Canadian Open Draftkings Picks
There are only three players in this top tier. Dustin Johnson is coming off a missed cut in The Open in which his typically dominant driver was a little loose. I think we can fully expect him to bounce back, and that thought is further supported by the notion that even if his driver stays loose, he’ll still gain an advantage with his distance. As always, he is miles ahead of anyone else in my models. Credit to Draftkings for making him nearly a full $1k more expensive than the next guy, but that still might not be enough.
Brooks Koepka is a fine play, but he’s projected for somewhat healthy ownership and a number of players in the tier below him rate higher in my models.
Tommy Fleetwood is projected for the lowest ownership among the top three and is third in my models. This makes him a great play. He’s an elite driver of the golf ball, gaining nearly 3/4 of a stroke per round and is top 30 in driving distance on tour this year.
This tier is loaded.
Three players really stand out to me as excellent plays in any format:
- Tony Finau
- Bubba Watson
- Joaquin Niemann
Finau and Bubba obviously fit the bomber mold, and combine that with good iron play and solid recent form. However, it’s Niemann who ranks second in my models thanks to an impressive .756 SG:OTT and an astonishing 1.028 SG:APP.
Gary Woodland is another bomber who rates well in my models. His .834 SG:OTT should play especially well here. He seems to be regaining the form he had during the wrap-around portion of the schedule and his timing couldn’t be better. His ownership projection is just above 10% at the moment. If it falls into the single digits he’d become one of my favorite plays of the week.
Sergio Garcia is playing terrible golf, there’s no way around that. However, a player of his caliber at a fair price should not be ~5% owned, which is his current projection. If it stays that way, I think you have to give yourself some exposure. Despite his recent struggles, he’s still gaining over a stroke per round with his ball striking, both in 2018 and from 2017-2018.
I would like Keegan Bradley and Billy Horschel a whole lot more if they were expected to be low owned. The lack of depth in this tier is driving up their ownership projections (to around 15%).
Speaking of ownership being driven up, Charley Hoffman appears to be mega-chalk this week. Charley is a solid player, gaining about a quarter stroke in each ball striking category. However, that’s not even close to good enough to warrant large ownership at a fair price, especially since he has average length off the tee. Course history and Vegas odds are attracting the people, but there’s plenty of reason to dismiss both. There’s nothing to suggest Charley and Glen Abbey are a uniquely great fit, and Vegas odds are largely dependent on course history. Vegas knows course history is one of the first places people look for betting value, so Hoffman’s 30/1 odds don’t necessarily reflect how likely Vegas actually thinks he is to win.
JB Holmes has been extremely variant this year, making him a nice GPP play. He rates pretty well in the model and certainly fits the bomber mold. I’m not the only one who’s identified him as such, however, as his ownership appears to be in line with Keegan’s and Horschel’s.
Byeong-Hun An is a very underrated player. He rates very well in my models, gaining over half a stroke per round off the tee and just under half a stroke per round with his irons. He’s 20th on tour in distance.
Kevin Tway is a nice contrarian pivot off guys like An, Keegan, and Horschel. He’s not in great form, and is at least one tier below An in my models, but he’s 13th on tour in driving distance and has three top 10s in his last seven events. The upside is certainly there.
Lots of Chalk
There’s a pretty sizable group of players in this tier that I love, who are unfortunately projected to be chalky.
- Joel Dahmen is on fire with his ball striking.
- Keith Mitchell’s iron play continues to improve. His distance and overall performance off the tee makes him one of my favorite plays of the week.
- Harold Varner III is in the same boat as Dahmen. On fire with his irons, but people have noticed.
- Bronson Burgoon is my preference over Varner. While Fantasy National has them projected for similar ownership, FantasyLabs has him projected as the far more contrarian option.
Chris Kirk will also be very chalky, but I don’t like him nearly as much.
Stewart Cink and Sam Ryder (and JJ Spaun to a lesser extent) are also chalky plays I like a decent amount this week.
It’s hard to believe all these players will be chalky in such a cheap tier, but perhaps it’s a sign that the DFS golf crowd is getting sharper.
*Reminder that Burgoon may be more contrarian than Fantasy National’s projections suggest*
Troy Merritt rates pretty poorly in my models, but his recent ball striking form has him rising rapidly. At much lower ownership than the guys above, he’s certainly in play.
All the chalkiness makes my sleeper pick more appealing. Cameron Champ is averaging 342.7 yards off the tee on the Web.com Tour this year and is scorching hot. In his last six events, his worst finish is 11th, with a win and two other top 5s. He has shot 65 or better SIX (!) times. He was great at Erin Hills last year, so we know he can handle the big stage and he obviously fits the bomber mold.
Welcome back to relevance, Hunter Mahan. Mahan has three straight tournaments of very good ball striking. His performance at the Barbasol last week was his best in years. If he continues this resurgence, his price will skyrocket. Playing him this week could be getting ahead of that curve.
Jason Kokrak is my favorite play in this tier. He’s gaining nearly half a stroke per round off the tee and boy can he move a golf ball. Like Holmes, his volatility makes him a great GPP play (just don’t go crazy with your exposure to him).
Dylan Meyer and JJ Henry will be super low owned plays who I like. Meyer’s numbers aren’t too impressive, but his collegiate track record and the start of his professional career suggest high upside. Henry is in great ball striking form.