In this series, I’ll highlight six guys that my PGA model identifies as high-upside players who are projected for low ownership. Note: these will not be my core plays, and some may not even find their way into my lines depending on my strategy for the week. I recommend building a core and finding one or two of these guys who fit your build to give you GPP-winning upside. For my core, find me in FTA+ chat each week!
Finally, here’s a breakdown of my model. You’ll find I refer to the top 10/3/1 percentages a lot. In my mind, Cut Odds is a floor projection, Earnings is a median/average projection, and the probabilities of a top 10/3/1 finish are akin to a ceiling projection. In GPP, we want ceiling above all else!
Let’s get to it.
According to my model, Day has the highest win equity in the field. Rose, Rory, and Rahm (in that order) lead top 10 and top 3 probability, but Day is a close 4th, and there’s a significant drop after that. More importantly, Day would give you leverage over the chalky Tony Finau. Let’s see how the two stack up: according to my model, Finau has a higher chance to make the cut, at 87% to 84%, but his advantage ends there. Day is projected for $50,000 more earnings, nearly equivalent top 10 odds, about 1.5x the top 3 probability, and more than double the win equity. Why is Finau “safer” while Day has the higher ceiling? Day makes more bogeys and more birdies, making him the higher variance player. I dove into this idea in the model breakdown article above. It’s pretty cool stuff!
Fowler won’t be super low-owned either, but he really pops in the model. In fact, his projections are nearly identical across the board to Finau’s, yet he’ll be lower owned and he’s $600 cheaper. For the record, I’m actually not saying you should fade Finau – his projections are all solid. Rather, I’m just using him as a point of reference to show inefficiencies in ownership for Day and Fowler.
Rickie’s SG profile and bogey/birdie percentages might be the most consistently solid of all players. He gains no fewer than .25 strokes in a single SG category, while also never gaining more than .5. His Bogey Avoidance (counter-intuitively defined as % of holes a player makes bogey or worse) is an elite 13%, yet also has a significantly above average birdie or better percentage of 23.5%. Last season he was consistently priced with the studs and still garnered a decent amount of ownership, so I had very little of him. It seems both the pricing and ownership has over-corrected.
Woodland and Finau appear to be competing for highest owned player of the week. Like Finau, the model likes Woodland a lot. However, Spieth and Reed, and Champ provide three opportunities to gain a ton of leverage with high upside plays. Spieth is nowhere near Woodland off the tee, but he still gains over .25 strokes driving, is elite with his irons, and is better from both a BA and BoB perspective. Similar to Finau vs Day, Woodland has a clear edge in Cut Odds over Spieth, but Spieth has an even larger advantage in top 10/3/1 probabilities. The public seems terrified of playing Spieth right now and I believe we should take advantage in large field GPPs.
Reed rates slightly worse than Spieth across the board, but comes without the recent form concern and should be even lower owned. He still edges out Woodland in Top 10%, projected to do so in 22.3% of his events, to Woodland’s 19.4%. Reed is 12th in top 10 probability according to the model, yet is being totally overlooked despite a fair price tag.
Champ is gaining nearly an entire stroke per round off the tee, and driving is crucial at Torrey Pines. His incredible distance makes this performance sustainable, and the fact that he’s actually lost strokes with his irons and around the green suggests he has plenty of room to grow. Let’s hope his MDF in Hawaii keeps people away from him this week. His ownership projection is just low enough for me to include him in this article, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up lower owned than he’s currently projected. The model absolutely loves him, but I don’t believe he’s played enough rounds on Tour yet to take too much stock in his projections.
Aphibarnrat is another guy who stands out because of his top 10/3/1 probabilities. His bogey percentage is really high, making him risky, but his career 17% top 10 percentage is strong. Kiradech is a strong driver of the golf ball, an essential skill at Torrey Pines.Fantasy Golf