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PGA DFS Picks: Farmers Insurance Open

In this edition of PGA DFS picks, we’re looking for a big payday at the Farmers Insurance open and helping you find some winning teams!

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PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Strong, full field of 152 golfers
  • Cut: 36 holes, Top 65 and ties
  • 2020 winner: Marc Leishman (-15)
  • The courses: Torrey Pines North (one of first two rounds) & South (three rounds of four)
    • Both Par 72 (North: 7,258 South: 7,698 yards)
    • Coastal courses so wind/elements are a factor
    • South course is tougher, and a long driver helps
    • Harder-to-hit greens
    • North: Bentgrass greens; South: Poa Annua greens
  • Focus Stat Categories: Strokes Gained: Approach, Birdie or Better %, Driving Distance, SG: Putting, SG: Off the Tee, SG: Around the Green, Driving Distance, Bogey Avoidance, Par 4s: 450-500

The Picks:

Elite PGA DFS (DK $9,500 and up):

Jon Rahm (DK $11,300) – Rahm’s sore back kept him out of the AMEX last week, but that’s about the only thing keeping me from clicking his name as a lock in all my lineups. He’s got a win (2017) along with a couple top five finishes here, has the all-around game to win again, and he’s second on my mixed model behind only Tony Finau. I couldn’t dissuade anyone from even going lock button, 100-percent Rahm, and he’ll be the core of my single-entry lineups.

Rory McIlroy (DK $11,000) – Initial ownership projections have McIlroy coming in under Rahm and Finau, but he’s priced with them and has top five finishes in both his visits. Sia likes him and will talk more about it in his livestream tonight, and McIlroy is tops in three very important focus stat categories: SG:APP, BoB% and Bogey Avoidance. Rory occasionally has decent missed cut equity compared to the rest of the big names, but these courses and the possibility of some difficult conditions should play to his strengths.

Tony Finau (DK $10,700) – Finau is coming off a solo fourth last week (-19, four strokes behind the winner) and his track record here is solid, with five straight top 20s (but only one top five). Because he’s priced up so high and always struggles to actually win golf tournaments, he might be best used in cash. Finau could get really chalky in GPPs, so it might be a good time to fade him over the two guys above.

Xander Schauffele (DK $10,400) – Schauffele’s best pro finish here (his home course in high school, ironically) is a T25 in 2018 (surrounded by a bunch of missed cuts), but there’s nothing in the mixed model to suggest he shouldn’t play well here – aside from a minor dip when it comes to SG:P, where he’s 68th in the field. His excuse is that he’s been “consistently” sick when it’s time to tee it up at Torrey Pines, but with a COVID-19 diagnosis and recovery out of the way, maybe he’s finally ready to play well here.

Also consider: Patrick Reed, Harris English (GPP)

Mid-Range PGA DFS (DK $7,600 to $9,400):

Matthew Wolff (DK $9,100) – Wolff is the type of fearless golfing talent who could fare quite well at Torrey Pines with his length, and his T21 in last year’s debut run speaks to his ability to adjust well to a challenge. The biggest concern is how Wolff will rebound if he’s missing the Poa Annua greens (he’s No. 131 in the filed in SG:ARG). He’s definitely got the ball-striking and ability to thrive on this surface – it’s just a matter of avoiding some bad bounces and keeping his head on straight.

Marc Leishman (DK $8.700) – The form is good (T4 at the Sony Open) and he’s the defending champion at Torrey Pines – so he’ll be in plenty of my builds. I’m more than a little concerned about rostering a chalky Marc Leishman, but he’s projected closer to 10 percent, which means I could stomach using him in about 1/5 GPPs and even a low-cost single-entry.

Jason Day (DK $8,600) – Day hasn’t played since a T12 at the RSM Classic in mid-November, but that could be a good thing – as his troublesome back may have benefited from the layoff. If we get word that Day (No. 8 in my mixed model) is looking healthy in the practice rounds, I’ve got no problem using him in GPPs and hoping his ownership stays down.

Ryan Palmer (DK $8,400) – Palmer is 3/3 with a T2 here during the 2017-18 season, and he hasn’t missed a cut since the U.S. Open. The form is decent and he’s No. 7 in my model this week. Best deployed in cash games, he might get chalky in tournaments – so I’ll either be all-in (single entry lock and 50 percent ownership in GPPs) or trying to come in around the field in MMEs.

Adam Scott (DK $8,300) – Scott is another darling of my model this week, and he’s priced very affordably for a man who finished solo second in the 2019 Farmers (Justin Rose was -21, two strokes better than Scott’s -19). The tour veteran can struggle with has flatstick, but a solid ball-striking veteran like Accurate Adam can get hot enough knocking down flagsticks as that it doesn’t matter.

Cameron Champ (DK $7,900) – I was all over him last week, but once an unlucky flagstick strike that caromed back into the water turned a birdie into a quadruple bogey, his confidence was shot. Back on a course where his gargantuan length off the tee could be a huge advantage, I’m jumping back aboard in GPPs – but he’s way too risky for cash.

Talor Gooch (DK $7,600) –Gooch actually finished T3 in the aforementioned 2019 Farmers and he’s popping on my models (No. 11 overall). A T21 last week and a couple Top 5s since October help contribute to my interest in this straight hitter who fares ell in many of the focus stat categories.

Also consider: Viktor Hovland, Hideki Matsuyama (GPP), Si Woo Kim (cash), Cameron Smith, Billy Horschel (GPP), Cameron Davis, Gary Woodland, Francesco Molinari (GPP), Corey Conners, Sam Burns

Value PGA DFS (DK $6,600 to 7,500):

Carlos Ortiz (DK $7,500) – This would be a form play, as Ortiz has missed two straight cuts here and is only No. 67 on my model. Sia is with me on the inherent risk, but we both like him for his upside.

Charles Howell (DK $7,500) – A cash game staple this week, Howell has a solid Torrey Pines resume and is a fine play in all formats, as hi ownership may stay low coming off a MC at the AMEX.

Max Homa (DK $7,400) – Homa seems to be shaping up since a rough fall schedule, he finished T9 here last season, and he’s No. 38 overall in my model. Too risky for cash but worth a look in GPPs.

Doug Ghim (DK $7,200) – Ghim is a WinDaily favorite and one of the best single-round performers on tour. A T20 here in 2019 and his T5 last week make me interested in large-field GPPs – so hopefully his ownership stays low.

John Huh (DK $7,000) – Consistently good at this venue, Huh has three top 25 finishes over his past three months (including a top 15) and he’s been gaining strokes on the field at an alarming rate (5.7) over his last five tournaments. The price is just too low.

Brandt Snedeker ($7,000) – Stay away in cash and single-entry, but keep an eye on Snedeker for his performance at this venue and ability to putt and scramble himself onto the leaderboard. Sneds has missed three straight cuts but he’s 5-for-5 here since 2016.

Harry Higgs (DK $6,900) – Higgs finished T9 in 2020 at Torrey Pines and his ownership should stay around 5% or lower this week. He’s a longshot to win or even finish in the Top 10 again, but there is some upside here in this price range.

Adam Schenk (DK $6,700) – He’s not the best ball striker in the field and there are plenty of obstacle to him finishing in the Top 15, but he made the cut here in 2019 after a rocky debut the previous year and he crept into the Top 40 of my model. With a 1-2% projected ownership, I’m comfortable using him in one or two of my 20 max entry GPPs.

More value golfers to consider: Alex Noren (GPP), Lucas Glover, Tom Hoge (GPP), Luke List, Charl Schwartzel (GPP), Richy Werenski (GPP)

Longshot Punts PGA DFS (DK $6,500 and under):

Matthew NeSmith (DK $6,500) – This is not the land of sure things, so do not hit the lock button with NeSmith – who made the cut here last year in his debut and finished T30. For that, he’s a 1/20 option in large field GPPs.

Tyler McCumber (DK $6,400) – McCumber is actually No. 20 in my model, which was a pleasant surprise in looking for low-cost options in this range. He made the cut last week and like NeSmith, played well in his debut at Torrey Pines last year, finishing T21 with Will Gordon.

Will Gordon (DK $6,300) – Well, what do you know? The long-hitting Gordon is $100 cheaper than McCumber but doesn’t get any love from my model this week (No. 105 overall). If I play McCumber in 2/20 GPPs, I’ll use Gordon in one.

Additional punt options: Robbie Shelton, J.J. Spaun, Beau Hossler (GPP)

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