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PGA DFS Picks: The Tokyo Olympics

The Olympics are in full swing and so are the PGA DFS contests on DraftKings and FanDuel, so we’re bringing you our picks to help find you some gold!

PGA DFS pricing for the Olympics is pretty tight this week – and we’ve already lost some big names to COVID, but there’s a path to victory if we’re using the right guys. Let’s get to it!

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PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Top-heavy (10 of the world’s top 25) international Olympic field of 60 golfers
  • Early lock time: Wednesday, July 28 – 6:30 p.m. EST
  • No course history (except Japanese golfers, but we have some comps
  • No cut event
  • The course: Kasumigaseki Country Club (East Course)
    • 7,400+ yards, Par 71 – Arnold Palmer/Tom Lehman design/consult
    • Bentgrass Greens that should be soft/receptive from rain and humidity
    • Course features little water that’s in play but plenty of bunkers (68)
    • Wider fairways that a typical PGA event
    • Long course with two 625+ yard Par 5s, three Pars 4s over 500 yards
    • Comps (similar layout/design): Colonial CC, Firestone GC, Riviera CC, Quail Hollow, Shadow Creek, Congaree
    • 2016 Defending Gold Medal champ: Justin Rose (N/A)
  • Overall form probably the most important “non-metric” we can look at
  • Focus Stat Categories: Strokes Gained: Approach; SG: Ball Striking, SG: Off the Tee, Par 4s Gained (450-500), Sand Saves

The Picks:

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

Collin Morikawa (DK $11,200) – The betting favorite in the Olympics, there’s no flaws to his game right now and the course conditions should keep him firing at flags and making birdies. He’s played well at just about all the course comps over the past couple of seasons and is the best golfer in the field. Fine for cash, GPP – any format you’re playing.

Justin Thomas (DK $10,900) – Thomas has not recorded a top 10 on the PGA Tour since his win at the Players Championship, but he’s got four rounds to learn the ropes of this venue and rise to the top of the leaderboard. I have a feeling he’ll be somewhere in the top 5 come Saturday evening, and I’ll have plenty of shares in GPPs.

Hideki Matsuyama (DK $10,500) – A positive COVID test forced the Masters champion to withdraw from the Rocket Mortgage and kept him from traveling to Royal St. George’s for the Open Championship. Matsuyama has experience at this course and really wants to win gold for the host country. He also checks all the boxes this week as he’s top 25 on the PGA Tour in SG: Approach, SG: Tee-to-Green, par-5 scoring and FedEx Cup points.

Rory McIlroy (DK $10,300) – McIlroy has gained 63.8 strokes total over his past 36 rounds on Tom Fazio designs, and this course seems top be right up his alley. He’s entering this competition playing for Ireland and will be teeing it up alongside Morikawa and Sungjae Im on Wednesday. He’s a great way to start your more balanced teams if you’re fading Morikawa and JT.

Paul Casey (DK $9,500) – I considered writing up Patrick Reed, but think he’s more of a GPP play given the last-minute replacement of Bryson DeChambeau and his struggles off the tee recently. While the wider fairways should help Captain America, I prefer the savings we get with Casey, who fares well at no-cut events, finished T15 at the Open Championship and plays well on Fazio courses.

Also consider: Xander Schauffele, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Reed (GPP), Shane Lowry

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

Abraham Ancer (DK $9,300) – Ancer seems like a relatively safe play in this price range as he’s a long hitter who’s exceptional off the tee and with his approaches. If he can stay out of the many bunkers that pepper this course, he should fare well enough to challenge for a medal.

Cameron Smith (DK $8,900) – The Man of Smoke and Mirrors is a big hitter who excels with his putter – a solid combination on a relatively unknown course where Smith should have the requisite tools to get hot and contend come the weekend. Among the 60 golfers in the field, only Schauffele and Alex Noren have been better with the flat stick over the past 24 rounds.

Corey Conners (DK $8,800) – Conners is fourth in the field for SG: OTT over the past 24 rounds and while there are plenty of golfers with more upside around the greens, I have a hard time seeing him finish outside the top 20 here this week. With a little luck and a hot putter, he could notch a top 10 finish.

Garrick Higgo (DK $8,300) – A super-talented hitter with a flair for the dramatic, Higgo gets another high-profile start in his young career with this appearance in Tokyo, where he’ll be representing South Africa in his quest for gold. A very intriguing GPP play who may make my single-entry lineup.

Mackenzie Hughes (DK $8,000) – I really like the Canadians this week, albeit for different reasons. Whereas Conners gets the nod for his ball-striking, the form that Hughes has shown the last month or so is impressive. It’s very hard to argue against giving him a shot at this still-reduced price point.

Si Woo Kim (DK $7,800) – He’s had a bizarre 2020-21 season, but the upside is still there. Way back in January Kim fired a final-round 64 to win The American Express by one stroke over Patrick Cantlay, earning his third PGA Tour victory. This event means a lot, as he skipped the Open Championship to prepare for the Olympics, and a win here would mean he gets to avoid mandatory two-year military service in South Korea – a career obstacle that has hindered many golfers from the Land of the Morning Calm.

Sebastian Munoz (DK $7,700) – The Colombian is one of my favorite golfers for value and upside in this tough pricing algorithm, finishing T3 at one of our course comps (Colonial CC) earlier this year at the Charles Schwab Challenge. He’s fifth in this field for SG: Total on Fazio designs over the past 36 rounds and fourth in SG: Putting (on Bentgrass) over his past 24 rounds.

Also consider: Sungjae Im, Tommy Fleetwood, Guido Migliozzi, Thomas Pieters, Carlos Ortiz

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

Jhonattan Vegas (DK $7,400) – Vegas sports excellent SG:OTT numbers, which should help him tremendously on a golf course that seems to favor length a bit over driving accuracy. The no-cut format should help his chances.

Rikuya Hoshino (DK $7,300) – Hoshino is a Japanese golfer who finished T26 at the U.S. Open in June. Once we get down in this range, the options are limited, and his experience here is enough of an advantage for me to drop him in a few lineups.

Mito Pereira (DK $7,300) –The form has been great, as the Chilean sensation finished T5 (Barbasol) and T6 (3M Open) in consecutive PGA Tour events in July. If we start a GPP lineup with Munoz, Kim, Hoshino and Pereira, we still have $10K per golfer for the remaining two slots.

C.T. Pan (DK $7,100) – CT is playing for Chinese Taipei this week, and he’s got plenty of experience in stiff competition. His road to the 2016 Olympics was a long one, but he finished T30 – good enough for me to give him a look this time around as well.

Henrik Norlander (DK $6,800) – The last golfer I’ll consider in this range is Norlander, who ranks a distant fifth (behind Casey, Schauffele, Morikawa and Hovland) in the field for SG on Par 5s in the past 24 rounds. He’s a fine way to get some value in your lineups without sacrificing too much upside, since we know he can get it going on the scoring holes.

More value golfers for GPPs: Thomas Detry, Matthias Schwab, Ryan Fox, Rory Sabbatini, Anirban Lahiri

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

Wu Ashun (DK $6,500) – He’s made the cut in nine of his last 10 EURO events, and while there’s no cut here, Ashun has the birdie-making upside to notch a Top 25 finish. He’s an unfamiliar name who could surprise in Tokyo.

Fabrizio Zanotti (DK $6,400) – Zanotti finished T15 at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, and he’s the only golfer from Paraguay in the field. Huis most recent finishes are a T65 at the Scottish Open and T33 in the Irish Open – solid considering the glut of unknowns in this price range.

Sepp Straka (DK $6,400) – The dynamic Straka should benefit from the layout and format – where one bad round won’t cost you the weekend and a chance at cashing. At just $6,400, I’ll have some shares.

Additional punts: Sami Valimaki, Jorge Campillo, Gunn Charoenkul

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