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Sam Burns

In this edition of PGA DFS picks, we’re looking for a big payday at the PGA Tour’ Championship helping you find some winning teams in GPPs!

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PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Just 30 golfers & no cut
  • Players starting “scores” are determined by their FedExCup positions (-10 thru even par)
  • Those starting scores are reflected in the pricing
  • The course: East Lake Golf Club (Atlanta, GA)
    • Par 70: 7,346 yards – Donald Ross design (renovations have made it tougher over the years)
    • Bermuda Greens
    • Long par 3s and 4s
      • Other Ross courses with correlative success: Sedgefield, Plainfield, Aronimink Golf Club, Oak Hill, Pinehurst #2.
      • Weather expected to have minimal effect this week, course will be receptive during outset
  • Focus Stat Categories: Strokes Gained: Approach, SG: Ball Striking, Opportunities Gained, SG: Putting (Bermuda), Par 4s Gained (450-500), Par 5s Gained, Good Drives Gained

The Picks:

Elite PGA DFS (DK $11,000 and up):

Patrick Cantlay (DK $13,400) – It’s going to be hard to pay the obnoxious price for the guy starting off 10 strokes under par, but the performance of Cantlay’s driver and putter in that epic playoff victory shows that he’s really in a good place (with a two shot lead over the heading into the Tour Championship. I have more interest in the other guys but will find a way to fit him into 2/10 GPPs.

Jon Rahm (DK $13,000) – After a hot start at Caves Valley, Rahm seemed to get a bit distracted and annoyed and faded down the stretch, finishing in a share of ninth place after shooting a two-under 70 in the final round of the BMW Championship. He’s only four back of the lead heading into the Tour Championship, but he’s awfully expensive, so he almost has to win to justify the price. I’ll use him in 2/10 GPPs.

Tony Finau (DK $11,800) – Finau already has a one stroke lead on Rahm and sits just three back after a blistering final round 63 that included birdies on five of his final six holes – the lowest round of the day by two shots. His confidence and putting is at an all-time high and those are traditionally the only things that have kept him from the elite tier of PGA Tour golfers.

Also consider: Bryson DeChambeau (GPP), Justin Thomas (GPP)

Mid-Range PGA DFS (DK $8,000 to $10,900):

Dustin Johnson (DK $10,700) – I’ve got to hand it to Steven Polardi (AKA Sicily Kid) with his DJ pick last week, since I was unconvinced he had his driver figured out. Johnson’s 27 birdies were the second most in the field for the week, and East Lake, while difficult, has been one of his favorite venues. DJ also ranked fourth in SG: OTT last week and seventh in SG: Putting, so he’s got a shot at defending his title this week.

Rory McIlroy (DK 9,300) – Rory is just way too cheap given how well he’s been striking it (he ranked second in SG: OTT and fourth in SG: T2G last week). At this price he really only needs to sneak into the Top 5 for the week, and he’s only four strokes off of that slot to start the tournament. He’s a horse for the East Lake course and will be in my core for cash and single-entry GPP.

Xander Schauffele (DK 8,900) – Schauffele’s in a similar position to Rory (starting at -2) and is even $400 cheaper. Sia points out in the Initial Picks article that Xander’s true score in last year’s event was -15, and his solid course history (and track record in no-cut events) means he’s an excellent (but likely popular) value play this week.

Viktor Hovland $8,000) – Hovland immediately stuck out to me as a guy who we routinely look to in cash builds for his consistency, and even if that hasn’t ben there of late (largely due to a poor putter), the change of venue and immediacy of the Tour Championship should help him exorcise some of those demons and finish in the Top 10.

Also consider: Cameron Smith (GPP), Harris English, Sam Burns (GPP)

Value PGA DFS (DK $5,000 to $7,900):

Brooks Koepka (DK $7,800) – Something has been off about Koepka for a while now, but he made 21 birdies last week despite some poor putting and we know he usually saves his most epic performances for high profile events. He may not have a great shot at winning, but he’s in the same starting position as McIlroy and Schauffele and comes at a severely discounted price.

Scottie Scheffler (DK $6,800) – As well as he hit the ball on approach last week, I could see Scheffler getting his driver straightened out and come out firing with a 65 or 66 and cutting the gap to five strokes of the lead after Day 1. He’s a sneaky play at this price and will be in my single-entry core.

Hideki Matsuyama (DK $6,400) – We know that Deki can make birdies in bunches when he’s rolling it good, since his ball striking remains elite on the PGA Tour. The reigning Master champ is coming off a disappointing week at Caves Valley, but he’s bound to popular at this price.

Daniel Berger (DK $5,800) – Berger will garner a ton of ownership and makes a lot of sense as a starting value piece for cash game builds, especially considering he finds a way to sneak into the Top 15 at East Lake almost every year. My GPP ownership will be predicate don where the field lands.

Joaquin Niemann (DK $5,600) – Niemann started off slowly last week but came alive with 15 birdies over his last two rounds to sneak into the Top 30. The price is way too low and he’ll be in my core of GPP value plays, possibly making the final cut for my single-entry builds.

Also consider: Sungjae Im, Jason Kokrak, Erik van Rooyen

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It’s Week 2 of the FedEx Cup playoffs, and our PGA DFS picks should help us find some winning teams at the BMW Championship!

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PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Smaller tournament field of top 70 (69 in the field) golfers in FedEx Cup points
  • No Cut
  • Stacked playoff field with even more on the line
  • The course: Caves Valley Golf Club (newer venue with not much history)
    • Par 72: 7,542 yards – designed by Tom Fazio
    • Fast A-4 Bentgrass greens and deep bunkers
    • Long course where driving distance is more important than usual
    • Bulk of par 3s are 220+ yards – one that requires carrying a pond the entire hole
    • Lots of long approaches at 175+ yards
    • The course has some wide-open spaces but adds a few interesting water hazards – holes 11 and 12 have large ponds flanking the right side of the hole
    • We need birdie makers and guys who rack up DK points because it’s a no cut event
  • Focus Stat Categories: Strokes Gained: Approach, SG: Off the Tee, Birdie or Better%, SG: Putting (Bentgrass) Par 4s Gained (450-500), Proximity from 200+ yards, Bogey Avoidance, Sand Saves

The Picks:

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

Jon Rahm (DK $11,700) – He’s No. 1 on my mixed model and is the clear top dog and betting favorite, despite the final few holes at the Northern Trust that saw him slide into solo third place. That finish was good enough for his fourth straight top 10 and 12th of 2021. No reason to move away from him this week other than the possibility he’s carrying some frustration into the BMW.

Xander Schauffele (DK $11,100) – I like the idea of Xander getting a no-cut event on the heels of a weird week that saw him crack 70 only once – a second-round 62 that was a very short-lived tie for the course record. He’s the best option over $10K – albeit a pretty expensive one – that isn’t named Rahm.

Justin Thomas (DK $10,600) – No more discounts for JT, but I love him in GPPs, where his T2G game and ability to make birdies could help him rise to the occasion. He made 66 of 68 putts inside 10 feet last week, but never seemed to follow up his opening round 63 with lights-out play. Perhaps he’s ready to do that in the second week of the playoffs, when the stakes are a little higher.

Tony Finau (DK $9,800) – I joked last week (and so did the Breakdown crew) about how “he’s not much of a threat to win,” but could be a great to help you win a GPP. Well, he won the damn thing – and that confidence boost is just what’s been holding him back in final rounds over the past few years. There’s no way I’m fading him after that gutsy performance.

Also consider: Dustin Johnson (GPP), Cameron Smith

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

Bryson DeChambeau (DK $9,300) – His distance and ability tot make putts seem tailored for this particular venue, and he shows up as second overall in my mixed model. While his inconsistency and preponderance to make bad decisions – and stupid bogeys – reared their ugly heads at Liberty National, he could dominate at Caves Valley, a venue where power and T2G precision are required. And I love the discount.

Patrick Cantlay (DK $9,200) – We mentioned last week that he prefers these A-24 Bentgrass greens, and that he’s third on tour in SG: T2G in 2021. Perhaps this week he can put it all together and climb up the leaderboards if a few more putts go down early. A great GPP play with Top 3 upside.

Viktor Hovland (DK $9,100) – A few days after a broken putter self-sabotaged his final round and tanked a lot of the WinDaily readership’s lineups, we should probably go right back to the ell with Hovland, who’s a T2G monster and normally seems pretty even-keeled on the golf course. With no real course history to look at, he doesn’t lose any advantage that more experienced tour veterans players would normally have.

Scottie Scheffler (DK $8,900) – Scheffler seems almost mispriced considering his upside and the way he checks all the boxes this week at Caves Valley. He’s sixth overall on my model and will be in all my single-entry GPP builds and up to 40 or 50 percent of my lineups. I love his chances to get a win here. Go get some exposure to the tall 25-year-old shining star with the great T2G game.

Corey Conners (DK $8,600) – The Canadian ball-striking sensation checks in at 15thoverall in my rankings, his putting woes and weak Driving Distance rankings the only things holding him back from the top 10. I’ll be a little more careful with him this week, maybe limiting my GPP ownership and using him in some crafty cash builds.

Sam Burns (DK $8,300) – Last week we didn’t seen Burns on too many ”top picks” lists, and while he didn’t do enough to help take down the large-field GPPs, he was T11 after three rounds at Liberty National and I love him again for that type of tournament this week. The T2G numbers aren’t excellent, but he’s got a bit of the Cameron Smith ability to bang it out there and clean things up by capitalizing on Par 5s and making a few more birdies than everybody else. He and Smith are actually right next to each other at Nos. 28 and 29 in my mixed model.

Paul Casey (DK $8,200) – Casey seems like the cash game play to Burns’ GPP analog, but I like him everywhere this week in a no-cut event at this discount price. The nicest guy on tour has the chops to live in the elite tier with the big boys in just about any tournament, and his proximity on approaches 200+ yards is one stat I really like.

Sungjae Im (DK $8,000) – I’m including Im here based on the detailed Breakdown that Sia, Joel and Spencer gave us this week – one of the things that got me interested in Finau last week. Im showed up 25th I my mixed model and while he has some momentum after a scrappy top 20, I was kind of on the fence until they touted him. The price is excellent and the upside is there on this golf course, where his T2G skills are at a premium.

Shane Lowry (DK $7,900) – Still a great price on Lowry! We talked about his top 5 upside last week and he was right there until a less-than-stellar back nine. The Irishman ranked sixth in SG: T2G for the week at Liberty National and should be priced well over $8K. Take advantage of that disrespect by rostering him in 25-30% (or more) of your lineups.

Keegan Bradley (DK $7,700) – He cracked the PGA Tour’s BMW Top 20 Power Rankings this week, which always provides a nice little glimpse of what could be some the chalkier PGA DFS plays for the week, but Sia really likes him and I’m intrigued by his excellent ball-striking and ability to hit good drives that aren’t that far back from the big boys.

Also consider: Rory McIlroy, Daniel Berger, Abraham Ancer, Webb Simpson Joaquin Niemann, Jason Kokrak (GPP)

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

Cameron Tringale (DK $7,500) – Spencer likes Tringale this week and while I have harder time getting him right, it’s a fine time to go back to the well considering the veteran’s solid play over the past 36 rounds. I don’t love him most weeks, but he’s been consistent over the past four events (T14-T-26-T16 and T21 last week at Liberty National) and he can go really low some days.

Cameron Champ (DK $7,300) – Champ’s game has been rounding into better form and he’s exorcised some of the putting and short-game demons that plague his power-forward game. He’s gotten it done since a T11 at the John Deere Classic and his win at the 3M Open, which he capped with a bogey-free final round 66. Steer clear in cash games, but get some exposure in GPPs.

Jhonattan Vegas (DK $7,100) – Vegas is my favorite play in the low-$7K range because of his distance, OTT numbers and T2G metrics. In fact, he’s No. 13 in my model and the only $7K player in my top 15. I’ll be using him in my single-entry builds and a lot of GPPs. Sure, he might get chalky if we’re all sticking to our models and playing the optimals, but this is a truly great spot for him, especially with no cut and  guaranteed four cracks at this gettable golf course.

Maverick McNealy (DK $7,000) – We said last week that he really likes long golf courses and he ended up as both Sia’s Secret Weapon (SW) and my Bargain Blowout Baby (BBB), two low-ownership special Discord-exclusive perks that we divulge on Wednesday night for our premium subscribers. The T2G numbers are there and I think he’ll benefit from the smooth, fast Bentgrass greens this week as well.

Cameron Davis (DK $6,900) – Davis is only No. 32 in my mixed model, but I like the fact that he can plop one into the water, hit a rock and ricochet off a few things in the grandstands before landing 10 feet from the hole for an eventual eagle. Seriously – I like him in a no-cut event where he’ll have some leeway to spray it a bit and get back to the business of making birdies, where he’s eight in the field in BoB Gained.

Stewart Cink (DK $6,600) – Cink might end up being my BBB if his ownership is low enough, because no-cut events make it almost impossible to find non-chalky value under $7K and less than 5% ownership. So maybe no BBB this week, but I’ll have shares of Cink for his length off the tee and “veteran tour grinder” makeup. But he’ll be well under 10% for my overall exposure.

More value golfers to consider: Harold Varner, Charley Hoffman (GPP), Branden Grace, Marc Leishman (GPP), Sebastian Munoz (GPP), Carlos Ortiz (GPP)

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

Keith Mitchell (DK $6,500) – We can load up on long hitters like Mitchell a bit more this week, but I suspect he’ll be popular after his epically clutch finish at Liberty National to make the top 70. Plenty to like about his game heading into a venue that requires length OTT.

Ryan Palmer (DK $6,400) – Palmer is long enough, and he could fly under-the-radar this week, so I’ll be getting 10-15% exposure in my large-field GPPs. Perfect last piece for medium stars-and-scrubs builds. Maybe this is the week he surprises and sneaks into the top 15.

Patton Kizzire (DK $6,200) – Kizzire is a little riskier but benefits from the no-cut format and the perks of DK scoring, where birdies and eagles (and streaks) are king. I worry about his ability to find fairways and greens, but there’s upside in his power-and-putting game.

Hudson Swafford (DK $6,000) – The super-risky Swafford only makes sense as a last piece on extreme stars-and-scrubs, but the DK scoring rules and guaranteed four rounds are his friend this week. We know he’s a dynamic player who can get really hot, go low and win tournaments when they are ripe for scoring.

Additional GPP punts: Emiliano Grillo, Aaron Wise, Talor Gooch, Tom Hoge

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In this edition of PGA DFS picks, we’re looking for a big payday at the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust helping you find some winning teams in GPPs!

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PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Smaller tournament field of top 125 golfers in FedEx Cup points
  • Cut: Top 65 and ties after 36 holes
  • Stacked playoff field with lots on the line
  • The course: Liberty National (Rotating venue with Boston)
    • Par 71: 7,410 yards – designed by Robert E. Cupp and Tom Kite
    • Links-style except for greens – and right on the Hudson River in NJ/NY area
    • Smaller but fast A-4 Bentgrass greens that really benefit guys who prefer that surface
    • T2G efficiency required here
    • Form seems to be important based on previous winners
    • Over 31% of approach shots come from 200+ yards, but TOUR average is only around 23%
  • Defending champ: Dustin Johnson (-30 at TPC Boston)
  • 2019 Champ (@ Liberty National): Patrick Reed (-16) over Abraham Ancer (-15)
  • Focus Stat Categories: Strokes Gained: Approach, SG: Off the Tee, SG: Around the Green, SG: Putting (Bentgrass) Par 4s Gained (450-500), Proximity from 200+ yards, Bogey Avoidance

The Picks:

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

Jon Rahm (DK $11,500) – The No. 1 player in the world hasn’t played much lately since he was forced to withdraw from the Olympics after another positive COVID test. But his win at the U.S. Open and T3 at Royal St. George’s are proof positive he’s the frontrunner in the playoffs, and his complete T2G game and masterful short game combine to check all the boxes here. With pricing up, I like him best for GPP, but if you can find a cash lineup with him that you like, I wouldn’t blow it up.

Dustin Johnson (DK $11,000) – According to the PGA Tour stats, DJ was 23.53 total strokes better than the field average last year at TPC Boston when he ran away with the Northern Trust at -30. It was the third time he had gained 20 or more strokes en route to victory, and the change of venue shouldn’t hurt his game. He’s eighth in this field at Proximity from approaches 200+ yards over his last 36 rounds, he putts better on Bentgrass, and he makes for a great GPP play this week.

Jordan Spieth (DK $10,800) – Only a handful of players have been better at the 450-500 yard Par 4s over the past 36 rounds (solid GPP options Collin Morikawa and Rory McIlroy are a couple of them), and none of them can putt like Spieth can. Normally I wouldn’t look Spieth’s way for a cash game build in a field this good, but Sia really sung his praises in the excellent WinDaily Breakdown video, and Jordan has had such a great 2021 that I think I’m using him in cash and single entry as well as GPP.

Justin Thomas (DK $9,800) – JT hasn’t put it all together in a while (his last win was at the Players and he had lackluster finishes in the most recent majors) but he’s shown an affinity for playoff golf in the past and he’s tops in the field in SG: T2G over his last 24 rounds on courses over 7,400 yards in length. He was T12 here in 2019 and this is a good spot to jump back on the JT wagon in GPPs.

Also consider: Collin Morikawa, Rory McIlroy (GPP), Bryson DeChambeau (Cash), Viktor Hovland

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

Abraham Ancer (DK $9,400) – The freshly minted PGA Tour winner (WGC-FedEx St. Jude) was runner-up of this event at Liberty National in 2019, and he’s got to be brimming with confidence after the huge breakthrough in Memphis at TPC Southwind. Ancer is fourth overall in my mixed model and I’ll have exposure in my GPPs despite the inflated price this week.

Scottie Scheffler (DK $9,300) – Scheffler could be described as a decent putter, and that’s probably the weakest part of his game these days. He’s posted top 15 finishes in six of his last eight events and he thrives on long golf courses like this. There’s a bunch of golfers to like in this price range, but Scottie could be the sneakiest once again.

Patrick Cantlay (DK $9,200) – While I have an aversion to Cantlay in PGS DFS and he had a really rough stretch earlier this year, there’s no denying that he’s played much better golf since the PGA Championship, when he finished T23 and won in his next start at the Memorial. He prefers these A-24 Bentgrass greens, is third on tour in SG: T2G in 2021 and he finished T12 here in 2019.

Harris English (DK $8,800) – English has been stellar over the past three months, winning the Travelers at TPC River Highlands, finishing solo third at the U.S. Open, and posting top 15s in five of his last seven tournaments. He’s coming off a solo fourth at the WGC-FedEx St. Jude and I can’t find a reason to dislike him at Liberty National, even if he ends up at a really popular play.

Patrick Reed (DK $8,600) – Reed won here in 2019, and in true Captain America form went 3-1-1 when the Presidents Cup was played at this venue in 2017. He missed the cut at the Open Championship and has had some trouble keeping the ball in the fairway lately, but he’s a brilliant playoff competitor and a great GPP pivot from the more popular players in this price range.

Adam Scott (DK $8,400) – Scott missed an easy birdie putt and lost in that epic six-man playoff a week ago after firing a five-under 65 in the final round of the Wyndham Championship, but his ascent up the FedEx cup standings was impressive enough for lots of golf writers to pick him to win this week. He has course history behind him, with a fifth-place finish in 2019 and a win in 2013.

Tony Finau (DK $8,200) – I’ve been burned many times by Finau but I’m adding him to my player pool based on Joel Schreck and Spencer Aguiar’s recommendation in the Breakdown. A closer look at his numbers shows he’s good at avoiding three-putts and his SG ARG numbers have improved. He’s not much of a threat to win, but he could be that value guy who finishes top 10 and helps you secure a GPP win.

Sam Burns (DK $8,000) – I haven’t seen Burns on too many ”top picks” lists this week, but he’s showing up in my mixed model and he’s coming off a blistering 64 in the final round at TPC Southwind that got him int a playoff with Ancer. He’s awesome off the tee, can get really hot with the putter, and the fact that nobody’s talking about him make me love him for large-field GPPs.

Tyrrell Hatton (DK $7.800) – Hatton will be a lot chalkier than Burns, but the price is way too low for what he gives you on courses this length. He’s sprinkled in some bad performances with a few top 20s, and he’s No. 17 on my mixed model, in large part due to how well he handles the 200+ approaches and A-4 Bentgrass. He’s a solid option in all formats.

Jason Kokrak (DK $7,700) – I had lots of Kokrak last week when he missed the cut at the Wyndham Championship, but there wasn’t anything on the line then and I’m going back to the well this week with some exposure in GPPs. I don’t want to be one week off and have no shares, but I’m not going overboard.

Also consider: Daniel Berger (Cash), Webb Simpson, Paul Casey (GPP), Joaquin Niemann, Sungjae Im, Brian Harman, Ian Poulter, Russell Henley

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

Shane Lowry (DK $7,500) – What a great price on Lowry! The 2019 Open champ is 20th overall in my mixed model and checks most if not all of the boxes in our focus stat categories this week. The form is good, he’s solid on all types of golf courses, and he’s got top 5 upside.

Cameron Tringale (DK $7,300) – I’ve been overconfident with Tringale a few times in PGA DFS, but I really like mixing in a few shares of him this week in GPPs based on where he finishes in my mixed model (ninth overall) and his solid numbers on longer approaches.

Seamus Power (DK $7,000) – Power will likely garner some ownership at this price, so if you’re getting skittish you can pivot elsewhere in GPPs – you can follow Sia’s lead and work in a guy like Charley Hoffman. But Power has been playing much better golf lately and works as a low-cost option.

Maverick McNealy (DK $6,900) – He really likes long golf coursesand was one of the first names I noticed under $7K with good SG: T2G numbers in his last 14 rounds. His SG: APP numbers leave a bit to be desired, but he’s really good off the tee and he can make some long putts.

Charl Schwartzel (DK $6,900) – Schwartzel fares well in my model (No. 33 overall) and seems to step up his game in stiffer competition. He also overperforms on long courses and should fare well at Liberty National, as the overall layout seems to favor his game.

C.T. Pan (DK $6,600) – I’ve seen some folks throw out Aaron Wise as another golfer with this price to consider, but if I’m leaning contrarian here, I’d do it with a Bronze medalist who’s coming off four rounds in the 60s. Pan is a sneaky contrarian play on longer courses and I like his chances to make the cut and spike a Top 25.

More value golfers to consider: Kevin Streelman, Bubba Watson (GPP), Jason Day (GPP), Max Homa, Charley Hoffman (GPP), Carlos Ortiz (GPP), Talor Gooch, Brendan Todd, Chris Kirk, Pat Perez, Erik van Rooyen (GPP), Aaron Wise (GPP)

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

Matt Wallace (DK $6,500) – He checks a few important boxes this week (450-500 yard Par 4s and overall performance on long courses) and he’s solid around the greens and in wind. Wallace almost cracks the Top 20 in my mixed model this week so I’ll be mixing him into two or three GPPS in my 20 max builds.

Luke List (DK $6,400) – I’m always drawn to List when he’s cheap, but he’s strictly GPP only because he can implode on the greens. He’s scary to roster, so keep your ownership reasonably low (under 10%).

Hank Lebioda (DK $6,300) – Sia’s boy Hammerin’ Hank has a decent overall game and is a good ball striker. He offers plenty of value and should be a staple of stars-and-scrubs builds.

Additional GPP punts: K.H. Lee, Dylan Frittelli, Chez Reavie, Matt Kuchar, Doug Ghim, Harry Higgs

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This week’s PGA DFS picks article should help you find some winning combinations and focus your player pool for the Open Championship at Royal St. George’s.

PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Field of 156 golfers including the best players in the world
  • 36-hole Cut: Top 70 and ties play the weekend
  • No 2020 tourney; Defending (2019) champion: Shane Lowry (-15)
  • The course: Royal St. George’s Golf Club (Sandwich, England)
    • 7,268 yards, Par 70
    • Traditional seaside venue that can be affected by drastic wind changes and weather
    • Bentgrass greens
    • Tough links style course with deep bunkers and some OB providing a challenge
    • Some blind tee shots and plenty of humps and bumps that can send balls off track
    • Just two par 5s and four Par 3s – so Par 70 specialists could fare well
    • Length not that important, as most par 4s are in the 400-475 range
  • Wind and rain expected, with 20-25 MPH gusts blowing on Saturday and Sunday
  • Focus Stat Categories: SG: Approach, SG: Off the Tee, SG: Around the Green, SG: Tee to Green, Bogey Avoidance, Driving Accuracy, Scrambling, Par 70 (and links) performance

The Picks:

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

Jon Rahm (DK $11,300) – Despite the lack of a top 10 finish at the Open Championship (his best finish was a T11 at Royal Troon in 2016), Rahm enters the week as the betting favorite and highest priced PGA DFS golfer in the field. There’s no real weakness to his game; he currently leads the PGA TOUR in adjusted scoring – and ranks second in SG: T2G. His ball-striking has been on point this season, he loves links courses and he’s in play for all formats this week.

Rory McIlroy (DK $10,900) – I refuse to give up on Rory and think he’s a good GPP play this week in the wake of the missed cut at the Scottish Open – which he jumped into a little late because his wife and child are still stateside. He may end up being the lowest-owned golfer in the $10K+ range and that’s what we’re looking for since his upside is still in the trophy-hoisting territory. “Rors” is both familiar with this giant-killer venue (T25 here in 2011) and the elements that could stymie a large portion of the PGA DFS field.

Brooks Koepka ($10,700) – Because of his impressive history in majors (four wins in the past five years) and the Open Championship (three top 10s since 2015), Koepka isn’t cheap, but he’s a fine GPP play. The polarizing figure was a 13-year-old spectator in 2003 when Ben Curtis won at Royal St. George’s, and while he said Tuesday morning (in an interview that had the NYT writing about it) that while this isn’t his favorite British Open venue in the venerable rotation, there’s no reason to leave him off your builds with his uncanny ability to compete in the world’s biggest tournaments.

Jordan Spieth (DK $9,700) – The former Open champion (2017 at Royal Birkdale) is impressive on links courses and has the requisite elements to his game is solid form heading into this week’s test. We have plenty of options in the $7,000-7,500 range this week if we’re rostering Rahm-Spieth to start, and if we’re fading Rahm there’s a great route to balanced builds that start with Spieth as the highest spend ($8K+ remining per golfer). I’ll be hoping to land around 25-40% ownership in GPPs.

Also consider: Dustin Johnson, Xander Schauffele, Justin Thomas (GPP)

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

Louis Oosthuizen (DK $9,300) – There’s not much more to say about the former Open champion than what Sia said in his U.S. Open Initial picks piece and what I covered in the picks column leading into Torrey Pines, when he finished solo second after being edged out by Rahm. He’s not playing in the Olympics, so this tournament has to be an important one for him as he continues playing solid golf in the late summer/early autumn of his fantastic career. He’s a guy I love in basically all the majors for PGA DFS, but I know he’ll be popular this week.

Viktor Hovland (DK $9,100) – Hovland – the No. 14 golfer in the world – became the first Norwegian winner in the history of the European tour when he prevailed at the BMW International Open in Germany a couple weeks ago, and his steady play  and positive attitude should help him navigate the inexorable bounces and bumps of Royal St. George’s. The only drawback is his last of experience, as this will be his Open Championship debut, and it’s one of those things that’s got Sia concerned, as he explains in the breakdown.

Patrick Reed ($8,800) – While I’m a little skeptical that Reed can endure the elements and win the Open Championship, he’s certainly in play at this low price because of his ability to finish in the top 15. The form isn’t great, and his accuracy could be a problem here, but the ironically nicknamed “Captain America” loves to play the villain and he’s a shrewd large-field GPP play with an elite short game.

Paul Casey (DK $8,600) – Casey disappointed with a T54 at this venue in 2011 (a third-round 78 the main culprit), and his Open Championship finishes have left a bit to be desired through the years. But he’s a much more consistent golfer these days and has six top 10 finishes in his last 10 tournaments, so I like his chances for a top 10 this week, especially at this relatively fair price.

Tony Finau (DK $8,400) – I’ve said “never again” after being burned by Terrible Tony many times, but the talent level is off the charts and the price is a reasonable one despite two straight MCs at the U.S. Open and Travelers. Finau has not missed a cut at the Open Championship in four tries, and three of those attempts have yielded Top 20 finishes (solo third in 2019, T9 in 2018, T18 in 2016). He probably circled this on the schedule the minute he trudged off the 18th green at Torrey Pines, and I will be surprised (and angry) if he sabotages my GPP lineups again this week.

Matt Fitzpatrick (DK $7,900) – As you may have noticed if you’re a regular reader of PGA DFS Picks, Fitzpatrick is one of my favorite golfers to roster in single-entry and all types of GPPs, and I’ll continue that approach this week at Royal St. George’s – a venue where he should thrive – despite the disappointment of coming off a playoff loss to Min Woo Lee at the Scottish Open. His best finish in the Open Championship was the most recent iteration in 2019 (T20), and I believe he’s ready to break through with a top 10 (or better) this time around – when distance is not as important (it’s even shorter than it was in 2011) and he can plot his way around the golf course. In fact, Fitzpatrick came here last year (after having been told that he wasn’t going to enjoy it because of the blind shots and uneven lies) shot 67 and loved the course.

Shane Lowry (DK $7,900) – The defending champion is under $8K this week, and that alone puts him in play in all formats, even if he’s exceedingly popular. Lowry performs well in weather and wind, and he was the only player who didn’t collapse in the gale-force gusts that plagued the final round at Royal Portrush Golf Club in 2019. There’s plenty of PGA DFS upside in this price range, and both Fitzpatrick and Lowry make for fine core plays in all kinds of builds.

Sergio Garcia (DK $7,600) – His last Top 5 at a British Open came in 2016, but he finished T9 here in 2011. He’s far from a safe play and I wouldn’t touch him in cash games despite the low price, but he’s a great GPP option given his upside and the dynamic quality of game and ball-striking prowess. He’s had a hard time closing things out this season, with some good rounds giving way to PGA DFS tumbles over the weekend, but he’s in play at this venue in large-field GPPs.

Also consider: Collin Morikawa (GPP), Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Scottie Scheffler (GPP), Jason Day, Joaquin Niemann, Abraham Ancer

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

Francesco Molinari (DK $7,300) The talented Italian won the Open Championship in 2018 and finished T11 in 2019 – impressive finishes that show he can handle links style courses with the best of them. He missed the cut at Royal St. George’s in 2011, but a decade of additional experience in major championships should help him this week.

Harris English (DK $7,300) – English has piled up the top 10 finishes this season (seven), and he’s one of just five golfers to notch two wins on tour this season. In the focus stats/metrics, he checks some crucial boxes for Royal St. George’s, ranking eighth in SG:T2G and seventh in Bogey Avoidance over his past three tournaments. He’s also missed the weekend just once in five Open appearances and has made cuts in 13 consecutive majors – something that makes him a solid play for single-entry and cash games as well as large-field GPPs.

Rickie Fowler (DK $7,300)Fowler is teeing it up in his 11th Open Championship, with only one MC at this event (and three finishes of T6 or better – including a T2 from 2014 and a T5 at Royal St. George’s in 2011. That level of experience is a big help, and he’s finally rounding into form after a rough stretch in late 2020/early 2021. The fan favorite has now secured a weekend pass in three of his last four starts (T8, T11, MC and T32) and the impressive T8 was at the year’s second major – the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island.

Robert MacIntyre (DK $7,300) – MacIntyre is right there with the rest of the high-upside players at this price point, even if PGA Tour golf fans aren’t that familiar with his record. Bobby Mac impressed at the Royal Portrush in 2019 at his Open Championship (and major tournament) debut, concluding in difficult conditions with a final round 68 and eventual T6 finish. He’s now ranked No. 53 in the world, making the cut at five straight majors – a T12 at the Masters this April his best major finish since the 2019 Open. MacIntyre shot under par in all four rounds last week and posted a T18 at the Renaissance Club in the Scottish Open – a links with at least a passing resemblance to Royal St. George’s. Excluding a COVID-related withdrawal at the Irish Open recently, The Scotsman has made a remarkable 25 of his last 26 cuts worldwide and may even be viable in cash games this week.

Branden Grace (DK $7,200)Grace is usually hit-or-miss in major championships, but he arrives sporting some good form due to some sparkling iron play over his last dozen or so rounds. He has a history of going low at the Open, dating back to his 62 in Round three Saturday at Royal Birkdale in 2017 – when he finished T6 with Koepka, Marc Leishman, Alex Noren and Matthew Southgate at -4. The 33-year-old South African also finished inside the top 20 at the Open Championship in 2015, and arrives at this week’s edition on the heels of two consecutive top seven finishes on the PGA Tour, including a T7 at the 2021 U.S. Open.

Ian Poulter (DK $7,200) – Since missing the cut at Royal St. George’s in 2011 (which surely sticks in his craw), Poulter has a spotty history at the Open Championship with five MCs and three top 15s – a testament to his dynamic play and viability as a GPP play. His 2021 record is actually a lot more steady: Since the PGA Championship, he’s 6-for-6 with two top five finishes including T4 at the Scottish open this past week.

Alex Noren (DK $7,200) Noren has a distinguished record at the Open Championship, finishing T11 with Rahm, JT, Molinari and Tom Lewis in 2019 and earning top 10s in 2017 and 2012. He’s also finished among the top 15 (including a T4 at the Rocket Mortgage Classic) in two of the past three starts, sporting excellent T2G numbers in that stretch. I wouldn’t pencil him into all my single-entry lineups, but I’m willing to take as stab in the lower-fee SE and in all types of large-field GPPs.

Matt Kuchar (DK $7,000) – Kuchar is my choice for sneaky veteran bargain play – especially on a course that’s not all about mashing and/or the traditional “target” golf that’s played on a lot of the modern stateside venues. He’s fared well at the open Championship in the past and finished solo second at Royal Birkdale in 2017. In fact, he’s made nine out of his last 10 cuts in this tournament (and eight straight), the only outlier being the 2011 edition at – you guessed it – Royal St. George’s. The revenge narrative is strong this week and Kuchar should be low-owned with Top 10 upside.

Lucas Herbert (DK $6,800) – The woefully mispriced Herbert won at the Irish Open two weeks ago and notched a T4 in Scotland last week, so he’s in fine form heading into the Open. The plucky Australian also finished inside the top 20 at a couple of relatively prestigious PGA Tour events – the Memorial and the Travelers. He’s now won a couple times in his past 23 starts worldwide and should offer plenty of value as you construct your builds this week.

Lucas Glover (DK $6,600) – Hey – it’s another cheap Lucas! Glover is coming off a huge win at the John Deere Classic, snapping a winning drought that lasted over 10 years, and he should be excited about playing a course where he posted his best-ever finish at the Open Championship – a T12 in 2011. Winning two weeks in a row and collecting just his second major championship is a tall order – no doubt – but he’s a risk-reward play that won’t cost you very much to roster.

More value golfers to consider: Phil Mickelson (GPP), Lee Westwood, Daniel Berger (GPP), Thomas Detry, Matt Wallace, Russell Henley (GPP), Min Woo Lee, Corey Conners (GPP), Danny Willett, Erik van Rooyen (GPP), Kevin Kisner, Stewart Cink, Richard Bland, Adam Long (GPP)

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

Justin Harding (DK $6,500) – More of a single day (first-round?) showdown longshot, Justin Harding heads into the 2021 The Open Championship at Royal St. George’s Golf Club with insanely long (+35000) odds to win, but he’s in play due to the fact that he made the cut and finished 41st in his last appearance at this event in 2019, and he’s super cheap. I’m targeting him for 1/20 GPP entries.

Chris Kirk (DK $6,400) – Kirk made three of his last five cuts, but he’s 17-for-23 this season – decent for a golfer under $6,500. While he missed the cut during his last British Open appearance in 2016, he’s a much better golfer now and should be up to the challenge personally and professionally. Like Harding, I’ll find a place for him in 1/20 large-field GPP entries.

Johannes Veerman (DK $6,100) – Veerman posted a T3 at the Irish Open two weeks ago and is coming off a T8 at the Scottish Open, so the form is solid. He’s seemingly a fans of links-style courses and while he’s a virtual unknown who could boom or bust this week, the price is dirt cheap and he’s one of the better low-cost options in the $6K range – which we’ll need to peruse if we’re going full-on stars and scrubs. He might be my favorite play under $6,600, so I’m willing to click him into 5-10% of my large-field GPPs (and one or two of my 20-max entries).

Additional GPP punts: Sebastian Munoz, Carlos Ortiz, Marcus Armitage, Jason Scrivener, Sam Burns, Chan Kim

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The second major of the year in PGA DFS provides an opportunity for you to dominate with our winning picks and analysis at the PGA Championship.

PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Major championship field of 155 golfers
  • 36-hole Cut: Top 70 and ties play the weekend, no secondary cut
  • Third big event at this host course (second PGA Championship and one Ryder Cup)
  • The course: Kiawah Island Ocean Course (Kiawah Island, SC – Pete Dye design)
    • Par 72: 7,800+ yards – a very long course without too many birdie holes and trouble everywhere in the forms of ocean, cliffs, thick marshland vegetation and huge traps
    • Seven par 4s over 450 yards
    • All Paspalum surfaces and small greens – Paspalum grows with no grain, so less roll out and lots of spin
    • Fully exposed links-style layout, but fairways not wide open and wind will be a factor
    • Hard to find comps, but El Camaleon and Puntacana both have Paspalum and the toughest Pete Dye courses (Whistling Straits, Harbour Town, TPC Sawgrass & TPC Stadium) provide some comparisons
  • Weather: Slight chance of some rain but mostly sunny skies Thursday and Sunday with best scoring day looking like Saturday (winds at just 10 mph)
  • Focus Stat Categories: Strokes Gained: Approach, SG: Off the Tee, SG: Short Game/Around the Green, Bogey and Three-Putt Avoidance, SG: Putting, Par 4: (450-500)

The Picks:

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

Rory McIlroy (DK $11,500) – Fresh off a one-stroke win at the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, McIlroy is the betting favorite this week and the top-priced golfer on the board. While there’s no way I’m fading him completely this week, he’s bound to be popular, so I’m okay coming a little underweight on the field. The course – where he won the 2012 PGA Championship by a decisive eight shots – fits his game well. The eventual Hall of Famer from Northern Ireland is averaging 318 yards per drive this year, good for second on the PGA Tour, but his driving accuracy ranks just 175th – a stat that still scares me a little bit. He missed the cut at both the Players and the Masters, so he’ll be out to prove he’s truly back this week – right along with the cadre of fans he draws so much energy from.

Justin Thomas (DK $11,300) – JT’s win at the Players’ Championship on the Pete Dye design at TPC Sawgrass convinced me his game is in fine enough shape to contend at the coastal test of Kiawah Island – which earned the moniker “Looney Dunes” when it was played at the 1991 Ryder Cup. Thomas already has one PGA Championship under his belt (2017) on a course that provided a tough test for its competitors, and I like his ability to bounce back from bad bounces, bad holes and bad stretches a lot more than the sometimes erratic Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm, who may currently lack the killer instinct and unflappable mindset to perform at his best this week. JT’s game is a complete one – and if he can continue to gain strokes around the green and get hot with the putter, the sky’s the limit.

Jordan Spieth (DK $10,100) – Spieth has played excellent golf in 2021, and his ball-striking is finally coming around the match his epic short game. We did see Spieth chunk a few chips and pitches last week, but I’ll chalk that up to anecdotal errors and assume the empirical brilliance he’s demonstrated under pressure around the greens throughout his career will take precedence over a few minor flubs. Golf Digest ranked the Ocean Course the toughest in the country, and Tiger Woods has compared the Ocean Course’s long, links-like layout to Whistling Straits, where Spieth contended against eventual winner Jason Day in 2015. He’s a fine play in all formats, and since he’s healthy now, I like him a little better than the more expensive Dustin Johnson, who WD last week due to a knee injury.

Xander Schauffele (DK $9,600) – Xander’s my favorite play in the lower half of the elite tier, although he’s still waiting to hoist his first major trophy after several close calls. Schauffele’s performance in majors during his brief career has been quite impressive – with top 25s in 11 of his 15 major events to date, including eight top 10s, six top 5s and a T3 just two starts ago at the Masters in April. Since then, he’s finished T11 at the Zurich alongside teammate Patrick Cantlay and T14 at the Wells Fargo. His time is coming, and this week might very well be it.

Also consider: Dustin Johnson (GPP), Collin Morikawa

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

Viktor Hovland (DK $9,300) – Hovland’s consistent play in 2021 includes just one MC and an incredible six finishes inside the Top 6 in his last 10 starts. He’s been a free square in cash games and provides ample GPP value despite his popularity in PGA DFS. He’s probably the least contrarian you can go if your goal is to build a safe lineup with some upside, and while he’s yet to win a major (or even crack a Top 10) in his young career, he’s not very far from greatness. His demeanor, his ball-striking and his positive attitude should go a long way this week in all formats.

Cameron Smith (DK $8,900) – Smith is my favorite pick in the $8-9K range and I’ll be pinning a lot of my GPP hopes on him posting a Top 10 finish. He’s lodged somewhere in the top 15 or 20 power rankings for a lot of sharps this week, and his dominance on par 3s and par 5s over the past few months points to an ability to capitalize on scoring opportunities. That, combined with his ability to avoid three-putts (third overall heading into this week) usually helps him get it done regardless of the venue.

Will Zalatoris (DK $8,800) – Zalatoris seems to save his best golf for the biggest moments and the toughest golf courses, so he’s definitely one to watch this week at the Ocean Course. His seemingly effortless combination of power off the tee and precision on his approaches took a week off at the Wells Fargo, but he’s a very good bet for a Top 25 at Kiawah Island amid a strong field and a slew of big names who’ve already sealed the deal with multiple major wins. I’m not quite ready to go all-in just yet, but I’ll gladly get ahead of the field in my GPP ownership this week and see where it all shakes out.

Tony Finau (DK $8,600) – I’ve said “never again” too many times to count with Finau, but he’s talking confidently about his ability to win a major (despite just one career PGA Tour win to his credit) and he’s so damn good off the tee. I’ve thrown out a lot of the usual models I’ve been relying on for “lesser” tournaments since attitude and form go a long way in determining performance at a major championship venue this challenging, but Finau is one of the golfers who usually fares well on paper and just seems to lack the fortitude to finish tournaments. He’s flying under the radar this week and the team is off him, but for me there’s some leverage as a GPP pivot in the Will Z/Cam Smith range.

Matthew Fitzpatrick (DK $8,400) – Fitzpatrick killed a lot of PGA DFS lineups this past week but scoring fests like the Byron Nelson are not where the wispy Englishman plays his best golf. His overall short game and precise ball-striking are his biggest strengths, and while he’s not insanely long (No. 168 on tour in Driving Distance), he ranks 16th on tour in SG:OTT – a huge stat this week since missing the fairway won’t be an easy fix on most of these holes. Fitzpatrick is having his best season on the PGA tour in 2020-21, and I can’t advocate leaving him out of your player pool.

Tyrrell Hatton (DK $8,000) – Hatton ranks ninth on the PGA Tour in SG:APP and is in the top 20 for SG:OTT – the top two stats this week. While his performance around the greens remains his biggest bugaboo, he seems to step up and avoid three putts just enough on tough golf courses. He also should be recovered from the positive COVID test that forced him to withdraw from the Valspar in late April. The price is tempting, but I’ll be limiting my ownership levels to around 10% in GPPs since he’s yet to post a Top 15 finish on the PGA Tour in 2021.

Abraham Ancer (DK $7,900) – Ancer is a cut-making and ball-striking machine who’s yet to post a Top 10 major championship finish, but he’s coming in extremely hot: solo fifth at the Valspar, solo second at the Wells Fargo – performances which came on the heels of five straight finishes in the Top 26. He’s always among the leaders in SG:APP and Bogey Avoidance, and the only thing that could keep him from posting another Top 25 this week is his short game. Still – he’ll be a GPP staple and is a fine play in just about any format.

Paul Casey (DK $7,700) – Playing a chalky Casey could end up burning me, but I don’t care. The pedigree and price are just too good to pass up this week. The missed cut at the RBC Heritage is just about the only blemish on his 2021 record, and he’s notched five top 10 finishes this year, including a win at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, which took place at a course grassed with – you guessed it – Paspalum. There are a lot of Euro Tour regulars I like this week, and Casey has proven to have winning upside on the International stage, even if he’s yet to notch a major win.

Marc Leishman (DK $7,600) – Please don’t forget about Leishman this week. He finished T5 at the Masters, and he’s had a slew of good performances in wind, something that he and fellow Aussie Cameron Smith know a lot about from the gusty tracks “down under.” He’s coming off a breezy T21 at TPC Craig Ranch and he finished T27 at Kiawah island in the 2012 PGA Championship. If he’s not mega-popular, I’ll be on board in GPPs and will consider him for a balanced single-entry build.

Also consider: Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Patrick Reed (GPP), Daniel Berger, Scottie Scheffler (GPP), Louis Oosthuizen, Corey Conners (Cash)

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

Sam Burns (DK $7,500) – The price is way too low for his current form and ability with the driver and flat stick; his putting numbers have shown marked improvement in 2021 and are the main reason he’s been so good lately. His irons haven’t been awful either, and Burns will be a tough fade if you’re looking for balanced builds. The timing for him playing the best golf of his young career couldn’t be better, and he’s really easy to root for.

Keegan Bradley (DK $7,300) – The 34-year-old has loads of experience on Paspalum, and the way he’s been driving the ball and striking it, he’s going to be a core play of mine in single-entry, GPP and cash. I’ll be approaching 40 percent overall ownership and taking the big plunge. Bradley already has a PGA Championship under his belt – his lone major victory – and he’s playing the best golf of his career since that zenith, which came when he was just a young man of 25.

Charley Hoffman (DK $7,300) – I don’t go overweight on Hoffman, but he plays his best golf in tough competition on long and challenging golf courses. He’s made eight straight cuts and finished outside the top 35 only once (a T52 at the Genesis Invitational) during that stretch – which includes a solo second at the Valero Texas open and consecutive T18s in his last two events.

Jason Kokrak (DK $7,100) – He’s just about the best value on the board, along with veterans Stewart Cink and Charl Schwartzel, and he’s yet to miss a cut in 2021 – a season that’s seen the tour veteran post a T9 at the Players and three more Top 15 finishes. It’s debatable whether or not his breakthrough win in 2020 has given him the confidence to finally contend at a major – where his performance over the past few years has been spotty at best – but this golf course seems to play to his strengths.

Stewart Cink (DK $6,900) – One of the most surprising stats about the 47-year-old PGA Tour stalwart’s recent resurgence is his Driving Distance (No. 23 on tour). That length should help him tackle these long par 4s and his No. 9 rank in Bogey Avoidance will hopefully get him another solid finish in the PGA Championship – a major he hasn’t played since 2018 when he finished T4 at Bellerive Country Club.

Charl Schwartzel (DK $6,800) – The Win Daily team has given you Schwartzel’s name week after week, and I’ve had him covered even before his T26 at the Masters and subsequent T21-T14-T3, a progression that’s been impressive considering the dynamic differences among the courses during that stretch. He’s one of a handful of golfers under $7K who I’ll be rostering in more than 15% of my GPP lineups, and he’s brimming with confidence heading into a major where he’s made the cut six straight times since a missed cut in 2013. Over the course of his career, Schwartzel has 18 Top 25s in the 52 major championships he’s played in a professional career that started when he was just 18 years old in 2002.

Christian Bezuidenhout (DK $6,800) – CBZ, as I like to call him for brevity’s sake, is my off-the-wall value play. He’s piqued my interest for his dominance around the greens, where he ranks second on the PGA tour in SG:ARG behind just Fabian Gomez. His ball-striking is a concern, but on a course that plays this difficult for everybody, I’m willing to take a chance and include him in a few of my 20-max GPPs.

Thomas Pieters (DK $6,800) – On the other end of the spectrum, we have a Belgian EURO golfer who strikes the ball well and is long enough off the tee to contend on this course. There’s not a lot of PGA Tour data, but his ranks put him among the Top 65 in plenty of key categories, and his form is decent. Before his missed cut at the Byron Nelson, he posted four straight Top 15s in tournaments here and abroad.

More value golfers to consider: Gary Woodland (GPP), Lee Westwood, Matt Wallace, Brian Harman, Garrick Higgo, Max Homa (GPP), Matt Jones, Cameron Tringale, Rickie Fowler (GPP), Chris Kirk, Talor Gooch (GPP), Thomas Detry

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

Dean Burmester (DK $6,300) –I love the form (Win-T4-T6 in his last three EURO events), and while he’s a huge risk playing inside the United States, where he’s only played two majors – both U.S. Opens (T56-MC). I won’t go into too much detail about the South African because I don’t have a lot – but in this price range I’m willing to use him a bit and hope he sneaks into the weekend and gets on a decent run.

J.T. Poston (DK $6,100) – There’s not a lot of golfers to seriously consider in this price range, but Poston’s putter (fourth on tour in SG:P) and distance off the tee (300+) gets him into the conversation. He doesn’t three-putt too much and while his ball-striking is a concern, once in a while he shines. For this price in GPPs, he can’t hurt you too much if you keep him under 10%.

Additional GPP punts: Brendan Steele (GPP), Tom Lewis, Lanto Griffin, Erik van Rooyen, Harry Higgs, Andy Sullivan

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Our comprehensive PGA DFS picks and analysis is back this week, helping you construct some winning teams for the AT&T Byron Nelson at a new PGA tour stop.

PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Full, strong field of 156 golfers
  • 36-hole Cut: Top 65 and ties play the weekend
  • First year at new course
  • The course: TPC Craig Ranch (McKinney, TX)
    • Par 72: 7,468 yards
    • Bentgrass greens
    • Rowlett Creek runs through course, forcing layups and risk/reward shots
    • Birdie-fest expected, but no course history for PGA means some could struggle
    • Not many short par 3s (3/4 are 215+ yards), six par 4s over 450 yards
  • Decent weather expected and the wind doesn’t look like a huge issue so far
  • Focus Stat Categories: Strokes Gained: Approach, SG: Off the Tee, Birdie or Better %, SG: Putting (Bentgrass), Par 4: (450-500), Proximity (175-200 & 200+)

The Picks:

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

Bryson DeChambeau (DK $11,200) – Pricing is pretty tight this week, so finding value is going to be important – but with Dustin Johnson’s withdrawal we are left with just two golfers in the elite $11K range. Bryson’s form and his putting stats make him a little better choice than Rahm, but it was a very bizarre week for the reigning U.S. Open champ. Length is a significant advantage this week and we know Bryson has that in spades.

Jon Rahm (DK $11,000) – Rahm’s overall game (with an emphasis on tee game and putting) make him an obvious favorite this week, and your exposure will most likely be dictated by what value range you settle on with the rest of your builds. The missed cut at the Wells Fargo will keep some folks off him, but he’s still notched seven top 10 finishes in his last 10 tournaments.  

Will Zalatoris (DK $9,700) – The streak of events without a missed cut ended abruptly last week, but it’s a home game for Willie Z, who said he’s been playing here for half his life. I expect a huge bounce back for him and I really like his game off the tee and on the greens. Zalatoris has excellent metrics in the focus stat categories and is on the short list of players in this field that rank (over the last 36 rounds) inside the top 25 of both key proximity ranges 175-200 (fourth) and 200-plus (21st).

Matthew Fitzpatrick (DK $9,500) – I almost always have some shares of Fitzpatrick in PGA DFS, and while he’s okay tee-to-green, he really excels on the greens – which could be a huge factor on a course where guys will need to get hot with the flat stick to win. I tend to go heavier on Fitzy ownership when he’s playing Florida venues, but there’s no reason to think his debut win couldn’t come n Dallas. He’ll be a staple of my GPPs, especially the lineups where I fade that pricey $10-11K+ range.

Also consider: Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama (GPP), Daniel Berger (GPP), Brooks Koepka (GPP)

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

Scottie Scheffler (DK $9,400) – Just like his buddy Will, Scheffler is on home turf looking for another Top 10 finish – something he’s been searching for since February when he notched a solo fifth at the WGC-Workday. He struggled on the greens at the Valspar, but his T2G game is solid and the price is fair.

Marc Leishman (DK $9,200) – It’s easy to forget about Leishman if you didn’t watch his win at the Zurich Classic alongside fellow Aussie Cameron Smith, because he hasn’t played in a standard PGA Tour event since the Masters, when he finished T5. A fine GPP play but far from safe since he missed the cut at both the Players and API.

Sergio Garcia (DK $9,000) – His numbers putting on Bentgrass are pretty atrocious, but as Joel and Sia mentioned in the breakdown, a hot putter could have him holding a trophy come Sunday. I won’t go overboard in GPPs and will probably leave him off my single-entry builds but staying ahead of the field makes sense for his upside.

Si Woo Kim (DK $8,800) – He’s 35-1 to win the tournament outright, and I agree with Joel and Sia that it’s a good price. I like Kim for basically all formats this week as he’s shown some consistency since a string of missed cuts around February (MC at Farmers, AT&T Pebble Beach, Genesis, API). Ownership shouldn’t get too high, and he checks most of the boxes this week.

Luke List (DK $8,400) – Like Garcia, List’s biggest unknown from week-to-week is his putting, so there’s plenty of risk in rostering him. The T6 at the Wells Fargo points to a start of one of the hot stretches he’s known for, so I’ll have plenty of shares in GPPs and will consider him for single-entry.

Charl Schwartzel (DK $8,100) – I’ve been writing up Schwartzel for a few weeks in a row now (since his inclusion in my Masters picks, when he finished T26), and while I’m not quite as high on him to win outright as Sia and Joel (he’s 55-1), I think he’s a solid bet for a Top 25 and there’s nothing to hate about his game right now.

Talor Gooch (DK $7,900) – Gooch’s irons have been on fire over the last few tournaments he’s played, and while his putting had been bad the week he missed the cut at the Valspar, he bounced back win a T26 at the Well Fargo and seems poised for a solid finish this week in Texas. I like the price and the Top 15 upside.

Also consider: Sam Burns, Ryan Palmer, Keith Mitchell, Carlos Ortiz (GPP), Russell Knox

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

Camilo Villegas (DK $7,500) – Don’t look now, but in Villegas’s quest to regain his tour card, he’s put together four Top 25 finishes in his last five tournaments, including a T8 at the Honda Classic and T11 at the recent Valspar Championship. He’s striking and putting it well, and while he did withdraw form the Wells Fargo, that may just have been to prepare for this tournament on a course where he felt he might have an advantage.

Update: Villegas has withdrawn from the tournament.

Brandt Snedeker (DK $7,400) – Sneds heads into the week in solid form, and the veteran grinder with the signature pop-stroke putter has made four of his past five cuts, including a T6 at the Valero and a T11 at the Valspar. Normally his ball-striking is horrendous, but he’s notched positive strokes T2G in three consecutive starts and he’s a birdie-maker – especially on Bentgrass. I normally don’t look his way on courses that require elite SG: BS numbers, but this week he fits the bill.

Patton Kizzire (DK $7,300) – I like long hitters who can make lots of birdies, and Kizzire (though not the best on approach or with his irons) fills out that mold. When there’s little talk about hard-to-hit fairways and punishing rough, that’s my cue to include Kizzire in my player pool. His last impressive finish was T9 at the Valero Texas Open, but I’m counting on a Top 25 this week from the 6-foot-5 tour veteran.

James Hahn (DK $7,100) – This price range isn’t filled with too many sure things, and Hahn is far from a cash game play considering his three straight MCs. But it’s possible he’ still recovering from a rib injury and the week he feels better might be the week he starts a stretch of made cuts and decent finishes. Hahn is always a guy I look to for value in GPPs, and the fact that he finished second in a Korn Ferry championship on this golf course in 2012 means it’s a great place to get on the good foot and retrieve some of the confidence that’s essential to his game.

Wyndham Clark (DK $7,000) – I’m not the only one who think Clark is a solid play at the Byron Nelson this week, but there’s plenty of reason to think he’ll still stay under the radar as a fine GPP play. Clark is insanely long off the tee and is just the kind of golfer who can get hot on a course where there’s no real history to speak of. Giddyup!

Andrew Putnam (DK $6,700) – He’s a putting demon on Bentgrass, and nobody is going to be on him this week. He’s one of about five or six players under $7K who I wouldn’t play in over 10% of GPPs, but who you can comfortably roster in the 5-10% range and not risk tanking too many lineups.

Chesson Hadley (DK $6,700) – There’s been plenty of chatter about the $7,000-7,500 guys including Vincent Whaley, Patrick Rodgers (after that scorching Thursday-Friday last week) and even Jhonattan Vegas, who everybody but me seems to be on this week, but Hadley seems to be the forgotten man in a value range that could be crucial if you’re rostering guys like DeChambeau and Rahm.

More value golfers to consider: Doug Ghim, Sepp Straka, Jhonattan Vegas, Scott Piercy, Patrick Rodgers, Vincent Whaley, Brice Garnett, Josh Teator, Bronson Burgoon (GPP)

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

Beau Hossler (DK $6,500) – Hossler is a pretty good putter (T31 in SG:P heading into last week), and he’s an even better putter on Bentgrass, where he’s gained .458 strokes on average over his past 69 rounds. It’s a tough price range this week but Hossler could find his way into some of my GPPs.

Sung Kang (DK $6,500) – TPC Craig Ranch is his home course (he’s a member), and he actually won the Byron Nelson at its old venue. Kang also loves Bentgrass, where he gains over a half stroke on average. There are wore narratives to hang your hat on.

Kristoffer Ventura (DK $6,400) – I’m not certain just how popular he’ll get this week, but I really love Ventura as a punt play in this severely discounted price range. He’s one of the best putters around and some projections have him squarely in the Top 50 this week – which means he’s a perfect final piece for all kinds of roster builds.

Additional GPP punts: Tyler McCumber (GPP), Mark Hubbard (GPP)

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In this edition of PGA DFS picks, we’re looking for a big payday at The Valspar Championship and helping you find some winning teams!

PGA DFS Course Notes:

  • Decent top-end in a full field of 156 golfers, but not an elite group
  • 36-hole Cut: Top 65 and ties play the weekend
  • Canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19
  • 2019 (and 2018) champion: Paul Casey (-8 in ’19; -10 in ’18)
  • The course: Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort (Palm Harbour, FL)
    • Par 71: 7,340 yards
    • Bermuda greens
    • Tough track that played easier before 2015 renovations and a 2007 date change
    • Five par 3s, four par 5s
    • Tight fairways, water in play on 11 of 18 holes
    • Solid tee-to-green golf a must
    • AVOID THE SNAKE PIT (Holes 16-18 can bit you… and poison a victory with a multi-stroke swing come Sunday)
  • Some Friday afternoon wind will bump up (10-14 MPH) but weather looks great in the low 80s with no rain forecasted
  • Focus Stat Categories: Strokes Gained: Approach, SG: T2G, Par 3s Gained: 200-225, SG: Short Game, Par 4s Gained: 400-450, Good Drives Gained

The Picks:

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

Justin Thomas (DK $11,500) – JT is my top dog emcee this week, despite an embarrassing MC his last time out here at Copperhead in 2019. Feel free to drop him into your GPPs and hope for the A game on a course he should excel on — in a clime and locale he digs. Some tighter pricing at the very top will keep him lower owned than usual. He posted T10 in 2015 and T18 in 2016, but not tons of success here…yet. JT’s greatest strength in GPPs is both his predictability (on hard golf courses) and his relative unpredictability (when it comes to making cuts) in PGA DFS.

Dustin Johnson (DK $11,200) – He’ll come in even lower than JT, so why not? I’m going to try to jam both of these guys in together in just one or two of 20 max GPPs – it’s a tough stars-and-scrubs route but not impossible if you deploy 2-3 of my punts in the $6,300-$6,700 range. DJ’s almost twice that, but I’m still fine coming in around the field on his ownership because he’s so frickin’ solid T2G. Again — in most cases we’ll be tasked with rostering one or the other, so you’ll have to pick your poison in the Justin-or-Dustin sweepstakes.

Paul Casey (DK $10,000) – I guess he likes it here, huh? Casey’s the defending champ two times over, so you know damn well he’s going to be popular – like Hell’s Ice Cream Man. I’m using some recent course history in my mixed model this week; as a result he’s No. 1 in the field four categories (three exclusive to Copperhead: SG:T2G, SG: Short Game and DK Pts), and the other a very impressive field-beater for Par 4s (400-450). Casey also ranks out as No. 5 in my Good Drives Gained metric and No. 3 overall in two categories tweaked for difficult fairways and scoring: SG: APP and SG: T2G. So hard to bet against him, but he’s definitely looking at 15-20% ownership this week in GPPs.

Corey Conners (DK $9,600) – He might be more of a cash play than GPP, because he’s becoming popular – and he’ll be more popular than Casey, even – for a reason. But yeah, I’d use him in single-entry GPPs, especially if you’re fading Casey. Conners finished T16 here (right with the next two golfers I wrote up, in fact) in 2018, and it’s a very viable trio again in 2021, with all three of them in my model’s Top 15.

Louis Oosthuizen (DK $9,500) – So yeah, I love Louis and the high price – because it’s up with the big boys and he should fly under 12% owned in GPPs. Oosty has a T7 (2016), a T16 (2018) and a T2 (2019) at Copperhead and he’s swinging it great recently. The last tee shot he hit that folks watched got pushed it into the water – and he and teammate Charl Schwartzel lost in the first hole of a playoff at the Zurich Classic to Aussie bros and champs Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith. Not sure what effect that has, but I’m using King Louis of the Gorgeous Tempo in like 20-30% of my GPPs to get myself way ahead of the field.

Also consider: Scottie Scheffler (GPP), Patrick Reed (Cash)

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

Abraham Ancer (DK $9,300) – Ancer’s solid driving, elite iron play and pin-seeking approaches should help keep him on point at Copperhead, where he finished T16 in his only appearance in 2018. No 4 in my mixed model, No. 3 in Par 4s (400-450), No. 8 in Good Drives Gained and No. 17 in the field for Par 3s (200-250). Impressive numbers for this T2G maestro that help me see him as a top cash and SE GPP play this week.

Sungjae Im (DK $9,200)Our guy Joel may be “on a Sungjae kick,” but I’m just getting started because I’ve avoided him a bit like Sia has. This week, he’s popping up as No. 2 on my mixed model, and he notched a T4 here at the Valspar in 2019. I’ll have a hard time leaving him out of my player pool even if he’s 20% owned. Im’s approach game and recently competitive play indicate he’s the type of guy to look for here in a breakthrough.

Russell Henley (DK $9,000) – He’ll be popular, and Sia discussed why a little before when Joel confessed he’s a Sungjae believer on the breakdown. Henley pops in a lot of models, even though he hasn’t played well here aside from a T9 in 2017. I may not be into him like Sia – but I’m a little more bullish than Joel on him because of his T2G and approach abilities on tough courses like this.

Justin Rose (DK $8,800) – Always a better driver and ball-striker than a putter, Rose has hit a resurgent stride under the tutelage of Sean Foley and looks to be recovered from his back woes and wayward shots. He was one of the first guys I wrote in to discuss, arrives in great form and finished T5 here in 2018. I’m jumping aboard and I still think folks are wary to do the same – so he’s fine for GPPs at under 10-12% ownership. Glad to hear Sia is into him too. Watching Rose play the last few weeks has been a pleasure after his rough patch.

Jason Kokrak (DK $8,700) – He’s shaping up to be popular, and I like him for cash with Conners or Ancer (or maybe both). Good recent course history (consecutive top tens) and great form (3/4 top tens) His average finish at the event is 19th, and he even carded one of the individual top single-day scores in 2019 when he finished T2 with Oosthuizen. It wouldn’t surprise me if Kokrak was in contention on Sunday, so he’s on my short list in this price range.

Cameron Tringale (DK $8,400) – I’ll be looking at ownership before I make a final determination on how deep I’ll plunge in GPPs, and I’m really the most focused on his SG:APP numbers more than anything, so that might end up meaning I’m fine being close to where the field lands. I don’t want to be double it and overexpose, and I don’t want to miss out on a guy I really like playing each week for his ball-striking.

Emiliano Grillo (DK $8,300) – Putting is less important than T2G numbers here, so Grillo makes for a perfect GPP play. I landed on a lot of the same names as Joel and Sia this week, so the overlap in our Venn diagram of player pools could work out great for WinDaily subscribers if they really zero in with our builds. My piece on Grillo is that he won’t be quite as popular as the early ownership projections, because folks will get cold feet when they look at his course history here.

Chris Kirk (DK $8,200) – I know his course history isn’t great, but he’s just a better golfer now and he’s No. 30 on my model, which includes a data set of some assorted SGs (and DK points) from Copperhead over the past five seasons. That part isn’t too appealing, but he’s tackling all the other focus stats recently in this stretch of wonderful form. I wrote the start of this blurb right before I heard Sia point out in the breakdown about how he’s playing the best golf of his life at the moment – and a great value.

Talor Gooch (DK $8,000) – His numbers at Copperhead are awful, but he’s bound to come around here the second time he plays it, right? He’s a tough longshot play at 75-1 to win, but I like his Top 15 upside this week based on his SG:APP numbers and his dominance of Par 3s 200-225. There’s five par 3s here! And he hits the golf ball very well! Seriously, though, I’m getting me some GPP shares of the Goochmeister.

Also consider: Joaquin Niemann, Charley Hoffman, Sam Burns, Keegan Bradley (GPP), Kevin Kisner, Lucas Glover, Adam Hadwin (GPP)

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

Lanto Griffin (DK $7,400) – It’s his debut at Copperhead, but Griffin is the type of talent who could get in the Top 12-15 here in his first run. He shakes out well on the mixed model (No. 16 overall) and I don’t think the lack of experience should hurt him too much. He’s almost $1K cheaper than Grillo and has similar upside as an under-the-radar PGA DFS value play.

Danny Willett (DK $7,200) –A really good play in GPPS this week, Willett arrives in very good form and the former Masters champion is a whiz on this type of difficult track – which demands good shots into the par 3s and plays to his T2G strengths. The Englishman is one of the more talented players in this range, alongside Stenson and Griffin, and he’s hitting it crisp and straight.

Charl Schwartzel (DK $7,100) – I think being in contention alongside Oosthuizen last week helped him out tremendously, and I think the good memories of his 2016 win here are more than just a narrative on a course this tough, especially when you factor in the solo sixth place in 2017. Charl makes for a viable value play in a good majority of formats this week, as he was T26 at the Masters (another place he won) and I think he’ll still come in under 8% ownership. I’ll be pleased as punch if I can lock him into 15-20% of my GPP lineups and get that far ahead of the field, for his top 20 upside alone.

Henrik Stenson (DK $7,000) – He’s tops in the field in SG: APP on Copperhead over the past five events, so I’m going to be grabbing some shares at this low price – especially considering the dynamic track record and his ability to play well on tough courses. His short game isn’t great, but that’s not a focus stat this week, and his swing coach has him playing much better than in 2020. Stenson makes sense for use in some GPPs.

Tom Hoge (DK $7,000) – He’s almost always firmly in play in PGA DFS as a high-risk, high-reward GPP play unless the greens are very difficult, but that’s not the issue here. He’s No. 34 in my mixed model this week and I’m still waiting for that Top 5-10 I know he’s capable of if he can avoid the one bad round that usually spoils his eventual finish.

Ryan Moore (DK $6,900) – Moore grades out in the Top 10 of my model, but we’ve acknowledged that I’m taking course history into account – especially when it comes to searching for sub-$7K plays. There’s plenty to like about the current state of his game and the venue just works great, as he’s fifth in SG: T2G and SG:APP among the field over the Valspar’s past five events at Copperhead.

Kyle Stanley (DK $6,800) – A good driver of the golf ball who’s pretty solid T2G, Stanley fits the course profile pretty well and should come in under 5% ownership, so he’s worth a look in GPPs. He’s far from masterful around the greens and on them, so SG: Short Game is my biggest concern when it comes to focus stats, but I can endorse up to 10% in 20 max GPPs and other large-field events.

More value golfers to consider: Denny McCarthy, Doug Ghim, Brandt Snedeker (GPP), Patton Kizzire (GPP), Rory Sabbatini (GPP), John Huh, Luke List, Chase Seiffert (GPP), Scott Stallings (GPP)

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

Ryan Armour (DK $6,500) – He’s missed the last two cuts but has played well here before, including a T9 in 2019. Think of him as the higher-risk, higher-reward Brian Stuard, who I’m also considering for a few GPPs. He’s No. 26 in the model that uses a data set including course history metrics. Armour is boom-or-bust in PGA DFS, but I might take the risk this week.

Cameron Percy (DK $6,500) – A perfect type of player to debut here and flirt with an early lead because he likes it. He should like it, as he tears apart Par 3s in the 200-225 range (tied for tops in the field over his last 50 rounds with Talor Gooch) and is No. 14 on my mixed model despite the glaring lack of course history. He doesn’t feel like a punt, so he could get a few more plays as folks realize that – but for you SW predictors in Discord and followers (I confess, I VERY MUCH AM one), he might come in a little higher (or lower) than 5%.

Wes Bryan (DK $6,400) – T25 at the Heritage and he’s played well here before. Large-field GPP only but someone to consider in your stars-and-scrubs builds. Known as a less-than-driver player, Bryan hits decent approaches when he’s allowed to club down from the big stick. He’s been learning to embrace tougher tracks like this, so he’s fine for 5-10% ownership in 20 max GPPs.

Sean O’Hair (DK $6,200) – He’s made the cut here a bunch of times AND has a T12 (2018) and T2 (2015) in his last two attempts here. O’Hair’s form is hot garbage, so he’s really only a consideration for enormous GPPs in limited ownership, but at least there’s a viable narrative – rare for this admittedly desperate price range in PGA DFS.

Additional GPP punts: Brian Stuard, Austin Cook (GPP), Danny Lee

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