Golf Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy PGA Picks and Betting Guide for DraftKings & FanDuel – Sony Open
Chris will be bringing you weekly PGA picks, analysis, and breakdowns to help you cash on DraftKings and FanDuel. As every week in DFS PGA changes with the course setup, field of players and weather, Chris will be providing a range of different picks for cash games as well as upside plays for tournaments. If you have any questions to lineup lock you can reach him a variety of ways. Leave your question/comment below in the comments section, find him in the DFSR Chat room or hit him up on Twitter(@Jager_Bombs9). Chris is also providing his DFS PGA Weekly cheatsheet where he provides stats, course history, current form, fantasy points, and much more. Grab your copy today(click pic below) and edge out the competition.
The first tournament of 2019 was an exciting one as Xander Schauffele edged out Gary Woodland by one stroke with an incredible 11 under par 62 in the final round. Rounding out the Top 5 were Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Marc Leishman, and Rory McIlroy.
This week the PGA Tour remains in Hawaii but travels to Waialae Country Club in Honolulu for the Sony Open. The field is never elite here but this season we do have two of the Top 5 (Justin Thomas & Bryson DeChambeau) and 20 of the Top 50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings so we should be in for another exciting week of golf.
The course is much different from last week as Waialae is a Par 70 setup that reaches just over 7,000 yards. It is somewhat of an old-school setup where golfers can't just go out and bomb as far as possible and wedge it on the green. The fairways are narrow and the rough can be very penal in areas which not only puts emphasis on hitting the fairways but also on placement to have a shot at hitting the greens. Because of this, we can expect the less accurate and/or longer hitters in the field to implement a "less than driver" approach off the tee. After getting the ball in play off the tee, golfers will need to be on point with their mid to long iron approaches to these fast Bermuda greens. The Strokes Gained: Approach metric is where players have most separated themselves from the pack over the past few years. One thing that is similar to the Plantation Course is the low scoring as the average winning score over the last five years is -20 so as with most weeks, Birdie or Better % will be heavily weighed.
Let's now take a look at the course overview and trends, previous winners, key stats, and then get into the picks!
Waialae Country Club - Honolulu, HAW
Par 70 - 7,044 Yards
Greens - Bermuda
**Click the image above to see a hole by hole breakdown from PGATour.com**
Approach Shot Distribution
Previous Five Winners
- Patton Kizzire(-17)
- Justin Thomas(-27)
- Fabian Gomez(-20)
- Jimmy Walker(-23)
- Jimmy Walker(-17)
Top Stats in the Model
- Strokes Gained: Ball Striking
- Driving Accuracy
- Par 4 Scoring
- Birdie or Better %
- Bogey Avoidance
Top Tier Targets
Once again this week I will be starting with the most expensive player on the slate(DraftKings) and it makes perfect sense as JT checks off every box. He is coming off a 3rd place finish last week at the Tournament of Champions where he led the field in SG: Approach, SG: Tee to Green, Birdies(25), and was 2nd in Driving Accuracy(86.7%). Looking at his form using a larger sample size, JT ranks 2nd in SG: Tee Green, 6th in SG: Ball Striking(35th OTT, 2nd APP), 15th in SG: Par 4, and 7th in Birdie or Better Gained. He now returns to Waialae CC where, outside of a missed cut in 2016, has been terrific here with a T6 in 2015, win in 2017, and T14 last year. All things considered, Thomas is my top overall pick and a great play in all formats.
I am a bit disappointed with myself for missing out on Woodland last week after riding him through the end of last season and into the fall season. I won't make that mistake this week as he ranks #1 in my overall model and it starts with his course history here at Waialae CC where he has finished 13th or better in four straight trips here with three Top 10 finishes and ranks 1st in SG: Total, 4th in SG: Ball Striking, and 5th in DK scoring during that stretch. Then comes the form as he is coming off a runner-up finish last week and has four Top 10's in five events since the start of the 2018-19 season. Finally, he checks off the stats box as well ranking 4th in SG: Ball Striking, Top 10 in Proximity from 175-200 and 200+ yards, 20th in Par 4 Scoring, 6th in Par 5 scoring, and 5th in Birdie or Better % on my sheet. Like Thomas, Woodland is a terrific play in all formats this week.
Mid Tier Targets
If we are going to try and fit JT or Woodland in cash games this week we are going to need some value and the mid-range provides just that. I will start with Chez Reavie who sits 6th overall in my model and returns to the Sony Open with some terrific course history making four straight cuts including back to back Top 20 finishes. He also comes in with some steady form having made all five cuts so far this season and over the last 24 rounds overall, ranks 19th in SG: APP, 4th in Fairways Gained, 30th in Birdie or Better Gained, and 20th in DraftKings scoring. At these prices, Reavie will be a staple in my cash games and also a nice option for GPP formats.
World Golf Ranking (#139)
Vegas Odds (60/1)
I wrote up Piercy as a value target last week and while he let us down with a T19 I am sticking with him at the Sony Open at these prices. He has made it clear for many years that this is his favorite course and tournament and the narrative checks out as he has made the cut here in seven of 10 trips including six Top 25 finishes and a runner-up in 2015. Course history is definitely not the only thing that stands out as the form has been on point as he has tallied three Top 10's in his last four events and sits 6th in this field in average DraftKings points per event(last 5). Looking at the stats on my sheet, he ranks 19th in SG: Ball Striking, 17th in Driving Accuracy, 9th in GIR, 16th in Par 4 Scoring, and 29th in Birdie or Better %. Like Reavie, Piercy will be a staple in my lineups in all formats.
World Golf Ranking (#149)
Vegas Odds (110/1)
It was an up and down rookie season for Ryder who made just 58% of his cuts but did show some upside with two Top 5's and three Top 10 finishes(Barbasol Champ, John Deere Classic, Houston Open). He carried that upside over into his second season on Tour as he started out with a T4 at the Safeway Open, T43 at the CIMB Classic, and a 3rd place finish at the Shriners Open. He has struggled a bit coming into this one with a 54th at the Mayakoba Classic and missed cut at the RSM Classic but made the cut here last year(T58) and fits the stats model on my sheet ranking 13th in SG: Ball Striking, 29th in Driving Accuracy, 23rd in Par 4 Scoring, and 20th in Birdie or Better %. The stats also matchup in a more current model using Fantasy National as he is 16th in my customer model. I likely won't be going here for cash games with some much mid-range value but he makes an excellent GPP play this week.
World Golf Ranking (#202)
Vegas Odds (150/1)
Dahmen was also a rookie last season but unlike Ryder, was much more consistent making 19 of 28 cuts(68%) with two of those missed cuts coming in the playoff events. That consistency has carried over to this season as he has yet to miss a cut in six events and has shot in the 60's in seven of his last eight rounds. He made the cut here in his first trip to Waialae with opening rounds of 68 and 70 but slipped down the leaderboard on Saturday with a 74 but the good news is he finished strong with a 68 on Sunday. He also fits the stats model on my sheet ranking 23rd in SG: Ball Striking, 12th in Driving Accuracy, 31st in Par 4 Scoring and 18th in Bogey Avoidance. I don't trust many players in this range for cash games but Dahmen is one of them if you are planning on going with a stars and scrubs approach.
Tournament Update Thread
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for six years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is an active player in college football, NFL, MLB, NASCAR, NHL and of course PGA. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @Jager_Bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any PGA questions and how he copes with the winters up north.