Golf Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy PGA Picks and Betting Guide for DraftKings & FanDuel – Sentry Tournament of Champions
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. Want more? He also provides a cheatsheet with stats, course history, current form, player write-ups for cash and GPP, a customizable model, and much more.
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It feels like forever but the PGA Tour season is finally back. We did get to see Charlie Woods look like the next coming of....well his dad and also got to see him trash talk Justin Thomas which was wildly entertaining. It was Thomas and his father who got the last laugh, however, winning the event.
We kick off(sorry NFL still rolling) the 2021 portion of the season with a handshake of sorts as the Tournament of Champions is invite-only to winners from the previous calendar year. This year's field has 42 players including eight of the Top 10 players in the Official World Golf Rankings and each of the last four winners(JT, Xander, DJ, JT).
For fantasy, this is a no-cut event so all 42 players will play four rounds and this can lead to a much more viable stars and scrubs strategy. You don't have to worry about a slow start derailing your lineup on Thursday and with a limited field the scrubs are not actually scrubs.
Before getting into the picks, let's take a look at the course, scorecard, and some of my key stats.
Plantation Course at Kapalua
Par 73 - 7,596 Yards
**Click the image above to see a hole by hole breakdown from PGATour.com**
Previous Five Winners
- 2020 - Justin Thomas(-14)
- 2019 - Xander Schauffele(-23)
- 2018 - Dustin Johnson(-24)
- 2017 - Justin Thomas(-22)
- 2016 - Jordan Spieth(-30)
Top Stats in the Model
Strokes Gained: Approach/Proximity
With some of the widest, most forgiving fairways on Tour, it really takes the emphasis off hitting them(as everyone will) and shifts the focus to who can hit more greens and give themselves the most opportunities to get birdies as many will be needed. To go further, the greens are also very large(8,722 avg sq ft) leading to high GIR averages for the field and what will separate the leaders will be proximity to the hole on approaches.
Birdie or Better %
Before last year's winning score of -14 by JT(first two days were very windy), the score has hit -20 or lower in five straight years at the Plantation Course. If you want a giant cheque on Sunday, you better be making birdies in bunches.
Par 4 Scoring
This is a unique course in that it only has three Par 3's, four very scoreable Par 5's, and 11 Par 4's. The most unique part is that four of those Par 4's are under 400 yards and three of them are over 500 yards. par 4 Scoring overall has correlated with separation on the leaderboard and I will be zoning in on these ranges, as well.
Top Tier Targets
Justin Thomas/Dustin Johnson
The elite tier($10K+ on DK) for me comes down to JT and DJ this week and instead of trying to pick one or the other I will be splitting them in about 70% of my builds(the other 30% will fade both). They are both Top 5 players in the world, both have won this event multiple times and both come in with top form, although everyone coming off an extended holiday break. It also helps that Jon Rahm changed almost all of his equipment during the break and Xander Schauffele tested positive for Covid only a few weeks ago. Either way, these two are 1A/1B and by a wide margin this week due to the softer pricing and no-cut event.
I explained in the opening that this is sort of a relaxed exhibition match among champions which, in a way, gives Reed a boost with his DGAF attitude on a daily basis. It shows, as well, as he returns with a win, two runner-ups, and four Top 10 finishes here in six trips. What stands out the most for me on the sheet is that he leads all golfers in birdie or better % and comes in as the 6th and 7th most expensive golfer in the field on DraftKings and FanDuel respectively. I like Reed in all formats this week and as an outright bet to win.
Mid Tier Targets
This week with Cameron Smith is like watching the market and deciding if a player has topped out or if there is more profit to be made. I say this because his form has trended up at a rapid pace finishing T38(US Open), T24(Shriners), T11(CJ Cup), T4(Zozp), and then T2 at the Masters. I am personally holding with Smith as he has gained strokes on approach in nine straight events and has gained birdies on the field in eight of those events. His biggest issue during that time was SG: Off the Tee and that is nearly irrelevant this week outside of distance adn he has plenty of that. He is my favorite PTS/$ play this week.
Champ is one of the players who got in the field with the Covid exemption inviting all players who made the TOUR Championship in 2020. Not that he shouldn't be here as he has wins in two straight seasons before 2020 making this his third trip to the Plantation Course, finishing Top 15 both times. When looking at the stats on the sheet, he has a deadly combination of distance(2nd best) and birdie or better %(6th best). He also comes in ranked 3rd in this field in opportunities gained(via FNGC) over the last 24 rounds. From a round to round perspective, there can be a ton of variance in his performances but he makes a great play here for the price given his ability to make birdies.
Carlos Ortiz/Ryan Palmer
I like both of these golfers in the $7K range on both sites and it really depends on your risk tolerance. Palmer is the safer option with much less variance in his results over a larger sample size while Ortiz can get on runs of bad finishes and/or missed cuts but tends to have more upside, at least recently. He is coming off a back to back Top 10's including a huge win at the Houston Open. His irons are on-point and the putter has been much better on Bermuda vs. Bent. I will have exposure to both but will likely have a little more Ortiz.