Golf Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy PGA Picks and Betting Guide for DraftKings & FanDuel – Tournament of Champions
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Plantation Course @ Kapalua
Par 73 - 7,596 Yards
Greens - Bermuda
**Click the image above to see a hole by hole breakdown from PGATour.com**
Previous Five Winners
- 2021 - Harris English(-25)
- 2020 - Justin Thomas(-14)
- 2019 - Xander Schauffele(-23)
- 2018 - Dustin Johnson(-24)
- 2017 -Justin Thomas(-22)
Welcome back golf fans. While I did enjoy the break, in a sport that has very few of them, I am so ready for the 2022 portion of the PGA Tour season. Got my season-long industry draft done, one and done's ready to roll, and it's now time to kick it off(sorry still got NFL in my head). The year starts with a celebration of 39 winners from last season as they all meet in Kapalua for the annual Tournament of Champions. It is a bit of a laid-back extension of the holiday season for some and no better way to get started than a birdie fest in Hawaii.
The fairways at the Plantation Course are huge which have generated a 79% driving accuracy average over the last five years. This combined with monster-sized greens has me automatically relying on Strokes Gained: Approach as my top stat in my model. It's definitely not the only way to skin the cat, however, as Harris English hoisted the hardware last year on the back of a monster putting performance(+6.8 strokes).
Finally, this is a no-cut event meaning all golfers will play all four rounds, and with a limited field, a stars and scrub build will be very popular. The "scrubs" aren't really scrubs when we are talking about a select group of players who won on Tour last season. No matter what direction you head, you are going to need birdies and lots of them as the winning score has been in the minus 20's in six of the last seven seasons, even reaching -30 back in 2016.
With all that said, let's get into the picks.
JT kind of checks every box and is the first player in my pool this week. First of all, he returns to Hawaii with terrific course history having won it twice(2020, 2017) and finished 3rd two other times over the last five years. He also comes in after a nice fall season tune-up finishing T18 at the CJ Cup and following it up with a T3 at the Mayakoba. He provides advantageous distance off the tee, is elite on approach(3rd in this field on the sheet), and is coming off a season where was 9th in birdie average and 6th in birdie or better %. All things considered, I will have a ton of exposure to JT across all DFS formats, prop sites(Underdog Fantasy, PrizePicks), and betting markets.
After recording no wins and only four Top 10 finishes in his first two full seasons on tour, Sam Burns broke out last season picking up his first career win(Valspar Championship) and tallyig eight Top 10 finishes and making it all the way to the Tour Championship. That momentum carried over into the fall as he started the 2021-22 season with a win at the Sanderson Farms Championship and followed it up with a T14, T5, and & T7 to enter the holidays. Looking at my stats model on the sheet, he is 4th in this field in SG: Ball Striking, 2nd in SG: Approach 7th in Proximity, 6th in Putting on Bermuda, and 4th birdie or better %. He is primed for another huge season and I hope it starts in Hawaii as I will be loading up in all formats.
This will be Smith's third trip to Kapalua and while he has yet to figure it out(T24, T17), he checks every other box. He is coming off a terrific fall season where he finished no worse than T15 in three events and tallied two Top 10's. Then statistically, he jumps off the page ranking 9th in SG: Approach, 2nd in SG: Putting overall, 3rd in SG: Putting on Bermuda, 10th in par 4 scoring, 3rd in Par 5 birdie or better %, and 5th in birdie or better % overall(on my sheet which is weighted back to start of last season). I love the price point and will have a ton of exposure in all formats on DraftKings and FanDuel.
World Golf Ranking (#26)
Vegas Odds (25/1)
Sungjae made his first trip to Kapalua a season ago after capturing his first career PGA Tour win at the Honda in 2020 and looked like a seasoned vet leading the field Tee to Green and finishing T5. He now returns to the Tournament of Champions after a tremendous all-around performance and win at the Shriners back in October. Looking at the long-term stats, he is 9th in SG: Ball Striking in this field, has above-average distance and accuracy off tee, and is Top 10 in birdie or better %. Another terrific PTS/$ play I will have a ton of exposure to this week.
World Golf Ranking (#36)
Vegas Odds (35/1)
It was nearly Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel here in Hawaii but Leishman and Cameron Smith beat them in a playoff at the Zurich classic back in April. Looking at the stroke-play events, Leishman was consistent in terms of making cuts(20 of 25) and also flashed upside with five Top 5 finishes, two of which came in the most recent fall season. This will be his fourth trip to Kapalua and the good news is that he has Top 10's in two for those trips. He is average-at-best in almost all categories but stands out in two areas rankings 3rd in SG: Putting and 7th in Birdie or Better %. At these prices, I will have a ton of exposure in all formats.