The PGA Tour returns to action this week as we kick off the 2019-2020 season. The Old White Course hosts the event again, this time with a new date as the event used to be played in July.
The course is a short, parkland style layout with both Par 5’s on the inward nine. The greens are heavily bunkered, which is the primary defense against mega low scores as the course plays at altitude (meaning the ball flies further).
Over the past five years (excluding 2016 when the course was flooded) most of the winners of this event have been longshots (longer than 90/1 on betting books) and this event has been the epitome of “whoever has a hot putter wins” so don’t be afraid to play guys who fit the course needs and are cheap (and you’ll notice some of these names in the course horses section as they haven’t played well leading into this event).
As for DFS purposes, DK has actually provided us with a decent selection of contests this week, which is shocking considering the NFL kicked off their season last week and we know what usually happens to their GOLF product during this time of year.
o The Course
· Old White TPC Course
· Par 70
· 7,280 yards
· Bentgrass greens
o Location: Richmond, WV
o Corollary Courses/Performances: TPC River Highlands, TPC Quad Cities
o Past Champions:
- 2018: Kevin Na -19 over Kelly Kraft
- 2017: Xander Schauffele -14 over Robert Streb
- 2015: Danny Lee -13 in a playoff over David Hearn, Kevin Kisner & Robert Streb
- 2014: Angel Cabrera -16 over George McNeil
KEY STATS TO TARGET
o Strong Emphasis – SG: APP, Birdies or Better, Par 5 Scoring
o Important – Scrambling, P4 Scoring 400-500 yards, APP 125-150y & 200+y
THIS WEEK’S SUGGESTIONS
- Russell Henley (DK $9,400)
· History: 10th– 5th– 5th– DNP
· Form: DNP – DNP – DNP – 59th
· Stats: 77th– SG: OTT, 42nd– SG: APP, 162nd– SG: P, 57th– SG: T2G
· Analysis: Over his last 24 rounds, Henley hasn’t been as bad of a play as many may think. He’s 7th in the field in ball striking, 3rd in SG: APP, 10th in SG: T2G and 16th in DK points. All very high marks for a player who hasn’t teed it up since the Wyndham and wasn’t producing good finishes before that. He’s a fine cash play and someone I’ll be including in my GPP player pool.
- Robert Streb (DK $8,500): 11th – 2nd – 2nd – 71st in the last four appearances at this event show a very specific comfort around the property especially when you consider his form has been absent leading into the event the past three years. If not for the history, I don’t think he’d pop up as a decent play this week, so keep that in mind when building lineups based on logical reasoning.
- David Lingmerth (DK $6,900): 11th – 64th – 6th – 16th in his last four appearances here. Lingmerth’s ball striking is the main reason why he plays well here. He’s a strong putter on Bentgrass greens (which never hurts) and like many in the field, he comes in with poor form – losing strokes off the tee and putting in his last five events on Tour.
- Jason Kokrak (DK $10,500)
· History: 3rd– MC – 54th– DNP
· Form: 14th – 19th– 12th– 6th
· Stats: 11th– SG: OTT, 6th– SG: APP, 103rd– SG: P, 14th– SG: T2G
· Analysis: Kokrak was a beast during the playoffs so I’m sure he’ll be a popular selection this week. His ball striking and approach game with long irons is a great course fit and his 3rd place finish last year won’t help keep his ownership down. That being said, I think the price will keep his ownership down a bit more than if he was $9k or lower which makes him someone I’m willing to fade in single lineup construction and someone we should be looking to be at expected ownership (or higher) in multi-entry construction.
- Viktor Hovland (DK $10,900): 4th at the Wyndham and went 11th – 2nd during the Korn Ferry finals. We know what Hovland brings to the table each and every week. He’s yet to capture his first PGA Tour win, but I think we all know its coming soon. He’s not someone I’m willing to fade during the swing season.
- Byeong Hun An (DK $9,500): Finished the PGA Tour playoffs with a run of 3rd– 38th – 28th so he’s not out of form leading into this event. The break worries me a bit, but he needed some time off to reset the game. We know how elite his ball striking is and how horrendous the putter is, so naturally we’re hoping for one of those weeks where the putter is decent.
- Kevin Streelman (DK $8,600)
· History: MC – 29th– 77th– DNP
· Form: DNP – DNP – DNP – MC
· Stats: 130th– SG: OTT, 28th– SG: APP, 41st– SG: P, 46th– SG: T2G
· Analysis: Finished up the PGA Tour season on a poor note with two straight missed cuts, but what we know about Streels is he’s solid with his long irons. If he can show up with a warm putter we might get a Top 20 result, otherwise we will probably see more of the same where he’s fighting to make the cut and gasses himself too much to make a run on the weekend.
- Brandon Hagy (DK $7,400): Pure GPP dart throw who doesn’t hit anything statistically speaking, but putts well on bentrass greens and plays better on easy courses. His distance off the tee should help the rest of his game out which was the case when finishing 18th here two years ago. Comes in with solid form of 2nd & 5th during the KFT finals.
- Hank Lebioda (DK $6,800): Went MC – 11th – 19th during the KFT finals and was a value play staple during the regular season for us. Nothing changes as we head to the swing season where he’s still very cheap and offers a ton of consistency in his game on a week-to-week basis.
Honorable Mention: Henrik Norlander (DK $7,100), Kevin Chappell (DK $7,000) – 1st event this year since having spinal fusion surgery, Doc Redman (DK $7,000)
CORE GPP PLAYS
- Joaquin Niemann (DK $9,700): Over his last 24 rounds, Niemann is 3rd in ball striking, 7th T2G, 4th APP and 2nd in DK points (for players in this field). He’s absolutely in play in all formats for me and someone I’ll be heavily overweight in my exposures during the fall swing season.
- Scottie Scheffler (DK $9,300): 5th in T2G, 9th in ball striking, 13th in approach and 18th around the green over his last 24 rounds and a winner during the Korn Ferry finals. Scheffler is turning the page in his career and is someone we need to keep an eye on during the swing season as we’ve seen a ton of rising stars capture their first win during this time of year.
- Kramer Hickok (DK $7,700): 43rd in T2G, 78th in ball striking, 46th off the tee, and 16th around the green over his last 24 rounds, Hickok’s putter is really the main part of his game that holds him back and on the off chance he can putt at field average, he could pay off huge as a core play. The last time he put it all together in a tournament was the 2018 Shriners, where he finished 23rd. However, he did finish the KFT finals on a 19th – 5th – 3rd run so I’m willing to bet the form sticks for one more event.
Thanks for reading and good luck this week from the FGI team!
– Pari (@hitthehighdraw)