DFSR is proud to bring you, Chris Durell. He’ll be bringing 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 and edge out the competition.
Welcome back golf fans. The time has come for the third Major Championship of the season and this time coming to you from Carnoustie Golf Links, the host of the 147th OPEN Championship. Carnoustie has been a venue for the OPEN since 1931 and this marks the eighth time it has been hosted here with Padraig Harrington the most recent winner here back in 2007. The course is often referred to as “Carnastie” and for good reason, as it is widely considered the toughest test of all OPEN venues. Most of you might remember the 1999 event when Jean Van De Velde went into the final hole three clear of second place and needing only a double-bogey to hoist the Claret Jug. Well, he ended up making a triple forcing a three-way playoff that saw Paul Lawrie hoist the hardware with a winning score of +6.
From reports early in the week as players get in practice rounds at Carnoustie, it appears we are going to see a baked-out course, at least on the fairways. Check out some of these tweets.
Just hit one 427 on 18 @TheOpen .. Guys would be hitting it in the burn in front of green 450+.. Carnoustie is baked out but greens are pure.. Never seen an Open this firm.. Will be an awesome week if it stays like this.. pic.twitter.com/AUXyPGF4iu
— Brandt Snedeker (@BrandtSnedeker) July 14, 2018
This is @DJohnsonPGA on the 513 yard par five 14th at Carnoustie. He hit driver-wedge to the green. Yesterday he hit a drive into the burn on 18 which is 473 yds from the tee. The course is brown, baked out and fast for @TheOpen. pic.twitter.com/O4PfmKg88l
— Todd Lewis (@ToddLewisGC) July 15, 2018
Whoa! Driver, wedge into a Par 5 is pretty crazy. On this long course, the conditions definitely give a boost to the shorter hitters who have a good wedge game. Overall, however, finding fairways is going to be key as the bunkers are deep and penal and the rough is a mix of different kinds of native grass with unpredictable lies. After hitting the fairways, approach shots will be key especially if the wind picks up which will make club selection very important. Looking at the hole composition, we have just three Par 3’s, two par 5’s, and 13 Par 4’s putting a ton of emphasis on Par 4 Scoring. Not only are there 13 Par 4’s but seven of them are longer than 450 yards which is my key range this week when breaking it down on Fantasy National. I also saw an interview where it was explained that Carnoustie can be broken down into thirds. The first third is where players will want to score which makes sense as four of the first five Par 4’s are 415 yards or less. The second third is where Par equals a good score. The final third you just hold on for dear life which makes sense as three of the final four holes are Par 4’s that are 472, 460, and 499 yards in length with a 248 yard Par 3 sandwiched in between. Yep. this is going to be a fun week.
From a strategy standpoint, the pricing is very soft this week, especially on DraftKings so the best way to separate yourself in large multi-entry contests will be to leave salary on the table. Let ‘s now take a look at the course, stats, previous OPEN winners and then get into the picks.
Carnoustie Golf Links – Carnoustie, Scotland
Par 71 – 7,402 Yards
Top Stats in the Model
- Strokes Gained: Off the Tee with emphasis on Accuracy(30%)
- Strokes Gained: Approach with emphasis on Proximity(25%)
- Par 4 Scoring(25%)
- Strokes Gained: Around the Green + Bogey Avoidance(20%)
*Depending on the weather, this model could change. Stay tuned to the sheet. For example, if wind appears to stay down I will be weighing Birdie or Better % over Bogey Avoidance*
One little note before jumping into the article. I use multiple sources for my research to help determine key stats starting with Fantasy National Golf Club and their elite set of tools from course history, hole composition, past performance and much, much more. I also combine it with some of the information on Future of Fantasy including correlated courses and most importantly the quotes from players section to help determine what it takes to win here(key stats). When breaking down ownership and trying to come up with popularity, I love the tools over at FanShareSports as they break down every piece of information on articles and social media mentions to provide us with Tag Counts, Sentiment Ratings, Subject Tags, Salary Differential week to week and an all-new lineup generator.
Top Tier Targets($9K+ on DraftKings)
He is #1 in my overall model this week and for good reason. He is the best player in the world and looking at my sheet, he ranks 1st in my stats model, form ranks, and DraftKings last 5 average. He is coming off a 3rd at the US Open, win at the St. Jude Classic, and 8th at the Memorial. He has not missed a cut since the 2017 US Open and has three wins and nine Top 10’s in 19 events since that missed cut. I then had a look at a terrific information sheet put together by Josh Culp looking at worldwide links performance adjusted for field strength and DJ ranks #3 behind Spieth and Koepka. Considering the soft pricing this week, Johnson is my top play and I will be overweight on him this week.
Going down to the bottom of the top tier($9K+ on DraftKings), we have Brooks Koepka who has been a Major Championship machine. Since missing the cut at the 2013 OPEN, he has made 16 straight cuts across the four majors with two wins(2017 & 2081 US Open), 10 Top 20’s and back to back Top 10’s the OPEN. He is a terrific links player and I mentioned earlier that I am looking heavily at Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and that fits his profile as he has gained three or more strokes on the field in four straight events coming in. The putter has also been hot as he has gained at least 1.5 strokes in five straight events. Considering the price, he is another player I will have a ton of exposure to this week.
Sergio has really struggled on the PGA Tour lately missing four of his last five cuts with a 70th place finish the other event. The good news is that he has played on the Euro Tour in his previous two events leading up to the OPEN and finished T12 at the BMW International and T8 at the Open De France. More good news as Sergio has 10 Top 10 finishes in his last 17 OPEN Championship appearances including a runner-up back in 2007 when the event was last held at Carnoustie. That is more than enough for me to consider him a top play in GPP formats.
Mid-Range Targets($7,500-$8,900 on DraftKings)
World Golf Ranking (#9)
Vegas Odds (30/1)
Early in the week, Jason Day is not getting the love I thought he would considering the sub $9K price tag on DraftKings. Looking at my sheet, he is one of just seven players to rank Top 30 in all four categories starting with OPEN history as he has made five straight cuts including three straight Top 30 finishes with a 4th in 2015 at St. Andrews. He missed the cut at the US Open but has made every other cut in 2018 including wins at the Farmers Insurance Open and Wells Fargo Championship and he also ranks 6th overall when looking at Links performance. Regardless of his ownership, I think he makes a tremendous high upside GPP play that only gets more value if he remains overlooked.
World Golf Ranking (#14)
Vegas Odds (40/1)
The OPEN Championship has never been his best major as he has just two Top 10’s in 15 tries but after a T74 in 2015 and missed cut in 2017 he rebounded at Royal Birkdale last year and finished T11 and was one of just 21 players to finish the tournament under par. If building cash game lineups, he is also one of the most consistent golfers on Tour as, over his last 31 stroke-play events on the PGA Tour, he has only missed one cut dating back to the Tournament of Champions last season. He also shook the “can’t win” tag this season with a win at the Valspar. On Fantasy National, he ranks very well when factoring wind and also ranks highly when looking at Josh Culp’s Links ranks.
Value Targets(sub $7,500 on DraftKings)
World Golf Ranking (#31)
Vegas Odds (90/1)
Dipping down into the sub $7,500 range on DraftKings, the first name that stands out to me is Tony Finau. He is 11th overall in my model and comes into this week having made seven of his last eight cuts including two Top 10’s and six Top 25 finishes. He ranks Top 25 in my wind model on Fantasy National, Top 10 on the Josh Culp Links ranking and has been good at the OPEN Championship with a T27 and T18 in his first two trips. He is one of the seven players to rank Top 30 in all four categories on my sheet and with his price this week, is my top value play in all formats.
World Golf Ranking (#52)
Vegas Odds (66/1)
Zach Johnson ranks Top 20 in my overall model and is another one of the seven players to rank Top 30 in all four categories on my sheet. He returns to the OPEN with a wonderful record having finished Top 15 in five of his last six trips including a win in 2015. He is a top 20 links player and can be considered in all formats this week as he has been very consistent making 17 of 18 cuts since the start of the season back at the Safeway Open.
World Golf Ranking (#102)
Vegas Odds (100/1)
I have yet to mention a European Tour player and my top one this week is Andy Sullivan. He missed the cut in last week’s Scottish Open but looking at his performance overall on the Euro Tour this season, he has made his previous 14 cuts with six Top 10’s and 10 Top 25 finishes. He also sits #1 in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee(.976) of all Euro players in the field, hits a ton of greens(72%) and sits under par in average scoring when looking at Par 3, 4, and 5’s. Looking at his OPEN Championship history, he has made all three cuts including a career-high T12 in 2016 at Royal Troon.
Tournament Update Thread
**Weather Update(click pic to go directly to windfinder.com forecast for Carnoustie)**
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for five 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.