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Daily Fantasy Golf DraftKings Picks (PGA DFS): Sony Open


Welcome back RotoBallers! Justin Thomas captured his second career title at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, shooting a final-round four-under 68 to eclipse Xander Schauffele and Patrick Reed in a playoff. Thomas has been floating around as a top-five player in the world over the previous few seasons and does have a major title to show for it, but most golf pundits have predicted that this could be the year where he officially places his name at the top of the golfing world. Thomas will need to show an ability to close out events better than he did in Hawaii for that proclamation to become factual, but the American is off to a fine start in his quest to becoming world number one.

For those of you that are used to Seth Finkelstein being the conductor of this article weekly, I do want to announce that I will be taking over the reins for him. Seth has done an amazing job on this piece over the years, and I will do my best to provide the same top-notch quality that he demonstrated.

Like always, the purpose of this piece is to help you put together your optimal daily fantasy golf lineups, whether that be from a GPP perspective or a cash-game mentality. If you have any questions before the tournament starts on Thursday morning, feel free to contact me via Twitter @Teeoffsports.

Editor's Note: Get our full-season PGA and DFS Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive Lineup Optimizer, DFS Tools, and weekly Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

Sony Open - PGA DFS Overview

Waialae Country Club

7,044 Yards - Par 70 - Greens Bermuda

A 15-minute drive from Honolulu, Waialae Country Club was designed by Seth Raynor in 1925 and was enhanced to feature restorations that mimicked the original layout by Tom Doak in 2016.

Just like Kapalua last weekend, Waialae is one of the easiest courses on tour, but it will play vastly different than its predecessor. Kapalua featured hilly terrain, stretching nearly 7,500 yards in length, while Waialae can be best described as a flat, boring bayside track that will emphasize par-four scoring and ball-striking at just slightly over 7,000 yards. The only line of defense for the venue is wind, which can cause approximately a three-shot difference per day in calm versus windy conditions. However, the fairways are lined with trees that do mitigate some of the weather. Driving accuracy is well below the tour average, but the rough is innocuous, and players will have clean second shots as long as they avoid the trees.

There are 12 par-fours on the course, with 10 of them ranging between 400-500 yards. The four par-threes extend between 173-200 yards and the two par-fives play 497 and 548 yards, respectively. The par-fives are the easiest holes to score on, featuring roughly a 71 percent and 55 percent birdie or better percentage. Those holes are reachable in two shots for just about every player in the field, so golfers that can give themselves an opportunity for quality eagle looks should make a few during the week. In general, Waialae is a second shot course that will reward players that are good with their irons and can score on par-fours.

 

Let's take a look at the stats:

Stat

Waialae

Tour Average

Driving Distance

288

283

Driving Accuracy

52%

61%

GIR Percentage

67%

65%

Scrambling Percentage

60%

57%

Average Three-Putts Per Round

0.43

0.57

The last two seasons have seen two-under par as the total needed to make the cut. The two years previous to that had three-under as the score needed to make it to the weekend, but you can start to get a pretty general idea that somewhere in that vicinity will get you onto the final two rounds.

In Vegas, as of Monday, Justin Thomas leads the way at 5.5/1 and is followed by Webb Simpson at 11/1, Patrick Reed at 12/1, Hideki Matsuyama at 16/1, Collin Morikawa at 18/1 and Sungjae Im rounding out the top six at 20/1. Defending champion Matt Kuchar doesn't trail too far behind with his 22/1 price tag, and he is the only remaining player that is sub-35/1 on the slate this weekend.

 

Key Stats

  • Strokes Gained Approach 25%
  • Par-Four Average 22.5%
  • Birdie or Better 17.5%
  • Proximity 125+ Yards 15%
  • Par-Five Birdie or Better 10.0%
  • Strokes Gained Putting 10%
  • 50% Stats/30% Form/20% Course History

 

Fantasy Golf Lineup Picks for DraftKings (PGA DFS)

High-Priced DFS Players 

There are five players this week priced above $10,000:

Justin Thomas ($12,000) - I think we need to dive into the perception of value versus talent. Is Justin Thomas a good play this weekend? You better believe it. Thomas has provided four top-16 results here since 2015, which includes him lapping the field in 2017 during his first round 59. The bigger question becomes: What does the American need to do to have you realize his value at his $12,000 price tag. I find it easier to build lineups when you don't immediately drop your average remaining salary per player to $7,600, but I am not going to talk you out of him if you have enough value options that you are willing to use.

Webb Simpson ($11,100) - I really like starting teams with Webb Simpson this week, especially for cash-games. Simpson is going to garner his fair share of ownership, but there will be a ton of DFS participants that are going to bypass him altogether to either move up and grab Justin Thomas or start with an alternative choice in the 10k range. The American has quietly put together four straight top-13 appearances here since 2015 and enters the week with not only two straight top-10s to begin the 2020 calendar season but will also come in with a little form after competing in the Presidents Cup. Simpson didn't exactly light the world on fire with his play in the team competition but dealing with the pressure is a step above some of the players who are coming into the season cold with no real golf underneath their belts.

Patrick Reed ($10,800) - To me, Patrick Reed is a bit of fools gold. Reed gained over nine strokes putting at the Tournament of Champions and lost nearly a stroke and a half with his irons. That theme of poor approach play has been common recently, as the American is ranked 168th on tour in strokes gained approach over his 12 trackable rounds during the 2020 calendar season. Reed's 13% projected ownership doesn't make me feel as if I am getting a contrarian selection, and I believe last week's result will incorrectly bloat everyone's interest level.

Hideki Matsuyama ($10,500) - Hideki Matsuyama is an interesting option this weekend. The Japanese sensation has played Waialae Country Club six times in his career, missing three cuts and failing to break the top-27 in his other three appearances. Statistically, however, Matsuyama looks tailor-made for the venue.  The 22nd-ranked player in the world is a quality iron player that can pin hunt on his approach shots, which has always made him dangerous for birdie runs when he gets hot. I am avoiding Matsuyama in cash-games but do like the idea of sprinkling him into GPP contests because of his upside.

Collin Morikawa ($10,300) - Collin Morikawa's price might seem jarring at first glance, but there is a lot to like about the 22-year-old in Hawaii. Not only has Morikawa gained strokes with his irons in 11 of his 12 pro events since 2018, but he has also earned strokes off the tee 10 times in the same timeframe. One of the biggest knocks of Morikawa has been his absence of length off the tee, but Waialae's lack of distance should play right into his hands. I do believe the California Berkley product will be a popular pivot option for those that want to fade the top of the board, but the talent is there for him to find success.

 

Middle-to-Low-priced DFS Players

Marc Leishman ($9,200) - Marc Leishman is going to enter the week at under 10 percent owned. Part of it might have to do with his inconsistent run as of late, but the Aussie is a world-class wind player that has been known to find success in birdie shootouts. Joaquin Niemann is going to garner the majority of the publicity in this range, but I prefer Leishman for both cash-game and GPP events.

Brandt Snedeker ($8,600) - Brandt Snedeker is going to fly into this event under the radar. None of that suggests that there is a guarantee that we see him produce, but he does have two top-16 showings here in his past three attempts - including a second-place finish in 2016. In fairness, Snedeker did miss the cut in 2017 and hasn't exactly been known for his stellar iron play as of late, but at less than five percent projected ownership, I do think he is worth a shot in a few GPP lineups

Chez Reavie ($8,400) - Chez Reavie is a player that can be taken out of an event if extreme length off the tee is required. One of the shortest hitters on tour, the American does most of his work with his irons, accuracy and proximity to the hole, which could play right into his hands at a track like Waialae. Reavie is going to be one of the most popular selections under $9,000 on DraftKings, but cash-game participants might want to give him a second look.

Brian Stuard ($7,900) - There are very few tracks yearly where Brian Stuard enters the conversation as a reasonable selection to make. However, a venue such as the Sony Open does place him into that range since his lack of length shouldn't become a deterrent for his success. I prefer Stuard as a cash-game option after finishing inside the top-eight here in his last two trips and believe we see him get another paycheck when all is said and done.

Carlos Ortiz ($7,700) - There is a chance that the transition period between 2019 and 2020 might have come at the wrong time for Carlos Ortiz, who had provided five straight top-40 finishes, including three top-four results to end the year. While it does make him a risky proposition this weekend, Ortiz's ability to score on par-fours shouldn't be overlooked.

Scott Piercy ($7,100) - Scott Piercy's time in Las Vegas, Nevada has made him one of the best wind players in the world. Add to that the fact that Piercy has found success at shorter venues that yield birdie looks, and you begin to realize he has a shot to find a breakthrough performance if his putter cooperates. Unfortunately, that is always easier said than done.

Talor Gooch ($6,800) - If we throw away Talor Gooch's missed cut here last season, the picture would begin to paint a little nicer for the 208th-ranked player in the world. Gooch put together a solid 18th place showing in 2018 and has the irons to compete if his putter gets hot. Consider him a risky GPP option down on the board.

Charley Hoffman ($6,700) - Purely a shot in the dark selection, Charley Hoffman is worth a second look at nearly one percent projected ownership. Hoffman is a top-notch wind player who will be looking to begin 2020 with a little form after having his worst season on tour in his career in 2019. It is impossible to know where Hoffman's game is at, but he did resurface out of nowhere for a second-place finish at the Valero Texas Open in April, another event known for its high winds.

James Hahn  ($6,300) - Other than James Hahn's missed cut here last season, the 836th-ranked player in the world had been able to make the weekend six straight times at Waialae, which includes a second-place showing in 2018. DFS players looking to open up a little budget have an option here to swing for the fence and hope for the best. Just realize that Hahn only finished inside the top-57 once last season during his nine events and makes for an extremely volatile selection.

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