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Horse For The Course: PGA DFS Course History - 2023 American Express

Adam Hadwin PGA dfs lineup picks daily fantasy golf

Si Woo was shakin' it all over Waialae Country Club throughout the weekend and the talented South Korean captured the fourth PGA Tour victory of his career at the Sony Open, edging young Hayden Buckley by a shot.

Kim's win marked the end of the Hawaiian Swing portion of the schedule. The PGA Tour returns to the continental U.S. this week to kick off the West Coast Swing with The American Express.

Horse For The Course is an article that highlights players in this week's field with elite course history and is part of our free PGA DFS content here at RotoBaller. For my favorite DFS plays of the week check out my Core Four article here at RotoBaller every Wednesday. It's part of our amazing PGA Premium package that includes an all-new PGA Research Station, Lineup Builder & Optimizer, and some of the best articles in the PGA DFS industry! You can sign up now using Promo Code: NICE for an extra discount at checkout!

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2023 American Express

As we turn the page on the Hawaiian events, we return to the mainland for the traditional kicking-off point of the PGA Tour's West Coast Swing in La Quinta, California. This event has been known by many names over the years – Bob Hope, Humana Challenge, CareerBuilder, and Desert Classic – but now seems to have found a rock-solid title sponsor in American Express.

The AmEx – and the West Coast Swing as a whole – isn't without its quirks, as this tournament features a unique 54-hole cut Pro-Am format, as well as a three-course rotation over those first three rounds. Every player in the field will play one round at the Stadium Course, the Nicklaus Tournament Course, and La Quinta Country Club before those that survive the cut battle it out on the PGA West Stadium Course – the toughest track in the rotation – in the final round.

While Jon Rahm voiced his displeasure with the, ahem, birdie-fest nature of this event last year, the recent Sentry Tournament of Champions winner – and former AmEx champ – will indeed be in attendance this week. This field is nothing to sneeze at, as including Rahm, five of the OWGR's top seven players and half of the world's top 20 will be teeing it up this week. Those notables include Scottie Scheffler, Xander Schauffele, Patrick Cantlay, and Will Zalatoris.

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week. And be sure to read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS articles to help you win big!


The Course: Stadium Course at PGA West

Par 72 - 7,133 Yards, Greens: Bermuda, Architect: Pete Dye

The AmEx features a three-course rotation that includes the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West, the Nicklaus Tournament Course, and La Quinta Country Club. Players will play one round on each course before a 54-hole cut leaves the remaining golfers to play TPC Stadium Course in the final round.

The Stadium Course is classic "desert golf" and traditionally plays much tougher than the other tracks in the rotation. Players will face a difficult closing stretch that includes a 20-foot deep bunker on Hole 16, the infamous "Alcatraz hole" at 17, and a par-4 18th that is lined with water. The course rotation makes this a volatile tournament. I'm targeting strong ball strikers who I hope will gain strokes both off the tee and on approach this week.

Check out RotoBaller's PGA Course Breakdown by Josh Bennett for an in-depth breakdown of this week's golf course!


Recent AmEx Winners & Scoring Info

  • 2022: Hudson Swafford (-22)
  • 2021: Si Woo Kim (-23)
  • 2020: Andrew Landry (-26)
  • 2019: Adam Long (-26)
  • 2018: Jon Rahm (-22)
  • Average Winning Score Last Five Years: -23.8
  • Average Cut Line Score Last Five Years: -7.4 (54-hole cut)


The Horse

Jon Rahm

  • Event Scoring Average: 67.88 (Four career starts)
  • Notable Course History: T14 (2022), T6 ('19), Win ('18)
  • DraftKings Price: $10,800 FanDuel Price: $12,000

The Spaniard rather infamously voiced his frustration with the soft AmEx set-up last year but despite those protests of the fundamental type of tournament this is, Rahm has played well at La Quinta, amassing a 67.88 scoring average across his four career appearances and winning the event in 2018.

Often viewed as a player we want to target on difficult golf courses (which he is), we shouldn't sleep on Rahm's ability to go low with the best of 'em. His three 2022 victories came with scores of 17, 20, & 25-under-par respectively and he recently opened 2023 with a win at the Sentry TOC  – one of the lowest-scoring events on the schedule – that required a 27-under-par total.

With the course history box checked, I think we should also consider the Spaniard's white-hot recent form. In Rahm's last five starts in official events, he's won three with a runner-up and a fourth.


The Ponies

Patrick Cantlay

  • Event Scoring Average: 67.60 (Four career starts)
  • Notable Course History: 9th ('22), 2nd ('21), T9 ('19)
  • DraftKings Price: $10,100 FanDuel Price: $11,700

Though he's certainly more understated than the aforementioned Rahm, Patrick Cantlay is perhaps the only player in the field that can truly rival Rahm's blend of successful AmEx history and pure talent.

Cantlay came oh-so-close to winning this event in 2021, ultimately settling for a solo second-place finish after breaking the course record at PGA West with a final-round 61. He's finished ninth or better in his other two trips to La Quinta since 2019. The native Californian has proven himself to be very comfortable playing in his home state. Since 2018, Cantlay has a win and four top-five finishes in tournaments held in the state of California.


Sungjae Im

  • Event Scoring Average: 68.00 (Four career starts)
  • Notable Course History: T11 ('22), T12 ('21), T10 ('20), T12 ('19)
  • DraftKings Price: $9,800 FanDuel Price: $10,900

The hardest workin' man in golf got a rare weekend off last week at Waialae, as Sungjae's missed cut at the Sony Open was his first trunk slam since July. I'm not going to put too much stock into it, as it marked his second consecutive missed cut at the Sony, an event where he's failed to thrive in recent years.

Im's experiences at the American Express have been the complete opposite, however. In four career AmEx starts, the South Korean has been money in the bank, never finishing worse than tied for 12th at La Quinta.

His 31.22 SG: Total at the AmEx over the last five years is the third-best mark in the field. Im held the 36-hole lead here in 2021 and enters the week sporting an impressive career scoring average of 68.00 in this event. Perhaps last week's missed cut will keep his DFS ownership in check on this slate? This is a terrific bounce-back spot for Sungjae.

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Andrew Putnam

  • Event Scoring Average: 68.83 (Six career starts)
  • Notable Course History: T14 ('22), T21 ('21), T10 ('20), T34 ('19), T17 ('18)
  • DraftKings Price: $8,700 FanDuel Price: $9,800

The Pepperdine alum returns to California on the heels of a rock-solid T4 outing at the Sony Open. If Andrew Putnam's AmEx track record is any indicator, he'll have a great chance to continue his strong start to the calendar year.

Putnam has repeatedly found success in La Quinta, posting top 25 finishes in four of his last five American Express starts. The 33-year-old enters this year's edition playing perhaps the most consistent golf of his career. He last missed a cut in June of 2022 and has gained strokes: total in 16 consecutive tournaments. Putnam's consistency can be traced to his elite ability on and around the green. He grades out first in this week's field in SG: Short Game.


Adam Hadwin

  • Event Scoring Average: 67.79 (Seven career starts)
  • Notable Course History: T25 ('22), T32 ('21), T2 ('19), T3 ('18), 2nd ('17), T6 ('16)
  • DraftKings Price: $8,200 FanDuel Price: $9,800

Although he doesn't have an actual AmEx win on his resume, it feels correct to dub Adam Hadwin "Mr. American Express" due to just how great he's been in this event throughout his career, a CV that includes a round of 59 in 2017.

The Canadian has found a second home in La Quinta, California, and its desert golf setting. Between 2016 and 2019, Hadwin recorded a pair of runner-up finishes in the AmEx and finished no worse than T6. His mark of +36.02 SG: Total since 2018 is the best total among this week's entrants and he's gained an average of +2.55 strokes per round in this event since 2017.

It is a little concerning that the veteran enters the week without a recent start under his belt, though the AmEx has historically been how he prefers to start his new calendar year. He closed out 2022 playing solid golf with a pair of top-10 finishes (Shriners & Houston Open) across his five Swing Season starts. Hadwin has gained an average of 4.2 strokes total over his last five tournaments and will return to one of his happy places with his game seemingly in terrific form.


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