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PGA DFS: Horse For The Course - Mayakoba Golf Classic

Hi RotoBallers and welcome back to Horse For The Course! Bryson DeChambeau played himself into the winner's circle at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. The "Mad Scientist" is rolling and proving that his scientific approach is for real.

This week we head south of the border, down Mexico way for the Mayakoba Golf Classic. The field is headlined by Jordan Spieth (who is TOTALLY playing this event of his own accord), Rickie Fowler, and Tony Finau. Last year's winner Patton Kizzire is back to defend his championship, though he has struggled mightily for the better part of a year.

Horse For The Course will take a look at players that have traditionally flourished at the course that hosts this week’s PGA TOUR event. This is not a traditional picks column, but rather an attempt to pinpoint players that have outstanding results at a specific course. "The Horse" is a player with an elite course history and that has a great chance to repeat his success in this week's tournament. "The Ponies" are players with very good course history, that might be entering this week's tournament under the radar or have a DFS price that is a great value.

For a full review of the DraftKings PGA Slate this weekend, check out Seth Finklestein's column reviewing picks at every price point.

You can also find out who the smart money is on by checking out Spencer Aguiar's PGA DFS: Vegas Report every week.

Editor's Note: Our friends at Fantasy National have built some incredible DFS Golf lineup tools including a Lineup Optimizer, Stat Engine, Ownership Projections and Course Breakdowns. They are by far the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry. Seriously. You can read all about them here and see screenshots. 

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The Course: El Camaleon Golf Club - Par 71 - 6,987 Yards

A 2006 Greg Norman design, El Camaleon is a unique course that takes advantage of a beautiful and interesting natural landscape. It is perhaps most famous for its "sinkholes" that can give golfers fits. This is a short course by modern standards, but not one that can be easily overpowered. Accuracy off the tee is crucial and we will see lots of players hitting less than driver this week. Ball striking will also be at a premium at El Camaleon in order to find fairways and greens in what is typically windy coastline conditions. A hot putter never hurts and that is again the case this week. I'll be targeting accurate ball strikers who are in a nice groove with the flatstick.


The Horse

Gary Woodland (DraftKings - $10,700 & FanDuel - $11,800 )

This week's Horse has long-been considered one of the most talented players on the PGA Tour. Yet, despite that talent, Gary Woodland has only won three tournaments during his career. One of those wins came at last year's Waste Management Phoenix Open and Woodland seemed primed for a breakthrough year. Instead, he went in the opposite direction. Woodland's game proceeded to fall off a cliff over the next several months. Nobody ever said this game was easy.

After the mid-season dip, Woodland rebounded nicely to close out the schedule, including a solid run in the PGA Championship. He has started the new season on fire, logging a T5 at the CIMB Classic, a second in the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges, and a T10 in last week's Shriners.

In addition to his trending form, Woodland has found success in his two previous trips to the Mayakoba Classic, logging a second (2017) and a T34 (2018). He has been a walking stripe show over his last 24 rounds, ranking top five in the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, Total, Ball Striking, and Approach. Woodland's also first in the field in DraftKings points scored over the same 24 period.

Do we love paying over $10k for Woodland? It's not the best feeling in the world, but it's just the reality of November DFS golf. The "bigger names" should soak up most of the ownership in the above $10k price range, which makes Woodland a greenlight GPP play this week.


The Ponies

Emiliano Grillo (DK - $9,700 & FD - $11,500 )

Oh...Emiliano, Emiliano, Emiliano. I can't stress to you guys how tough it is for me to make this Grillo selection. No golfer killed more DFS lineups for me last season and in the interest of full disclosure, I never seem to get him right. Despite my shaky history with Grillo, I can't deny that all signs point to a good week for him at the Mayakoba Classic.

It just takes a quick glance at his season game log to see that Grillo isn't easy to figure out. After opening up with a T41 in the Safeway Open, Grillo shined in the CIMB Classic and finished tied for second. He then alternated a bad outing at the CJ Cup (T55), with a solid one at the HSBC Champions (T14). So...while Grillo has a huge amount of talent and upside, we are somewhat trying to hit a moving target.

Grillo has nailed the bullseye in both of his career starts at El Camaleon, recording a T9 (2018) and a T10 (2017), with a 67.88 scoring average in eight Mayakoba rounds. He has been striking the ball beautifully in the new season, with early ranks of fourth in SG: Approach and 20th in SG: Tee to Green.

I wish I had a secret formula for knowing which weeks Grillo will finish inside the top five and which weeks he'll finish tied for 47th. Unfortunately, there usually isn't a happy medium between the two for Grillo. It makes him unreliable, but a high-upside play that can help lineups win large-field GPP's. I have too many bad Grillo memories to let him near cash lineups, but can't resist firing him up in tourneys.

Si Woo Kim (DK - $9,200 & FD - $10,100)

In the words of the great Pat Mayo, it's Si WOOOO Kim! He has been around the PGA Tour so long that it's really easy to forget that Kim is only 23-years-old. Like any young players, he's went through ups and downs in his young pro career. When Kim's game is "on" he has shown extremely high upside. He won the Wyndham Championship at just 21-years-old and logged a huge victory at The Players Championship in 2017.

Kim has came out firing in the new PGA Tour season. He's made three starts and has logged three top-25's. The young Korean has been propelled by a ridiculously hot putter. At last week's Shriners Open he was 56 for 56 on putts within nine feet!!! Kim led the Shriners in SG: Putting on the way to a T15. The amazing thing is that despite the good finishes, Kim has struggled with his ball striking this season. He lost about five strokes to the Shriners field in ball striking.

Kim's struggles with the irons are a double-edged sword. We can say that if his ball striking improves he will start to win tournaments. The other side of the argument is that if his putter cools down he will miss cuts. It does make Kim a bit of a gamble going forward. My concerns are eased this week by his excellent track record at Mayakoba, where he logged a solo third last year and a T17 in 2016.

In what seems to be a running theme this week, we are taking on some risks even with higher-priced players. Most players have both pros and cons during this time of the year and Kim is no different. Kim's loose ball striking is obviously not ideal, but he his completely unconscious with the flatstick. I'm willing to bet on his talent and affinity for the course in this spot. I like him in large-field GPP's.

Abraham Ancer (DK - $8,400 & FD - $10,000)

Here at HFTC I'm always looking for threads that tie a player to a course. Abraham Ancer's connection is merely noteworthy and not as strong as some threads we've seen in the past. Ancer is a native of Reynosa, Mexico so he will definitely be the top Mexican golfer in the field and has a small "home country" advantage. He grinded his way on to the PGA Tour. After starting out at tiny Odessa College, he transferred to the University of Oklahoma where he became a first team All-American. After his collegiate career, Ancer again started at the bottom and worked his way up, going through Q school and bouncing back and forth between the Web and PGA Tours.

Ancer had a breakthrough season on the PGA Tour last year, playing well enough to earn his Tour card and full membership status for this season. He appears ready to hang around for a while and has gotten off to a blistering start in the new season, logging two top-five's in three starts since October. Ancer recorded a T5 at the CIMB Classic and a T4 at last week's Shriners Open, thanks in large part to a hot putter. While measured rounds are limited, he ranks fourth in SG: Putting on the young season.

Ancer has improved in each trip to Mayakoba, going from a MC (2016), to a T55 (2017), and finally a T9 (2018) over the past three years. His accuracy off the tee and hot putting should give him an excellent chance at another top-10 finish this week. Ancer offers a bit of salary relief in what is a tough pricing week. I'm comfortable using him in both cash games and tournaments. He's the type of player that's easy to pull for and I'll have him in plenty of lineups this week.


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Premium DFS Golf Tools and Lineup Optimizer

Our friends at Fantasy National have created some game-changing DFS Golf tools, and you can read all about them here. They are hands-down the best daily fantasy Golf tools in the industry.

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