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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - 3M Open


Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. Nate Lashley barnstormed the Rocket Mortgage Classic, capturing the title by six shots at 25-under par. Lashley's journey in golf hasn't come without uncertainty and pain along the way, but his achievement in Detroit shows just how resilient and strong the 36-year-old has remained over the years. I don't want to get into exactly what the American has had to endure because this triumph should be more about recognizing his golf skills and less about his losses, but a quick google search would show just how far Lashley has come since 2004. With the victory, Lashley moves just outside the top-100 in the Official World Golf Rankings, and perhaps more importantly, provides him a two-year exemption and automatic birth into next year's Masters.

As far as our betting card was concerned, it will always be nearly impossible to hit a winner if this article is submitted on Tuesday night, and the player who wins the event doesn't even get into the field until Wednesday. That doesn't mean I would have landed on Lashley, but the fact that we were drawing dead from the start pretty much epitomized our weekend at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

In the nearly one year timespan that I have been writing this article, I can't recall a worse weekend of results. Only three of our six outright selections made the cut and none finished inside the top-20. In fairness, Kyle Stanley, J.B. Holmes and Cameron Smith all managed to finish between 21st and 29th, but I pride myself on giving us a chance entering the final round, and we frankly didn't have much hope after Friday concluded. Personally, I am not a huge fan of these first-time courses being used by the tour that play as resort venues, but I believe I have a better handle of how I want to deal with a similar setup at the 3M Open this weekend. Without further ado, let's dive into some value plays we will be targeting in Minnesota.

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.  Sign Up Now!

2019 3M Open

For an in-depth breakdown of the top DraftKings and Fanduel plays, check out Joe Nicely's weekly Horse For The Course that highlights the best fits for the week's course.

To see who the RotoBaller staff is selecting in the weekly 'One and Done' contest, click here.

 

TPC Twin Cities

7,481 Yards - Par 71 - Greens Bentgrass

If last week's Rocket Mortgage Classic wasn't easy enough, let's run back another shootout in Minnesota. I'd anticipate the winning score being 20-under par or better once again, which typically means these tournaments are more of a dart throw than your typical week. Golfers will need a hot putter for nearly four rounds, and bogeys will derail your chances.

Designed by Arnold Palmer with Tom Lehman in 2000, the venue has seen a few changes in recent years. The course was lengthened by over 300 yards since its previous appearance on the Champions Tour and can provide danger with only four holes not having water come into play. The added length will add an extra dynamic, but it isn't as if players will struggle to find scoring opportunities. There are three driveable par-fours, and all par-fives are long but should easily be handled.

I think one mistake we made last weekend was not putting more of an emphasis on bogey avoidance. I was expecting scoring to outweigh all else, but it was apparent how a few bad shots could completely derail a golfers chances at finding success when everyone was going extremely low. This week, I will be placing a 25 percent weight onto both birdie or better percentage and bogey avoidance. I want to find golfers who are capable of getting hot for a few rounds but also want to limit our chances when it comes to taking on big numbers - especially with all the water surrounding TPC Twin Cities. Add in strokes gained tee to green, ball striking and par-five birdie or better percentage, and I believe we have a decently simplistic layout that should yield better results at this first-time track.

 

3M Open Best Bets

#1 Sungjae Im - 40/1

DK Price $9,000, FD Price $9,800

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 13.4%

I think it is best for us to keep our exposure down this weekend because the big three of Brooks Koepka, Hideki Matsuyama and Jason Day do look incredibly imposing. While it would seem customary that the three favorites in odds would grade within the top-three spots for me when it comes to their likelihood of winning, that is not always the case. However, the 3M Open does present us with that dynamic, and I am not actively looking to oppose the top of the board.

I had planned on starting my card even higher than 40/1, but Sungjae Im does invoke some confidence. Three straight top-21 finishes, including five top-10s on the season, shows us that the rising South Korean star has what it takes to breakthrough before long.

If we are looking for any negatives, Im's schedule has been brutal in 2019. He has only missed four of the past 21 weeks and most of those were required misses because of his failure to qualify for major championship events. Maybe that should bother me more than it does, but Im is just 21 years old, and his eagerness to get out there every week will only help to speed up his maturation process when it comes to finding the winners circle.

Im enters the week ranked inside the top-11 in both bogey avoidance and birdie or better percentage, not to mention the fact that he ranks inside the top-five in strokes gained tee to green and par-five birdie or better rate. The 64th-ranked player in the world is at a disadvantage most weekends because his counterparts have experience playing at particular venues, but this stretch of golf at brand new courses should allow the South Korean more of an even playing field than he is used to having. I believe Tony Finau at $9,200 on DraftKings makes for an interesting pivot option in large-field GPP events, but I've reached the point where I am just going to let Finau beat me when he finally does in the outright market. I can't justify backing him at his current price range - even if the field is a bit softer than usual.

#2 Lucas Glover - 90/1

DK Price $7,700 FD Price $9,400

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 7.2%

When we are looking at golfers who exhibit birdies in bunches, Lucas Glover isn't the first name that would come to mind. Ranked 91st on tour with a 21.06% birdie or better rate, I believe the American is a unique case study when comparing production on easy and hard courses.

Glover enters the field ranked first in bogey avoidance, so it isn't difficult to see that erring on the side of caution is the preferred route that the 39-year-old would like to take. However, when we condense Glover's statistics to only feature courses that yield lower scores, it is fascinating to see how the three-time PGA Tour winners game begins to take form. Over his past 100 rounds, Glover ranks eighth in opportunities gained and 13th in birdies or better gained in those scenarios.

The ability to have more room for error has allowed the former U.S. Open champion to create opportunities and take more risks, and TPC Twin Cities should be a venue that rewards his ball striking skills and precise game. Glover's ownership percentage on DFS sites has been all over the place from week-to-week, but a projection of only seven percent for the 3M Open shows that most gamers have forgotten about the 77th-ranked player after a few poor showings, and that is just fine by me. I believe he is steady enough to use in cash-game lineups but possesses more upside than usual and is worth a flier in GPP fields as well.

#3 Peter Malnati - 100/1

DK Price $7,800, FD Price $8,700

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 10.8%

It is funny how a few good or bad rounds can drastically change the perception around a player. Peter Malnati seems to fall into the latter part of that category this weekend after imploding in each of his past three final rounds to finish in 29th, 30th and 31st. His inability to close on Sunday is alarming, but it has allowed us to take another shot on the 32-year-old at a reasonable price in both the DFS and outright markets.

Malnati has provided five straight top-40 results, which includes a stretch that has seen him make 11 of his previous 12 cuts. On top of that, the 202nd-ranked player in the world enters the week ranked 10th compared to the field in DraftKings scoring over his last five tournaments and inside the top-15 on the season when it comes to scrambling, putting and scoring average before the cut.

Malnati will need to put together a performance on Sunday if he wants to maximize his DK scoring potential for the week, but he makes a fabulous DFS option in large-field GPP events. His 10.8% projected ownership shows that we aren't alone in that theory, but there are a ton of players in that price range who are expected to garner interest, and it seems likely that Malnati will shrink ever so slightly with his projection as the week comes to an end. I wouldn't be expecting much less than 10%, but there is enough upside there to include him as part of my DFS core.

#4 Corey Conners - 110/1

DK Price $7,400, FD Price $8,600

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 7.2%

Ahhhhh, yes. My main man Corey Conners! Conners will forever hold a special place in my heart after he was able to capture the title at the Valero Texas Open at odds of 200/1. I've been pretty transparent about how I structure my outright cards over the past few weeks and feature similar outright win totals on all players. However, there are spots where I will step out somewhat for a little greater exposure and potential. Without diving too deep into the exact amount I won on the 83rd-ranked player in the world, I will say that Conners became my most significant win in terms of units that I've ever had in golf betting. I'm not claiming that the 3M Open will turn into the same situation that we saw in Texas, but I am starting to see similar potential when it comes to his chances this weekend in Minnesota.

Conners has been brutal since his victory in April, posting no top-30 results in his last seven events, including back-to-back missed cuts. But all of that can be tossed out the window when we look into his actual statistics in that same time frame. During his past 24 rounds compared to the field, Conners ranks 17th in opportunities gained but only 76th in birdie or better percentage. That shows that the Canadian is putting himself in a position to find success but is being undone on the putting greens. When we dive a little deeper and only look at open venues with low scoring, we see Conners jump up into first when it comes to opportunities gained compared to the field over his past 24 rounds

This is always a touchy road to go down because some players aren't good putters and will never be able to provide consistent form, but I'm more worried about the state of Conners' irons than if he can make a putt at a course as easy as TPC Twin Cities. Opportunities will eventually drop, and I'd like to pinpoint the golfer who will give himself the most chances on the week. I realize how difficult it is to win on tour twice in a season for a player at Conners' skill level, but his outright price has officially jumped into a territory that is incorrect when considering his current form and talent. Perhaps his putter will let him down again, but I refuse to sit on the sidelines and miss being apart of his second victory.

#5 Troy Merritt - 175/1

DK Price $6,900, FD Price $8,300

Projected DraftKings Ownership Percentage - 6.4%

Troy Merritt has experienced some journey back to the PGA Tour. After winning last year's Barbasol Championship in July, the 188th-ranked player in the world was forced to take a leave of absence when he was diagnosed with Thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition that ultimately led to a blood clot in his arm. The initial prognosis had Merritt fearing for the worst, but following immediate surgery to relieve the clot, Merritt decided to tee it up just a few weeks later at the PGA Championship.

Unfortunately, the Idaho native still didn't feel right, but that didn't stop him from finishing out the 2018 calendar year. Once his season was over, doctors performed a second surgery to remove Merritt's top left rib and told him to stay sidelined for as long as possible. That procedure usually keeps athletes out for three to 12 months, but Merritt decided to get back into action just seven weeks after the operation was performed. Both of those choices weren't the best for his safety or health, but it does show how strong Merritt is from a physical standpoint.

I'm not so sure we can trust the American at his word that all is ok after his past showings of determination to get onto the course, but two top-20 finishes at the RBC Heritage and Memorial have been encouraging signs that the former Winona State product can get back to his old self. For those of you that may not know, Winona State is just six miles away from TPC Twin Cities, and while Merritt hasn't been back since Tom Lehman and the PGA Tour architects altered the layout for length and difficulty, the two-time PGA Tour winner has expressed his excitement for being able to play the event this weekend.

Merrit is a much better player than his 175/1 odds would indicate, and despite ranking 79th in birdies or better gained in his previous 50 rounds, he enters the week grading out second in opportunities gained. A hot putter is all Merritt might need to make a run up the leaderboard, and Minnesota feels like the perfect location for him to rediscover his game.

My Top 30 Ranked Golfers For The Week

Key Stats: Birdie or Better Percentage 25%, Bogey Avoidance 25%, Strokes Gained Tee to Green 20%, Ball Striking 15% and Par-Five Birdie or Better Percentage 15%

70% Stats/30% Form


Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Lucas Glover +100 over Charley Hoffman -120
Lucas Glover $7,700 price tag on DraftKings vs. Charley Hoffman $7,800 price tag on DraftKings
Lucas Glover 7.3 percent projected ownership vs. Charley Hoffman 8.3 percent projected ownership

1.25 Units to Win 1.25

Charley Hoffman does have a little GPP upside to him this weekend, but I find it ridiculous that he has opened as a favorite in a head-to-head matchup against Lucas Glover. By the time Thursday rolls around, I'd anticipate this line flipping upside down and would expect to see Glover close at about -120 himself.

Hoffman enters the week having missed his past three cuts on tour and has been less than stellar on the year across the board. When we attach a 95% weight to 2019 statistics and five percent calculation onto 2018 numbers, Hoffman ranks outside the top-75 compared to the field in our key stats of birdie or better percentage, bogey avoidance, par-five birdie or better percentage and ball striking. He does come in at 24th in strokes gained tee to green, but Hoffman's volatility makes him a perfect candidate to target in head-to-head matchups.

In 51 career tournaments that these two have played in together, Hoffman holds a record of (32-18-1) against Glover, which I believe helps to explain the current line we have been given, but this feels like a lazy spot by the books of ignoring form, course fit and actual sharp action that will be betting this contest. Both players are currently projected to be less than 10 percent owned, and I'd be highly surprised if sharp money doesn't attack this number until Glover closes as the favorite. With the perceived edge that I believe we have, I will be risking 1.25 units to win the same amount this weekend. Good luck in Minnesota and hopefully we can find a winner at the 3M Open!


2019 Head-to-Head Record (14-8-2)

+6.97 Units Year-To-Date From H2H Bets

Tournament

Head-to-Head Bet

Bet

My Picks Finish

Opponent Finish

Result

Total

Safeway Open

Sangmoon Bae +130 Over Chris Kirk

1.00 Units to Win 1.30

MC (+2)

MC (E)

Loss

-1.00

CIMB Classic

Kevin Na -120 over Kevin Tway

1.50 Units to Win 1.25

T19 (-17)

T27 (-13)

Win

1.25

CJ Cup

Paul Casey +100 over Marc Leishman

1.25 Units to Win 1.25

T18 (-8)

T18 (-8)

Push

0

WGC-HSBC

Thomas Pieters +120 over Kevin Na

1.00 Units to Win 1.20

T18 (-1)

T54 (+10)

Win

1.20

Shriners

Austin Cook +100 over Russell Henley

1.00 Units to Win 1.00

MC (+1)

MC (-1)

Loss

-1.00

Mayakoba

Kevin Chappell +100 over Charley Hoffman

1.25 Units to Win 1.25

T41 (-9)

MC (+2)

Win

1.25

RSM Classic

Patrick Rodgers -105 over Bronson Burgoon

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

2nd (-19)

MC (+2)

Win

1.00

Sony Open

Jimmy Walker -115 over Kevin Na

1.15 Units to Win 1.00

T51 (-6)

Did Not Start

Push

0

Desert Classic

Anders Albertson -110 over Anirban Lahiri

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T34 (-14)

MC (-8)

Win

1.00

Farmers Insurance

J.B. Holmes +130 over Branden Grace

0.70 Units to Win 0.91

MC (+4)

MC (+3)

Loss

-0.70

Farmers Insurance

Jordan Spieth -110 over Alex Noren

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T35 (-7)

MC (E)

Win

1.00

Waste Management

Ryan Palmer +105 over Kevin Tway

1.00 Units to Win 1.05

T60 (E)

MC (E)

Win

1.05

Genesis Open

Hideki Matsuyama -110 over Jordan Spieth

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T9 (-7)

T51 (+1)

Win

1.00

Honda Classic

Zach Johnson -115 over Kiradech Aphibarnrat

1.43 Units to Win 1.25

T59 (+3)

MC (+10)

Win

1.25

Arnold Palmer

Chesson Hadley -110 over Chris Kirk

0.82 Units to win 0.75

T17 (-5)

T15 (-6)

Loss

-0.82

Players Championship

Tiger Woods +105 over Rickie Fowler

0.75 Units to win 0.79

T30 (-6)

T47 (-3)

Win

0.79

Valero Texas Open

Trey Mullinax -110 over Justin Harding

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

MDF (+1)

MC (+4)

Win

1.00

Masters

Bubba Watson -115 over Louis Oosthuizen

1.15 Units to Win 1.00

T12 (-8)

T29 (-4)

Win

1.00

Wells Fargo Championship

Joel Damen +120 over Chez Reavie

0.75 Units to win 0.90

2nd (-12)

T18 (-5)

Win

0.90

Byron Nelson

Trey Mullinax -105 over Brian Stuard

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

MC (+5)

T59 (-7)

Loss

-1.05

PGA Championship

Dylan Frittelli -105 over Cameron Champ

1.05 Units to Win 1.00

MC (+8)

T54 (+9)

Loss

-1.05

Memorial Tournament

Jason Kokrak -110 over Kyle Stanley

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

T62 (+3)

MC (+2)

Win

1.00

Canadian Open

Ollie Schniederjans -110 over Nick Taylor

1.10 Units to Win 1.00

MC (+1)

-6 (T27)

Loss

-1.10

U.S. Open

Tiger Woods +160 over Rory McIlroy

1.00 Units to Win 1.60

T21 (-2)

T9 (-5)

Loss

-1.00

2019 Outright Bets That Have Finished Inside the Top-10

Player

Event

Odds

Finish Position

Matt Kuchar

Mayakoba Golf Classic

66

1

Corey Conners

Valero Texas Open

200

1

Rory McIlroy

Canadian Open

10

1

Chesson Hadley

CIMB Classic

110

T2

Dustin Johnson

Masters

12

T2

Adam Scott

Memorial

33

2

Ryan Palmer

CJ Cup

150

T3

Sam Ryder

Shriners Hospitals

80

3

Chez Reavie

Sony Open

80

T3

Justin Thomas

Waste Management

10

3

Tommy Fleetwood

Arnold Palmer

35

T3

Rafa Cabrera-Bello

Arnold Palmer

60

T3

Scott Piercy

RBC Heritage

150

T3

Xander Schaufele

U.S. Open

28

T3

Lucas Glover

Honda Classic

60

T4

Brooks Koepka

Byron Nelson

7

T4

Jason Day

CJ Cup

13

T5

Sergio Garcia

WGC-Match Play

45

T5

Jason Day

Masters

40

T5

Marc Leishman

Memorial

66

5

Kevin Tway

Travelers

150

T5

Adam Hadwin

Canadian Open

70

6

Zach Johnson

RSM Classic

40

T7

Kevin Kisner

RSM Classic

40

T7

Webb Simpson

TOC

25

8

Jason Day

Players Championship

40

T8

Hideki Matsuyama

Players Championship

40

T8

Jason Day

Travelers

20

T8

J.B. Holmes

Safeway Open

60

9

Gary Woodland

Farmers Insurance

28

T9

Hideki Matsuyama

Genesis Open

30

T9

Shubankar Sharma

CIMB Classic

150

T10

Troy Merritt

RBC Heritage

250

T10

Golf DFS News and Player Outlooks


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