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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - CIMB Classic

Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report! In the opening event of the season, Kevin Tway captured his inaugural title on the PGA Tour at the Safeway Open, outlasting Ryan Moore and Brandt Snedeker in a sudden-death three-man playoff. Tway birdied his final two holes in regulation to join Snedeker and Moore at 14-under par and proceeded to birdie all three playoff holes to hoist the trophy. The victory qualifies Tway for the 2019 Masters and puts him in some illustrious company of father-son duos that have won on the PGA Tour. Ironically, his father Bob Tway had his last career victory come at the Safeway Open.

As far as our betting week was concerned, J.B. Holmes, our pick to win, rallied on Sunday to finish in ninth place and our top sleeper choices of Bronson Burgoon, Carlos Ortiz and Maverick McNealy all underwhelmed and finished in a share of 53rd place. Unfortunately, our head-to-head pick of Sang-moon Bae +130 over Chris Kirk -150 also come up short. Both players missed the cut, but Kirk outlasted Bae by two strokes. We stated in last week's article that Bae possessed more volatility than we would generally care to have in a matchup bet but found taking on a bad Poa putter in Kirk to be too advantageous to pass up. Sadly, the American made a handful of "meaningless" putts as far as the tournament was concerned but had great implications against our bet. Sometimes those are the breaks that you have to deal with when gambling and all we can do is move onto the next tournament with a clear conscience. With that in mind, let's take a look at some value plays we will be targeting at the CIMB Classic this week.

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

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

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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2018 CIMB Classic - TPC Kuala Lumpur - 7,005 Yards - Par 72 - Greens Bermuda.

We head over to Malaysia for the second PGA Tour event of the season. Before we get into some of the particular distinctions of the course, the tournament will begin Wednesday night, so make sure to set your lineups and get your bets in early this week.

TPC Kuala Lumpur has hosted this event since 2010, and some interesting trends have taken place during that duration of time. No one style of game has dominated, and bombers and plodders should all be considered. The course itself is an extremely short Par 72, especially considering that four par-five holes are scattered throughout the venue. With only 78 golfers teeing it up this week, the tournament will not feature a cut, making all names available for DFS lineups.

One factor to consider is the heat and humidity that players will encounter in Malaysia. Out of shape golfers will struggle to compete throughout four days. Storms are expected later in the week, and if this happens, we will see a rule come into play called "lift, clean and place, which will only further enhance scoring opportunities. Hitting fairways is vital, but Kuala Lumpur is a second shot course, and strokes gained approach will be the most critical statistic of the week.

Pat Perez is the defending champion of the event, winning the title last season at 24-under par. He will attempt to become the third man to go back-to-back at the tournament in a row. Ryan Moore accomplished the feat in 2014 and 2015, followed by Justin Thomas in 2016 and 2017.

Pick to Win

Rafa Cabrera-Bello (30/1, DK Price $9,300, FD Price $11,100)

If we are going to take on the favorite Justin Thomas at the CIMB Classic (+450), Rafa Cabrera-Bello is my favorite place to start at odds of 30/1. In the Spaniards only two trips to Kuala Lumpur, he has posted back-to-back 10th place finishes. While these results are impressive, I believe Cabrera-Bello has yet to maximize his full potential at the event.

In the last 50 rounds for the 34-year-old on Bermuda grass, Cabrera-Bello ranks second in strokes gained-putting, fourth in birdies gained and ninth in strokes gained approach. Kuala Lumpur switched from Paspalum grass to Bermuda grass this season, something that could be overlooked when breaking down past results. The ability to pinpoint wedges and putt on Bermuda greens is a dangerous combination to possess at a course that will yield a plethora of birdie opportunities. Since 2014, Cabrera-Bello has gained 2.394 strokes total on Bermuda greens, the second-best figure in the field behind only Justin Thomas. For reference sake, his 2.394 strokes gained is slightly over a half-stroke better than his average of 1.884 strokes on all other grass types (+0.51), the third largest disparity in the field.

The 29th-ranked player in the world isn't only a play this week for his ability on Bermuda. On short courses under 7,100 yards, Cabrera-Bello has gained 2.524 strokes; the highest strokes gained total in the field this week. Cabrera-Bello comes into the event as the 10th most expensive player on DraftKings, fourth on FanDuel and ninth in the betting market. The three-time European Tour winner is currently projecting to be one of the highest owned players of the week at roughly 20 percent ownership on DraftKings, but I wouldn't be overly concerned by this in such a small field. He checks all the boxes.


Kevin Na (40/1, DK Price $8,600, FD Price $9,400)

Kevin Na's previous two finishes in Kuala Lumpur have shaded the upside he possesses in Malaysia this week. Before last year's 44th place finish and his 29th place outcome in 2016, Na had recorded back-to-back top-three results in 2014 and 2015.

The 35-year-old is an ideal fit for not only the venue but also for the humidity that will wreak havoc on the field. Na is a Las Vegas resident that will thrive in these hot conditions. The amount of moisture in the air will be a challenge for everyone, but as far as the actual heat is concerned, Na will flourish over most of his competitors.

On the course, the 42nd-ranked player in the world has become a phenomenal player on Bermuda greens. In his last 50 rounds compared to the field on Bermuda, Na ranks first in par-four scoring between 400 to 450 yards, sixth in proximity to the hole from 100 to 125 yards and sixth in birdies gained over his fellow competitors. The two-time PGA Tour winner also ranked third in par-four scoring and sixth in birdie or better percentage compared to the field last season on any surface.

Na's pricing comes in at a consistent 16th on DraftKings, 18th on FanDuel and 16th in the betting market. Because of his reasonable price tag, the American will be an attractive play this weekend on all DFS sites. Na is currently projected to be around 17 percent owned on DraftKings, which would make him the ninth most popular selection of the week. But similar to my thought process on Rafa Cabrera-Bello, I am fine using him across the board on all DFS sites and in all game types.

J.J. Spaun (110/1, DK Price $6,700, FD Price $7,500)

J.J. Spaun has never played this event in his career, but changes to the fairways and greens should help suit the American's game. Spaun has shown himself to be a superb player on Bermuda grass during his short career on the PGA Tour. The 28-year-old has gained 0.478 more strokes on Bermuda greens than his expected strokes gained total on all other surfaces, the fifth highest increase in the field. Over his previous 50 rounds on Bermuda, Spaun ranks second in birdies gained, 10th in strokes gained approach and 11th in eagles gained.

Spaun's 2018 season was riddled with one injury after another. In fact, since Spaun has gotten his PGA Tour card in late 2016, he has appeared to have a setback every time he starts getting himself close to his first title. It is hard to say that the 143rd-ranked golfer in the world has been playing his best level of golf as of late, but Spaun has made nine of his last 10 cuts and appears to be injury-free for the first time in years.

Spaun is the 53rd highest priced player on DraftKings, 52nd on FanDuel and 43rd in the betting market. His $6,700 price tag on DraftKings currently has him projected around an eight percent ownership for the week, making him the most popular player at $6,700 or less. Still, though, anytime you can get someone at under 10 percent that possesses the upside that Spaun does this week, it is well worth the risk.

Chesson Hadley (110/1, DK Price $6,800, FD Price $8,000)

After Chesson Hadley got off to a torrid start to begin his season last year, which included making 16 of his first 18 cuts and recording three-top four finishes during the fall swing, the 31-year-old crumbled in the later stages of 2018, missing four out of his last seven cuts and failing to produce a top-40 finish. While this is a concerning trend for the 75th-ranked player in the world, I think his outright price of 110/1 makes him worth a flier in hopes of him striking lightning in a bottle for the second straight fall season.

During Hadley's run last year, he was being priced at 25/1 or 30/1 in much stronger fields than this one. While we can only grade him based off of his current form, the number has become too outrageously priced at a course that would appear to suit his game. In the American's previous 50 rounds on Bermuda greens, he ranks first in strokes gained on par-fours, third in birdies gained, fifth in par-four scoring between 400 to 450 yards, seventh in strokes gained approach and seventh in proximity from 100 to 125 yards. Hadley has found it challenging to find fairways, which could become an issue for him on some of the par-fives, but being able to club down off the tee at TPC Kuala Lumpur on most holes will help that statistic exponentially.

Even though this is a no-cut event, Hadley can only be used as a GPP contrarian play and a shot in the dark outright wager. His current volatility presents a massive downside that can swamp your DFS lineups, but there is enough upside here to warrant taking a shot on him at under five percent projected ownership and even greater potential as a 110/1 longshot wager.

Shubhankar Sharma (150/1, DK Price $6,500, FD Price $7,800)

Shubhankar Sharma enters the CIMB Classic as the leading money winner on the Asian Tour, $54,278 in front of Sang-Hyun Park. The Asian Tour doesn't have the same sort of weekly notoriety as other tours may have, but Sharma has already made his presence felt on the PGA Tour a handful of times during his young career. The 22-year-old posted three top-20 finishes last season in a limited slate, including a share of ninth place at the WGC-Mexico Championship, an event that Sharma held the lead at before faltering on Sunday.

Sharma has never played TPC Kuala Lumpur before, but his comfortability in Malaysia should give him an advantage over PGA Tour regulars. His last win of any kind came at the Maybank Championship in February at an event held in Malaysia, and the youngster will be one of the more well-equipped players to handle the humidity this week.

There are definite concerns over the current form he is bringing to the table having missed four out his last five cuts, but Sharma's 150/1 outright price is worth a flier in a small, weak field. The two-time European Tour winner and two-time Asian Tour winner is the 63rd highest priced player on DraftKings and 43rd on FanDuel. Only five players in the field have a lower price tag than he does at $6,500. Sharma's less than five percent projected ownership makes him a potential GPP game-changer and an option to consider in Malaysia.

Ollie Schniederjans (160/1, DK Price $6,700, FD Price $7,400)

In 2017, Ollie Schniederjans was one of the newest faces on tour, and his first career win seemed like it could happen any time he teed it up. Fast forward to the start of the 2019 season, and the 25-year-old looks like he has taken a couple of steps in the wrong direction.

Schniederjans made a respectable 16 of 24 cuts last season on tour, but it was the lack of explosiveness and error-filled golf that raised an eyebrow for some. From week seven on during his 2018 campaign, the young American only produced one top-25 result in 21 tournaments, which was a fifth-place showing at the lowly Barracuda Championship. However, 2019 allows a new start for Schniederjans, and a birdie-filled course may be just what the doctor ordered.

The former No. 1 ranked amateur in the world has been a bit of a Bermuda specialist early in his career. Schniederjans has gained 1.717 total strokes on those greens, a 0.568 stroke improvement over his expected value on other surfaces. That disparity difference places him behind only Si Woo Kim in the field this week. In Schniederjans' past 50 rounds compared to the field on Bermuda, he ranks second in par-four scoring from 400 to 450 yards, fourth in birdies gained, fifth in strokes gained approach, seventh in par-five scoring and seventh in strokes gained-putting.

There was a time last season where you couldn't find the 133rd-ranked player in the world at anything higher than 50/1. Schniederjans' 2019 season got off to a brutal start by finishing in second to last at the Safeway Open and losing to former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder. While there is no justification for the effort the youngster exhibited in the prior week, Poa Annua greens have never been his surface of choice, and the switch to Bermuda can only help him in his quest to refind his form. Schniederjans is an explosive scorer that has been undone by his reckless style. But at a birdie course where you are going to have to go SUPER low to have a chance to win, he has the mentality to get the job done.

Bonus Bomb

Sang-Hyun Park (1000/1, DK Price $6,600, FD Price $7,300)

At the time of writing this article, Sang-Hyun Park is 1000/1 to win the CIMB Classic on 5Dimes website, making him the most egregiously priced betting option of the week. His price should be closer to 150/1 for the event, but 5Dimes has failed to acknowledge their error so far. I posted this on my twitter handle @teeoffsports on Monday so be sure to follow me on there for any line errors in the future that I may find.

In general, Park is flying in entirely under the radar in Malaysia. The 35-year-old captured three titles in Korea during his 2018 campaign and is the number two ranked golfer on the Asian Tour behind only Shubhankar Sharma. Park is currently projected to be the lowest owned player on DraftKings at just three-tenths of a percent. I think he makes for an appealing GPP play this week at his cheap price tag and low ownership percentage. That price is fantastic value, and sometimes all you need is value to justify a bet.

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Kevin Na -120 over Kevin Tway +100
Kevin Na $8,600 price tag on DraftKings vs. Kevin Tway $8,200 price tag on DraftKings
Kevin Na 17.3 percent projected ownership vs. Kevin Tway 8.1 percent projected ownership

We usually try to find value with underdogs on these head-to-head wagers, but this week we will venture towards a favorite at a price that is too shallow.

Kevin Tway is entering the CIMB Classic off of a career-altering victory at the Safeway Open. In theory, the 30-year-old should be able to take advantage of the par-fives like he did last week at Silverado Resort, but his overexposure on DFS sites mixed with a real possibility of a letdown after his first big win is enough to have me entirely fade him in Malaysia.

Tway made the trip to TPC Kuala Lumpur last season, finishing in a respectable share of 32nd place for the week. Similar to last year, the American will be playing the Safeway and CIMB in back-to-back weeks, but a 52nd place finish at the Safeway in 2017 is not the same as a long-drawn-out sudden-death victory this time around. Tway's result last season in Malaysia can be taken with a grain of salt. The course was played on Paspalum grass and will now be played on Bermuda this year.

On Bermuda greens, Tway has been average over his past 50 rounds compared to the field. He ranks 31st in strokes gained-putting, 40th in strokes gained on par-fives, and 42nd on strokes-gained on par-fours. Not to mention that Bermuda has been his worse putting surface of the three major grass types during his career. I don't like Tway's quick turnaround for a brand new course this week, and I don't like the trend of this being a classic letdown spot. The general public usually likes to back the champion of the past tournament the next time they tee it up, but I would anticipate that we only see this number go up as the week goes on. Kevin Na, in general, is a better golfer than Kevin Tway is, and I think most "smart money" will be willing to lay the insignificant juice on a mispriced bet.

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