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PGA DFS: Vegas Report - Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Welcome back to the PGA DFS: Vegas Report. What a weekend in China for the WGC-HSBC. Xander Schauffele birdied the final two holes to force a sudden-death playoff against Tony Finau and then proceeded to birdie the first playoff hole to capture the title. With the victory, Schauffele catapults up to 12th in the world and secures his third title on tour.

Finau, on the other hand, remains winless outside of his victory at the Puerto Rico Open in 2016 but showed the sort of resolve that golf fans have been clamoring to see for years from him. Finau climbs up to 15th in the Official World Golf Rankings despite having zero wins in his 52 counting events. That may seem impressive, but when you put it into context, it is nearly impossible. Matt Kuchar, who is 38th in the world, is the next highest ranked player that doesn't have a win during the same span.

On the betting side of things, Dustin Johnson (9/1) was a colossal disaster as our only outright pick, but we experienced a winning week with Thomas Pieters +120 outlasting Kevin Na -140 by 11 strokes. That is now 2-0-1 for us on our head-to-head bets in the last three weeks, and it takes us to a staggering yearly record of 48-25-3. We experienced a little regression towards the end of the 2018 PGA season, but we have righted the ship and are back to smooth sailing for now. As always, if you have a question regarding anything betting related, feel free to contact me on Twitter @teeoffsports.

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 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open - TPC Summerlin - 7,251 Yards - Par 71 - Greens Bentgrass.

Ah, home sweet home. The PGA Tour brings a star-studded field this year to Las Vegas for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. TPC Summerlin is a course that is minutes away from where I live and is Vegas' premier architectural venue. Measuring as a 7,251 yard par-71, Bobby Weed masterminded the property on the rugged desert terrain with Fuzzy Zoeller serving as his consultant.

The course itself meanders through arroyos and canyons and has lush Bentgrass greens with friendly Bermuda rough. For as aesthetically pleasing as TPC Summerlin is, it isn't the most challenging course in the world. However, after nearly a quarter-century without an upgrade, all 102 bunkers at TPC Summerlin were redone and fitted with white sand. The project took six months to complete and ended in May of this year.

While the resanding and relocation of the bunkers to enhance strategy could provide a more stern test this season, the one major component that could completely alter the event is wind. Many people don't realize just how breezy Vegas can get. If the winds start to pick up, that will become the courses most significant protection against low scores. As of right now, extreme gusts are not expected in the forecast, but it is something to monitor over the next few days.

The three par-fives and two short par-fours are the most accessible holes at TPC Summerlin, and four of these are included during the final six holes. There is a challenging par-three 17th hole, but that will be the only real test for the players down the stretch. Overall, golfers that can demonstrate ball striking ability and strategy off the tee should be able to exploit TPC Summerlin.

Pick to Win

Beau Hossler (55/1, DK Price $8,600, FD Price $10,500)

The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open has been known to provide interesting leaderboards over the years. You have your world-renowned golfers like Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore and Kevin Na that have captured the title, but we have also had Rod Pampling, Ben Martin, Smylie Kaufman and Marc Turnesa close the tournament on top too.

I think all your former notable winners are a threat this week, and your tournament betting favorites like Tony Finau, Bryson DeChambeau, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler have a great chance to hoist the title also. But I am going to go a little off the radar with my selections in hopes that we can pinpoint quality golfers at odds that are too high.

Beau Hossler rolls into Las Vegas as a 55/1 selection that I anticipate will see some line movement as the week goes on. Hossler is a west coast kid from Mission Viejo, California and has been trending towards his first PGA Tour title over the past year. At the 2012 U.S. Open, the now 23-year-old famously held the outright lead midway through the second round at Olympic Club in San Francisco before fading into a share of 29th place.

The 80th-ranked player in the world is a world-class putter that will look to exploit the lottery-style putting event. The tournament usually turns into a shootout and whoever gets the hottest on the greens tends to win. So why not zone in on a golfer that might have the best short game in the field?

Over Hossler's previous 50 rounds compared to the field, he ranks fourth in sand saves, fifth in strokes gained with his short game and 18th in birdies or better gained. The American's scoring potential mixed with his ability to prevent mistakes in the 102 bunkers scattered throughout the venue will give Hossler an opportunity to go extremely low if his putter cooperates. In Hossler's only other appearance in Las Vegas last season, he finished in a share of seventh place.

The University of Texas product is the 15th most expensive player on DraftKings, 13th on FanDuel and 14th in the betting market. My one concern of Hossler has been his horrible proximity to the hole from 125 to 175 yards, but TPC Summerlin has some extremely accessible greens, and I think that will play into his favor. Hossler is projected to be under 10 percent owned on DraftKings, and I am ok playing him in any game type this week, although I would prefer him as a GPP option.

Aaron Wise (33/1, DK Price $9,400, FD Price $9,800)

There are a lot of players in the field with a Las Vegas backstory, but there is only one golfer that I am going to wager on because of it, and that will be Aaron Wise. Wise resides in Las Vegas and is coached by Jeff Smith, who is one of the head teaching pros at TPC Summerlin. The now 22-year-old caught his first big break in 2016 at this event, placing 10th overall. At the time, Wise had no status and was only playing tournaments that he was invited to enter.

Fast forward to 2018, and it is incredible how far the University of Oregon product has come. Wise is now ranked 53rd in the world and was the youngest winner on the PGA Tour last season at the age of 21 when he captured the AT&T Byron Nelson by three strokes over Marc Leishman. The victory helped Wise claim Rookie of the Year honors on the season, and he was one of 30 players to qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship.

The 2016 NCAA individual winner has not played since his 15th place finish at the Tour Championship in September, and one would have to imagine that Wise has spent the previous month at TPC Summerlin getting ready for this event. The one-time PGA Tour winner is the eighth most expensive player on DraftKings, 19th on FanDuel and eighth in the betting market. Wise is projected to be around 15 percent owned on DraftKings and is a player I am targeting as one of the core pieces to my cash-game lineups. His odds are a little more shallow than I would have hoped for them to be, but he provides winning upside potential on the week.

Sam Ryder (80/1, DK Price $7,600, FD Price $9,100)

The fall portion of the year tends to see players who were getting close to a title during the end of the previous season find their way into the winner's circle. And Sam Ryder is the perfect example of a player that fits the mold. The American has made his last seven cuts on tour, which includes three top-seven finishes during that time span.

2018 was Ryder's rookie year on tour, and the 28-year-old was brilliant. Ryder ranked first on tour in ball striking, second on tour in greens in regulation and eighth in total driving. TPC Summerlin is a ball-strikers course that emphasizes greens in regulation and could be the perfect venue for the 174th-ranked player in the world to finally breakthrough.

The one-time Web.Com tour winner played the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open last season and missed the cut, but Ryder has become a different player over the past season. The biggest deterrent to using him this week is his staggering 16.3 percent projected ownership on DraftKings. That number gives me hesitation on utilizing him for DFS contests, but I am fine with rolling the dice on him as an outright bet at odds of 80/1. Ryder is the 28th most expensive player on DraftKings, 30th on FanDuel and 27th in the betting market.

Austin Cook (90/1, DK Price $7,800, FD Price $9,600)

Austin Cook is a player who is playing well and should thrive at a birdie-fest course like TPC Summerlin. The American made his debut at the event last season, posting a share of 20th place, and his experience will hopefully help him improve on that result.

Cook's lone PGA Tour win came at the RSM Classic in 2017 where he fired a 21-under par and eclipsed runner-up finisher J.J. Spaun by four strokes. Since then, the 27-year-old has made 22 of his last 27 cuts but has often been lost in the shuffle with some mediocre performances along the way. Cook has demonstrated the ability to compete with six top-25 finishes during those 27 events, but a couple of poor Sunday performances have changed the perception around the Arkansas resident.

The Shriners Hospitals for Children Open is an extremely loaded field this season, but there is no reason that Cook should be nearly double the price of players such as Chesson Hadley, Scott Piercy and Andrew Putnam. Those three have provided a handful of close calls recently, but Cook has been playing as well as any of them and just lacks the top-10 finish to draw eyes onto him. This could be the week that Cook finds himself providing that result and look for his price to plummet to almost half of this number in the future if he does.

Danny Lee (110/1, DK Price $7,000, FD Price $9,200)

Danny Lee has missed the cut at TPC Summerlin his previous three attempts, so what could possibly go wrong this year?

One of the points of contention inside the DFS industry is, "does course history matter?" I probably fall somewhere in the middle on this question. I think it can mean something for players that are consistently churning out results every year, and there has to be a reason behind the continued success at a course. However, I don't necessarily buy into poor play at a particular venue meaning all that much. There are some determinants like grass types, elevation, etc. that can alter a players performance, but most places don't have such irregularities outside of that to cause continuous poor play.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I would be more bothered if Danny Lee perpetually showed that he was a poor bentgrass putter (which he is not) than how he performs at a course over a few attempts.

Lee arrives in Las Vegas unnoticed. The New Zealand golfer is going to have his naysayers due to his past results at TPC Summerlin, but he has produced seven straight made cuts, which includes four top-25 finishes. The 28-year-old has demonstrated he is a good wind player and has been gaining strokes in all facets of his game over the past few months.

Lee and his wife just had a baby over a week ago, and it appears like the 132nd-ranked player in the world is about to pop himself. Lee is the 52nd highest priced player on DraftKings, 28th on FanDuel and 37th in the betting market. His low price tag and under 10 percent projected ownership on DraftKings makes him a potential GPP game-changer and someone that could help you score big this weekend. He is too volatile to be used for cash-games, but Lee's upside is tantalizing as a GPP or outright bet.

Bonus Bomb

Stephan Jaeger (200/1, DK Price $6,400, FD Price $7,800)

I broke down the event from some unusual angles in hopes of finding someone under the radar that could find TPC Summerlin to suit their game, and Stephan Jaeger was one player that continuously kept popping up no matter what criteria I used to locate a longshot contender.

With players being hypersensitive to grass types, I figured finding golfers that would welcome bentgrass greens was as good as anywhere to start. In Jaeger's last 50 rounds on Bentgrass greens compared to the field, he ranks eighth in strokes gained on par-fives, 11th in par-four scoring from 350 to 400 yards, 12th in sand saves and 14th in strokes gained with his short game. The strokes gained on par-fives and short par-fours are crucial because those are the five easiest holes on the course. If we are going to find a longshot winner, I think someone that can get hot for the week on those holes is where you want to be looking.

I then tried to break down my shortlist even further and looked for players that had posted a top-20 in their past two attempts at TPC Summerlin. Jaeger once again popped up with his share of 20th in his only endeavor here last season. Last but not least, I located players that had posted a top-20 finish during their previous two events, and Jaeger checked the box with his share of 14th at last week's Sanderson Farms Championship.

I am not expecting much at odds of 200/1, but his 4.4 percent projected ownership does show other DFS players have zoned in on the four-time Tour winner also. Jaeger is the 97th most expensive player on DraftKings and 80th in the betting market. He is worth a sprinkle as an outright wager, and I will be trying to hit Megabucks with him in Vegas this week.

Head-to-Head Play of the Week

Austin Cook +100 over Russell Henley -120
Austin Cook $7,800 price tag on DraftKings vs. Russell Henley $7,300 price tag on DraftKings
Austin Cook 10.3 percent projected ownership vs. Russell Henley 9.1 percent projected ownership

Austin Cook +100 over Russell Henley -120 is a wager that appears to be taking into full account Henley's name recognition and discrediting Cook's better form entering the event. I have already expressed in this article why I like Cook to have a chance to win the tournament this week, so let's instead talk about why I dislike Henley at TPC Summerlin.

For starters, as rudimentary as this sounds, Henley has just not been precise with his game lately. Sometimes things are just as simple as that. The 29-year-old has missed four out of his last six cuts and hasn't posted a finish better than a share of 50th place during that span. Henley is a better player than his current form is indicating, but he has been inconsistent at times during his career and has struggled to break out of slumps when he has experienced them.

Excluding 2018 entirely, Henley has had six years on tour where he has played over 20 events. Four of those occasions have produced a cut-rate over 65 percent, but two of those circumstances have yielded less than 65 percent of his weekends played. In 2016, he only made a shocking 50 percent of his cuts. And in 2014, the three-time PGA Tour winner made 60.7% of his weekends.

Fast forward back to 2018 and Henley enters the week having made 63.6 percent of his cuts on the year. The 75th-ranked golfer hasn't been capable of flipping the switch overnight and has become a player to target in head-to-head wagers when he starts to spiral like this.

Henley has posted two straight quality finishes at TPC Summerlin, but his missed cut in 2013 does demonstrate that he isn't immune to a shaky result if he comes into the event out of form. Cook's current level of consistency should make him the favorite in this matchup, and we will gladly take on Henley until he proves he can get back on track.


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