The Open Championship—or the British Open as some non-golf aficionados might still refer to it—is only two weeks away. But you and I are in luck because DraftKings has released their salaries for this event and you can now start building lineups for the next edition of their PGA Millionaire Maker series.
The Open Championship is the third golfing major of the year and one that takes place across the water in Great Britain (meaning the actual starting time will be around midnight Wednesday in the United States). The Open has a rotating set of courses which hosts the tournament every year, and this year the tournament just happens to fall on the most famous golf course on the planet, The Old Course at St. Andrews. The Old Course at St. Andrews is known as the birthplace of the sport and it is undoubtedly the most historic golf course on the planet. This will be the 29th time the Open has been played at St. Andrews and some of the biggest names in the sport have won there. The last time it was played at St. Andrews was 2010 when Louis Oosthuizen (that guy who almost won the US Open a few weeks ago) blitzed the field and won by 7 shots.
Like most courses in Britain, St. Andrews is a pure links course. It is completely open with zero trees or traditional US style rough. The green complexes are massive and extremely undulating. In fact most of the greens at St. Andrews are actually double greens, meaning they are have two different flagsticks and are used by two different holes. The fairways are also wide, rolling and easy to hit but do carry many hidden traps. Pot bunkers are strewn throughout the course and players will often be un able to see or locate many of the deep pot bunkers from the tee box, meaning a bad bounce or a slightly off kilter tee shot can result in a severe penalty. Many a tournament has been lost in a St. Andrew’s pot bunker as the slopes are so severe that getting out can often be a multi-shot ordeal.
However, while St. Andrews does have its fair share of protection it isn’t overly difficult. Low scores can be had here and the firm nature of the greens and fairways means that some of the par 4 greens can be reached off the tee. Assuming it doesn’t get too windy, expect a much lower scoring tournament than you saw at the US Open. There is also the potential for some drama on the final holes as the 17th (the famous road hole) plays extremely tough and has the game’s most famous pot bunker guarding its green complex, but the 18th plays as an often drivable par 4 that could yield some eagles throughout the week. This will be a fun tournament for fantasy purposes as there will be lots of low scores, but also a few pot bunker “blow-ups” throughout the week.
First Impressions: Five Early Open Championship Targets
DraftKings Salary: $10500
Best Open finish: 2nd
One of the most underreported stories of the US Open was the resurgence of Adam Scott. At this time last year Scott was actually the number one player in the world but has had some difficulties with his game in 2015 (mostly putting related) and has since lost the top ranking to Rory McIlroy. Scott is a great links player and owns three top 5 finishes at the Open (albeit on different courses). Scott is still one of the longest and best drivers of the golf ball and will be able to use his distance off the tee at St. Andrews to gain a huge advantage. Of all the top plays his price seems the most reasonable and he’s someone I’ll be looking to build my DraftKing’s rosters around come Open Championship week.
DraftKings Salary: $9200
Best Open Finish: T3
The last time the Open was played at St. Andrews in 2010 Paul Casey was actually in the final group on Sunday. He came up well short of winning but still has had a lot of success at St. Andrews and is actually a co-owner of the course record there (62). Casey has been playing extremely well all season and still hits it big off the tee meaning he’ll be able to take advantage of many of the drivable par 4’s. Coming off of his near miss last weekend his game looks to be in great shape and a possible repeat of his 2010 performance seems possible. I think he’s going to be in contention for the title this year and has the links experience to win on this course.
DraftKings Salary: $8100
Best Open Finish: T36
Grace was one of the most important DFS plays in the last Millionaire Maker tournament as his low price tag and high finish meant the people who rostered him got a huge boost to their lineups. What made Grace such a good fit for Chambers Bay makes him an equally good fit for St. Andrews. Grace is a great links player who hits it big and low off the tee. He’s also had past success on St. Andrews and is a past winner of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship event on the European tour which is played at a rotating set of links courses (one of which is the Old Course at St. Andrews). Grace is coming off of his best performance at a major and remains modestly priced. He makes for a great target for this event and I won’t be shocked if he’s in the mix on Sunday once again.
DraftKings Salary: $8200
Best Open Finish: T67
Koepka’s a great young talent who hits it a mile off the tee. He’s going to be able to carry or avoid many of the more dangerous pot bunkers simply due to his length and should have numerous shots at making eagles throughout the week (which translates into lots of bonus points on DraftKings). Koepka actually played for a full season on the European Tour and finished 9th at the Alfred Dunhill Links event last year (played partially at St. Andrews). I think Koepka offers as much upside as several much higher priced golfers for this event and is possibly the best value play on the board for fantasy purposes.
DraftKings Salary: $6400
Best Open Finish: NA
I think Bowditch is going to be a great fit for this course. He hits it longer than most off the tee yet also has one of the best short games in the business meaning he should be able to deal with the pot bunkers and severe undulations on the greens better than most. Bowditch has been playing great of late and will be coming into this event in arguably the best form of his career. I think he makes for a great cheap value play and someone who could surprise with a top finish at this course. His price means you can pair him with any of the other top talents and still have a decent roster.