There is a lot of information to digest when researching for golf. Course characteristics can tell us whether we want to favor long hitters, great putters or the best scramblers. Weather is crucial as strong wind early on Thursday would mean we want players teeing off later in the day. Figuring out exactly how good a golfer is relative to his DraftKings salary and the field sounds simple but is crucial.
The two topics I’ll be focusing on in this weekly article are course history and recent form. Like every other stat in every DFS sport, these two topics are a piece of the puzzle rather than the whole pie. But knowing who historically plays well at a certain course and who comes into the event in good form correlate significantly with DFS success as long as we have a solid sample size.
** This tournament has been played at Castle Stuart Golf Links three times previously: 2011, 2012 and 2013.
SCOTTISH OPEN COURSE HISTORY: THE GOOD
1. Raphael Jacquelin, $6,900
Jacquelin has exceeded expectations at Castle Stuart Golf Links in each of his three appearances, recording an 8th in 2013, 16th in 2012 and 49th in 2011. He also finished 2nd in the 2015 Scottish Open at Gullane. On top of that, the veteran Frenchman also has been in solid recent form with two top-10s in his last three events on the Euro Tour. He makes for an interesting GPP (larger field tournament) play at extremely low projected ownership.
2. Nicolas Colsaerts, $8,600
Colsaerts has played this event all three times it’s been at Castle Stuart and has never missed the cut. His finishes of 8th, 36th and 3rd give him a Course Adjusted Round Score of 69.6, best among players with a sample size of three tournaments. The 32-year-old Belgian who exclusively plays on the European Tour has also shown solid form lately by recording six top-25s in his last seven events.
3. Phil Mickelson, $10,900
Mickelson has been been horrible at big tournaments this season, missing the cut at The Masters, The PLAYERS and the U.S. Open. But he’s fared very well against the weaker fields with a 2nd at St. Jude, 20th at Memorial and 4th at Wells Fargo within the last two months. Phil won this event when it was last played at Castle Stuart in 2013 and also finished 16th in 2012. He also recorded an 11th at the 2014 Scottish Open (played at Royal Aberdeen) and a 31st in the 2015 version (played at Gullane). There’s a history of Phil playing well the week before the British Open.
4. Luke Donald, $8,100
Donald has the best Course Adjusted Round Score of anyone who has played Castle Stuart more than once, so he has to be mentioned here. The problem is those appearances (1st in 2011, 16th in 2012) came when Donald was the No. 1 golfer in the world rankings and at the peak of his powers. He sunk to No. 17 in the rankings in 2013, No. 33 in 2014, No. 77 in 2015 and is currently at No. 83. It’s a different Donald that’s playing the Scottish Open this week.
SCOTTISH OPEN COURSE HISTORY: THE BAD
1. Rafael Cabrera-Bello, $9,900
I expect Cabrera-Bello, one of the game’s rising international stars, to be one of the most popular plays this week. He was a whopping 39.7% owned in last week’s DraftKings Birdie, but if we want to execute a fade, we can lean on course history. Cabrera-Bello’s three trips to Castle Stuart produced a missed cut, 47th and missed cut.
2. Thongchai Jaidee, $9,200
True course history believers were all over Jaidee last week as he had a 10th, 2nd and 15th within the previous four years at Le Golf National. The 46-year-old went on to impressively win the event. This week is a different story however, as Jaidee finished 66th in 2013, 29th in 2012 and withdrew in 2011. There are also game theory reasons to fade Jaidee as his ownership will be inflated off last week’s victory.
3. Thomas Bjorn, $6,000
DraftKings gamers unfamiliar with the European Tour will still likely recognize Bjorn, a 15-time winner worldwide and the best player ever from Denmark. But it’s been a struggle for Bjorn lately with zero top-50 finishes in his last five events and it’s unlikely to get better this week. His three finishes at Castle Stuart are missed cut, missed cut and withdraw.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. David Lingmerth, $9,300
Lingmerth has been red-hot since back-to-back missed cuts in early May. His last four events have produced a 7th, 12th, 27th and 22nd. Most impressively, those finishes came against some of the toughest fields in the world at the U.S. Open, Bridgestone and Memorial. Lingmerth did not play the Scottish Open when it was held at Castle Stuart from 2011-13.
2. Gregory Bourdy, $7,600
Bourdy is ascending at age 34 as he is in the midst of his best professional season. The Frenchman hasn’t missed a cut since mid-March, a run that has produced seven top-25s in 10 events. Bourdy also showed an ability to compete against elite fields, recording an 18th-place finish at the U.S. Open.
3. Chris Wood, $10,000
Wood was a golf prodigy in England growing up and finished fifth at the 2008 British Open when he was 21 years old. Now 28, Wood is ranked 24th in the World Rankings and playing excellent golf every week. This run of four straight top-25s (including a 23rd at the U.S. Open) started with a win at the BMW PGA Championship in late-May.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is AdamLevitan) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.