The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course info, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.
This is the second week in a row that the PGA Tour will be debuting a brand new stop and venue. The 3M Open is the Tour’s first official stop in Minnesota since the 1960’s, although the state has hosted big events like Ryder Cups and majors in the past. This will be a regular full-field event with 150+ golfers on the starting list and given the weaker field, it will be yet another week where you should expect some unfamiliar names to possibly make a run at the title. As far as elite talent goes, Brooks Koepka, Jason Day and Bryson DeChambeau are the headliners, with all three looking to get in one more solid tune-up before the Open Championship in a couple of weeks. After them, you have the likes of Phil Mickelson and Hideki Matsuyama in the field to bolster its strength at the top. Youngsters Victor Hovland and Joaquin Neimann are also in the field and riding some strong play of late, and finally last week’s run-away surprise-winner Nate Lashley will also be here. Lashley barely got in the field last week but made the most of his chance and became one of a handful of shock winners on the season. Like always, the cut will take place after Friday’s round and include the top 70 and ties making the weekend.
THE COURSETPC Twin Cities—Minneapolis, Minnesota
Par 71, 7,468
TPC Twin Cities was designed in 2000 by Arnold Palmer and Tom Lehmen. This week will be its first time hosting a PGA Tour event, but the venue did host a PGA Champions Tour event between 2001-2018.
Redesigned last season in order to accommodate its new spot on the PGA Tour rotation, TPC Twin Cities looks like it will play around 7,400-7,500 yards for the week. The venue was one of the easier stops on the Champions Tour, yielding either the first or second most birdies on Tour during the past seven seasons, according to PGATour.com. It will remain to be seen how the redesigned venue plays for Tour players, but we shouldn’t expect an overly difficult setup, especially after what we saw last week from another new venue in Detroit.
TPC Twin Cities is set in a flat parkland setting with water in abundance around the track. Despite the water and extensive bunkering, the course should appeal to big hitters given its larger flat landing spots off the tee. The venue holds three longer Par 5’s as well which will require good drives in order to reach the greens in two shots and also contains seven par 4’s of 440 yards of length or more. The greens and fairways are pure bentgrass and fast greens or wind may be the courses best defense this week. Another Arnold Palmer designed venue, Bay Hill, looks like a solid comparison as it also features some easier driving holes and long par 5’s, with lots of water strewn throughout.
2019 Conditions: Rain and thunderstorms are in the forecast almost every day this week, which means that the course should play quite soft. Things do start clearing up on Thursday, where winds are expected to reach 8-10 mph in the afternoon, with highs in the low-80’s. Things cool of a bit over the next three days, but there’s little wind expected for the week, which means conditions should remain ideal for low scores. More scattered thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday will likely ensure the course plays soft all four days. Look for big hitters to carry an advantage this week as TPC Twin Cities figures to play a bit slower on the greens given the added moisture and lack of wind.
STATISTICSBirdie or Better %
Par 5 scoring
Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
I’d lean towards keeping things simplistic this week from a statistical perspective. Much like Bay Hill, TPC Twin Cities appears like it will reward a good all-around game. The last five winners at Bay Hill have all had mediocre off the tee or approach numbers but have all ranked 13th or better in SG: Tee to Green stats for the week. Solid play in all facets of the game, combined with a hot putter, should be key to success at this layout.
Additionally, the longer Par 5’s at TPC Twin Cities should give an advantage to the longer hitters off the tee, so looking at players who not only hit it long, but who capitalize on their length with good Par 5 scoring numbers seems logical. Even if there’s only three Par-5’s on the course taking advantage of these scoring holes should be key for the week. Finally, it’s never a bad thing to emphasize birdie or better % for the week on a soft course. Even if your player isn’t challenging, a good birdie percentage means more DraftKings points and better fantasy finishes. This week’s venue has yielded plenty of birdies in the past to the Champions Tour players and looks setup to do the same for the PGA this season.
This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their odds of winning this week:
Player: Keegan Bradley ($8,800)
Odds to Win: 34-1
Kevin Streelman ($8,900); 40-1
SungJae Im ($9,000); 40-1
Victor Hovland ($9,100); 34-1
Player: Mackenzie Hughes ($7,400)
Odds to Win: 80-1
Sepp Straka ($7,500); 90-1
Cameron Tringale ($7,700); 90-1
Cameron Champ ($7,500); 100-1
1. Rory Sabbatini: The other Rory just keeps rolling along. He made his 13th cut in a row last week in Detroit where he finished T3 and was 14th in the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green.
2. Kevin Streelman: Streelman didn’t have the greatest Sunday in Detroit, but he still collected a T35 finish for the week. Overall, he’s finished T15 or better in four of his last eight starts and is all the way up to 27th in SG: Tee to Green stats on the year.
3. Joaquin Niemann: Niemann has really come on over his last two starts, which included T5 finishes at both the Travelers and last week in Detroit. Niemann ranked 10th in Approaches last week at the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
4. Jason Day: Day played well at the Travelers, his last start, where he finished T8 and was second in SG: Approach stats for the week. His improved ball-striking could be a sign of big things to come in Minnesota.
5. Mackenzie Hughes: The Canadian moved up the leaderboard late in Detroit to land a T21 finish. He’s made four straight cuts in a row now and has finished inside the top-25 in three of those four starts.
Cash Games: Matsuyama’s consistency makes him an easy target
Hideki Matsuyama ($11,100) enters this week with a price increase of $900 from last week but had another strong week in Detroit where he finished T13 (12th in SG: TTG stats). Even if he’s popular, it’s hard to argue with his consistency or ball-striking numbers for cash games. DeChambeau ($10,500) also sets up well given his improvement in form of late and so does Sabbatini ($9,500), who has now made 13 straight cuts and is coming off a T3. SungJae Im ($9,000) and Kevin Streelman ($8,900) are decent mid-tier targets while the likes of JJ Spaun ($7,800), Jimmy Walker ($7,500), Sam Burns ($7,300) and Wyndham Clark ($7,100) all look like decent value targets in an admittedly weak and unpredictable field.
Tournaments: Mickelson, Moore set up as possible bounce-back candidates
The field is quite thin at the top so most of the big names will garner big ownership. Both Mickelson ($8,500) and Moore ($8,700) seem like ripe candidates for quick bounce-backs in Minnesota, however, and could be great GPP targets this week if their sentiments remain low. Moore may have just needed a week off, while one bad putting round forced Phil to miss the weekend at the Travelers. Other possible targets for big field GPPs on DraftKings this week include Tony Finau ($9,200), Danny Lee ($7,600), Denny McCarthy ($7,100) and Robert Streb ($6,400).
MY PICK: Bryson DeChambeau ($10,500)Bryson has picked up some momentum of late and looks ready to put his mid-season slump behind him. The now five-time Tour winner has finished T22-T35-T8 over his last three starts and his all-around game looked in good form at the Travelers where he ranked 23rd or better in Approaches, Putting and Around the green play for the week. DeChambeau has also played well at another Arnold Palmer design over his career, finishing in solo second at Bay Hill back in 2018. His excellent win-rate aside, Bryson should also set-up well for the TPC Twin Cities test given he’s both fifth in Birdie or Better percentage and third in Par 5 birdie or better % for the season. A softer course, where players with length off the tee and a good around the green game should be able to take advantage, TPC Twin Cities looks like it will fit right into Bryson’s wheelhouse. In a weaker field I’d look for him to take advantage and possibly scoop up his first win of 2019 this week.
MY SLEEPER: Wyndham Clark ($7,100)Clark’s started to pick his game back up over the summer after enduring a mid-season slump of his own. The Tour rookie made his second straight cut in a row last week, after enduring a string of five-straight missed cuts. A T15 finish at the Travelers was highlighted by some superb around the green play, and he was able to follow that up with a T17 finish in Detroit where he ranked top-5 in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and Driving Distance for the week. Clark’s off the tee game is what has me interested in him for this week in Minnesota as he currently ranks seventh on Tour in Driving Distance, but also ranks 19th in Birdie or Better % and sixth in Par Scoring. His ability to bomb it off the tees at TPC Twin Cities should come in handy given the longer Par 5’s and his improved play over the last little stretch makes it look possible that he could pop here for a decent week. He sets up as nice value on DraftKings at $7,100 in price and brings in an up-trending birdie conversion rate that could allow him to be a highly profitable play in this weaker field.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) 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.