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.

Intro

Viva la Sweden! That was a pretty special week we witnessed at the Open as Henrik Stenson and Phil Mickelson put on one of the most dominant dual performances at a major. Stenson out-dueled Mickelson with a record tying 63 and left pretty much every DFS player who didn’t have those two players on their team way, way behind the leaders for the week. This week we get a one-week reprieve from major championship golf as the Tour heads to Canada (eh!) for the Canadian Open, a very long standing event on Tour which has managed to attract some big names this year despite its awkward place on the schedule.


The Field

The field this week is understandably thinner than usual; however, thanks to the sponsor of this tournament (RBC) a lot of big names are here. Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Matt Kuchar are all in attendance and will be looking for a little competitive practice this week as they prep for the PGA Championship in one week’s time. The rest of the field is comprised of a hodgepodge of Tour players, many of whom will be focused on getting as many FedEx Cup points as possible. With only four tournaments left in the “regular season” some players will be on the verge of losing their Tour cards for next year without a good result soon. 150+ players will be teeing it up either way with many having some extra motivation as the end of the season looms near, something to remember for DFS purposes.


The Course

Glen Abbey, Oakville, Ontario
Par 72, 7200-7300 yards

Glen Abbey is the most used and most historic venue for the Canadian Open. It’s a Jack Nicklaus designed course that hosted the event from 1976-2000 and in 2004, 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2015. While the Abbey is a fairly traditional style layout with trees, some tighter fairways and smaller greens, it’s generally also very short by Tour standards, measuring in at under 7,300 yards most days, which is very short for a par 72. To give you an example of how short this week’s course is, Baltusrol, the venue for next week’s PGA Championship, measures in at around 7,400 but is a par 70, with only two par 5’s. While many courses chose to convert par 5’s into par 4’s for the pros, Glen Abbey does not and therefore the players will get a crack at four scorable, very short par 5’s this week.

Glen Abbey does have some bite to it, however, and is known for its smaller and tougher green complexes, which often involving complex bunkering. And while the par 5’s all play very easy and gave up average scores of well under par in 2015, the par 3’s are extremely tricky, so much so in fact that three of them saw the field average scores of over par on them for the week in 2015. If the wind gets up the course can play tougher and could affect scoring.

Overall, I’d suggest Glen Abbey is a course that will lend itself more towards those players with sharp approach games and strong play on and around the greens. It’s a course that should yield several low scores, but at the same time will put extra demand on certain aspects of the players’ games.


Last 5 winners

  • 2015 – Jason Day– 17 (over Bubba Watson -16)
  • 2014 – Tim Clark -17 (over Jim Furyk -16)
  • 2013 – Brandt Snedeker – 16 (over Jason Bohn and three others -13)
  • 2012 – Scott Piercy -17 (over Robert Garrigus and William McGirt -12)
  • 2011 – Sean O’Hair -4 (over Kris Blanks playoff)


Winning Trends

  • Five of the last Six winners had a finish of T8 or better in one of their previous two events prior to winning the Canadian Open


Statistics:

  • Strokes Gained: Approach the Green
  • Par 3 Scoring
  • Par 5 Birdie or Better
  • Birdie or Better %

Glen Abbey isn’t a terribly difficult course, but it’s certainly tricky in certain aspects. We’ve seen longer, less accurate hitters win at this course (last year with Day) and shorter hitters win as well (Clark, Revie), so I’m not too concerned about length off the tee this week. As well, there’s plenty of dogleg tee shots where players will just be essentially laying up off the tee. With that being said, an accurate approach game will be important due to the green complexes, and so I think emphasizing Strokes Gained: Approach the Green stats is a decent idea. Smaller greens mean less room for error so players with good stats in this area can be emphasized.

Additionally, this course features some very easy par 5’s and also requires players to hit about -16 or -17 for the week if they want to win. In a nutshell, lots of birdies will be required, and taking advantage of the easy holes (all four par 5’s) will be essential. As a result, emphasizing both Birdie or Better Percentage and Par 5 Birdie or Better leaders is a good idea this week, as it will take a lot of red numbers to be in contention.

Lastly, the players will of course have to avoid bad scores on the tougher holes too, and last year it was the par 3’s which seemed to give players the most issues. Players with decent Par 3 Scoring ranks might also be worth a look this week as a result. While it’s not a category I look at often there’s no doubt the par 3’s at Glen Abbey were some of the toughest for the players last year.


Finding Values

Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful of putting too much weight on them). 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.

PlayerOddsDK PriceComparables
Daniel Summerhays67-1 $7,000 Martin Laird $7100 and 150-1
Nick Taylor $7200 and 150-1
Will Wilcox $7300 and 150-1
Graham DeLaet55-1 $7,500 Michael Thompson $7600 and 150-1
Harold Varner $7800 and 100-1
Kyle Reifers $8000 and 80-1


HORSES FOR COURSES

This event was played at Glen Abbey (this years course) in 2015, 2014, 2009, 2008 and 2004 as well as from 1976 to 2000. Looking outside of those years is of no real help course history wise.

  • Brandt Snedeker has only played at the Abbey twice since 2008 but each visit has been very profitable as he’s finished 5th and 1st in those two stops. Snedeker is definitely someone to look for this week.
  • Chad Campbell is a great ball striker when he’s on and has had definite success on Glen Abbey’s smaller than usual greens. He’s finished 16th and 11th here in two visits since 2013.
  • Rory Sabbatini is having a bad year, but perhaps this is the place where he gets his game going again. Sabbatini has played at Glen Abbey each of the last two times this event was played here and finished 11th and 12th respectively, giving him a nice history for this week.
  • Mark Wilson is a veteran on Tour who may not have done much the past couple of years, but he’s got a very decent record at this course. Over his last five visits he’s made five cuts and landed four finishes inside the top 25, including a 6th from back in 2013.


DFS STRATEGY

The field this week is a strange one coming off the year’s third major, with a lot of unknown Canadian players and Web.com players in the field, as well as a few of the biggest names in the sport. With that in mind, the DK prices are all over the place, and there’s no issue finding value and seemingly strong plays at most ranges. For that reason, I’d probably advocate going top heavy this week as much as possible, especially in big GPPs, as you can create some strong and very unique lineups by utilizing the players under $6k, many of whom have a decent chance at a top twenty in this thin field. Pin point the top players you want and fill out as needed, there should be lots of options for you to choose from no matter what salary level you’re left with.

Top Performing Studs from Recent Weeks

  • Dustin Johnson
  • Tony Finau
  • Jason Day

Top Performing Value Plays from Recent Weeks

  • Michael Kim
  • Sam Saunders
  • Ben Martin

MY PICK: Roberto Castro ($8,400)

This seems like a good week for a surprise winner, and while I don’t think Castro would be that big a surprise, he’s still not the favorite by any means. Castro’s an extremely talented ball striker who has had a really solid 2016 season. On top of just missing out on a couple of wins, he’s also entering this tournament on a cut streak of 7 in a row and is coming off a superb week at the Barbasol Championship where he finished T11 and led the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. Glen Abbey has seen other players who hit straight and accurate almost all the time (like Castro) get wins (think Chez Revie) and with his form being so strong and the field a tad weak, and suffering from a major hangover (get it), I think Castro is in a prime spot here to steal his first win. He’s my pick and looks like good value at $8,400.


MY SLEEPER: Brian Harman ($6,800)

Sleeper Qualification: must be under $7,000 in salary and projected by me to be less than 10% owned

Harman is another player who had a strong week at the Barbasol Championship and comes into this event with a lot of confidence. While he was up and down to start the year Harman has now made four cuts in a row and not finished worse than T33 in his last four events. Harman has been driving the ball great of late which is huge as that’s often one of his weaknesses. If he has a good week with the driver here he could put up a low score similar to when he won the John Deere a couple years ago as his putting has been great most of the season. Either way, I like Harman at an event where going low is required and think he’s great value at under $7k.

 


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.