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 an obvious key.
The two topics I’ll be focusing on in this weekly article are course history and recent form. Like every other stat in each 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 week’s tournament was not played at Congressional in 2015. Recent events at Congressional were the 2014 Quicken Loans, 2013 AT&T National, 2012 AT&T National and 2011 U.S. Open.
CONGRESSIONAL COURSE HISTORY: THE GOOD
1. Robert Garrigus, $8,000
Garrigus is a 38-year-old veteran who has played 270 PGA events and finished inside the top-10 just 27 times. So it’s notable that two of his top-10s have come at Congressional and he also has an 11th here (2014). Garrigus is an interesting GPP price-point pivot off potentially popular guys such as Francesco Molinari ($7,900), Daniel Summerhays ($8,100) and Jamie Lovemark ($8,200).
2. Charley Hoffman, $10,500
Hoffman has played at Congressional four times in the last five years and never missed the cut. That run has included a third-place finish in 2014 and back-to-back top-30s in 2012/2013. Of course, we aren’t getting any kind of bargain on Hoffman as he’s established himself as one of the best players in these weak fields. Still, he’s a major threat to win here based on both course history and overall talent.
3. Bill Haas, $9,200
Haas has the best adjusted round score at this course among players with at least three Congressional starts in the last five years. That’s mostly because he crushed the field in 2013, eventually winning by three strokes over Roberto Castro. Haas also carries the seventh-best long-term adjusted round score in the field and is priced 12th-most expensive. Big Bill has both course history and overall talent on his side this week.
4. Billy Hurley, $6,400
Cheap GPP plays are hard to come by this week as the extremely poor field inflates prices. One guy worth looking at based solely on course history is Billy Hurley, who has played this event twice (2014, 2012) and recorded a T8 and T4. So he has two top-10s in two appearances at Congressional and has five top-10s in his other 103 PGA events combined. Just be aware of Hurley’s atrocious current form – he’s missed the cut in six of his last eight events.
5. Roberto Castro, $8,600
I’m expecting low ownership on Roberto Castro due to the sticker shock of a player who typically costs in the $6K range. That low ownership is enticing for an up-and-coming 30-year-old who already has five top-25s and three top-10s in 18 events this season. Castro’s three trips to Congressional have all resulted in made cuts: T30th in 2014, 2nd in 2013 and T29th in 2012.
CONGRESSIONAL COURSE HISTORY: THE BAD
1. Charles Howell III, $8,200
I expect Howell to be among the more popular plays this week because he’s underpriced relative to both his consistency (made cut in 65 of his last 80 events) and upside (five top-10s in 21 events this season). But the course history here is scary as Howell has missed the cut twice in his last five trips to Congressional and never finished higher than 22nd. He struggled to a 46th in 2014 and 68th in 2012.
2. Chris Kirk, $7,800
Kirk had a lot of success against weak fields earlier this season, placing 5th at the Zurich Classic, 13th at the Texas Open and 15th at Dean & DeLuca. But Congressional has been a nightmare for him in his two appearances. Kirk was cut at a woeful 11-over through two rounds in 2012 and then missed the cut again in 2013 at 6-over.
3. K.J. Choi, $6,800
Choi is 46 years old now and obviously in his decline phase. But even when Choi was a regular in the top-15 of the FedEx Cup standings, he struggled badly at Congressional. His last five trips here go 64th, MC, MC, MC, MC. Yikes. Chez Reavie ($6,700) and Hudson Swafford ($7,000) make a lot more sense in this price range.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. Brendan Steele, $9,900
Steele was one of the best bargains at the U.S. Open and backed that up by finishing 15th at a price of $6,900. He’s rightfully up to $9,900 in this weak field, but that’s still too cheap. Steele has made the cut in five straight tournaments, a stretch that has included four top-20s and three top-15s. Steele’s long-term adjusted round score of 69.4 is sixth-best in the field. He also finished fifth in this event in 2014, the last time it was played at Congressional.
2. Daniel Summerhays, $8,100
It’s been a breakout campaign for Summerhays, who is on pace to shatter his previous season-high of $1.63M in earnings. He’s made 16-of-19 cuts on the season, hasn’t missed a cut in any of his last seven events and is coming off an impressive T8 at the U.S. Open. Summerhays also has reasonable course history at Congressional, finishing 30th in 2014 and 17th in 2012.
3. Marc Leishman, $10,900
I’m expecting a lot of the top-tier ownership to be on Jim Furyk ($11,300) and Gary Woodland ($10,300). Sandwiched between there is the sneaky Aussie Leishman, who has three top-20s in his last three events. That includes a T18 at the U.S. Open and a T11 against a very tough field at Memorial.