There are a lot of things to digest when researching 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 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.
COLONIAL COUNTRY CLUB COURSE HISTORY: THE GOOD
1. Zach Johnson, $10,700
This is the dream course setup for grinders like Johnson. It’s a short track with small fairways and greens, as well as only two Par 5s. ZJ’s adjusted driving distance of 282.7 is worst among all golfers with a salary of at least $9,300, but that won’t hurt him here while his elite adjusted driving accuracy of 68.2 percent can shine through. Johnson has proven this repeatedly at Colonial Country Club, winning twice (2010, 2012) and never missing the cut in seven appearances. His other five results are T19, 73, 3, 4, and T9.
2. Kevin Na, $9,200
Na profiles similarly to Zach Johnson in terms of poor driving distance but elite in other categories such as putting and scrambling. So perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised the South Korean also has played reasonably well at Colonial. He’s only missed the cut once in seven appearances, recording a T10, T13, T40, T22, T9 and T59. He’ll likely go lightly owned relative to others in the $9K-plus range.
3. Chris Kirk, $9,700
Kirk withdrew from The PLAYERS for an unknown reason and then took last week off. He seems fine though, as a quick glance at his verified Twitter account shows a vacation in Mexico with his wife. Another short-hitting grinder, Kirk won this event last year and also has a T14, T35, T5 and T16 going back to 2011.
COLONIAL COUNTRY CLUB COURSE HISTORY: THE BAD
1. Colt Knost, $8,300
I discussed Knost last week in the “Coming in Hot” section, and he paid off with a T4 at the Byron Nelson, which backed up his impressive T3 at The PLAYERS. However, a rising price tag (up $500 from last week) and ownership (21.2 percent in the $3 Birdie GPP last week) are concerns. Now we have a course where Knost has really struggled, as he’s missed the cut four times in five appearances. It’s a spot where fading Knost in tournaments appears strong from both a game theory and course history perspective.
2. Aaron Baddeley, $6,600
Baddeley’s adjusted driving distance of 292.7 is a plus for someone in the sub-$7K price range. The problem is that won’t help him very much on this course while his woeful adjusted driving accuracy of 51.2 percent will hurt. Badds has played this event in each of the last four years and his results are Cut, T51, Cut, T63. The likes of Adam Hadwin, Lucas Glover and Emiliano Grillo make more sense in this cheap range.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. Bryce Molder, $7,100
Molder was featured in this exact space last week, and he crushed value by carding a T24 at $7,600. Now his price is oddly down $500 even though he’s made eight straight cuts and been inside the top-12 three times over the last five weeks. Molder is also a fine course fit here at Colonial, as he’s missed the cut just once in six appearances. I expect him to be the most owned player in the $7K range.
2. Matt Kuchar, $11,000
Kuchar stayed hot at the Byron Nelson last week, backing up his T3 at The PLAYERS with another third. He also had a T9 at the Heritage in mid-April, giving him three top-nine finishes in his last four events. An outright win this week shouldn’t surprise anyone – Kuchar had a second in 2013, and the course doesn’t favor bombers.
3. Scott Stallings, $6,800
Stallings missed six straight cuts earlier this season, which sunk his long-term adjusted round score and his DraftKings salary. But the 31-year-old found his game recently, going T13, T11, T53 and T34 the last four weeks. Stallings, a three-time winner on Tour, has a reasonable floor/ceiling combo for someone priced at $6,800.