WATCH: CHASE OR FADE – MICKELSON OR FOWLER?
There is a lot of data 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 The Golf Club of Houston (formerly known as Redstone Golf Club) since 2006.
Houston Open Course History: The Good
1. Phil Mickelson, $8,900
Mickelson is on the record saying he thinks it’s important to play – and play well – in the week before majors. So we should get a full effort from Phil here whereas some of the game’s stars will try to coast into next week’s Masters. Mickelson has certainly performed well at this event recently, never finishing worse than 17th in the last six years. That run includes one win and one 4th.
2. Cameron Tringale, $7,400
Tringale has the best course history here when compared to his overall talent. He’s played this event five straight years, finishing 57th, 5th, 4th, 16th and 8th. Tringale’s Adjusted Round Score at this course is 68.9, fifth-best among players with at least four appearances (via Fantasy Labs). Only Phil Mickelson, Russell Henley, Henrik Stenson and J.B. Holmes are ahead of Tringale.
3. Russell Henley, $8,700
Henley has played this event in each of the last four years with the following finishes: 5th, 4th, 7th and 45th. It’s a wildly impressive run for a talented player who is also playing well this season. Henley has beaten his salary-based expectation in eight of the last nine events he’s played overall.
Houston Open Course History: The Bad
1. Lucas Glover, $8,300
Glover comes in hot as he’s made nine straight cuts and has booked three top-10s in his last nine events. However, he’s now priced $1,600 higher than he was in his last event (Arnold Palmer Invitational) and has struggled badly in Houston. His last five finishes here are one 57th and four missed cuts.
2. Jason Kokrak, $7,200
Kokrak is typically in play as a cheap option with some upside. He’s made the cut in 64.1 percent of his events over the last two years and had four top-10s in 28 events last season. But Kokrak is a tough sell this week as his last five trips here resulted in 68th, MC, MC, 9th, MC.
COMING IN HOT: RECENT FORM
1. Jason Dufner, $7,100
Dufner is just $600 over the minimum this week even though he’s made four straight cuts, finishing 25th or better in all of them. That run includes solid fields at the Honda and Valspar. Among players at $7,100 or under, only Tony Finau has better odds to win. However, Finau has had his struggles in two appearances here, missing the cut in 2016 and finishing 42nd in 2015.
2. J.T. Poston, $6,600
I highlighted Poston in this space last week and he stayed hot with a 10th-place finish in Puerto Rico. This week’s field is obviously far more difficult, but the price is agreeable at $100 over stone minimum. Poston has repeatedly shown he can play with the big boys, finishing 17th at Genesis, 27th at Honda and 14th at Valspar this season.
3. Jon Rahm, $10,700
Rahm hasn’t played a ton of events this year, but he’s sparkled when he tees it up. First came an outright win at the Farmers in late January, followed by 16th in Phoenix, 5th at Pebble Beach, 3rd at the WGC Mexico and 2nd at last week’s WGC Match Play. The 22-year-old prodigy has an incredible 14 top-25s in his last 19 PGA Tour events.
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.