The DEAN & DELUCA Invitational ended with Kevin Kisner on top of a packed leaderboard. There were five golfers within two strokes of Kisner, who earned his first PGA Tour victory since 2015. As we shift our focus to the Memorial Tournament, we will still be targeting many of the same skills that we’ve been looking for in the past few weeks.
The Memorial Tournament is held at Muirfield Village Golf Club, which is a par-72 course that plays almost 7,400 yards. It isn’t going to play as a bombers course, but Par 5 Scoring will see a bump in importance compared to the par-70 courses that have been featured the past two weeks on tour. Greens in Regulation will be a key stat that we’re focused in on when going with the grain this week. As we look to go against the grain, we’ll be targeting the more accurate long drivers that do well on par 5s.
Going With the Grain
Jordan Spieth ($11,000) has frustrated many DFS players so far this year. Spieth boasts a style of play that would lead you to think there’s a relative consistency to his game but that hasn’t proved true lately. So far in 2017, Spieth has made 9-of-12 cuts. Unfortunately, all three of those missed cuts have come in his last five events. He sits in second place on tour when it comes to Strokes Gained: Approach. Spieth seemed to iron out the wrinkles in his game last week with his runner-up finish. With a lot of start-worthy golfers above $10,000, he might be an interesting GPP play this week.
If we’re looking for an all-around tee-to-green game, Hideki Matsuyama ($10,000) fits the bill. He’s in the top 20 of every strokes gained category except for putting. Matsuyama has proved that he can putt well on fast greens. In his 13 starts between the Memorial, The Masters and THE PLAYERS (three tournaments known for fast greens), he has made 11 cuts. Matsuyama has an average finishing position of 16th in those made-cut performances.
The price keeps dropping on Tony Finau ($7,900) and I’m going to keep buying. At the AT&T Byron Nelson he was $9,200 and finished in a tie for 13th place. Last week, he saw his price dip to $8,700 and finished just outside of the top 25. Now, he’s all the way down at $7,900 and not much has changed. Finau has made 6-of-7 cuts and is fifth in Greens in Regulation on tour in 2017. If course fit isn’t your thing and you’re into course history, Finau has 11th- and eighth-place finishes in the last two years at the Memorial.
Honorable Mention: Ross Fisher ($7,100) and Peter Uihelin ($6,800)
Going Against The Grain
Another week with Jon Rahm ($11,100) in the field, another week I’ll be rostering him. Rahm has played 52 rounds of strokes play in 2017 and has finished his round under par in 39 of them. Rahm is third in both Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and Strokes Gained: Approach. He hasn’t played this tournament before, but that hasn’t slowed him down so far this year.
Rickie Fowler ($8,900) is another golfer that’s hard to fit into either category because he’s played so well. Fowler is excellent off the tee: He is currently top 30 in both Driving Distance and Driving Accuracy, which is almost unheard of. His driving with a Strokes Gained: Approach game that has him in seventh for 2017 is a recipe for success at a course like Muirfield Village GC.
The price for Justin Thomas ($7,600) seems low at well under $8,000. He comes in as the 26th salary despite being 13th in the OWGR. Thomas can spray it off the tee at times, but he leads the tour in eagles per hole and boasts incredible upside for his price this week. Pat Perez ($6,800) is another inexpensive play that should garner some attention this week. Yes, he missed the cut last week but he’s been playing solid golf and shouldn’t have the 65th-highest salary given his skillset. He isn’t the longest off the tee, but he can still take advantage of the par 5s that Muirfield Village has to offer.
Honorable Mention: Brendan Steele ($6,700) and Smylie Kaufman ($6,600)
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