WATCH: SLEEPER PLAY – KEVIN KISNER
For many golf fans, the U.S. Open marks the true beginning of summer. The event always carries some extra intrigue because every so often there is a brand new course that most golfers haven’t competed on and most fans haven’t seen on their TVs before. This is one of those years as the U.S. Open heads to Erin Hills for the first time ever. Erin Hills is in Wisconsin and is a par 72 course that plays over 7,695 yards. That isn’t a typo, the course is nearly 7,700 yards. When you hear a yardage number that high, it’s easy to let your mind go right to the bombers with no hesitation. As we break down the course a bit further though, this course isn’t as straight-forward as it may seem.
If you’re on Twitter and you’re reading this now, you’ve likely seen the videos from pros talking about the soon-to-be infamous Erin Hills fescue. In some places it appears that the rough goes up to your knee if you’re standing in it, making errant tee shots hard to find and potentially impossible to advance. If FanShare tags are any indication, and they usually are, most DraftKings players are aware that straight bombing will not get it done on this course. The conventional thinking is that targeting golfers that rank highly in Strokes Gained: Off The Tee and Greens in Regulation will be an indicator of potential success here. Going against the grain will lead us to take some chances on some of the bombers and target some guys who score well on the long par 5s that will be featured this week.
Going With The Grain
This season marked the first time that Sergio Garcia ($10,000) captured a major when he won at Augusta National in April. He is currently 2nd on Tour in Strokes Gained: Off The Tee and 7th in Greens in Regulation. Garcia has as much cut equity as anyone in the field. The world number 7 has only missed five cuts in his last 103 worldwide starts. To top it all off, Garcia is 12th in Good Drive Percentage on the PGA Tour this year. Being sandwiched between Jon Rahm ($10,300) and Justin Rose ($9,800) could assure that his ownership will stay at a reasonable level. It will be hard to fade him in any format.
The year that Lucas Glover ($6,800) has put together has been impressive no matter how you slice it. Glover is $3,200 cheaper than Sergio and is higher in the rankings when it comes to Greens in Regulation and Good Drive Percentage. The likelihood of Glover outperforming Garcia may be slim, but it’s interesting to note nonetheless. If Erin Hills plays the way many anticipate it will, Lucas Glover has a definite road to success. With other popular names like Jamie Lovemark ($6,800) and Byeong Hun An ($6,800) at the same price, Glover could be an interesting DraftKings tournament play.
Jason Dufner ($8,100) is another golfer that rates highly in Good Drive Percentage. Last we saw Dufner, he was hoisting the trophy at the Memorial at Jack’s Place. Dufner sits right around the tour average for Driving Distance but is 30th in Driving Accuracy on the year so far. His ball striking has also been impressive in 2017. Dufner is currently 19th on tour in Strokes Gained: Approach.
Chez Reavie ($6,500) is another golfer that seems to fit well here. He will keep his tee shots in play and be able to hit approach shots close. Reavie is currently 6th in Good Drive Percentage and tied with Jordan Spieth ($11,500) in Proximity to Hole. He also found some form last week with a 4th place finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Honorable Mention: Francesco Molinari ($7,000) and Alexander Noren ($7,500)
Going Against The Grain
I don’t think many DraftKings players are going to be scared off by Dustin Johnson ($12,000) missing the cut last week. It would be a mistake to think that he completely fell out of form off of one bad week, but his driving accuracy has trended down in each of his last four starts. He is 3rd on tour in par 5s of 600 yards or greater. DJ has, by far, the most cut equity in the field, and it’s difficult to envision him performing poorly.
Jon Rahm ($10,300) is an autoplay for me almost every week, and he’s been easily the second-best golfer in the world in 2017. Rahm only has two finishes worse than 34th place out of his 12 starts this year. After reviewing the numbers below, you’ll see why he’s a tough fade this week.
|Strokes Gained: Off The Tee||3rd|
|Strokes Gained: Approach||6th|
|Greens in Regulation||15th|
Adam Scott ($8,800) checks most of the boxes for stats we’re looking for to go against the grain this week. He is top-25 in Par 5 Scoring on long par 5s and is 17th in Driving Distance. Scott is one of the best ball strikers in the game today and will be able to stick his approach shots close if he can keep his drives on the fairway.
One of my favorite bargain plays this week is Xander Schauffele ($6,400). The knock on Schauffele is his ball striking but his approach game has steadily improved over his last three starts. He is 10th in Long Par 5 Scoring and is right around tour average on Approach from outside of 200 yards. Schauffele is by no means a cash play this week, but he’s worth a look in a GPP.
Honorable Mentions: Kevin Kisner ($7,500) and Jason Kokrak ($6,600)
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is matt13jones) 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.