PGA Fantasy Picks: PGA Championship

Quail Hollow in North Carolina is a first-time host of the PGA Championship, but it has been a common stop on the PGA Tour for years. Previously hosting the Wells Fargo (and Wachovia) Championships, several players have put together nice track records here – so here are a few names to consider from every price range with that in mind.

High-Priced

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Rory McIlroy ($11,800) – Rory has won here at Quail Hollow twice, holds the course and tournament record here and is coming off back-to-back top-five performances. He looks like he is at the top of his game, which would make it more than a little surprising not to see him at or near the top of the leaderboard come Sunday.

Rickie Fowler ($10,700) – On a course that is already long, and projected to be wet this weekend, there is going to be a common theme for these picks: big hitters who can convert their prowess off the tee into scoring chances. He is 11th in Strokes Gained (SG): Tee-to-Green, 28th in Greens in Regulations Percentage (GIR%) and first overall in SG: Putting. He really has the perfect game for this course and should be able to put up big numbers in any format, the way he did in his two prior top-fives here at Quail Hollow and in the five of his last seven overall appearances in which he finished inside the top-10.

Hideki Matsuyama ($10,500) – Starting with his solo-2nd place finish at the U.S. Open, he now has four straight showings inside the top-15 and is coming off a masterful showing at the WGC-Bridgestone, winning with four straight rounds in the sixties, including a ridiculous 61 on Sunday. He’s an obvious choice for me this weekend, and my favorite target.

Jon Rahm ($10,100) – Rahm’s aggressive shot-making style has perhaps contributed to the one big blow-up round at each of his previous major appearances, but it also has allowed him to continue to hover around 10th on tour in Scoring Average, and that ability to score big could mean the PGA is going to be his best chance at a major here early in his career.


Mid-Priced

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Brooks Koepka ($9,200) – Another big hitter, Koepka has been sharpening all aspects of his game recently, with top-20 showings in each of his last three, including the win at the U.S. Open and a T6 at the Open Championship. But at sixth in Driving Distance and outside the top-150 in SG: Tee-to-Green, he will need to be hitting his irons as solidly as he was in those last two majors again this weekend if he wants to compete on this course. However, at this price, the upside is there.

Marc Leishman ($8,100) – He has been inside the top-20 repeatedly this year, including a pair of top-10s – most recently a T6 at Royal Birkdale. 20th in SG: Tee-to-Green and fifth in adjusted scoring, he has plenty of upside to fit into a bigger tournament lineup and be one of the less expensive options that help you build up points all weekend long.

Daniel Berger ($7,700) – Berger is currently 14th in Scoring Average and fourth on tour in Birdie Average, and with four top-20 performances in his last six, this price tag seems low for a player with his potential. He might not be the anchor you choose for a cash game, but despite missing the cut at the U.S. Open and finishing only T27 at the Open Championship, he has the upside on a big scorer’s track like this one to well outperform his price tag.

Charley Hoffman ($7,600) – Hoffman’s price tag seems low for a player with four top-10s in his last six (and another top-20), who also has had some measure of success here at Quail Hollow in the past. He jumped out at me as a clear value who doesn’t need to win to justify the price. Despite the great field, Hoffman just needs to focus on making birdies as he has over the past few weekends, and he can compete with anyone.


Low-Priced

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J.B. Holmes ($7,400) – A former winner at Quail Hollow, he was inside the top-15 twice in July, and finished T12 at the U.S. Open. He is playing solid golf right now, and as someone who is sitting 15th in Driving Distance and 28th on tour in SG: Off-the-Tee, he fits the profile of the kind of player I want to target for this tournament.

Tony Finau ($7,000) – Almost tailor-made for this course, Finau has proven this season to not just be a big hitter off the tee – he is capable of taking that distance and using it as an advantage, turning his big drives into scoring opportunities that are simply not available to other players. Currently 12th in Total Strokes Gained, he gets there by sitting inside the top-10 in both SG: Off-the-Tee and Tee-to-Green. Fifth in GIR%, those strokes gained numbers aren’t just for show – they’re giving him the chance to come through as a big time fantasy option on a big stage this weekend.

Zach Johnson ($6,800) – Perhaps more of a cash-game option, I love him to make the cut and compete all weekend long. His veteran presence will be targeting his fourth straight top-15 performance, on a course where he has played 80+ rounds of golf over the years. He put together a solo-second last weekend with four solid rounds of ball-striking, none of which were higher than 69. If he can bring that same level of skill, there shouldn’t be too many people outpacing him as the end of the weekend approaches.

Danny Lee ($6,600) – He’s demanded to be noticed on a few occasions this summer, including, most recently, his T9 at the Greenbrier Classic at the beginning of July. He occasionally falters with his short game, but his ball-striking should carry him a long way on this course, and if he continues to putt as well as he is capable (33rd in SG: Putting), he could move further up the leaderboard than you might expect.

 


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) 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.