This piece focuses on five golfers projected to have less than 5% ownership in large-field guaranteed prize pools, such as the huge Return to the Beach tournament on DraftKings.
Let’s talk about a few of the reasons why Hump loves Rob Oppenheim this week: His ownership will be nearly nonexistent — I’d guess somewhere less than a percent — his salary on DraftKings is the stone minimum, he rates very highly in my Course History Model (previously made famous by Adam Levitan) and he’s been really solid on the Web.com tour recently.
Oppenheim has ripped off five straight top-35 finishes while shooting 69 or better in nine of his most recent 19 rounds on that tour. Both his 68.2% Recent Greens in Regulation mark and 14.2 Adjusted Birdies Per Tournament rank 25th in this field. And while they haven’t been in U.S. Open conditions, Oppenheim has finished eighth and 47th in his two most recent PGA Tour events played here at Pebble Beach.
Additionally, you can grab Oppenheim at +25,000 as this week’s first-round leader if you’re so inclined; he fired an opening-round 67 at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2018 and a 69 in 2017. For more FRL nuggets, be sure to check out Adon’s piece over at The Action Network.
Tony, Tony, Tony
If we are to believe the newly-installed Buzz Score and Sentiment Rating from FanShareSports now available in our Models, Tony Finau (1.2 Buzz and 33 percent Sentiment currently) has an excellent chance to go completely overlooked this week. Interestingly, Tony’s 69.2 Course Adjusted Round Score is tied for 12th in the field among golfers with at least two starts here at Pebble Beach, so it’s not his course history that has people off him this week.
His 69.8 Recent Adj Rd Score — two finishes of 60th or worse and one missed cut in his last four starts — places him squarely in the middle of the pack, so recency bias may be what’s keeping folks away. Hump is willing to focus on Tony’s elite 68.4 LT Adj Rd Score, which ties him for 12th in this field, and his U.S. Open history (fifth last year and 14th in 2015) instead of his recent form, especially if he’s going to be so low-owned.
Emiliano Grillo doesn’t have great history in the U.S. Open: two missed cuts and a 54th-place finish since 2016. What he does have is red-hot current form, evidenced by his 67.8 Recent Adj Rd Score, and a very solid LT GIR percentage (68.0). Emiliano arrives at Pebble having made six straight cuts, during which time he has finished 26th or better four times, including a ninth-place finish last week.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie
Hump can’t write an entire piece without sneaking at least one Aussie in, and it looks like Marc Leishman may be sneaking by a majority of DFS players this week. Leishman’s 2.4 Buzz Score ranks near the bottom of this field, while both his 68.7 LT and Recent Adj Rd Scores rank near the top, making him an extremely interesting pivot play off of similarly-priced chalk like Henrik Stenson and Webb Simpson.
Based on his name alone, it’ll be hard to keep the King of California, Phil Mickelson, under 5% ownership in lower-stakes tournaments, but Hump is willing to bet he’ll be under that in the higher-stakes Milly Maker. Amazingly, 14 of Mickelson’s 44 PGA Tour victories have come in the great state of California, including February’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am and four other editions of that event.
Mickelson has been winning events in Cali since 1993, and his amazing 67.9 Course Adj Rd Score at Pebble is tops among players with more than two starts here and includes a win and two runner-ups in the last four years. I understand Phil’s form is #notgreat and his 71.0 Recent Adj Rd Score is brutal, but it’s Pebble and this is Phil. It’s also worth noting that Phil arrived at this year’s Masters off two missed cuts and finished 18th at 5.87% ownership in the Milly.