The final major of the season is upon us, and it gives us one last chance to take the $1 million top prize on DraftKings.
This week, the top players in the world will tee it up from Royal St. George’s for the 149th Open Championship. It will be the first time this course has hosted the event since the 2011 Open, when Darren Clarke beat Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson by two strokes.
As always, we have you covered on the details around this tournament on FantasyLabs and The Action Network. You can find my course preview and tournament breakdown here on Labs. Matt Vincenzi put together his article about stats that matter at this course for Action Network, and Landon Silinksy starts the DFS process with his cash game plays.
This week, we’ll focus on building teams for the $10 Millionaire Maker GPP contest on DraftKings. As always, I start my process for this story by looking at the last tournament of this kind — this time from the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. I was shocked at what I saw, as both of the top two lineups in that contest were without the winner, Jon Rahm.
Kmilnerjr took the top prize by going balanced with a lineup that started with Collin Morikawa at $9,500, allowing them to pair in another higher-priced play in Xander Schauffele at $9,300. Starting in this range also kept them from having to dip below the $7,000 threshold, leaving $500 on the table in the process.
Louis Oosthuizen and Paul Casey were the midrange picks, with the key of single-digit owned Brian Harman and Harris English rounding out the lineup.
As I mentioned,Kmilnerjr left a fairly significant amount of money out there, which allowed them to play a fairly chalky lineup with over 90% total ownership and still not have it duplicated. This is definitely an outlier lineup from the ones we have seen win the prior Milly Maker tournaments with around 60% combined ownership and the winner, but I’m sure they aren’t too worried about that.
Now, onto this week.
I will be relying heavily on prior Open experience more than stats like I do in a typical TOUR event. Ownership will be a big key as always, and there is definitely some separation in the initial projections to start the week.
Jon Rahm ($11,300)
It’s hard not to start here with Jon Rahm.
He’s playing the best golf of his career, and if it weren’t for a balky putter last week at the Scottish Open, he would’ve been in contention for the win.
There’s good reason for Rahm to be at such short odds going into this week, and there’s almost always value that pops up down low during this event, so I won’t be hesitant to start lineups at the very top this week.
Jordan Spieth ($9,700)
I am starting with a couple of golfers who will undoubtedly be chalky, and Spieth may be at the top of the field in ownership this week. I will eat that, too, and find a way to be different in my selections down low.
Spieth is the type of player who can have success this week, and he has done it time and again at the Open Championship, as he has three top-10 finishes in his last five appearances. The biggest things that I see as a benefit from Spieth this week outside of his experience are an elite iron game and a phenomenal short game.
He has the creativity and putt-making ability that can put him in contention this weekend, and that’s a big reason he was my first click on Monday morning.
Tony Finau ($8,400)
As I go down the price board, I will have to find ways to get different if I’m going to play either of my first two picks. I want to do that without sacrificing upside, and Tony Finau is a player that fits the mold.
He will be less-owned because, frankly, he hasn’t been well lately, which will have many people looking in another direction. The thing I can lean on is his scoring ability and his results at The Open, where he has improved every year he has played this event, including back-to-back top-10 finishes and a third-place result at Royal Portrush in 2019.
I’m hopeful that I can get him at single-digit ownership and he can find the game that has made him a top player over the last several years.
Jason Day ($7,600)
It’s never a comfortable feeling playing Jason Day in a big event because there’s always that worry in the back of your mind that he may get sick or be hurt and withdraw.
In fact, in his last tournaments, he clearly had a back issue but was playing well despite that issue, posting top-15 finishes at both events. I’ll go to Day this week at low ownership as many others will back off due to those concerns, but there are signs he’s starting to put it all together again. He has bounced back with his putter, and when he’s on, he can have short game characteristics comparable to Spieth.
If Day can keep the ball-striking going, he’s a player with the upside to win this event at low ownership.
Rickie Fowler ($7,300)
As I put this list together I realized I’m really channeling a great lineup from several years ago and hoping they all put it together again for this week. What could go wrong?
Anyway, this is an event where we see guys with a lot of experience find a way to navigate through and surprise at the top of the leaderboard.
The added thing I have to lean on with Fowler is that he has shown signs of really improving his game over the last several weeks, and he certainly still has the talent to compete at this level.
He’s likely going to have single-digit ownership with many going to Daniel Berger and Harris English around him, but he has similar upside if his game is there this week.
Alex Noren ($7,200)
It appears everyone has jumped off the Noren train after his missed cut at the John Deere Classic. I do realize how that sounds, but outside of that poor result, he has shown plenty of upside with a fourth at the Rocket Mortgage and 13th in a strong field at the Memorial.
Noren is a strong links player and has top-17 finishes in each of his last three Open Championships, including one T-6. He has the game that suits this style of course, and it appears he will be a contrarian option with upside this week.
Stewart Cink ($6,900)
If there has been any trend in this write-up this week, it’s all about how much I value experience at this event. Stewart Cink is another player who fits that mold, and his resurgence this season has me intrigued about his potential.
Cink is one of just a few players with multiple wins this season, with his most recent coming on another coastal course at the RBC Heritage.
He has found a way to gain yardage off the tee at 48 years old, and his iron play has been some of the best and most consistent since the start of the year.
Add in the fact that Cink has three top-25 finishes in his last four Open Championships, and there is plenty of upside for him this week at a low price point.
There are enough other options that we should be able to avoid double-digit chalk on Cink in GPPs.
Ryan Fox ($6,600)
Before I get into why I like Fox this week, I just want to comment that any of the lesser-known European Tour players will be a way to get different this week. They almost always are overlooked when the better-known PGA players are priced around them, but there will inevitably be some in the mix this weekend.
Fox is one I like because he has the experience that I want at this event and on links courses and has also been a strong player on the Euro Tour this season. The Australian finished 16th at Royal Portrush in 2019 and has made the cut in three of his last four Open Championships.
He’s also been one of the best approach players on the European Tour this season and has three top-15 finishes in his last five tournaments. He’s a player who is long off the tee and knows how to navigate the winds if they kick up.
Fox is someone I will mix into lineups, and he’s someone I believe has enough upside to help win a GPP this week.
Photo Credit: David Cannon/Getty Images.
Pictured: Jon Rahm.