The WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational did not disappoint last weekend as Justin Thomas held off Brooks Koepka in a thrilling finish. Koepka, needing a birdie on the final hole, found the water off of the tee giving Thomas the win as well as the ranking of #1 in the World. Moving our focus to this week, we have the 102nd PGA Championship beginning Thursday in a star-studded field including Tiger Woods and two-time defending champion Koepka. Let’s dig into some key stats and find some DFS players who fit our models.
TPC Harding Park will offer a tough test for the world class players. It has seven long par 4’s (Par 4 Scoring 450-500) and only two par 5’s, one being over 600 yards. Playing at a Par 70 from roughly 7,200 yards, this municipal course will also have 4 inches of rough everywhere. We will be looking at a mix of driving distance (DD) and driving accuracy (DA) to see which players not only bomb it off the tee, but also hits it straight. Using the FantasyLabs model, we can use recent DD score and recent DA score as our stats. Strokes Gained: Ball Striking (SG:BS), Greens in Regulation (GIR), Birdies or Better % (BoB%) and Bogey Avoidance (BA) round out our key stats model.
Xander Schauffele ($10,000 DraftKings; $11,100 FanDuel) plays up or down to his competition. Schauffele seems to always play up during star studded field events, placing top three or better in three of the last six majors. The 2017 Tour Championship winner is first in the field in BA, third in the field in GIR and fifth in the field in Par 4 scoring 450-500 over the last 24 rounds. Schauffele ranks third in recent form AdjRd which adjust strokes per round by adding difficulty of the course as well as strength of the field. He is not only one of the longest hitters in the field, but he also ranks among the best in finding fairways making him very dangerous this week.
Colin Morikawa ($8,600 DraftKings; $10,700 FanDuel) comes into the PGA Championship after placing top 20 at the WGC FedEx last week and a win at the Workday Charity Open just four weeks ago. Like Schauffele, he hits it long and accurate off the tee. Ranking second in SG:BS, fourth in GIR and 17th in BA, Morikawa is one of the best pure strikers in the world. The young star has all of the skills to play his way into hoisting his first major championship trophy on Sunday.
Sergio Garcia ($7,600 DraftKings; $9,500 FanDuel) is of the best ball strikers over the last two decades and comes into the week ranked 15th in the field in SG:BS over the last 24 rounds. He ranks 23rd in Par 4 Scoring 450-500 and 26th in GIR. Garcia has finished 35th or better in each of the three tournaments he has played since the restart. He provides tremendous value to any lineup.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($7,000 DraftKings; $8,100 FanDuel) is playing in only his second major this week and could be looked at as more of a sleeper than a value play. Earlier in the year, he placed runner up in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and also won on the Sunshine Tour where he eagled his last hole to win by one. Since the restart, the young South African has notched a tie for 22nd at the Memorial and a tie for 20th in last weeks WGC Event. He ranks 33rd in GIR and 35th in Par 4 Scoring 450-500. His struggle off of the tee is concerning but he makes up for it by being one of the best putters in the field.
Mackenzie Hughes ($6,600 DraftKings; $7,100 FanDuel) and Russell Henley ($6,600 DraftKings) are two affordable sleepers who could score very well this week and will offset one of your $10,000+ plays perfectly.
Hughes continued to ride his hot putter last week finishing the week gaining 5.2 strokes; Stroke Gained: Putting. He has gained at least 4.6 SG:P in his last four events. He has above average length off the tee and makes a ton of birdies ranking 21st in BoB%. Hughes ranks 16th in BA despite ranking 100th in GIR. He will look to hit a few more greens in regulation per round this week to add on to his three straight made cut since the restart.
Henley is the opposite of Hughes. Terrible is the only word that could describe his putting. He has lost 1.5 SG:P or worst in each of his last three events (not counting last weeks Barracuda). Despite the putting numbers, Henley ranks second in GIR, fourth in BA and eighth in SG:BS in the field over the last 24 rounds. An average putting week for Henley will give him a great opportunity at a high finish.
Jon Rahm ($10,500 DraftKings; $11,700 FanDuel): Ranks fifth in BoB%, ninth in GIR, tenth in BA and 13th in SG:BS. Looking to regain the #1 golfer in the world ranking after holding it for only two weeks after winning the Memorial.
Bryson Dechambeau ($10,300 DraftKings; $11,800 FanDuel): Ranks first in BoB%, fifth in GIR and seventh in both SG:BS and BA. Gained 2.2 total strokes last week despite losing 7.8 strokes tee to green.
Daniel Berger ($8,600 DarftKings; $9,700 FanDuel): Ranks third in BoB%, BA and Par 4 Scoring 40-500 (very small sample). Tied for second last week in his second start after the restart.
Viktor Hovland ($8,500 DraftKings; $9,800 FanDuel): Ranks first in SG:BS, 14th in GIR and 17th in BoB%. Three top 12’s in last five events.
Harris English ($7,200 DraftKings; $9,300 FanDuel): Ranks sixth in BA and 31st in GIR. Finishes tied for 18th or better in last three events.
Kevin Streelman ($7,100 DraftKings; $8,200 FanDuel) Ranks eighth in Par 4 Scoring 450-500, tenth in GIR and 28th in SG:BS. Two top sevens or better in last four events.