With the 3M Open in our rear view mirror, we can now move toward the home stretch of the PGA Tour Schedule. I don’t want to take anything away from Michael Thompson’s win last week, but I believe the average viewer is ready for the top-rated players in the world to tee it up again.
The WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational kicks off a stretch of golf that includes a major and three playoff events over a six-week span. Defending Champion Brooks Koepka headlines a field that also includes 45 of the top-50 ranked players in the world. Now let’s run through the field to identify DFS, from core plays to sleepers and more.
The St. Jude Invitational is played at TPC Southwind, marking the second year since the tournament switched from Firestone Golf Club, and it will have a 78-player field with no cut. It will play as a par 70 and play from around 7,300 yards. Seven of the 12 par 4s will be played from 450-500 yards, making that one of my key stats for the week (Par 4 Scoring 450-500).
Being that there is no cut in this event, I weighed Birdie or Better % more than I normally would in my model while also using Bogey Avoidance as a key stat (BoB% & BA). Strokes Gained: Ball Striking (SG:App + SG:OTT) and Green in Regulation was also weighed in on my model to round out the five key stats (SG:BS & GIR).
Tyrrell “Head Case” Hatton ($9,700 DraftKings; $10,800 FanDuel), as he called himself after hanging on to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational, comes into the week as my top play and it is very easy to see why. Hatton has had one of the best years on Tour this season, finishing tied-14 or better in each of his six starts, including two top-five finishes and a win. Those finishes include a T-3 and a T-4 with seven of eight rounds in the 60s in the two tournaments he has played after the break.
Using the past 24 rounds as a sample, Hatton ranks first in BA, second in BoB%, sixth in GIR, seventh in Par 4 Scoring 450-500 and 15th in SG:BS, making him the top player stats-wise for the week.
I really like pairing Hatton with either Rory McIlroy ($11,200 DraftKings; $11,900 FanDuel) or Bryson DeChambeau ($11,000 DraftKings; $11,600 FanDuel), with the latter being my favorite stack.
McIlroy comes into the week ranked sixth in SG:BS, ninth in BoB% and 13th in GIR. He will look to bounce back from two straight tournaments of poor play — he lost 5.6 strokes Around the Green at the Memorial and 2 strokes Approach the Green at the Travelers.
DeChambeau ranks sixth or better in all five key stats, which includes leading the field in BoB%, SG:BS and Par 4 Scoring 450-500. He also ranks third in GIR and should get a ton of great birdie looks this week with his new found distance.
Bubba Watson ($7,100 DraftKings; $8,400 FanDuel) and Kevin Streelman ($6,900 DraftKings; $8,500 FanDuel) offer great salary relief to plug into your top stacks.
Watson ranks third in Par 4 Scoring 450-500 and should be able to handle the par 5s fairly easily as he showed us last year when he played them at -8. Missing four of his last five cuts, a change of scenery in a no-cut event may be what Watson needs to jump start his year.
Streelman strolls into the WGC event, coming off of a runner-up finish and a seventh-place finish in two of his last three starts. He ranks second in the field in GIR and fifth in Par 4 Scoring 450-500. He will look to continue riding his hot putter as he has gained 8 strokes putting over his last 12 rounds.
Mackenzie Hughes ($6,400 DraftKings; $7,700 FanDuel) earned a third-place finish and a sixth-place finish in two of his last three starts. He has been doing it mainly with his putter as he comes into the week as the hottest putter on the planet gaining 4.5 strokes putting per tournament over his last five events.
Hughes rarely makes mistakes on the course, and it shows — he ranks sixth in the field in BA over his last eight rounds. Coupled with his 27th ranking in BoB%, he is in prime form to top-20 this week.
Chez Reavie ($6,700 DraftKings; $8,200 FanDuel) is fresh off of two top-25 finishes and looks to have righted the ship with his driver, which seemed to have disappeared in the two starts after the break and practically all of 2020. Although ranking 56th in BoB%, Reavie ranks second in Par 4 Scoring 450-500, fourth in BA and fifth in GIR over his last eight rounds. If he can just putt average, look for him to have a chance at a very high finish on Sunday.
- Viktor Hovland ($9,400 DraftKings; $10,600 FanDuel): Ranks second in BS and seventh in both GIR and BoB%. Three top-12 finishes over his past four starts.
- Patrick Reed ($8,800 DraftKings; $10,000 FanDuel): Ranks 10th in BoB% and 17th in BA. Needs to find his iron game again and took the week off to find it.
- Matthew Wolff ($7,900 DraftKings; $9,000 FanDuel): Ranks 15th in BoB% and 29th in BS. He has no fear and no quit in him which could equate to a ton of birdies.
- Corey Conners ($7,300 DraftKings; $8,400 FanDuel): Ranks fifth in GIR and 11th in BS. His putter has to catch fire one day. Why not now?