The PGA DFS Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics to highlight notable golfers.
The PGA TOUR heads to Bermuda this week for The Butterfield Bermuda Championship. Port Royal Golf Course will be the host and measures as a 6,828-yard par 71 with Bermuda greens.
I’ll be highlighting the best cash game/single-entry plays on the DraftKings main slate, but these players are often great options in any contest.
My analysis will frequently reference Strokes Gained, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate how many shots, on average, it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation.
Strokes Gained is now available in the FantasyLabs PGA Models.
There are a variety of Strokes Gained-related metrics, but the six main categories you need to know include:
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
- Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: Approach)
- Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green (SG: Around-the-Green)
- Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: Putting)
- Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green
Don’t forget to check out two key metrics in our models — Perfect% and SimLeverage. You can find an explainer on those metrics here.
The cliff notes version is that you can use SimLeverage to quickly find leverage plays in tournaments, while Perfect% is great for finding the best price-considered plays for cash games.
The following players listed are based on DraftKings scoring and pricing.
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PGA DFS Conviction Plays
Alex Smalley ($8,900 DraftKings)
Smalley might be the most underpriced golfer in this field. He’s around 23/1 at most respectable books, yet sits at a ridiculous $8,900 on DraftKings. In two career starts at Port Royal, Smalley has finished T12 and T11, which has been a theme for him at these resort-style courses over the years. He’s posted finishes of T2 and T14 in Punta Cana, a T5 at the RSM Classic, and a T6 at the Mexico Open over the past few years.
Only three players in this field rank better than Smalley in both SG: Tee-to-Green and SG: Ball-Striking, and only six rank better in SG: Total. He’s very live to win this event outright and is my favorite play on the board at this laughable price tag.
Additional PGA DFS Cash/GPP Thoughts
For the first time in what feels like a long while, I didn’t write up the highest-priced golfer on the slate as my main conviction play. That, however, does not mean that I don’t like Adam Scott this week. He’s obviously the most talented golfer in this field and is reasonably priced at $10,700.
There’s just something about him that would not surprise me if he posted a very middling finish in this spot. Scott has never teed it up at Port Royal either, so we have no history to go off. It will come as no surprise that Scott ranks No. 1 in this field in SG: Total over the past 48 rounds. You can easily fit him this week and even play him with Smalley.
Brendon Todd is also very much in play for me. The veteran was quite literally made for this course, being that he’s one of the shortest hitters, but one of the most elite fairway finders and putters on TOUR. Todd has also won this event the first year it was held at Port Royal back in 2019. He then missed the cut the following year and has not played it since. However, he’s coming into play this year on the back of a solo sixth-place finish in his lone fall start at the Fortinet. The fact that he’s $10,300 in any event is downright nauseating, but he has clear top-10 upside this week.
Rounding out the $10k range we have Akshay Bhatia, who has improved his finishing position in each subsequent start this fall. He missed the cut at the Fortinet, then finished T43, T35, T21, and T10 in each of his next four starts. The T10 came last week in Mexico, and he’s really rounding into form just in time for another resort course appearance. For those unaware, Bhatia is an absolute resort-course menace, posting finishes of solo second (Puerto Rico), solo fourth (Mexico Open), and three top-seven performances at the Korn Ferry Tour Bahamas event.
Oh, and he finished T17 back at this event last season. If we are reading the tea leaves here, it’s clear Bhatia is set up for a top 10 this week based on how his season is going. He’s no bargain at $10K, but he’s already won on TOUR (Barracuda), and this would be a venue where he could easily add another trophy to his mantle.
I’m not entirely intrigued with the $9K range this week, but both Lucas Herbert and Taylor Pendrith stand out as strong plays. Herbert is back to being priced slightly too high, but he did win this event in 2021. I’m not sure I’ll end up there, but the Aussie has three top-31 finishes over his past four starts and is a fine play this week.
Pendrith, on the other hand, is much more exciting on paper after posting a T15 last week in Mexico. That performance was on the heels of a T3 at the Shriners in his previous start. In his lone appearance in Bermuda, the Canadian finished T5 back in 2021. Injuries have plagued Pendrith each of the past two years, but he looks to be healthy right now and has had success at shorter venues throughout his career. At $9,100, he’s a really nice value in this spot.
Only three plays in the $8K caught my eye this week—Nick Hardy at $8,600 and the Wu brothers (Dylan and Brandon).
Hardy might be slightly overpriced for his ceiling, but he’s been making cuts and is coming off a T23 last week in Mexico and a T23 at this event last year. He can putt the lights out and pile up birdies, making him a very strong option in this weak field.
The Wu’s are both really strong as well at the bottom of this $8K range. I went into detail last week about why Brandon is always in play at resort courses located outside the U.S., and guess what, he made another cut at just $7,300. I will admit, however, that he’s not been too sharp this fall and now gets a pretty sizable price jump to $8,100, which does remove a lot of the value in playing him. Regardless, he’s finished T35 and T34 at this event each of the past two years and still has plenty of untapped potential.
Dylan Wu is also having a pretty meh fall thus far after finishing T59 at the ZOZO with two missed cuts before that. This is a bet on talent play in a poor field, and Wu is also two-for-two in made cuts at this event. Only Adam Scott, Mark Hubbard, and Lucas Glover have gained more total strokes than Wu over the past 48 rounds, making him a really nice value at just $8,200.
Moving to the $7K range, Lanto Griffin is finally back in play this week. After spending some time on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, he’s played three Fall Swing events and made the cut in all three, including a T13 at the Shriners. It’s largely been Griffin’s putter and short game that’s carried him during this stretch, but he also had a T19 at Port Royal back in 2019. The fact he’s coming in with a hot putter bodes pretty well for his chances this week, as it’s highly likely to turn into a birdie-fest. Griffin is a former PGA TOUR winner, don’t forget, and it would not be surprising at all if he’s figured his game out.
Speaking of good putters, Justin Lower is in a pretty good spot here at $7,600. You could argue he’s got the best course history in this field, having finished T8 and T17 in two career starts at Port Royal. He’s also coming in with pretty decent form on the heels of a T23 last week in Mexico. Lower has actually gained strokes ball-striking in two of his past three starts, and while we have no SG Data from last week, it’s likely he struck it pretty well at El Cardonal. This field is quite ugly, and I think Lower is better than his price tag suggests in this spot.
Adam Long made some history last week at the WWT Championship. He hit 56 of 56 fairways at El Cardonal, becoming the first PGA TOUR golfer since 1992 to hit 100% of fairways in a single tournament. While that’s obviously quite impressive and something of an anomaly, Long does rank seventh in this field in driving accuracy over his past 48 rounds. He’s elite at finding the short grass, which will be quite important this week at Port Royal. In his lone appearance at this course last season, Long finished T44. However, this year, he’s coming in with three consecutive finishes of T35 or better, and I expect him to build on that this week.
Cannot believe I am writing up Peter Malnati, but here we are. In two career starts in Bermuda, the bucket hat wearer has finished T7 and T21. He’s also made the cut in two his three Fall starts, which includes a T11 at the Fortinet. Malnati is just another subpar ball striker but a strong putter who should find some success at this 6,800-yard resort course this week. There’s really not a ton of analysis to be done beyond that.
Andrew Novak has not had a great fall, but if you run this field back 48 rounds (12 tournaments, give or take) you’ll see that Andy ranks inside the top 30 in every major Strokes Gained category, including 10th in SG: Total. Novak has always been a reliable cut-maker, and after failing to make the weekend in his first start at Port Royal two years ago, he finished T17 last year. I like him to get back on track this week and he will likely go overlooked by many sharp DFS players.
This is the prototypical Russell Knox course, and that hypothesis bares itself out in the data. Knox has made the cut in all four of his starts at Port Royal, including three straight top-16 finishes from 2019-2022. It’s not really surprising when you think about it, as Knox is one of the shortest hitters on TOUR who can be deadly accurate with his short irons. He likely can’t putt well enough to truly contend, but at $7,400, he should def give us another made cut, with T25 upside beyond that.
Dropping below the $7K range here for a VERY niche/course-history-based play. Brian Gay does not play on the PGA TOUR anymore, as he’s since moved on to the Senior (Champions) TOUR. It feels insanely wild to me that I am sitting here writing up a 51-year-old man, but this is golf and not the NFL. Gay has played this event all four times it’s been held at Port Royal, and his results read: T3, WIN, T12, T11.
As you can clearly see, almost anyone can compete here due to the distance (or lack thereof). Gay has missed the cut in all three of his starts this fall but has a pair of top-11 finishes on the Champions TOUR over the past month. He’s only $6,700, and I really believe there’s something you cannot quantify in the data when it comes to course history. Obviously, this play is not for everyone, but if you’re looking for some salary relief, look no further than Mr. Gay.
Best of luck this week!