The world’s best from both the PGA and Euro Tour’s will congregate to Sandwich, England this week as Royal St. Georges Golf Club hosts the 149th edition of the Open Championship. The course is a par-70 measuring at 7,200 yards with bentgrass greens. This will be one of the tougher tests of the season, so I do envision this being a very high scoring event, especially if the wind picks up.
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
For more information on Strokes Gained data and how to use it, check out this article from Bryan Mears on The Action Network, which unpacks each of the above metrics in detail. I also recommend Chris Murphy’s Strokes Gained column after each round of that week’s PGA TOUR event, which highlights golfers to buy and fade, along with Matthew Vincenzi’s weekly “Stats That Matter” column, which highlights which Strokes Gained sub-metrics matter the most for a given course.
The following players listed are based on DraftKings scoring and pricing.
Jordan Spieth ($9,700 DraftKings)
If you would have told me six months ago that I would be leading off my Open Championship cash-game article with a $9,700 Jordan Spieth, I would have called you crazy. Alas, here we are in mid-July, with the three-time major champion back at the peak of his powers.
Spieth has never missed a cut in his seven Open appearances. Outside of Henrik Stenson, who is a little long in the tooth at this stage of his career, there’s nobody in this field that has played this tournament seven or more times without missing a cut.
We all know of Spieth’s heroics at this event, having edged out a very game Matt Kuchar at Royal Birkdale in 2017, which netted him his third career Major title. In addition, he’s posted an additional two top-10s and a T-20 for good measure. His game is tailor made for links golf, as he’s one of the most creative shot makers in the world and boasts an elite short game that keeps him in contention at almost any Major.
Spieth ranks No.1 in this field in total strokes gained over his past 24 rounds and has five top-10 finishes in his past nine starts. He boasts as much upside as anyone teeing it up this week and the fact we can roster him for under $10,000 on DraftKings is a nice luxury.
Patrick Cantlay ($8,900 DraftKings)
After a brief stretch of poor play, Cantlay is back to his normal elite self, posting four consecutive top-23 finishes which include a win at the Memorial. In his two career Open starts he’s gone T-41 and T-12, so he seems to handle links style golf pretty well. The price here is the main attraction, as we’re getting the No. 7 player in the world at $8,900 which is a substantial discount from the top guys.
Over this four tournament stretch Cantlay ranks fifth in this field in SG: Tee-to-Green, sixth in SG: Ball-Striking and fourth in total strokes gained. He’s locked in right now and makes for one of the best cash plays on the board.
Patrick Reed ($8,800 DraftKings)
Not much needs to be said here. Play Patrick Reed at Majors, it’s usually that simple. He’s seemingly always priced in this upper $8,000 range at these events, which provides massive value. He’s got three top-20 finishes at the Open in his last five trips, including a T-10 his last time out in 2019. Reed, much like Spieth, is a strong fit on links style courses due to his immaculate around-the-green game.
I’m fairly confident Reed will make the cut this week and as we know he’s one of the best closers on the PGA TOUR, so if he makes the weekend watch out.
Scottie Scheffler ($8,200 DraftKings)
I thought about writing up Viktor Hovland in this section, but I decided to just take the $900 discount and play another young gun whose Major record is also quite strong. Scheffler went T-18 at Augusta, before posting a T-8 and T-7 at the PGA Championship and U.S Open respectively. The fact he turns up his game when the lights get brightest just further illustrates his trajectory towards superstardom. Yes, this will be his first Open, but he handled himself quite well last week on another links style track at the Scottish Open, where he finished T-12, so I am not concerned.
Scheffler is one of the most prolific birdie makers on TOUR and the amount of upside we’re getting for just $8,200 is too good to pass up in this spot.
Adam Scott ($8,100 DraftKings)
Scott is probably my favorite play on the board this week, and we don’t have to spend much salary to fit him in. He’s played in 10 Opens since 2011 and has made the cut in nine of them, while finishing inside the top-27 all but once. He’s posted three top-fives and an additional T-10 in that stretch as well. This man absolutely loves the Open Championship.
It’s pretty simple really, Scott has made 13-of-14 cuts on the season, boasts an immaculate Major Championship record, and is still priced as a value option. The stars align this week for us, so let others make the mistake of not rostering him in cash games while we head to a steakhouse with our winnings.
Matt Fitzpatrick ($7,900 DraftKings)
Another screaming value this week is Matty Fitz, who boasts six Euro Tour wins in his young career. Clearly links golf is not an issue for this UK native, who’s coming off a runner up finish last week in Scotland. Fitz is yet to flex his muscle at what you’d think would be his favorite Major of the season. He did post a T-20 finish in his last Open start back in 2019, and is clearly a more refined player at this stage of his career.
I love targeting Fitz on shorter tracks like this where he doesn’t have to worry about being out-driven by the bombers and can put his elite short game on display. He is simply too talented of a player to be $7,900 in what should be a home game for him. He’s a cash game lock.
Shane Lowry ($7,900 DraftKings)
Next is the reigning Open Champ himself. Lowry is having a fantastic season where he’s made all three Major cuts and nine consecutive overall. His history at this event prior to his win wasn’t great, failing to make the weekend in four straight trips. Prior to that, however, he did have a T-9 and a pair of top-40s.
The Irishman is in great form, coming off a T-23 at the Scottish Open last week. We don’t need much from him this week at this price, and we know if the conditions get ugly he will be ready to rock. I like him to contend, so he’s certainly a great cash play with the nice discount we’re getting.
Joaquin Niemann ($7,700 DraftKings)
Niemann has been Mr. Consistent this season, making 20 of his 21 cuts, including all three at the Majors. He’s one of the best examples of the soft pricing during Major weeks on DraftKings, as we’ve seen him in the $9k range quite a bunch over the course of the season. The fact we can make him the fifth or even sixth golfer on our rosters is almost silly.
He ranks 25th in this field in total strokes gained over his past 48 rounds, and is coming in red hot after finishing runner up at the Rocket Mortgage two weeks ago. The young Chilean has done right by us all year at big time events, so why would we quit now? I doubt we will be able to get him at $7,700 at Major Championships for much longer.
Stewart Cink ($6,900 DraftKings)
I usually don’t like rostering 48-year olds in any DFS sport, but Cink has been too good to ignore this year, making 15-of-20 cuts including each of his past eight. The 2009 Open Champion has a very strong record at this event, making seven of nine cuts since 2011 with four top-26 finishes.
You don’t have to drop this low in cash games, but Cink does feel like a somewhat safe option if you wanted to pay up for a stud or two.
Pictured above: Jordan Spieth
Credit: Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images