We head to Austin Country Club this week for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Last season we saw an exciting finish at the event with Billy Horschel taking down Scottie Scheffler in the finals.
Austin Country Club is a par 71, measuring 7,108 yards. It is a Pete Dye design and features Bermudagrass greens.
The field will consist of 64 of the world’s top players. The only notable exceptions are Cameron Smith, Sam Burns, Hideki Matsuyama, and Rory McIlroy. The players will be put in 16 groups of four, where the winner of each pod will advance to the final 16.
For GPP contests on DraftKings, I will be breaking down the key stats (past 24 rounds) and selecting golfers from different price tiers to provide flexibility for a DFS lineup.
This analysis may 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.
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Approach is always a great place to start when creating a predictive model. Pete Dye designs have challenging green complexes, making it crucial to hit your spot when hitting approaches to the green, and the greens at Austin CC are smaller than TOUR average.
- High-end target: Viktor Hovland — $10,300 (3rd SG: Approach)
- Mid-range target: Russell Henley— $7,900 (2nd SG: Approach)
- Value target: Erik Van Rooyen— $6,500 (8th SG: Approach)
Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
In match play, driving distance can play a huge factor. Whoever has the furthest drive will have the luxury of seeing what their opponent did with their approach before deciding on which strategy to apply when making their approaches. The greens are firm at Austin Country Club, so playing from the rough or using a longer iron on approaches will cause some issues for golfers.
- High-end target: Jon Rahm — $11,000 (1st SG: Off the Tee)
- Mid-range target: Sergio Garcia— $8,800 (5th SG: Off the Tee
- Value target: Keith Mitchell — $7,300 (3rd SG: Off the Tee)
Strokes Gained: Pete Dye Designs
Pete Dye specialists seem to always bring their best game when playing on Pete Dye designs. Golfer’s comfort level on the unique layout of the course this week should play a factor this week.
- High-end target: Bryson DeChambeau— $9,300 (1st Strokes Gained: Pete Dye Designs)
- Mid-range target: Paul Casey — $9,100 (2nd Strokes Gained: Pete Dye Designs)
- Value target: Brian Harman — $7,600 (4th Strokes Gained: Pete Dye Designs)
Birdie or Better gained
A unique aspect of match play is the fact that a terrible hole doesn’t take you out of the match. If your opponent makes a birdie, it doesn’t matter if you make a par or a quadruple bogey; you simply lose the hole and move on to the next. Therefore, targeting golfers who make a lot of birdies and force their opponent to match will be a sound strategy this week.
- High-end target: Viktor Hovland— $9,200 (3rd in Birdie or Better Gained)
- Mid-range target: Russell Henley— $8,800 (5th in Birdie or Better Gained)
- Value target: Cameron Young — $6,700 (6th in Birdie or Better Gained)
Strokes Gained: Putting (Bermudagrass)
Putting is especially important in match play. Golfers will need to make plenty of pressure-packed putts in the match play setting. Historically, great putters have won this event (Jason Day and Kevin Kisner), and flat stick prowess should prove to be a factor again.
- High-end target: Dustin Johnson— $10,000 (2nd Strokes Gained: Putting Bermudagrass)
- Mid-range target: Kevin Kisner— $7,600 (1st Strokes Gained: Putting Bermudagrass)
- Value target: Keith Mitchell — $7,100 (12th Strokes Gained: Putting Bermudagrass)