The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Houston Open

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte October 9, 2019 05:04

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Houston Open

Back when players were getting ready to tee it up for the Greenbrier to start the fall season, I thought it seemed unlikely that we would see another field that was as weak as that one. However, upon glancing at the field for the Houston Open last Friday, I quickly deduced that many of the better players must be taking the week off to prepare for the Asian swing which starts next week in Korea since the field in Houston is a little light on talent.

That said, I always enjoy these types of events each year. I used to get frustrated in seeing these sorts of fields, but after being involved with them on the DFS side for the last few years, I have begun to realize that they have consistently provided positive results. I think the biggest reason for this is that we are on top of the game the entire year, watching not just the top player in the world, but also the veteran grinders who are in a good groove, the new players from the Korn Ferry Tour and also those still below the radar young players that tend to pop up at events like this through qualifiers or sponsor exemptions. As a matter of fact, we have a couple of names sprinkled in at the bottom this week that some of you will be familiar with if you are fans of amateur golf and both of them have a Texas connection.

Last week was a fun event out in Las Vegas as my highest owned player, Patrick Cantlay, dueled in a playoff with Kevin Na where each player tried at points down the stretch to give away the tournament before Cantlay finally succeeded in the playoff with an ugly 3 putt, giving Na his second win of 2019 as a very strong putting performance carried him to victory.

My results were mixed for the week. Owning Cantlay and Na together created some opportunities on the GPP side of things over the weekend, but a handful of missed cuts ended up keeping away from some serious money. Scott Piercy was a big disappointment. After playing so well all of last season and showing great improvement with his putter, I thought for sure that coming home to Las Vegas and his home course would be a great place for his game to shine. He had missed just one cut in the last decade there and almost always finished in the Top-25, but an ice cold putter killed him as he lost over 5 strokes in just two rounds which is awful even by poor putting standards. Following Piercy down was Aaron Wise, a young, up and coming player who moved to Vegas after finishing his collegiate career in Oregon. He had played at TPC Summerlin many times the last couple of years and had done well at The Shriners with two Top-25 finishes, but did not get the job done for us last week.

In losing Wise and Piercy, I still had a chance to win in cash games with my 4/6 squad. That ended over the weekend as CHIII and Scottie Scheffler both took a dive the final couple of rounds, keeping me below the cash line which was very frustrating after my team was off to a promising start on Thursday. The final blow to my core was Sebastian Munoz who has been playing great golf for the last couple of months and played 17 strong holes on Thursday before the wheels fell off on 18. He was -4 for the round and managed to make an 8 on the final hole which undid all of the strong work that he had done up to that point. He played well on Friday and shot -4, but with a wild cut line that went all the way to -5, it just was not good enough and he came up short.

Moving on to this week, we definitely need to make some strategy adjustments in our approach to how we want to allocate our bankroll for the week. As I do a scan up and down the board this week looking over salaries, it just does not make a lot of sense this week to be diving into cash games. The pricing pressure from the bottom is pushing a lot of average players way up the board into territory where we will rarely see them. I get it that Cameron Champ won a couple of weeks ago, but he missed the cut last week, his grandfather is in hospice care and he’s largely been a hit and miss player over his first year on tour. It is stunning to see his price at $10,800 this week. That is where we are at for the Houston Open.

This is a week where we test the waters, get some good notes on the young, new players on tour and take some shots at GPPs. If you have been working on some new ideas for how to play GPP contests, this is a great week to try them out. I go back and forth with the FGI guys each week on different things they are looking at. I know that Aaron, our developer likes to look at projected ownership and contrast it with player odds each week and build a few lineups to test it out. Sometimes events like these are great spots to take a different approach to player weightings. Perhaps you heavily overweight just a few players and sprinkle the rest. Maybe you fade every player at $10k and above knowing full well that this event is wide open and you likely will not need to spend your full salary to build the best lineup.

In looking at the course this week, the Golf Club of Houston is hosting this event one final time before moving next year. Usually, this event is held the week before Augusta so the folks setting up the course have always tried to make it play like Augusta and while the length of the course and many holes are similar in length, Augusta is certainly a bomber course at this point while Houston has seen players like Jim Herman, Ian Poulter, Matt Jones and DA Points all win in recent years. It is a Par 72 course that plays at over 7,400 yards with four Par 5 holes between 550-600 yards. While many view driver as key, players like Henrik Stenson have excelled here tremendously playing with his 3-wood and most players that have been successful have been strong in their approach game, particularly long iron play as opposed to off the tee.

The main two defenses of this course are the winds which are usually high in the spring. It is currently looking like we may gain some advantage this week through stacking some tee times. Thursday morning the winds are 7-8 mph with gusts to 13 mph and in the afternoon it will be 9-12 mph with gusts to 15 mph. On Friday morning, the weather looks like it will be much better than in the afternoon with winds between 5-9 mph with low gusts in the early morning, gusting to 12 mph at 10am and 16 mph by 11am. In the afternoon, the winds are forecast to be 16 mph with gusts up to 25 mph throughout the rest of the day. Rains are expected from late morning until near the end of the day so we may be looking at delays along the way so do not go all-in on stacking tee times since things could get flipped in a hurry. I would recommend perhaps stacking 15% PM/AM and 5% AM/PM. Be sure to recheck the weather before locking in your final lineups – https://www.windfinder.com/weatherforecast/houston_george_bush_airport

KEY STATS

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 25%
Strokes Gained Putting: 25%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 15%
Proximity: 15%
Scrambling: 10%
Driving Distance: 5%
Par 5 Scoring: 5%

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte October 9, 2019 05:04

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