The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Northern Trust Open

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte August 7, 2019 06:56

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Northern Trust Open

Have the playoffs really arrived? 2019 has gone by so fast it is hard to picture how we arrived here so quickly and yet, here we are, ready for the newly shortened version of the 2019 FedEx Cup Playoffs that will take place over the next three weeks. I was not certain as to how I would feel about the format change before the season started, but having now completed the more condensed schedule, I have to say that so far, I am a fan. I liked that we had a big tournament on horizon nearly every month from the start of the year which meant fewer periods of boredom where there was not as much interest in the upcoming events. Even when summer arrived this year and the easier courses on tour took center stage, the emergence of an incredibly strong rookie class took place in way that I have never seen before and created a lot of excitement that I had not anticipated so overall, it has been a great year up to this point.

Before we dive too deep into the playoffs, we need to look back at a successful week at the Wyndham Championship where for whatever reason, things always seem to go well for me in my DFS endeavors. I always enjoy that tournament each year as even though it is not a playoff event, it has all the intensity of the playoffs with so many golfers vying for their tour lives with one last shot to make the Top-125 and if not that, the Top-150. With so much on the line, you end up with a lot more players staying focused over the weekend knowing that every stroke counts towards those final points. It is one of the rare weeks all year where a player might care as much as you do about finishing 33rd for the week instead of 52nd.

I like fields similar to the one we had to work with last week. Events like that are so full of value in the middle ranges that it is almost a little overwhelming in GPP events when trying to whittle down my player pool. In cash games, it was a breeze. All we had to do was stick to our value based approach and the lineup built itself. Although Kevin Streelman came out slow and could not rally to make the cut on Friday, the other five golfers all managed to get through both the cut and the MDF. I was not pleased that we ended up having to run the gauntlet twice last week as the cut miraculously held at -4 after several golfers crumbled on the 18th hole to keep it from moving to -5.

Considering that this was the last MDF ever for the PGA Tour, I fully expected a big kick to the groin from one of my cash game players and it appeared Lucas Glover was prepared to answer the call when he double bogeyed the 18th hole to fall back to -4 and quickly found himself at T71 with seemingly no shot of getting to Sunday. That was right around the time Jordan Spieth began his spectacular descent from -9 to -2, a birdie free round where was off his game in every way imaginable and managed to move Glover back to T70 and on to Sunday while becoming the final player on tour to ever MDF.

Once Glover made it to Sunday, I could exhale and enjoy the rest of the tournament as Billy Horschel, Glover, Sungjae Im, Scott Piercy and Vaughn Taylor put together a solid effort and kept me away from any real sweat during the final round. The GPP side even went well last week. Sadly, neither Webb or Benny An could lock down the win on Sunday which would have propelled me even higher overall, but it was a strong week with plenty of exposure to Webb, An, Billy Ho, Sungjae, Niemann up top and then had a lot of great sprinkle plays that featured: Johnson Wagner, Shawn Stefani, Denny McCarthy, Josh Teater, Brice Garnett and Ryan Armour. If Nick Taylor and Kevin Streelman could have only made the cut, I had 4-5 teams that really could have contended for the week, but the did not, so my profits were small for GPP events.

Overall, I was really pleased with the way the regular season played out. We started the year hot, stumbled a bit during some of the Florida swing events, but then caught fire late in the spring and that momentum has taken us through the summer. The win this past week marked the 8th week of the last nine that I’ve been a cash game winner and even the week at The Open was not a clear loss as my team salvaged most of my entry fees so we’ve had a really great run to close things out. I’ve been particularly disciplined this year with bankroll management so I’ve accumulated some nice winnings for 2019, though moderate when put up against the big GPP scores.

I really took it upon myself to practice what I preach and took a lot less foolish shots this year expending a lot of money for a single bullet entry in a big contest. While I was not able to hit that big score in any of the smaller GPP contests this year, I put myself in good position many times and was able to do that while consistently building my bankroll throughout the season. My goal is, and always has been, to grind out a small profit on a regular basis during the season through cash games in order to fund a smaller amount of GPP play where a few times a years I’ll hit my core hard enough to be in the hunt for a big prize. Even if I do not hit the monster payoff, I am slowly accumulating ammo to gradually be able to take slightly bigger shots over time. I have heard from many of you that cash games worked really well this year so I am pleased that my valued focused approach was useful. I always love the fact that everyone else playing cash from week to week has to find a way to defeat the very formidable FGI cash game brigade as I see our logo all over the place near my own in the standings when checking the numbers for each contest.

This week, the playoffs are here and we are back to having a really top heavy field for the Northern Trust Open. There should end up being 122 golfers participating this week. 125 qualify each year, but there are always a few that are out either due to injuries or else they just flat out do not care as seems to be the case this year with Henrik Stenson who likely could’ve made the leap to the Top-70, but was not so likely to make the Tour Championship. This is the last week where there is a cut and normal cut rules apply. This marks the final event where the Top-70 and ties advance to the weekend as it drops down to 65 next season and as stated previously, there is no MDF to deal with.

With there only being three playoff events this year, I think the pros will be taking this week a little more seriously. Only 70 golfers out of the 122 will advance to the BMW next week so those golfers outside of the Top-100 will have some serious work to do if they want to try to make it another week. For the players up top, position will become the key. The PGA, in its infinite wisdom, decided to change the Tour Championship so that the leader of the FedEx Cup would start the event with so many stokes more than each of the other players. The goal was to make sure that whoever wins the tournament is then also crowned the winner of the FedEx Cup. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in a couple of weeks, but it is not too much of a concern for now.

What we do need to consider is the course in play this week. Liberty National Golf Club is located in New Jersey with gorgeous views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. In 2009, those views were the only highlights that the player enjoyed as golfers complained roundly able the rough being too high and the course itself playing too tough. Typically, when I hear this from player, I know that it means that the course is simply more challenge than others. The layout is a Par 71, 7,350 yard track with three Par 5s and a bunch of lengthy Par 4s. The fairways are on the narrow side so we’ll see driver left in the bag more often than normal which means that long iron play will be really important this week as most approach shots are going to be in that 175 yard range and up. The bentgrass greens are small and have a lot of undulation and with the heat this time of year, should play firm and fast. The winning scores the two years the tournament was held here were -9 and -11. This is a course where avoiding bogey is key and saving par is crucial. All of those golfers that are great from tee to green, but maybe not so great with the putter are definitely in play this week as this is a spot where a grinder could win just by hanging around a few shots under par.


Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 25%
Strokes Gained Putting: 20%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 20%
Proximity: 10%
Scrambling: 10%
Par 5 Scoring: 5%
Approach 175-200 yds: 5%
Approach 200+ yds: 5%

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte August 7, 2019 06:56

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