The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – RBC Canadian Open

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte June 5, 2019 04:29

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – RBC Canadian Open

Once again, the Memorial proved to be a success for me as it has been for most years that we have covered it. I could feel a Patrick Cantlay win coming and he finally delivered after so many other close calls this season. Cantlay is never one to show a lot of emotion on the golf course, but his moment with Jack Nicklaus seemed extra meaningful. Some time back, Cantlay had sought out Jack for some advice on how to play the course at Muirfield. Jack spent a couple of hours with him going over everything and then shared with Cantlay what I thought was the most important piece of advice. He told Cantlay to relax out there, to look at the fans and see how much fun they were having watching him and others play. He told him to take in the moment, break out a smile and interact with the people around him. After the 16th hole, I noted that Cantlay was fist bumping with the crowd as he approached the 17th tee and you could just see him letting the pressure go and slide right off of his back. He had a couple of moments on Sunday where he could have gotten himself into trouble, but each time it looked like there might be an issue, he took a breath, gathered himself and worked his way out of tricky situations. I’ve considered Cantlay to be an elite talent for some time now and wins like last week in big events and strong fields will go a long ways towards securing that position among the few remaining doubters.

The week overall worked out well for me. I was able to hit wins in both cash games and GPP contests for the tournament. Again, it was no simple task as another big name let us down in Matt Kuchar. Fortunately, just as I wrote in my column, he was more than 70% owned for the week (81% in the $250 double up). Again, this illustrates a point that I cannot talk about enough in these columns each week. When a player like Kuchar is going to be such heavy chalk and his recent play and course history align in perfect harmony, it is best to simply follow the crowd in that instance rather than pivoting. If you get tricky and fade this type of player, more often than not, you will not be rewarded. Even last week, if you faded Kuch, you would have also needed to dance around other pivots (JT, Finau, Day) who missed the cut. When you pivot and you miss, you are likely dead in cash games.

If they lined up to play at Muirfield again, I would have no problem taking Kuch and my guess is that the majority of the time, he would finish really well. If you pivot and hit while the chalk misses and you finish first in your cash game, what have you really achieved? The goal is not to finish at the top, just the top half. You should always be looking for ways to mitigate risk and capitalize on value. This is how I’ve been able to grind out small profits in cash games year after year in golf even though it does not provide nearly the same rush as GPP wins. When you use a golfer like Kuch last week, his performance is not going to win your contest for you no matter how he performs. However, when you get contrarian and avoid this type of chalk in cash games, it is a move that can lose it for you in a lot of circumstances.

While Kuchar hurt me, the pain was nowhere near complete for the week in cash games. Keegan Bradley had another one of his patented Friday meltdowns before the cut and faded badly down the stretch on the back nine in the second round. It was the usual out of Keegan where he got wild in places and then blew easy putts. He’s been a good cut maker for much of the season, but he is also the sort of player who drives me insane to follow and his putting woes are approaching Lucas Glover circa 2014-2015 numbers which is downright ugly. You cannot be that bad on the greens and have much upside left so that was disappointing. Fortunately, the other four golfers that I used all played very well. Hideki, Billy and Emiliano all finished in the Top-10 and the ‘other Rory’ finished in 27th for the week after a slow start so even though things looked a little rough on Thursday and Friday, by Sunday, there was no sweat required as my team finished well over the cash line and into the green for the week.

GPP contests proved to be bittersweet for me over the weekend. I love our lineup generator so much, but unfortunately, this season it has only teased me by letting me get close to a big payday without being able to hit the payoff yet. Last Sunday I had two lineups that finished inside the Top-100 for the Drive the Green contest. One of our subscribers, Brian Gallucci actually ended up finishing in 2nd place and took home $70,000, an amazing day for a guy who’s name has popped up more than once on some of these leaderboards. I finished 53rd for my best effort. Both of our lineups started with Cantlay, Hideki, Scott and Grillo. He had Max Homa and I had David Lingmerth who had the exact same number of points for the week. The last golfer that I had was Benny An and Brian’s last golfer was Kevin Streelman. Obviously, Streelman had a fantastic Sunday and pushed his lineup into the big money. This hurt me more than normal since both golfers were priced at $7,400 and I owned both of them in my player pool for the week. The final dig was that I owned more shares of Streelman than An for the week (16.4% vs 10.9%). So that lineup won $100 for me instead of a big five figure payday. Overall, I was on the positive side for both cash and GPP contests for the week so I cannot complain too much, but wow, it would have been fun to be up top! Like I always text Aaron (the man who built most of our site tools), ‘stupid lineup generator’.

Moving on to the week ahead, I am excited (I think) for the RBC Canadian Open (modestly). If this tournament itself is not enough to get you going, the salaries are already posted for the US Open next week and Aaron has already jumped on top of things to get all of our tools updated immediately! Check out some of the early names that are popping on the model this week at the link right here.

The events right before a major each year always present us with a bit of a conundrum. How motivated will the top players in the field be this week with a major, and in particular, the US Open at Pebble Beach only a week away? We’ve seen these extremes in these scenarios before. Some players start slow and then it is all downhill from there as the race is on to get to the jet quicker than the next guy kicking it in for the week. We have also seen dominance in events like this as well where the field is so top heavy that one of the stars just decides to show up and crush the hell out of everyone like DJ did at the St Jude a year ago. What is missing this week is the normal strength in the middle of the field. While the top players in the world qualified automatically for the US Open, everyone else who did not gain an automatic entry went scurrying around the country for qualifiers all over the US on Monday morning. Where we normally have some very obvious names in the upper $7k to upper $8k range to work with, we have little to none of that this week as we are getting some pricing pressure from below pushing up a lot of mediocre talent into a range that they rarely see.

I have talked often about it and I want to again bring up the point of scheduling out your year at the start of every calendar year. This is the type of week where if you are disciplined that you build in a break. If you were looking for four good weeks to take a little time away or to lighten up your play, the four events before the majors are the perfect weeks to execute just such a plan. It keeps you fresh. The salaries are out for next week so you can start your research for the US Open early. You can avoid taking a big loss right before an event where you are likely considering ramping up your play. Also, you can still play a few lineups just to keep your head in the game. You just do not have to play as much as your normal baseline. This is always the time of year when I start to hear from some folks that they are getting a little burned out or losing their focus. It is easy to understand why. We slog through so many events that have little consequence each season so that when the big tournaments finally come around, we’re sapped unless we’ve taken the time to keep our heads fresh. If you do not believe me, try it sometime. I promise you that when you come back the next week, you’ll feel better about it and you will regain your focus. The beauty of daily fantasy sports is that you play when you want, on your terms.

Hamilton Golf and Country Club should be a nice warmup for Pebble Beach next week. It is similar in length at around 7,000 yards and plays as a course where driver will not really need to come out of the bag all that often as the fairways are on the narrow side. With only one Par 4 hole over 450 yards, we should see plenty of 3 wood and irons off the tee as players will be focused on position over length, somewhat similar to what we saw at Muirfield last week. Of course, the big change from last week to this week will be the length of the approach shots. Mid and long iron play were key to success last week, but wedge and precision short iron play will rule the day this week as the poa/bentgrass greens are on the small side, much like Muirfield and also similar to Pebble Beach. It has been a wet spring in the area and the greens are expected to play soft so scoring should not be a huge problem overall this week. Weather conditions for the first couple of rounds looks incredible for both of the opening rounds with sunshine and clear skies. Currently, the winds look heaviest on Thursday morning, light in the afternoon and light all day on Friday. I would give the PM/AM wave a slightly higher weighting this week when you go to build your lineups. We have only 2012 to look off of for recent history at the course so do not get too bogged down in how these players performed seven years ago. Focus more on the strength of keeping it in the fairway off the tee and solid short game players that can capitalize on promising scoring conditions. If the winning score is going to approach the -20 range, you will not want to neglect the players that are strong with their putter who can convert birdie opportunities when they arise.

Key Stats

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 25%
Strokes Gained Putting: 20%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 20%
Proximity: 10%
Scrambling: 10%
Par 5 Scoring: 10%
Strokes Gained Off the Tee: 5%

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte June 5, 2019 04:29

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