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

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte September 25, 2019 07:22

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

The third week of the golf season has arrived and with it, a feeling of what we are used to for actual fall tournaments as the tour heads westward to Napa for the Safeway Open. Sanderson Farms was filled with highs and lows for us last week as two of my highest owned players battled it out in a playoff and Sebastian Munoz came out on top over Sungjae Im to notch his first win on tour.

I felt so bad for Sungjae as I had written in my column that he would be the next young gun on tour to get his first win and at this point, I cannot think of anyone else who is more deserving of a win after the amount of work he has put in over the last year. I really admire what he is doing with his time on tour. So many players get their card and then play 25 events during the year and end up just missing out on keeping their card for the following season. Sungjae arrived on tour, never took a week off when he could have been playing and worked his way into the Tour Championship. He could slow down this season if he chose to do so, but he is 21 years-old and his body can handle the week to week grind now a lot better than it will in 10 years so he goes out there every single week looking to improve his game and finding a way to work himself up the world rankings. Between Im, Wolff, Niemann, Morikawa and Hovland, we are really fortunate to have some incredible talents coming up on tour. It seems like over time that the younger players are hitting an elite level of play at an earlier age and it is revolutionizing a sport where players did not used to hit their peak years until their early 30s.

Munoz winning did not come as too big of a surprise. He was a standout value at his price last week. In a field that was so incredibly weak and with the form he carried into the tournament, I fully expected another strong effort from him and he did not disappoint. He fit the pattern that we have seen so often over the last couple of years with young players on tour when they have that eureka moment and it all comes together. In May, he had a couple of nice finishes and then this summer he started to make the cut week after week with some strong finishes in weaker field events on easier courses. He started the season with a 7th place finish at the Greenbrier and his rolling numbers over the 24 rounds prior to his win were really strong across the board. There is not a part of his game that shows up weak right now so seeing him win at a course that offered easy scoring opportunities against a relatively weak field felt like he was finishing off something that he started 4 months ago.

Having heavy shares of the top two players should have led to bigger wins for myself last week, but it was tempered by missed cuts from several notable flops in my player pool, highlighted by Lucas Glover, Nick Taylor and Vaughn Taylor. All three players had positive momentum coming into the event from the perspective of their recent form, rolling stats and course history. Each of them were making their 5th start at Sanderson Farms and none of them had previously missed a cut there. All three managed to blow the cut last week which was frustrating. Now, I was not thinking that any of them would necessarily win the tournament, but it was a shock that they would all miss the cut. Given my high ownership in GPP events of those three, it offset much of the success that others had in my player pool for the week. This is one of the reasons that I advocated for sitting out of cash games and going light on GPP for the week. We want to put our money in when we have a bigger edge over the field rather than going off of a hunch or a very small data sample of recent form.

This week we get a much better field to work with which helps to ease much of the pricing pressure that we have been dealing with over the last two weeks. It helps enormously that the venue is in Napa, a gorgeous area in northern California which is much more of a draw than Mississippi. Getting back 4-5 top ranked players in the world means that all of those players that saw their salaries rise by 1-2k in recent weeks are now back to a somewhat normal price which helps to make cash games more advantageous again. The course is an easy Par 72 with four short Par 5s and plays at just over 7,100 yards which means that there really is not a big advantage for a specific type of player. The bombers will have driver in hand and though the fairways are narrow at around the 300 yard mark, the trees are well dispersed and the rough is kept short as to keep this early season event from becoming too much of a pain on players using it to gradually work their way into the year. Only one of the Par 4 holes plays over 450 yards so we’ll be looking at players with a good wedge game for the majority of the holes this week and strong long iron play for the Par 5s. Since the course is in California this week, we will have the rare opportunity to see poa annua greens that are slow and easy to hit. Be sure to check out our Turf Splits tool this week to see which plays are poa specialists. We see poa at Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines, Riviera and TPC River Highlands just to name a few regular tour stops each year. The weather is expected to be perfect this week and though it is still too soon to say for sure, I am not seeing a big advantage on one side or the other in terms of stacking tee times, but be sure to get a good check on Wednesday night as that can always change.

KEY STATS

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

PLAYER POOL

We have quite a few options for working cash games this week. I have fielded a couple of interesting e-mails from folks over the last couple of weeks inquiring about any changes in strategy which I want to address here. For the most part, my approach to GPPs will go unchanged. I am not aiming to simply get golfers through the cut each week in those contests. I know that I will need 6/6 to win them and I know that most of the golfers on the roster will need to finish near the top, especially in the big $5-8 contest that they run each week with over 100k entrants most weeks. Since I am not concerned with merely cashing in those contests, I see no need to make big changes to the way that I construct my lineups. We are just going to have to get used to seeing less 6/6 teams get through to the weekend on a regular basis. Our goal was and still is to have a higher 6/6 percentage relative to the field. If we can do that on a regular basis while keeping our core tight to gain leverage in key spots over the rest of the field, we should be in position a few times each year for a nice score..

I think in cash games, we may consider getting more creative with our rosters. Over the years, for the most part, I have had a lot of success in using a more balanced approach to my lineups and thus, generating a better 6/6 and even 5/6 percentage that most of my competitors. You know that if you get 6 to the weekend you are golden and a good 5/6 will work as well. That is going to change this year. It seems likely that moving forward, we will start to see strong 4/6 lineups cash more routinely and any decent 5/6 should be in play as well. This created some questions from users on lineup construction.

I have long considered the idea of using a more stars/scrubs approach when it comes to cash games for certain weeks. In events where you have a weaker than average field with several notable names that stand out up top, I think it makes a lot of sense to lock in three or four stars if you can and then dive down into the bottom and take your chances on a couple of very cheap names. The hope is that you get very solid performances from your stars with the occasional help from the scrubs and that those weeks where you are in the crosshairs with a 4/6 team, that you have enough star power that one or two of those players work their way into contention to help bail you out of trouble. If you know that most weeks, a strong 4/6 team will get the job done, then it is simply a matter of making the adjustment in your mind on how to build your team. This is a change in golf that moves us a little closer to what we see in NFL cash game teams where finding the value in the lower dollar range is the biggest key each week in having a winning or losing team.

 

Brandt Snedeker 9600
Byeong-Hun An 9500
Collin Morikawa 9400
Chez Reavie 9200
Ryan Moore 9100
Kevin Na 9000
Emiliano Grillo 8800
Scott Piercy 8600
Kevin Streelman 8300
Bronson Burgoon 8000
Dylan Frittelli 7900
Bud Cauley 7800
Harold Varner 7800
Martin Laird 7300
Cameron Tringale 7200
Doc Redman 7200
Tom Hoge 7100

 

Collin Morikawa – We are going to work our west coast connections this week and that starts with Collin Morikawa, the LA native who went to school at Berkley and resides in Vegas. He stormed onto the scene this summer with three straight Top-5 finishes that culminated with a win in Reno at the Barracuda and though he did not do much in the playoffs, I expect the time off will help him to be refreshed upon making his first start this season. His tee to green game is sharp and he grew up on poa greens and though the numbers are limited, in the six rounds he’s played on poa, he’s nearly a half stroke better per round than on other surfaces.

Chez Reavie – Reavie had a career year in 2019, topping it off with a win a the Travelers (poa) a 3rd place finish at the US Open (poa), and a 14th place finish at the PGA Championship (poa). He’s another player that resides in the southwest and plays this event each year. He’s made the cut at this course in all five of his starts and has three Top-25 finishes to his credit.

Ryan Moore – In sticking with the trend, we are going to use another golfer that resides in Vegas and plays many of the events on the west coast swing. Ryan Moore has some of the sharpest splits when it comes to playing on Poa greens versus all other surfaces as he is nearly .6 strokes per round better on poa than other surfaces. His tee to green game was solid throughout 2019 and he ranks 14th in the last 24 rounds in SGTG among this field. He’s 3/3 making the cut at this course and all three finishes were in the Top-20 with a 2nd place finish last fall. If his putting splits hold true, he should again be in good shape at this tournament.

Cameron Tringale – Every week, I keep thinking that this will be the week where Cameron Tringale finally sees a price jump in his salary and week after week, he’s is still in the low $7k range which means that we will keep using him in cash games. He had a career resurgence last season making 16/21 cuts with 8 Top-25 finishes, and was particularly strong later in the season. The California native should be very comfortable with Silverado as he’s played here each of the last five years and made the cut four times. Over the last 24 rounds among this field, Tringale ranks 6th in SGTG and 8th in SGTOT. He is off to a nice start this season having made the cut in both starts and picked up a 16th place finish last week in Mississppi so he should be ready to go this week.

 

CORE 

Justin Thomas 11600
Adam Scott 10700
Sungjae Im 10100
Byeong Hun An 9500
Ryan Moore 9100
Scott Piercy 8600
Bronson Burgoon 8000
Dylan Frittelli 7900
Bud Cauley 7800
Cameron Tringale 7200

 

Justin Thomas – I wanted to fade JT to save on salary, but was reminded in talking to several people that he usually does not wait long each season to make an impression as he’s been able to jump right back into the mix and get wins within the first couple of weeks of starting a new season in recent years. You already know how strong he is from tee to green and if that is not enough, he’s about .4 strokes per round better on poa than other surfaces. He led the tour in Par 5 Scoring and Birdie or Better Percentage so I am not going to miss out on what will likely be a strong finish.

Adam Scott – Is Adam Scott going to be motivated this week to start the season? I do not know. I thought about going with Patrick Cantlay here with his California roots and strong play last season, but then thought that nobody was really talking about Scott and his credentials and price break make him a compelling pivot. He got his putting game together last season and has always been very good on poa. Last season, in four starts on poa courses, he finished in the Top-10 each time. His rolling numbers over the last 24 rounds put him at the top of this field in SGTG and SGTOT and he’s particularly strong in his iron play. As long as he can continue to putt as well as last season, he should be in contention most weeks.

Sungjae Im – Sungjae nearly got his first win on tour last week after making a nice comeback late to take it to a playoff, but faltered on the first hole against Munoz and finished in 2nd place. I do not think he will dwell on it long as he will keep a full schedule this fall, but I think he is ready to win at any point now so I am not going to abandon him now. He finished 4th at Silverado last year, ranked 6th in Par 5 Scoring and 22nd in BoB%. His putter has been on fire over the last couple of months and he ranks 1st in this field over the last 24 rounds in SGP. I think he gives us another Top-10 finish this week.

Byeong Hun An – An was in contention last week before falling back late to finish in 3rd. It was his second 3rd place finish in the last couple of months and he’s another player that I would target for a win coming this season as he’s been close and it only feels like a matter of time. He started last season as just about the worst putter on tour among players that are actually relevant on tour, but by the end of the season, he had worked his way up to the the point to where he was no longer losing strokes every round as he was slightly above zero over the last 24 rounds, a massive improvement from when he was losing nearly .8 strokes per round at the beginning of the year.

Scott Piercy – Piercy had a nice season in 2019, making the cut in 21/24 starts with 11 Top-25 finishes along the way. He’s had mixed results at Silverado with a 17th and 3rd place finish in four starts and two MCs on each end of those. He’s typically been a strong tee to green player, but has struggled with his putter. Last season, he was able to pull it together with his putter and his game immediately became more consistent. Piercy is from Las Vegas and played his college golf at San Diego State so he’s very familiar with poa greens and is about .2 strokes per round better on them than other surfaces.

Bronson Burgoon –  I am not sure how long it will last, but Bronson Burgoon has played really well the last two months. He’s opened this season with two Top-20 finishes after closing last season two Top-20 finishes on the Korn Ferry Tour. Over the last 24 rounds among this field, he ranks 9th in SGTG and 10th in SGTOT. He’s made the cut here in his last two starts and finished 17th in 2017 so we’ll ride the wave for now.

Dylan Frittelli – Coming off of his first win on tour last season, Frittelli kicked off the new season with a 6th place finish at Sanderson Farms a week ago. He’s been very good of late and ranks 11th in SGTG over the last 24 rounds among this field. He finished 25th here last year in his first start and is 4th on our Odds vs Pricing chart as one of the better values on the board this week.

 

SECONDARY

Brandt Snedeker 9600
Collin Morikawa 9400
Charles Howell III 8100
Harold Varner III 7800
Nate Lashley 7600
Lanto Griffin 7400
Martin Laird 7300
Kyle Stanley 7300
Doc Redman 7200
Tom Hoge 7100

 

TERTIARY

Harris English 7900
Kevin Tway 7700
Vaughn Taylor 7600
Brendan Steele 7400
Kevin Chappell 7200
Robby Shelton 7100
Adam Schenk 7000
Fabian Gomez 7000
Adam Long 6900
Cameron Percy 6900

 

SPRINKLE

Dominic Bozzelli 7000
Grayson Murray 6900
Sam Ryder 6800
Sepp Straka 6800
Brice Garnett 6800
Harry Higgs 6600
Mark Hubbard 6600
Scott Harrington 6500

 

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte September 25, 2019 07:22

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