What’s goin’ on fantasy golf fans?! WELCOME TO THE 2018 GOLF SEASON!!! I could not be more excited to be back for another season and provide content for DFS On Demand. Last year was fantastic, but there is always room for improvement so let’s start the year off right!
The season gets kicked off in Maui, Hawaii with the Sentry Tournament of Champions. The name of the tournament says it all. this is a 34 man, no cut event, composed of all of the winners from the 2017 calendar year. The host course is The Plantation Course at Kapalua, a very rare Par 73 that is 7,400 yards in length with only three Par 3s. The fairways at Kapalua are wider than a runway, and because of that are some of the easiest to hit on tour. The winning score at this event in the past five years has ranged from -16 to -30 – buckle up for a birdiefest! The Plantation Course uses very slow, Bermuda grass greens with wild undulations, and because of this, first timers at this event have struggled to get the flat stick going and seldomly have a ton of success.
Stats for the Week
Birdie or Better Gained
Par 4 Efficiency – 350-400 yards.
Alright, let’s get to the picks!
My favorite golfers for the week – for Cash and GPP contests.
Jordan Spieth – $10,900
If it weren’t for Jordan’s dominance at Augusta, Kapalua would be at the top of the list for elite course history. In three trips to the Plantation course, Spieth has three top 3s and a win in 2016. He is shockingly not the highest priced golfer, which makes him a value play at the top even if it is only a couple $100 bucks. In the most recent event we have to look at, albeit the Hero World Challenge, Spieth came 3rd. I’d be shocked if he isn’t in the final pairing on Sunday.
Hideki Matsuyama – $9,800
If you aren’t familiar with my articles, I have a little motto/series of questions I like to ask that has worked out quite well in the past. Question 1 – Is there a cut? No. Question 2 – Is Hideki in the field? If yes – PLAY HIDEKI!!! After his win at the WGC – Bridgestone Invitational last year, Matsuyama had collected three wins and a runner up finish in his previous five no cut events. Just an insane run. I’ll slide in the fact that he came T5 at the Hero World Challenge so his form is where it needs to be.
Marc Leishman – $9,000
The best thing I like about Leishman this week, is the fact I do not anticipate his ownership being very high relative to the field. His $9,000 price tag lands in a tricky spot, and I expect rosters to be constructed with two higher priced golfers, forcing a lot of people to overlook Leishman. Also, for whatever reason, Aussies have had tremendous success at this event. Perhaps it’s the windy playing conditions or even the location on the PGA schedule (there are a few Australian events at the end of November/early December). Geoff Ogilvy, Stuart Appleby and Steve Elkington are all multiple time winners of this event – so let’s hope the Aussie tradition holds up with Leishman. Leish finished 2017 on a remarkable run, winning a FedEx Cup playoff event and throwing in a couple top 5s along the way. I expect big things for him in 2018, so why not get the season started off right in Hawaii.
Pat Perez – $8,000
Who else is ready to eat the Pat Perez chalk with me? With good reason, Perez is going to be a popular play this week but is still an option in all formats. He is affordable and played very well in the fall swing season, collecting a win in Malaysia and a T5 in South Korea. Perez has the all around game to get the job done here and it showed with his T3 here last year. He’s locked and loaded in my cash lineup this week and a finish outside the top 10 would be shocking.
Cameron Smith – $7,600
There isn’t a hotter golfer in this field than Cam Smith right now. He has four straight top five finishes worldwide, while winning the Australian PGA Championship. Smith is a first timer at this event, but he does have the Australian narrative working in his favour. Cam will be able to handle the winds if they do pick up over the week. In his past 24 recorded rounds, he ranks 12th in the field in BoB Gained, a stat that will bode well if this event becomes a shootout.
Tournament of Champions Interactive Data
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Identifying the chalk, and going elsewhere.
Justin Thomas – $11,100
The defending champ and 2017 Player of the Year a pivot? Looks like it. On FanShareSports.com, JT has the fewest tags of anyone priced above $10K. Spieth will be the highest owned in that group and JT’s price makes it a little more difficult to build an eye popping lineup. We have got to learn from the past that JT is a perfect tournament option regardless of his price. He could easily run away with this event and no one would be shocked if he defends his title. Add on the fact he will be the lowest owned elite golfer in the field? How can anyone pass that up.
Brian Harman – $8,700
Brian Harman is easily going to be the lowest owned golfer above $8K. He only has 11 tags on FanShare Sports with his price tag making it difficult to roster. Harman is a close second to Cam Smith in terms of recent form entering this event. He has a T5, 8th and T4 in his last three events. Harman also loves Bermuda grass greens. He ranks second in this field in SG:Putting on Bermuda grass over his past 50 rounds.
Xander Schauffele – $8,500
It didn’t take long for the Xander buzz to quickly fizzle out. The 2017 rookie of the year only has five tags on FanShare and is another guy who falls in a tricky range in terms of lineup construction. It is Schauffele’s first trip to Kapalua, so the potential of a long adjustment period to these greens is possible. However, I believe Schauffele is the type of talent that can overcome the first time narrative, just like Jon Rahm. Xander is one of my favorite tournament plays and is a guy who has shown he can beat the world’s best in the past.
Bad course fit? Highly owned for the wrong reason? Players I will have no shares of.
Kevin Chappell – $7,700
There are a few things that scare me with Kevin Chappell this week. First, this is his first trip to Kapalua and I am worried he is going to fall into the trap a lot of newbies experience. He is not a good putter on Bermuda greens, ranks 29th in the field over his past 50 rounds on Bermuda greens. He also played fairly poorly to finish the 2017 season. This scary combination of lack of course history, shaking putting and below average recent form will force Chappell off of my lineups this week.
Patton Kizzire – $7,300
Tough in a field of 34 with no cut to come up with fades, but Kizzire is a guy who won’t sniff a roster this week. Again, the first time narrative is in effect. Kizzire really struggled most of last year and had one of the worst seasons out of the “champions” in this field. $7,300 is a little rich as well, especially when Brendan Steele and Dufner are priced right around him.
So, you got burned?
Recently got screwed by a missed cut or a poor performance? Looks like a good time to jump back on.
It’s been so long since these guys had a chance to burn us! Tune in next week when we have some options to jump back on.
Thanks for reading the Sentry Tournament of Champions preview article! You can follow me on Twitter for more golf and betting talk! Also, make sure you check out @FanShareSports. They track and curate content produced across the DFS Golf industry, and highlight which players are being tagged or talked about the most, translating to an excellent ownership guide.
Good luck this week everybody!!