The carnage at Winged Foot and the U.S. Open was everything we anticipated (other than Bryson finding his game and boat racing the field – and the course). This week will be the exact opposite as the PGA Tour heads to the Dominican Republic for the Corales Puntacana Resort and Club Championship. Scoring will be in abundance and it will be difficult to predict who will play well in this weaker field. Regardless, there is money to be won on FanDuel so we might as well be the ones to win it this week.
Despite having only one of the world’s top-50 players, there are eight golfers priced at $11,000 or above. FanDuel provides DFS players with a salary cap of $60,000 to select six golfers for an average roster spot of $10,000. Corey Conners is the highest priced golfer at $11,900. Korn Ferry Tour phenom Will Zalatoris is close behind at $11,800. Sam Burns ($11,600), Mackenzie Hughes ($11,500), and Adam Long ($11,400) round out FanDuel’s top-five highest priced golfers.
Work at having a solid process week in and week out as opposed to getting bogged down by recency bias or the ups-and-downs of the weekly golf grind. Any golfer is capable of winning and even the best golfers can miss the cut (as we saw last week with guys like Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Gary Woodland, Tommy Fleetwood, and Collin Morikawa). Whether you win or lose, golf is one of the most entertaining fantasy sports to follow because you get four days of action. Good luck and, most importantly, have fun!
- The Puntacana Resort & Club (the Corales Golf Course) is located in the Dominican Republic and is a Par 72 measuring 7,666 yards. Only Torrey Pines GC (Farmers Insurance) is a longer course on the PGA Tour.
- 144 golfers are scheduled to tee it up this week with the top-65 (and ties) making the cut and playing the weekend.
- This event debuted as a Korn Ferry Tour event in 2016 and two years ago became a PGA Tour stop. However, this will be the first year it offers FedExCup points since it has previously been an alternate event opposite at WGC.
- Dominic Bozzelli and Nate Lashley have previously won this event when it was a KFT event. Graeme McDowell returns to defend his title, while Brice Garnett will try to capture his winning magic from two years ago.
- The two KFT events produced winners scoring at least 20-under par and each of the last two winners (McDowell and Garnett) reached 18-under par.
- This is a resort (coastal) course with huge fairways and easy scoring conditions, which makes predicting outcomes more difficult than normal. Every PGA golfer is capable of going low on an easier course. The distance isn’t normally a problem for even the shorter hitters. The course’s only defense is the wind that can make yardages more difficult to pin down.
- The greens are composed of paspalum. This one of the few courses on the Tour that has this as its’ primary grass on the greens.
- The final three-hole stretch is called “The Devil’s Elbow” culminating in an exciting shot on the 18th that will force golfers to carry the water over the Bay of Corales.
- Last year’s top-five finishers included Graeme McDowell, Mackenzie Hughes, Chris Stroud, Jonathan Byrd, Kelly Kraft, and Chip McDaniel. It was Kraft’s second straight top five at Corales.
- There are 10 Par 4’s (two under 400 yards, four 400-450, and four 450+ yards)
- All four of the Par 3’s are over 200 yards with the longest measuring 265 yards.
- Two of the four Par 5’s measure more than 600 yards.
Course Fit & Key Statistics
My customized overall stat model measures all stats (driving, approach, short game, putting, etc…) from both a short-and-long-form standpoint. It should be noted that I consider putting but it is weighted lower than the other factors. The best golfers, in terms of stats, for my customized model this week (in ranked order) are Henrik Norlander, Corey Conners, Chris Baker, Emiliano Grillo, Kyle Stanley, James Hahn, Henrik Stenson, Sam Burns, Sepp Straka, and Jhonattan Vegas.
The golfers that rate out the best in my customized recent form model (in ranked order) are Will Zalatoris, Mackenzie Hughes, Thomas Detry, Kristoffer Ventura, Sam Burns, Denny McCarthy, Adam Long, Adam Schenk, Patrick Rodgers, and Emiliano Grillo. Adam Schenk leads the field with seven straight made cuts on the PGA Tour. Adam Long and Patrick Rodgers have six each. Emiliano Grillo has made five straight. Will Zalatoris has made 17 straight cuts on the Korn Ferry Tour plus his T6 at the U.S. Open.
It is always important to score well but being a solid par maker might not be advantageous this week. This event always produces lots of scoring opportunities and so we might want to take a look at the golfers in this field that have the most scoring upside. My custom model takes into account birdie or better percentage and scoring average. The golfers who rate as the best scorers this year (in ranked order) include Jhonattan Vegas, Sam Burns, Kristoffer Ventura, Denny McCarthy, Mackenzie Hughes, Grayson Murray, Sepp Straka, Charlie Hoffman, Thomas Detry, and Kevin Chappell.
Hitting the fairway at Corales is much easier than normal Tour events and so most golfers will be putting themselves in good position for birdie putts. I will be looking at good putters more than usual. The golfers in this field that finished the 2019-2020 PGA season in the top-30 for SG: Putting include Denny McCarthy, Kristoffer Ventura, Mackenzie Hughes, Patrick Rodgers, Dominic Bozzelli, Beau Hossler, Patton Kizzire, Rhein Gibson, and Sam Burns.
Official World Golf Ranking
All the statistics and course history are good to know but sports (in particular, DFS golf) oftentimes comes down to betting on talent and playing the best overall players. Sure, salary is involved but fitting as many of the world’s best golfers in your lineups increases your chances for success. With that being said, this field is not very strong. Henrik Stenson is the highest-ranked golfer teeing it up this week. There are only nine golfers in this field that are ranked in the OWGR’s top 100 golfers. They are Henrik Stenson (No. 43), Mackenzie Hughes (No. 54), Graeme McDowell (No. 59), Adam Long (No. 69), Corey Conners (No. 71), Will Zalatoris (No. 76), Thomas Detry (No. 82), Charles Howell (No. 85), and Matthias Schwab (No. 92).
Favorite $11,000+ Plays
Will Zalatoris ($11,800)
He has been killing it on the Korn Ferry Tour and he is in the field this week on a sponsor’s exemption. He just showed his toughness with a T6 at last week’s U.S. Open. Even though I have been betting him on the Korn Ferry Tour, I faded him in DFS last week because I didn’t think he’d be able to handle the tough conditions after playing in the scoring fests that abound on the KFT. I was wrong and I’ll be firing him up in this glorified KFT event this week. He has a streak of 17 made cuts on the KFT (18 with the U.S. Open). During that streak, he has a win, seven top fives, and 11 top 10s. He is priced high but we saw Viktor Hovland win at Puerto Rico when he was a heavy favorite as a young gun. Zalatoris is legit.
Sam Burns ($11,600)
He is a big hitter that can get hot with the flat stick, so he is set up for success here. He most recently was T7 at the Safeway. He has made the cut in six of his last eight events with three of those ending in top-20 finishes. He leads the field in fantasy scoring and total strokes gained in the last 24 rounds played. He was T12 here last year.
Mackenzie Hughes ($11,500)
He is an elite putter and he should be able to outpace the field on the greens. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open, but so did a lot of other people. He had a streak of nine straight made cuts prior to that, including five top-15 finishes. I love him this week, especially since he was runner-up here last year. I would also consider Adam Long ($11,400) in this range but I prefer the other three guys much better.
Favorite $10,000 Plays
Adam Schenk ($10,700)
Nobody has made more straight cuts in this field than Schenk. Even though that number is only seven, it is still important to recognize. He isn’t a household name but continues to grind out cuts due to his strong ball-striking and off-the-tee game. He struggles a little bit with the flat stick which limits his upside as he has only one finish inside the top-30 in those last seven events. He was T12 at the Barracuda. He has been T33 and T35 in the last two years here.
Kristoffer Ventura ($10,600)
He has made the cut in 8/9 events (PGA/KFT) since the restart. He most recently finished T7 at the Safeway. During his recent stretch, he has four top-15 finishes. The former Oklahoma State star has a strong off-the-tee game and has shown that he can get really hot with the putter (finished 2020 season ranked fourth on Tour). He ranks eighth in this field in fantasy scoring in his last 24 rounds played.
Denny McCarthy ($10,500)
As one of the world’s best putters, I like his chances this week. He has good recent history here, with a T26 last year and fourth place the year before. In the last 24 rounds played, he is fourth in this field in total strokes gained. He surprisingly missed the Safeway cut but overall had a nice 2019-2020 season making 17/21 cuts with six top-20 finishes.
Matthias Schwab ($10,000)
He has made the cut in 12 of his last 15 worldwide events. The only three he missed were the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, and the Memorial. During that stretch, he was T4 at the WGC-HSBC, T2 at the Turkish Airlines Open, and T3 at the Barracuda. All of those were events with lots of scoring. The former Vanderbilt star plays well at courses like these.
Favorite $9,000 Plays
Thomas Detry ($9,900)
He is an unknown to most of us that follow only the PGA Tour but he is fifth on the European Tour in total strokes gained. Detry just finished T49 at the U.S. Open. He had two runner-up finishes in August on the European Tour. He has made the cut in 17 of his last 18 events worldwide, which includes seven top-10 finishes.
Patrick Rodgers ($9,300)
He is a great putter, which has helped him make six cuts in a row. He was recently T19 at the Barracuda, which is a birdie fest, and was T22 here two years ago. In the last 50 rounds played, he ranks eighth in the field in total strokes gained.
Graeme McDowell ($9,000)
GMac has not been playing well lately, making only two of his last nine cuts. But he is unbelievably underpriced based on his world ranking (59th – third in the field) and the fact that he is the defending champion. He will be a core play for me at this price. He has a reputation for being strong at coastal courses even before he won this last year. He won the Saudi Invitational back in February after missing the cut the week before. I’ll take my chances in this field with his talent. Other 9K golfers I may consider are Henrik Norlander ($9,700), Chris Baker ($9,500), Xinjun Zhang ($9,500), and Vincent Whaley ($9,000).
Favorite $8,000 Plays
Will Gordon ($8,400)
The 2019 SEC Player of the Year only made 5/9 cuts during the 2019-20 PGA Season but had a T10 at the RSM and a T3 at the Travelers. He made the cut in his most recent event (Safeway). He can score in bunches and seems to be underpriced. Other 8K golfers I might use in MME lineups include David Hearn ($8,700), Chris Kirk ($8,500), Beau Hossler ($8,500), Brandon Hagy ($8,300), Seamus Power ($8,200), and Michael Gligic ($8,000).
Favorite $7,000 Plays
Joohyung Kim ($7,000)
Kim finished a ho-hum 67th at the Safeway Open, however, I look at it as getting his feet wet in the States. That was only his second event on Tour, with the first coming at the PGA Championship. He doesn’t play against strong competition on the Korean and Asia tours but is ranked 116th in the world. Before he came to the U.S. last month to play, he had top-five finishes in 15 of his previous 25 worldwide events, including four wins. He is talented and is no stranger to showing up on leaderboards. I will take a made cut from him at this price, but I think he could give us a glimpse of what he’s been doing in Asia. I also would consider Kelly Kraft ($7,200) or George McNeil ($7,000) because of their course history but it will just be a sprinkling here and there in my MME builds.
Jamy Bechler is a regular contributor to FantasyPros for NBA, NFL, and PGA. You can send him questions and follow him on his DFS twitter @WinningDFS101. When he is not playing DFS, Jamy is an author, host of the “Success is a Choice” podcast, and a leadership consultant, working with businesses and teams across the country (including the NBA). Even though he offers his advice on players and contests, after additional information and consideration, he may end up using different players and strategies than what he recommended in this article.