DraftKings PGA Lineup Advice : The American Express (2021)
It was another birdie fest in Hawaii this past week, as Kevin Na took home his fifth career PGA Tour title after an impressive 21-under-par finish. Na tied a record for the most rounds of 61 or better since the start of the 2010 season. On Saturday, his nine-under 61 was the fourth of his career and helped him take home the $1.5 million prize.
The PGA Tour will now return to mainland U.S.A. for the American Express. La Quinta, California, will play host to the event as the west coast swing commences. Due to the pandemic, there is no longer a Pro-Am this year. Also, rounds will only be played on the Stadium and Nicklaus courses. There will be a 36-hole cut instead of a 54-hole cut that players are accustomed to at this event.
Early betting favorite Jon Rahm announced his withdrawal from the event due to unknown reasons. Patrick Cantlay ($11,100), Brooks Koepka ($10,800), Tony Finau ($10,500), and Patrick Reed ($10,200) are the highest priced golfers on DraftKings. We can once again expect plenty of birdies this week. The last couple editions of this tournament have featured final scores of -26.
- 2020: Andrew Landry (-26)
- 2019: Adam Long (-26)
- 2018: Jon Rahm (-22)
- 2017: Hudson Swafford (-17)
- 2016: Jason Dufner (-25)
Three of the four rounds will be played this week at the TPC Stadium Course (host course) in La Quinta, California. The Stadium Course is a Par 72, 7,147 yard-long Pete Dye design. It played as the fifth easiest course on Tour last season with an average score 0f 70.36. Golfers will see a mix of Bermudagrass and Poa on the greens. Plenty of water hazards align the track, as golfers will have to be methodical with their shot selections.
One round will be played at the Jack Nicklaus course. It is perenially one of the easiest golf courses on Tour each season. In 2020, the course ranked as the second easiest on the circuit, with players averaging a score of 69.24. It is a Par 72 track that is 7,181 yards. Greens feature both Bermuda and Poa grass.
Relevant Betting Stats
- Par 4 Scoring
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-green
- Strokes Gained: Approach
Tony Finau ($10,500)
The 31-year-old is still searching for his second career win, but his talent is too good for this drought to last. “Mr. Top-10” shot a 62 at this event last year en route to a T14 finish. He is a supreme birdie maker who finished 2020 ranked 11th in strokes gained: tee-to-green, and 21st in strokes gained: approach. If his putter catches fire, lookout.
Sungjae Im ($9,900)
Im is off to a solid start to his 2021 campaign. The young Asian led the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green at the Sentry Tournament of Champions a few weeks ago and made the cut at the Sony Open to follow. He now goes to a place where he finished T10 at in 2020 after an impressive 18-under finish.
Scottie Scheffler ($9,500)
This is lining up to be a great spot for Scheffler to get his first PGA Tour win. He finished third here last year after shooting opening rounds of 65-64-66. The Texas native racks up birdies in bunches. He ranked seventh on Tour last season in birdie average (4.35) and excels on easy courses. Over the past five months, he has a T4 at the PGA Championship, a fifth at the Tour Championship, and a T19 at the Masters.
Russell Henley ($9,000)
Henley is a player that many sharps fancy this week, and for a good reason. His tee-to-green game has been phenomenal over the last few months. In my rolling stats, he ranks second in both strokes gained: tee-to-green and strokes gained: approach. He is coming off a solid T11 finish in Hawaii at the Sony Open. All signs point towards another good showing in California.
Sam Burns ($8,300)
“Bermuda” Burns has popped up on the leaderboard in consecutive years at this event. In 2020, he closed with a final round of 63 to finish T6. The year prior, he had a respectable T18 after finishing the week at 18-under-par. So far in this young season, Burns ranks third in strokes gained: off-the-tee, fifth in GIR percentage, and 15th in birdie average.
Chris Kirk ($7,600)
Kirk is coming off a brilliant week at the Sony Open in Hawaii. He fired four consecutive rounds of 65 en route to his T2 finish. The underlying stats look great, as his approach and tee-to-green game were both excellent. He now goes to another birdie-fest that should suit his game nicely. The 35-year-old has rediscovered his game after a short rehab stint and looks primed for a win.
Michael Thompson ($7,100)
If you’re looking for some value down the board, look no further than Michael Thompson. The 35-year-old has quietly turned in three straight top-25 performances. He excels on short, Bermuda courses, so this week should once again be a great fit for him. Thompson finished ninth here in 2019.
Mark Hubbard ($6,600)
It’s always slim pickings in the 6k-range, but one golfer who shows up consistently on shorter tracks is Mark Hubbard. The 31-year-old shot two rounds of 66 last week at the Sony Open and appears to be in good form. He quietly had three top-10s to his name in 2020, including a runner-up finish at the Houston Open.
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