DraftKings LPGA DFS Lineup Advice: Drive On Championship (2021)
The Korda sister sweep! After older sister, Jessica, took the Tournament of Champions, little sister, Nelly, won her fourth title at the Gainbridge LPGA, and her first on American soil. She did it despite “not playing good golf” on Sunday, which led to a bogey-free 69 to win the tournament by three shots. If that’s not good golf (her words), watch out.
Before we dive into this week, be sure to check out my brand new podcast, “Girls Got Game,” if you’re more interested in audio content to consume while working out, cooking, etc., I’ve got you covered!
Let’s move on; as I suspected would happen, DraftKings scrambled to fix their pricing after the first event. They’re evidently unfamiliar with a lot of the players and have struggled with pricing in the early going of LPGA contests. The most notable jump is for the Korda sisters. Nelly jumped $1,400 ($9.8k-$11.2k) after her big win, while Jessica jumped $900 ($9.2k-$10.1k) despite finishing T31 and 29th in DraftKings scoring. On the other side, Megan Khang dropped $600 ($8k-$7.4k) despite making the cut and finishing top-35 in DraftKings scoring. A Sunday 76 appears to have really impacted her pricing, even though she played extremely well for most of the week.
We did, however, retract a bit in contest size on DraftKings. The main event listed, the $4k 8-iron, with $1,000 going to first, dropped from 1,176 entries to 588 after failing to fill last week. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen again so that the contests will grow, and they’ll offer more premiere options. For now, let’s take home the $1,000 prize and figure out the rest later!
Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club
This is a new venue for this event, however, Ocala has hosted two previous LPGA events. It played host to the 2015 & 2016 Coates Golf Championship. Although it played at 6,541 yards in those previous events, it’s listed at 6,852 yards for this week. This number would make this the longest course played in a non-major event and only the fifth-longest overall. The four ahead of it are all the same course, in Colorado Springs, with an elevation adjustment of approximately 6,300 yards. So, yes, it’s long for LPGA standards. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them scale it back a bit, closer to 6,700, but we’ll see what happens as they release official information.
I’ll model based on the course being abnormally long. Driving distance was important to me last week on a long course, and it’s even more so this week. I’ll be paying close attention to the women who can hit it longer than Tour average without losing strokes to the field in accuracy. Simple enough, right? Let’s not make this more difficult than it needs to be.
Locks of the Week
Lexi Thompson ($10,400)
Two of my biggest fades of the week, Lexi and Lydia Ko, burned me last week. Both players finished in a tie for second, and Ko led for much of the event before eventually getting beat by Nelly Korda. I’m not making the same mistake twice. Honestly, I just didn’t like the putting numbers that Thompson had been putting up for the past two seasons. They haven’t been good. She turned that tide last week and putted very well, over a putt per round better than her average.
On a course slated to be one of the longest ever played on the LPGA Tour, I’m all over the distance players this week. Thompson is among the Tour’s best in driving distance every single year and displayed that power again this week at Lake Nona, finishing second in the field in driving distance. Also, she still managed to hit just under 70% of her fairways. If she can repeat that number, which is actually below her 2020 average of 71.5%, I see her winning this event. Let’s continue the trend of ending long winning droughts to start the 2021 season. Jessica Korda won for the first time since 2018, Nelly for the first time since 2019, and now Lexi Thompson will win for the first time since 2019, as well.
Brooke Henderson ($9,900)
I’m going right back to the well. She’s as consistent as they come on the LPGA Tour, and last week was no different. She was right in the mix of the things before a Sunday 74 separated her from the leaders, eventually finishing T16. The bright side of this is that she finished in the top-10 at a 60% clip in 2020, so if mathematics serves me right, she’s due for a top-10 this week.
There’s simply too much volatility in this price range for me, and I’m finding it difficult to get up to Nelly Korda’s $11,200 price. Starting my lineups this week with Thompson and Henderson leaves me in a good spot for the rest of the roster. She’s one of the safest players available while also providing an excellent ceiling. She is among the longer hitters, which fits well with this course without sacrificing accuracy. She hit 70% of her fairways and 80% of her greens in regulation a week; it was the putter that failed her. She averaged 31 putts per round at Lake Nona, which is a half stroke above her average. If she can get any momentum going on the greens, she’ll put herself right back in contention to win.
Danielle Kang ($9,700)
I didn’t write anything regarding Kang a week ago, primarily because she was virtually right in the middle of the $9k and above group in my model. The $10,300 price tag just felt too much based on the numbers I saw. I wish I had suggested a complete fade, as she was the highest-priced player in the field to miss the cut.
Fast forward to this week, that missed cut dropped her price $600, and I’m jumping on it this week. The casual DFS player will see that missed cut, especially if they played Kang last week, and avoid her altogether. This is the most prominent mistake made by casual players. I see that as an opportunity to get the world’s fifth-ranked player at a price and an ownership discount. She was excellent a month ago at the Tournament of Champions, and she’s routinely among the leaders on Tour in driving accuracy, greens in regulation, and putting. These numbers, along with being a tick above average in driving distance, will bode very well this week at Ocala.
Fades of the Week
Jessica Korda ($10,100)
This price tag is very confusing. After coming off a victory, she’s priced at $9,200 last week, which I thought was a great price for the older Korda sister. Then, after a lackluster performance finishing T31 in the event and 29th in DraftKings scoring, she gets bumped up $900 to a $10,100 price tag. Not sure what caused DraftKings to do this when this event sports virtually the same field, but that’ll be a big, giant no from me, dawg.
After a spectacular performance last month, she came back to her 2020 normal this past week. She’s always been one of the longest hitters on Tour but below average in driving accuracy. After hitting nearly 90% of the greens in regulation at the TOC, she regressed to her average last year, 71-72%, at Lake Nona. This just isn’t a formula to get it done against this field at this golf course with below-average putting. I don’t think Korda will be “miss the cut” bad this week. However, I find it much more difficult for her to live up to the price tag than some of the other players in this range.
Jeongeun Lee6 ($9,100)
Similar to Korda, Lee6 price has me a bit confused this week. Her price remained the same after a +3, T57 performance in which she shot over par in three of the four rounds. She has not been good over the past year and a half, and the fact that her price remains over $9k is a big red flag to me. There are too many safer options to take this risk.
She played very close to her 2020 averages this week and still managed to finish outside the top-50. She’s average off the tee and below average in greens in regulation which is a terrible combination for a 6,800-yard golf course. She will be doing a lot of scrambling, and averaging 30 putts per round will result in too many bogeys for me to make this play at that price.
Rapid Fire: Studs & Duds in Each Tier
Studs: Nasa Hataoka ($8,900) & Carlota Ciganda ($8,200)
Duds: Charley Hull ($8,800) & Stacy Lewis ($8,600)
Studs: Jennifer Kupcho ($7,900) & Xiyu Lin ($7,200)
Duds: Celine Boutier ($7,400) & Brittany Altomare ($7,300)
Studs: Katherine Kirk ($6,800) & Lauren Stephenson ($6,500)
Duds: Marissa Steen ($6,800) & Pernilla Lindberg ($6,600)
As always, you can find me @joebutter_ on Twitter, where I’m always around to talk shop and answer any questions. This is as good a time as ever to get into LPGA DFS because, with the lack of valuable information readily available, a little bit of digging between the numbers could prove very profitable! Don’t forget to check out “Girls Got Game,” available everywhere you get your podcasts!
Whether you’re new to daily fantasy golf or a seasoned professional, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Golf Glossary. You can get started with The Stats That Matter Most or head to a more advanced strategy — like How To Use Vegas Odds To Generate Your Lineup — to learn more.
Joe Buttgereit is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Joe, follow him on Twitter @joebutter_.