PGA DFS Primer: 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games
The third annual 3M Open tournament saw Louis Oosthuizen finish as the runner-up (T2/-13) for the fourth time on the PGA Tour this season. After playing his best round on Sunday at five-under-par, the 38-year old South African was bested by 26-year old American Cameron Champ. Champ delivered a series of clutch shots on the 18th Hole in the waning moments on Sunday, including an impressive shot out of the high grass behind a tree to recover from an awful tee shot.
Cameron Tringale (T16/-9) appeared to be contending for the 3M Open until a +3 Sunday erased him from the top of the leaderboard. Still, a top-20 finish after a miserable final round is enough to satisfy based on the 12 birdies and two eagles he managed to generate across the first three days. Tony Finau (T28/-7) and Matthew Wolff (T39/-5) finished inside of the top-40 despite lackluster performances in the first or final round.
Wolff was the more disappointing player between the two, as he began his final round with three consecutive bogies, including a double bogey on Hole 2 that he never recovered from. Finau began his first round with a double bogey but improved his performance on day two with three-under-par after a +2 finish in the opening round. Meanwhile, Emiliano Grillo and Robert MacIntyre both missed the cut and failed to deliver enough production, even as salary-saving options in lineups.
60 golfers will participate in just the second Olympic Games in the modern era over in Tokyo, Japan this weekend. Rules and course layout both differ from the PGA Tour and the performances will not produce points towards the FedEx Cup but apply to those golfers within the European Tour. There is no cut, meaning golfers won’t have to come out with explosive performances in the first two days, although it certainly helps to build an early lead. The Kasumigaseki Country Club will be the site of the 2020 Olympic Games and provides plenty of incredible scenery, located just outside of Tokyo, Japan. Several water hazards, lengthy tree-lined fairways, and deep sand bunkers all comprise the hazards on the recently redesigned East Course. Let’s take a look at the players who present the best value and retain the likelihood of winning a coveted Olympic medal this weekend.
- 2016: Justin Rose (-16)
The Kasumigaseki Country Club saw its East course undergo a redesign in 2016 under the direction and vision of Tom and Logan Fazio. Notable changes include wavier fairways and increasingly difficult-to-reach greens flanked by deep sand bunkers. The greens often have multiple levels, creating difficult putting conditions due to smoother and slower ball trajectory. Iron shots and tee shots are of the utmost importance at the Kasumigaseki East course, as several layers of trees line the fairways and sometimes appear behind the greens.
Water hazards will be substantially less this weekend than at TPC Twin Cities, where bodies of water were present on 15 of the 18 holes. However, Hole 9 at the East course introduces golfers to two separate ponds behind its green, with Hole 10 forcing a clean tee-to-green due to the pond that stretches up to the two sand bunkers that lie in front of the 189-yard par-3. Five par 3s and four par 5s create opportunities and challenges on half of the holes, while Hole 17 and Hole 18 alternate the location of water after a relatively dry back-nine.
Even the best putters are likely to struggle with the multi-layered, elevated greens that roll slower than the typical bentgrass greens found on most of the PGA Tour’s courses. Rostering players with high-end driver accuracy, greens in regulation percentage, strokes gained off-the-tee, and tee-to-green is the best way to ensure a winning lineup at the end of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games competition.
Relevant Betting Stats
- Driving Accuracy percentage
- Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green
- Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
- Sand Save percentage
- Greens in Regulation percentage
Recommended Plays: DraftKings
Hideki Matsuyama ($10,500)
The 2021 Masters Tournament champion has only competed in four tournaments since his iconic win in early April. At just 29-years old, Hideki Matsuyama returns to his home country to compete for Gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Getting valuable time off to rest, combined with a course that favors accuracy, plays right into Matsuyama’s strengths. Deep sand bunkers and trees surround the fairways and greens alike, which Matsuyama will overcome with an elite ability to manufacture strokes gained tee-to-green (1.154) and when approaching the green (.681), which both rank within the top-20 of golfers on the PGA Tour. It also helps to know that Matsuyama averages 3.93 birdies per round (43rd) and ranks 28th in converted eagles (11) this season. He’s worth the high salary and should be standing on a podium with an Olympic medal once the final round concludes.
Abraham Ancer ($9,300)
One of the most accurate golfers on the PGA Tour this season has been Abraham Ancer. The 30-year old Mexican has a tremendous driving accuracy percentage (70.80%) ranked seventh amongst all PGA Tour golfers and also is among the best with hitting greens in regulation, ranking 23rd at 69.11 percent. Don’t neglect his strokes gained off-the-tee (25th/.414) and strokes gained tee-to-green (31st/.890) which creates even more incentive to insert Ancer into your lineups at Kasumigaseki Country Club this weekend. He’s an incredible value as he is cheaper than Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, and Paul Casey, all of whom have experienced volatile inconsistency throughout the 2020-21 season. Ancer will flood lineups with production due to the efficiency he is capable of creating in all facets of his game, making him a must-add player in lineups at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Si Woo Kim ($7,800)
The 26-year old South Korean has extra motivation compared to the majority of his competitors at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. In South Korea, two years of mandatory military service is required if he is unable to finish with a bronze, silver, or gold medal this weekend. Kim doesn’t overwhelm with his metrics but he does have a great touch with his irons, ranking 22nd in strokes gained around the green (.334) and 42nd in strokes gained tee-to-green (.758). This is ideal at a course like Kasumigaseki Country Club’s East course, which burdens those with inaccurate shots and adds an extra layer of difficulty when putting due to multi-tiered elevation on the greens. If Kim leans into his skill set, he will return incredible value in lineups this weekend. His sub-$8,000 salary creates most of the appeal here. Roster Kim and don’t look back, as he could be among the best value plays at Kasumigaseki Country Club this weekend.
Recommended Plays: FanDuel
Collin Morikawa ($12,000)
There is not much to debate about rostering the best golfer in the world right now at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Collin Morikawa is only 24-years old but has been obliterating competition on the PGA Tour this season, having finished inside the top ten in three consecutive tournaments and winning The Open Championship at -15 in his last appearance a couple of weeks ago. Morikawa ranks first in both strokes gained approaching the green (1.502) and strokes gained tee-to-green (2.044) which shows his superior ability to control the strength and accuracy of his irons. Lock him into your lineups without hesitation this weekend as he is assuredly going to produce a massively successful outing across the four days at Kasumigaseki Country Club’s East course.
Cameron Smith ($10,500)
Cameron Smith ranks highly in a few statistical categories not many of the others at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games possess. The 27-year old Australian has seen his finishes decline a bit since winning the Zurich Classic back in April but overcame two consecutive cuts at the Memorial Tournament and U.S. Open last month to finish T30 (-5) at the Travelers Championship and most recently finished T33 (-2) at The Open Championship. Smith has the second-highest sand save percentage (64.66%) and a top ten birdie average (4.32) but his putting is top-notch. Smith ranks 12th for strokes gained putting (.576) but is less than average with his greens in regulation percentage (116th/65.32%) and driving accuracy percentage (129th/58.77%), making him a unique prospect at a course that favors accurate drivers and irons. Sometimes, it’s good to zig when others zag. Smith comes with a bit of risk but his ability to save par by getting out of bunkers could prove to be the X factor at the Kasumigaseki East course this weekend.
Jhonattan Vegas ($8,500)
Jhonattan Vegas has finished within the top ten in three tournaments across his last six appearances, including a T2 (-13) finish at the 3M Open this past weekend. He’s hitting his stride at the perfect time to represent Venezuela at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games at Kasumigaseki Country Club this weekend. The 36-year old ranks fourth in strokes gained off-the-tee (.724) and 33rd in strokes gained tee-to-green (.874), indicating that Vegas possesses the skill set required to succeed at Kasumigaseki’s East course. His driver is inaccurate but the average distance ranks ninth-best on Tour this season (310.8 yards) which could allow him to maintain his 3.97 birdie average (36th) even if he finds a few bunkers. At such a discounted salary yet again heading into the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, make sure to prioritize ‘Jhonny Vegas’ as a top salary-saving option with a massive ceiling.
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