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PGA DraftKings DFS Primer: World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play (2023)

PGA DraftKings DFS Primer: World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play (2023)
cameraPGA DraftKings DFS Primer: World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play (2023)

We’ve got a unique, exciting PGA Tour event starting up on Wednesday from the Austin Country Club course in Austin, Texas. It’s the final Match Play event of the foreseeable future for the PGA, as significant changes will be rolled out following the conclusion of its season during the FedExCup playoffs in August. The 2023 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play event offers a break from the standard stroke play scoring format and instead opts to challenge players and reward fans with Match Play scoring instead.

Here’s how the Match Play event works from a PGA context and how it applies to DFS. Staying below par is still rewarded. That much is consistent. 16 groups, each comprised of four players, were announced on Monday ahead of the Round Robin event. Round Robin means that every player in a group will play each of the other three players once across the first three days. A player wins a hole with the lowest score, which is equivalent to 1 point. 0.5 point is given to both players if they tie on a particular hole, while the loser of a hole receives 0 points. The player with the highest Match Play score will win the matchup and proceed to face the other two players on Thursday and Friday. At the end of the Round Robin play, if there are two or more members of a group that are tied with identical points totals, they will compete in a sudden-death playoff challenge that reverts to stroke play scoring to determine which player will advance to the single-elimination Round of 16. A player can win a Round Robin or single-elimination Match Play event before completing 18 holes if they are beating their opponent badly enough to where the losing player can not mathematically force a tie or mount a comeback win.

So how does this affect our DFS lineup construction strategy? Only DraftKings supports WGC Match Play contests, so we’re going to exclude FanDuel and focus exclusively on DraftKings’ scoring system for this event. If player X wins a hole, they are awarded +3 points, while player Y comes away with -0.75 points. That’s right. Players who lose a hole are penalized with a negative point total in DFS, compared to a flat 0 given during the PGA Match Play scoring system. Tied holes equal 0.75 points, while there are additional scoring bonuses for holes not played (+1.6), Matches Won (+5), and Matches Tied (+2). Holes not played are awarded to the winner of a Match Play event who didn’t have to compete on any number of remaining holes due to an insurmountable lead. Streak of 3 Consecutive Holes Won in Match awards +5 points, it doesn’t have to be the winner, while only the winner can claim the No Holes Lost in Match Bonus of +7 DK points.

I’ve dug into a few of my favorite prospects available in this Match Play slate and will offer reasoning for why they should be prioritized in your DraftKings lineups. First, let’s check out previous winners, a few relevant betting stats, and the Austin Country Club layout. Best of luck, and let’s cash these contests!

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Previous Winners

  • 2022 – Scottie Scheffler
  • 2021 – Billy Horschel
  • 2020 – Cancelled
  • 2019 – Kevin Kisner
  • 2018 – Bubba Watson
  • 2017 – Dustin Johnson

Relevant Betting Stats

  • Greens in Regulation percentage
  • Driving Accuracy
  • Scrambling
  • Sand save percentage
  • Strokes Gained Approaching the Green

Course Overview

Austin Country Club was built by iconic golf architect Pete Dye and it features a much different landscape and hazards than what we grew accustomed to watching during the four events in Florida. Yes, there are still water hazards and sand bunkers, but they are integrated into different ways. Most notably, the front nine of the course has quite a bit of elevation with limestone outcrops and quarries flanking the fairways and greens, along with coarse vegetation and hills that punish errant shots and create nightmare lies. The back-nine morphs into a flatter terrain with great views of Lake Austin, which itself becomes part of the course hazards between holes 12-15. Overall, its fairways are wider than Copperhead and TPC Sawgrass, but the faster Bentgrass surface and undulations could wreak havoc.

Austin CC is a par 71 that runs just north of 7,100 yards. Its fairways are comprised of Bentgrass, while its greens are Bermudagrass, which is the same putting surface during all four Florida events, so players should be familiar enough with it to avoid making major adjustments with their flat stick. The undulating fairways and greens are the trickiest part of the course, as even great tee shots or drives can get sent in numerous directions if they land in a certain divot or undulation. This means scrambling will be a huge asset in a field loaded with talent from top to bottom. Finding the greens in regulation is always important and ball striking remains a primary weapon for players to stay below par to collect high Match Play scorecards.

Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Patrick Cantlay: $10,700
While Patrick Cantlay hasn’t dazzled in previous outings at the WGC Match Play event, he still logged T26 and T18 finishes. Plus, the 31-year-old Californian is one of the best iron players on the PGA Tour, ranking seventh in total strokes gained and only faltering a bit when it comes to around the green. He’s second in total driving, which combines accuracy and distance with the driver, meaning he can avoid bad lies and hits 71.9 percent of greens in regulation. That’s top five on the Tour right now and Cantlay is also a quality scrambler when he doesn’t find the green. The cherry on top for me is Cantlay ranking highly in most putting metrics, including 18th in one-putt percentage, which is why he averages over five birdies per round. He’s a solid value on this slate below $11K and has a relatively easy Round Robin group, starting with Nick Taylor on Wednesday.

Viktor Hovland: $9,600
Viktor Hovland made a huge leap from his T42 finish at WGC in 2021 to a T18 finish in 2022, so based on his recent form, I’m willing to invest in his production when constructing DFS lineups for this event. Hovland is another premiere ball striker and is also ranked highly with his driver, including distance and accuracy, while ranking first in rough proximity. This means his lies off of the tee are typically good, allowing him to reach the greens in regulation at a respectable 67.7 percent clip, while also ranking as the 26th scrambler on the PGA Tour. If that weren’t enough to convince you, consider Hovland has provided 15-21 birdies in four of his past five events played. Converting birdies will go a long way towards piling his Match Play score with points, as he’ll kick things off against Matt Kuchar on Wednesday, which should be a quick contest that results in a lot of DFS production from Hovland.

Tom Hoge: $7,700
Tom Hoge is a huge value this week at WGC because he’s being overshadowed by playing in Xander Schauffele’s Round Robin group. The 33-year-old Hoge just set the course record for the lowest round (-10) at TPC Sawgrass during his last event played, so he’s rounding into form and entering his opening Match Play against Aaron Wise with a ton of momentum. Hoge is ranked first in strokes gained approaching the green, 35th in total driving, 35th in total putting, and has a sparkling 36.4 percent birdie conversion rate. There are very few flaws in Hoge’s game and if you factor in his birdie average of over 4.5 per round, he quickly becomes a value addition in DraftKings lineups, where he could wind up on a deep run in the Round of 16 single-elimination matchups. Don’t miss out on Hoge at this reduced salary.

Harris English: $6,900
OK, admittedly, we’re scraping the bottom of the value barrel for Harris English, but he has enough redeeming metrics to justify this decision in DFS. English is risky since he’s missed the cut in three of his past five events, but the beauty of Match Play scoring is that he won’t bury himself and have to worry about make the cut. He has three opponents in his Round Robin pairing, including Will Zalatoris, Ryan Fox, and Andrew Putnam, with Zalatoris being treated as the front-runner. Don’t sleep on English in this group. He only managed an underwhelming T42 finish here at the WGC back in 2021, but English is ranked first for longest putts, fifth in 1-putt or better streaks, and 29th in strokes gained putting. Navigating the fairways and rough will be a challenge, but English is also ranked 31st in scrambling and 22nd in total putting. The 3.71 birdie average leaves a lot to be desired but when English is hot, he’s virtually unstoppable. I’m willing to risk getting the bad version of him here if it means we also get an opportunity to capture his ceiling, which has been on full display with recording double-digit birdies at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Genesis Invitational. These were loaded fields, so don’t expect English to back down from his Round Robin group in Austin this week.

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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.

Matthew MacKay is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matthew, check out his archive and follow him @Matt_MacKay_.

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