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PGA DraftKings DFS Primer: Zurich Classic (2023)

PGA DraftKings DFS Primer: Zurich Classic (2023)

The PGA Tour will shift once again from its traditional stroke play in favor of two different scoring formats during the 2023 Zurich Classic. Located at TPC Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans, 80 teams will pair up and compete using Better Ball (Four-Ball) and Alternate Ball (Foursomes) during different rounds to create optimal birdie scenarios at a course that can yield quite a few red scorecards. It’ll be different than the three-hole playoff spectacle we saw at the RBC Heritage last weekend when Matt Fitzpatrick drilled a flawless approach shot after Jordan Spieth failed to convert a winning putt on the previous playoff hole.

Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele are the defending champions at Zurich and won in record fashion at -29-under-par in 2022, so they’re currently the most expensive players to roster on DraftKings at $11,100. We’re going to focus exclusively on DraftKings for this edition of the PGA Primer since FanDuel isn’t offering contests due to the unique alternating formats. Before we get further into a few of the teams I like at the 2023 Zurich Classic, let’s first review previous winners, relevant betting stats, and explore the layout of TPC Louisiana. As always, good luck, and let’s cash these DFS contests this weekend!

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Previous Winners

  • 2022 – Xander Schauffele/Patrick Cantlay (-29)
  • 2021 – Marc Leishman/Cameron Smith (-20)
  • 2020 – Cancelled
  • 2019 – Ryan Palmer/Jon Rahm (-26)
  • 2018 – Scott Piercy/Billy Horschel (-22)
  • 2017 – Jonas Blixt/Cameron Smith (-27)

Relevant Betting Stats

  • Strokes Gained Approaching the Green
  • Greens in Regulation percentage
  • Scrambling
  • Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green
  • Sand Save percentage

Course Overview

TPC Louisiana is a par 72 that runs just north of 7,400 yards, featuring Bermudagrass greens that roll approximately 12 feet via the Stimpmeter. Unlike Harbour Town, it’s a stock par 72, meaning teams will get an equal distribution of par 3s and par 5s across the front and back nine. Most of TPC Louisiana emphasizes accuracy and precision off of the tee and fairways, featuring plenty of doglegged fairways with greens that are small enough to create problems with inaccurate approach shots.

There’s a lot of water hazards and sand bunkers scattered throughout the flat terrain, but the rough is trimmed at two inches, so players won’t be punished with fewer trees and shorter rough to navigate. The par 3s run a bit longer at over 200 yards, while the par 5 holes are a bit more manageable in terms of distance, which means converting greens in regulation and scrambling will be imperative for staying atop the leaderboard. Putting is always an asset, but avoiding the litany of sand bunkers flanking the fairways and greens will be key during tee and approach shots. Two par 3s and a par 5 are jammed into the final five holes at TPC Louisiana, creating a lot of different strategies, especially between Better Ball and Alternate Ball rounds.

Recommended Plays: DraftKings

DraftKings maximum salary is set at $50,000

Sungjae Im/Keith Mitchell: $10,400
While paying up for the defending champions is tempting, I’m looking to go with a bit more value by investing in one of the most potent iron players on the PGA Tour. Sungjae Im finished T14 at Zurich in 2022 and is ranked inside the top 12 for strokes gained tee-to-green and off-the tee, while also ranking 17th around the green. Keith Mitchell missed the cut during his last outing here but he’s logged three T10 finishes in 15 events this season, relying on his driver and strokes gained off-the-tee ability to contend. Let’s save some money and instead opt to use it on this first-year pairing who brandish accurate shots off the tee and tee-to-green.

Sahith Theegala/Justin Suh: $10,000
Sahith Theegala has built off of his impressive rookie campaign in 2022 with seven T10 finishes in 2023, ranking third in total birdies and 28th in strokes gained around the green. He’s equipped with a red-hot putter, ranking eighth in putting average, while teammate Justin Suh has another reliable flat stick to give this team an advantage once they reach the Bermuda greens. Theegala is also among the best players on the PGA Tour when it comes to sand save percentage, and TPC Louisiana is filled with sand bunkers, which won’t be nearly as formidable against Theegala and Suh. It is a bit expensive, especially with an inconsistent iron player like Suh, but Theegala is simply too good to fade right now.

Patton Kizzire/Brendon Todd: $8,400
Brendon Todd has some of the best irons on the PGA Tour, ranking eighth in strokes gained around the green and 21st in strokes gained putting, blending his approach game and putting abilities together to be a consistently low-scoring player. It’s why Todd has logged three T10 finishes this season, while Patton Kizzire performs nicely with his approach shots up to 225 yards. Kizzire also has a reliable putter, ranked 32nd in putting average, while converting a birdie 35 percent of the time this season. Todd is also a birdie machine at times, ranking 24th with a 4.20 birdie average, so these two guys simply find a way to get it done. I like the value and the upside here, so let’s plug them in accordingly.

Ryan Gerard/Ben Griffin: $7,700
To be honest, I’m mostly interested in Ben Griffin with this salary-saving value team. Griffin only has one T10 finish this season but he’s performing consistently well with certain areas of his game, including 32nd in total strokes gained. He’s fourth in strokes gained around the green, which will be key with such small greens at TPC Louisiana, while also performing well when it comes to strokes gained tee-to-green. Finesse and accuracy are the integral pieces to Griffin’s game, while Gerard is a largely unknown commodity, who has managed two T25s and one T10 finish in only five PGA Tour events this season. It’s a risk most of the time when we dip down under $8,000 on DraftKings, but Griffin is talented enough to justify the decision.

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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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