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PGA DFS: Top Plays, GPP Pivots, and Ownership Projections for the Sony Open

We’re sticking around Hawaii for one more weekend as the Tour makes its way to Waialae CC. If you want a more in-depth look at the trends of how the course is played, head over to the course preview article for this week where you can see the stats I’m targeting when making my player pool. Long story short, it’s a 7,000-yard Par-70 course that allows for some solid scoring.

Two Weeks in Hawaii

There’s a lot of buzz this week about golfers who teed it up at the Tournament of Champions and will also play this weekend. It’s pretty intuitive to be curious about how golfers who’ve made both starts have performed in the past. There’s some survivorship bias there because the golfers who play in the Tournament of Champions obviously won a tournament last season. By default, they will typically be a cut above the rest talent-wise, but it’s still worth checking if there are some trends we can pull out. We’ll go quick hitter style so we can get into ownership for the week:

  • There are 46 golfers that have finished in the top three at the TOC. Just 8 of 46 (17.3 percent) have missed the cut in Waialae.  
  • There have been 140 golfers that finished in the top 10 at the TOC. Just 23 of 140 (16.4 percent) have missed the cut at the Sony the following week.

Checking The Chalk

Up at the top, we have Justin Thomas ($11,400) and Gary Woodland ($10,800) shaping up to be the two highest-owned golfers above $9,500. Thomas makes sense this week as he’s coming off an exceptional ball-striking week with a slight lack of scoring. We like betting on the ball-striking to continue and we’re trying to catch the waves of the putter. In much the same way fantasy production follows targets and air yards in football, DK points follow greens in regulation in golf. Thomas hit nearly 85 percent of greens in Kapalua and finished in a “disappointing” third place. People will be drawn to him as a former winner and as a prime scoring regression candidate. Woodland is dealing with the death of his grandmother which puts his status into question, but assuming he plays (which I do), he’s in great form. He also has the added buzz because of his course history with four straight finishes inside of the top 13.

After the first run of ownership projections, it appears that Charles Howell III ($8,900) and Scott Piercy ($7,600) will be heavily owned. Since 2008, Howell has finished in the top 10 on six separate occasions. He’s coming off of a 14th-place finish, which doesn’t sound impressive when you remember there were less than 40 golfers in the field. But he improved each day and only carded two bogeys over the final two rounds. From a cut equity perspective, even at his price, Howell makes sense. Piercy is another guy who’s going to be heavily owned but seems like a bit of an easier fade to me. He hit just 72 percent of greens last week and didn’t score particularly well on the Par 3s. As we make our way to a Par 70 course, that’s a bit concerning. He came into Kapalua last week with excellent form and maybe he found something over the weekend but we’ve seen this movie before with chalky Piercy.

Stewart Cink ($7,300) will be chalky down in the $7,000 range along with Sam Ryder ($7,200). Both are guys that are near and dear to my #brand but we haven’t seen them in a bit. Cink’s most recent start was at the CJ Cup in October and Ryder played a few weeks after that in Mexico. I think there’s a case to be made for either of these golfers from a cut perspective. Ryder was 18-of-25 in cuts worldwide last season while Cink was 17-of-24.

GPP Pivots

Just a quick note on my intentions for this article each week. It isn’t necessary for me to give out all the guys I think are worth considering for your player pool. The express object of this piece is to give you an idea of where ownership is shaking out and give you an option or two at each price range that makes sense despite the fact that they are projected at lower ownership. If you’re playing GPPs, it’s important to have a pivot or two in each of your lineups.

Marc Leishman ($10,500) is most likely going to be lower owned than Thomas and Woodland. His long-term scoring average is as good as anyone in the field not named Justin Thomas. He’s hit at least 70 percent of his greens in regulation in seven of eight events. Leishman also has just three missed cuts since this time last year. He’s averaging 74 DK points over that span.

Sungjae Im ($7,500) dominated from his first start on during the season last year. He led the money list wire-to-wire. Im was hit or miss during the fall season with two top 15s, a 41st-place finish, and two missed cuts. Half of his 16 rounds in that time were in the 60s, though, and during that stretch, he was 28-under on the Par 5s. At low ownership, he’s worth a shot in a GPP.

We saw Joel Dahmen’s ($7,200) ceiling in spurts last season. He made five starts over the fall swing. Over that stretch, Dahmen averaged just over 74 DK points and finished in the 60s in 10 of those 20 rounds. When Steve Stricker ($7,300) isn’t dominating the old folks on the Champions Tour he’s grinding out cuts on the PGA Tour. In his last 11 events on the PGA Tour, he’s made nine cuts and averaged 65 DK points. You could do worse at that price.

Cash Locks

With this being the first full-field event of the season, it’s important to find guys that you’re willing to go all in on. Last week, we hit big on both of these picks with Woodland finishing as the runner-up and Jon Rahm finishing in eighth place. Let’s see if we can repeat last week’s results. The two cash locks this week:

  • Marc Leishman ($10,500)
  • Charles Howell III ($8,900)

Ownership Projections - WMPO

NameSalaryFinal RunModel:85+ DK Points
Jon Rahm1150013.829%
Justin Thomas1100010.721%
Hideki Matsuyama1070024.819%
Xander Schauffele1010011.23%
Gary Woodland990011.529%
Webb Simpson970015.46%
Tony Finau950017.427%
Rickie Fowler940024.111%
Phil Mickelson930020.38%
Matt Kuchar920017.011%
Cameron Smith910010.53%
Adam Hadwin90009.36%
Bubba Watson890014.15%
Billy Horschel880014.020%
Chez Reavie870012.815%
Byeong-Hun An860018.927%
Andrew Putnam85005.89%
Alexander Noren840011.42%
Cameron Champ830012.524%
Daniel Berger820016.28%
Brandt Snedeker81003.81%
Branden Grace80003.217%
Luke List800014.433%
Austin Cook79005.97%
Tyrrell Hatton790014.66%
Zach Johnson78006.87%
Keegan Bradley780015.04%
Ryan Palmer77007.07%
Abraham Ancer770011.86%
J.B. Holmes76003.111%
Martin Laird760012.83%
Emiliano Grillo760014.77%
Si Woo Kim75003.21%
Kyle Stanley75006.612%
Talor Gooch750014.12%
Patton Kizzire74001.13%
Scott Piercy74002.311%
Kevin Kisner74002.52%
Russell Knox74002.88%
Brendan Steele740014.115%
Charl Schwartzel73001.22%
JT Poston73001.33%
Martin Kaymer73001.31%
Sung-Jae Im73005.67%
Jason Kokrak73008.831%
Ryan Moore72001.54%
Cheng Tsung Pan72001.811%
Kevin Na72002.32%
Harold Varner72003.923%
Joaquin Niemann72008.318%
Lucas Glover720013.318%
Bill Haas71000.22%
Chesson Hadley71000.84%
Beau Hossler71002.04%
J.J. Spaun71002.14%
Sam Burns71002.25%
Kevin Tway71003.79%
Andrew Landry70000.62%
Sung-Hoon Kang70000.81%
Robert Streb70000.83%
Richy Werenski70000.97%
Brian Harman70001.72%
Kiradech Aphibarnrat70004.92%
Keith Mitchell70006.230%
Kevin Streelman69000.216%
Bud Cauley69000.62%
Brian Stuard69000.72%
Harris English69000.83%
Russell Henley69001.25%
Ryan Armour69001.23%
Charley Hoffman69001.45%
Nick Watney68000.310%
Jimmy Walker68000.32%
Peter Uihlein68000.34%
Jhonattan Vegas68000.36%
Aaron Baddeley68000.54%
Ted Potter Jr68001.02%
Joel Dahmen680011.25%
Nick Taylor67000.22%
Ollie Schniederjans67000.23%
Patrick Rodgers67000.39%
Brian Gay67001.12%
Danny Lee67001.116%
Stewart Cink67002.815%
Trey Mullinax670010.26%
Hunter Mahan66000.214%
Jonas Blixt66000.21%
Stephan Jaeger66000.23%
Chase Wright66000.22%
Chris Kirk66000.62%
Vaughn Taylor66000.72%
Scott Stallings66001.617%
Carlos Ortiz65000.26%
John Huh65000.22%
Rory Sabbatini65000.23%
Sean O'Hair65000.24%
Denny McCarthy65000.22%
Steve Stricker65001.96%
Sam Ryder65005.58%
Chris Stroud64000.22%
Tom Hoge64000.22%
Adam Long64000.24%
Brice Garnett64000.24%
Grayson Murray64000.65%
Bronson Burgoon64001.410%
James Hahn64001.99%
Morgan Hoffmann63000.22%
Jim Herman63000.23%
Fredrik Jacobson63000.21%
Adam Schenk63000.214%
Mackenzie Hughes63000.62%
Anders Albertson63006.312%
Kenny Perry62000.22%
Colt Knost62000.22%
Brandon Harkins62000.23%
Michael Kim62000.21%
Kelly Kraft62000.22%
John Catlin62000.22%
Cody Gribble61000.23%
Michael Hopper61000.22%
Seamus Power61000.24%
Ryan Blaum61000.22%
Satoshi Kodaira61000.52%
Brandon Hagy61000.86%
K.J. Choi60000.22%
Alex Cejka60000.22%
Tyler Duncan60000.213%
Meen Whee Kim60000.21%
Matthew Wolff60007.41%
These projections were updated at 8 PM on Wednesday 1/30/2019.

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