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PGA DFS: WGC Dell Technologies Match Play Preview

The PGA Tour is leaving Florida behind for greener pastures out in Austin, Texas for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. The course is Austin Country Club which is a Par 71 that plays around 7,100 yards. The greens are Tifeagle Bermuda but are overseed with Poa and Bent grass. As the golfers make their way around this track they’ll contend with 112 bunkers and fast greens.

This is the fourth time the course has been played in this format with Bubba Watson ($8,900), Dustin Johnson ($11,400), and Jason Day ($9,800) all having hoisted the trophy once before. There’s no course preview this week because of the different format and lack of stats. We’re going to look at things a bit differently given the different format.

Lineup Construction

Something like 25 to 30 percent of lineups were dead before they started at this event last year. Why? Because people didn’t pay attention to the layout of the actual bracket once group play was over. Yes, it’s difficult to hit all four of the final four … but if you’re picking multiple golfers from the same group or that literally can’t end up getting past the round of 16, you’re doing yourself a disservice. I know you’ve probably heard this from all of your favorite podcasts, but it bears repeating. Everyone in the industry discussed it last year and a significant amount of lineups were dead before the first drive landed on the fairway.

Most Interesting Bracket

Group 14 is one of the most wide open groups. Yes, I know, people will think I’d just blindly go with Tony Finau ($9,000). But being in a group with Ian Poulter ($7,700), Kevin Kisner ($7,000), and, to a lesser extent, Keith Mitchell ($7,000) makes this a tough group to handicap. Finau does have a slight lead from the model this week. If we trust how DK salaries are valuing these guys, you have to like Finau’s outlook since he’s facing the sixth-lowest salary of opponents in the group stage. If you know anything about Finau, you know he was made for this type of format. It’ll be a tough go, but my money’s still on Tony.

Easiest Paths to Advance

As far as draws go, there are a few that seem like easier paths than others. Brooks Koepka ($10,300), for example, has the easiest road according to DK salary. His average competitor’s salary is $6,600. Alexander Noren ($7,000) appears to be the only real competition. Noren is 17-7 in his match-play career which is good for the second-best percentage of golfers with at least 20 matches in their sample. Even if Noren puts up a fight against Koepka, the rest of the group feels like easy W’s for Brooks. 
Rory McIlroy ($11,700) is at the top of my model this week and has the fourth-lowest average competitor’s salary at $6,900. Luke List ($6,800) has been known to get hot and string birdies together, but I’m not sure he or Matthew Fitzpatrick ($7,700) can best Rory head to head. No offense to Justin Harding ($6,200), but I don’t see him putting up much of a fight in this group.

Dark Horse

Charles Howell ($7,400) is one of my favorites to advance this week. The model loves him for obvious reasons. He’s a proven ball-striker having gained GIR on the field in nine of his last 12 rounds. He got a 97 rating from the model this week which gives him a slight edge in this group versus last week’s winner Paul Casey ($9,100).

Cash Locks

The cash lock section continued its streak of made cuts. It’s now been six straight events with both golfers making the cut. That brings the totals to 22/24 made cuts, 16/24 Top 30s, and 10/24 Top 10s. I’m going to roll with Rory McIlroy ($11,700) and Gary Woodland ($7,800). Rory seems obvious as he’s No. 1 in my model again this week. He has a solid resume in match play events through his career, going 29-16-3 in his 48 matches on record. Oh, and he’s played reasonably well with six straight finishes in the top six, including a win at The PLAYERS Championship a couple weeks back. Woodland has a limited sample of 13 matches but is 8-4-1 in the chances that he’s gotten in this format. He’ll need to get past Justin Rose ($10,000), Emiliano Grillo ($6,900), and Eddie Pepperell ($6,900) to advance.

Player NameSalaryOwn%PercentileAvg Opponent SalaryGroupQuad
Rory McIlroy1170017.501.0069004BL
Dustin Johnson1140018.500.9874331TL
Justin Thomas1100013.500.9468335BL
Jon Rahm1060016.500.7572338TL
Brooks Koepka1030013.500.6266003BR
Justin Rose1000013.000.8972002TR
Jason Day980010.500.71760012BL
Tommy Fleetwood960015.500.84663311BR
Bryson DeChambeau950014.500.4473676BR
Xander Schauffele940013.000.5172339TL
Francesco Molinari930023.000.6769337TR
Tiger Woods920015.500.76740013BL
Paul Casey910014.000.92723310TR
Tony Finau90008.000.68703314BR
Bubba Watson890015.500.73743315TR
Marc Leishman88004.000.5976006BR
Jordan Spieth87007.500.49750015TR
Patrick Reed860010.000.32730016TL
Sergio Garcia850016.500.65733316TL
Patrick Cantlay840014.500.78766713BL
Webb Simpson83003.000.4872677TR
Hideki Matsuyama820013.500.9185001TL
Matt Kuchar810012.500.8780678TL
Phil Mickelson80005.000.54820012BL
Cameron Smith79003.500.16763310TR
Gary Woodland78009.500.9579332TR
Brandt Snedeker78003.000.21786713BL
Matthew Fitzpatrick77008.000.3882334BL
Ian Poulter770024.500.64746714BR
Tyrrell Hatton76009.000.4178339TL
Henrik Stenson760011.500.46833312BL
Rafael Cabrera Bello750017.500.1478679TL
Louis Oosthuizen750023.500.57733311BR
Branden Grace74009.000.3587671TL
Charles Howell III740017.500.97780010TR
Billy Horschel73008.000.43796715TR
Shane Lowry730012.500.29773316TL
Keegan Bradley72004.000.8181005BL
Jim Furyk720011.500.79846712BL
Matt Wallace710011.500.3081335BL
J.B. Holmes71001.000.5684008TL
Alexander Noren70006.500.2577003BR
Kevin Kisner70003.500.08770014BR
Emiliano Grillo69002.000.2782332TR
Eddie Pepperell69005.000.0682332TR
Hao-Tong Li68005.000.1077673BR
Luke List68003.000.8385334BL
Chez Reavie67002.000.1390001TL
Kiradech Aphibarnrat67007.000.0383006BR
Russell Knox660011.500.7083336BR
Lee Westwood66005.000.1881679TL
Thorbjorn Olesen65009.000.5278677TR
Si Woo Kim65002.000.3786008TL
Abraham Ancer64008.000.11813310TR
Keith Mitchell64001.000.60790014BR
Byeong-Hun An63007.000.86773311BR
Kevin Na63001.500.24830015TR
Justin Harding62004.000.0287334BL
Lucas Bjerregaard62005.000.1984335BL
Kyle Stanley61002.000.33780011BR
Andrew Putnam61002.000.22813316TL
Tom Lewis60006.000.0580333BR
Satoshi KODAIRA60000.500.0080337TR
Aaron Wise60008.000.40846713BL

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