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It’s Justin Thomas Week! The Memorial Tournament Plays, Pivots, and Projections

Muirfield Village GC has played host to the Memorial Tournament since 1976. It was a bit shorter back then, but other than that it is still familiar. It’s a par 72 that plays right around 7,400 yards. There’s a fair bit of trouble around this track with the golfers contending with 73 bunkers and 13 water hazards. The bentgrass greens here run at some of the highest speeds on Tour. For a more in-depth look at how the course has played in the past, check out the course preview article.

Checking the Chalk

Matt Kuchar ($9,400) is going to approach uber-chalk status this week. Course history? A quick scan of his last five results here shows five straight made cuts with nothing worse than a T26 finish. Recent form? He’s made 15 straight cuts and has nothing worse than a T12 finish in his last four starts. Over his past five events, Kuchar has averaged over 5.0 SG: Approach per the RotoViz Splits App. That represents an increase of 4-plus strokes gained in that category versus his baseline since the start of 2017.

Patrick Cantlay ($10,200) is shaping up to be popular this week, as well. Cantlay gained a career-high 10.2 strokes on approach at this event last year en route to a fourth place finish. He comes into this year’s event with three straight top tens including back-to-back third-place efforts. Cantlay has added six top-15 finishes to his resume in just eight starts.

GPP Plays

Kuchar as a popular play is certainly warranted. But, if you’re looking to pivot elsewhere for lower ownership then Justin Thomas ($9,300) and/or Hideki Matsuyama ($9,100) makes sense. Thomas is coming off of a WD because of his wrist injury. I can’t imagine a world where he risks his health a couple of weeks out from the U.S. Open. If you listened to the podcast this week, you know I’ve picked JT to win this week. Thomas averages nearly a full extra stroke tee to gain on courses longer than 7,300 yards. Matsuyama has won here before and is cheap relative to his talent level. He hasn’t flashed his upside recently, but Hideki makes sense from a fit perspective. 

Note: As you can see in the projections below, JT seems like he’ll be a bit more popular than I originally anticipated. That isn’t slowing me down from rostering him, though. 

Rory Sabbatini ($8,300) is on his longest cuts made streak in quite some time. With that streak, comes some notoriety for the 118th ranked golfer in the world. Finding the extra $400 might be worth it this week, though, to pay for Adam Scott ($8,700). In 2019, Scott has positive splits on courses longer than 7,300 yards. He’s averaging over seven more strokes gained tee to green on longer courses so far this season.

Cash Locks

So far this season, the totals for the cash locks are 33/38 made cuts, 22/38 top 30s, and 12/38 top 10s. Here are this week’s cash locks:

  • Patrick Cantlay ($10,200)
  • Adam Scott ($8,700)

Ownership Projections and Model Results - The Memorial Tournament

NameDK$Projected OwnershipModel Results
Rory McIlroy11500.015.90.77
Tiger Woods11200.019.21.00
Justin Rose10800.013.90.72
Rickie Fowler10600.017.30.93
Patrick Cantlay10200.024.30.83
Jordan Spieth9900.09.30.23
Tony Finau9600.014.70.17
Matt Kuchar9400.029.40.62
Justin Thomas9300.014.30.90
Jason Day9200.08.30.47
Hideki Matsuyama9100.019.40.70
Xander Schauffele9000.010.20.21
Bryson DeChambeau8900.05.70.04
Gary Woodland8800.020.30.60
Adam Scott8700.016.30.75
Louis Oosthuizen8600.02.30.66
Henrik Stenson8500.010.30.61
Rory Sabbatini8300.012.70.46
Jason Kokrak8200.015.90.27
Phil Mickelson8100.06.30.20
Marc Leishman8000.08.60.10
Emiliano Grillo7900.016.50.35
Kevin Kisner7900.07.10.03
Kyle Stanley7800.013.30.13
Lucas Glover7800.010.90.66
Tyrrell Hatton7700.011.80.66
Billy Horschel7700.06.90.54
Sung-Hoon Kang7700.06.70.36
Keegan Bradley7600.016.80.78
Luke List7600.012.20.40
Matthew Fitzpatrick7600.07.00.19
Jim Furyk7500.012.10.75
Hao-Tong Li7500.07.50.16
Rafael Cabrera Bello7500.04.10.03
Byeong-Hun An7400.09.30.67
Kevin Streelman7400.07.80.33
Jason Dufner7400.05.00.42
Charley Hoffman7400.04.40.07
Aaron Wise7300.08.40.71
Joaquin Niemann7300.05.20.08
Ryan Moore7300.04.90.16
Charles Howell III7300.01.40.55
Peter Uihlein7200.08.80.19
Andrew Putnam7200.04.70.09
Abraham Ancer7200.02.90.08
Jhonattan Vegas7200.02.60.19
Keith Mitchell7100.04.70.16
Russell Knox7100.04.10.55
Adam Hadwin7100.04.00.40
Alexander Noren7100.01.70.02
Pat Perez7100.01.40.12
Joel Dahmen7000.04.50.19
Si Woo Kim7000.03.20.08
Kiradech Aphibarnrat7000.01.40.02
Cameron Smith7000.01.40.05
Austin Cook7000.00.80.03
Corey Conners6900.010.20.28
Talor Gooch6900.04.90.04
Harold Varner6900.03.80.34
J.B. Holmes6900.03.00.07
Danny Lee6900.01.50.08
Matt Every6800.06.20.03
Branden Grace6800.02.40.08
Sam Burns6800.00.80.03
Martin Kaymer6800.00.60.02
Beau Hossler6800.00.60.04
Nick Watney6700.06.40.26
Sung-Jae Im6700.04.30.38
Max Homa6700.01.80.04
Bud Cauley6700.01.10.56
Brian Stuard6700.00.60.25
Bill Haas6700.00.40.20
Danny Willett6600.01.00.06
Brian Gay6600.00.60.11
JT Poston6600.00.40.05
Chesson Hadley6600.00.40.00
Aaron Baddeley6600.00.40.08
Anirban Lahiri6600.00.40.00
Joost Luiten6500.03.60.17
Matt Jones6500.01.30.11
Peter Malnati6500.01.00.01
J.J. Spaun6500.00.60.04
Patton Kizzire6500.00.40.00
Brian Harman6500.00.40.05
Cameron Champ6400.01.70.13
Andrew Landry6400.00.60.05
Adam Schenk6400.00.40.05
Scott Stallings6400.00.40.04
Kyoung-Hoon Lee6400.00.40.10
Justin Suh6400.00.20.00
David Lingmerth6300.04.70.12
Steve Stricker6300.02.00.40
Ryan Fox6300.00.60.04
Kelly Kraft6300.00.40.20
Michael Thompson6300.00.40.12
Brice Garnett6300.00.40.11
Robert Streb6300.00.20.06
Adam Long6200.01.30.31
David Lipsky6200.00.90.08
Troy Merritt6200.00.80.02
Vaughn Taylor6200.00.80.13
Luke Donald6200.00.60.11
Shubhankar Sharma6200.00.40.01
Brendan Steele6200.00.20.11
Sam Ryder6100.01.00.02
Ryan Armour6100.00.40.27
Ted Potter Jr6100.00.20.01
Bronson Burgoon6100.00.20.01
Carlos Ortiz6100.00.20.07
Scott Brown6100.00.20.03
K.J. Choi6100.00.20.08
Jovan Rebula6100.00.20.00
Boo Weekley6000.00.60.28
Norman Xiong6000.00.60.09
Meen Whee Kim6000.00.20.00
Martin Trainer6000.00.20.07
Ernie Els6000.00.20.10
Michael Kim6000.00.20.04
Alvaro Ortiz6000.00.20.02
Will Grimmer6000.00.20.01
Image Credit: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Justin Thomas.

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