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Riding Down Narrative Street with Rory McIlroy: The Open Championship Plays and Pivots on DraftKings

We’re heading to Royal Portrush this week for the 148th Open Championship. The course itself is one of the most visually striking courses you’re likely to ever see. It’s a links-style par-71 course in Northern Ireland that plays a touch over 7,340 yards, and has been around since 1888. There are 60-plus bunkers that the golfers will face as they make their way around the track. The greens will seemingly run a bit slow – around 10.5 on the stimp. The size of the greens and the undulations will bring plenty of three-putts into play this week, as well.

Checking the Chalk

Rory McIlroy ($11,600) has played all around the world recently, but his residence is somewhere on narrative street this week. As I’m sure you’ve heard by this point, McIlroy shot a course record 61 at this track when he was just 16 years old. The last time we saw him stateside was the U.S. Open where he finished in ninth place a few weeks back. He did tee it up for the Scottish Open last week, though. Over his past three starts, McIlroy has been averaging over 70% of GIR. He’s taken up residence on narrative street, as well. Since the start of 2019, he’s missed just one cut out of 12 starts and has two wins to go along with seven other top 10 finishes.

Since making his comeback in 2017, Patrick Cantlay ($9,000) has made seven of eight cuts in majors. He has improved in his major performances this year with two top 10s and a T21 at the U.S. Open. Cantlay is a guy that we haven’t seen in a few weeks but he’s been on a tear recently. He’s made six straight cuts with his worst finish coming at the aforementioned U.S. Open in 2019. Over 60% of his rounds in the past six events have wound up in the 60s. He’s the second highest ranked golfer in the Power Ranking Model but is only the 13th highest salary on the slate.

Henrik Stenson ($8,400) got off to a slow start out of the gates this year but he seems to be trending in the right direction now. Stenson has made nine straight cuts now and is trending in the right direction. Over his past three events he’s finished in the top 10, culminating in a fourth place finish last week at the Scottish Open. Regardless of how easy it is to hit greens, hitting over 90% of GIR is an impressive feat and that’s exactly what he did last week.

We’ve seen Xander Schauffele ($9,500) show up in big fields in the past. He’s played well in 2019 so far. In his 11 starts this season, he’s gaining an average of 3.7 strokes tee to green compared to his career average of 1.66 strokes, per the RotoViz Splits App. His putting has remained level across those two time frames, though, so if we catch Schauffele with a hot putter it’s easy to imagine an excellent performance. I wrote it up in the Yahoo! Article, but I’ll reiterate here … I really think this could be Xander’s time to break through with a major victory. 

GPP Plays

Bernd Wiesberger ($7,100) is a name that DFS players who only play on the PGA Tour side might be less familiar with but he’s been tearing it up on the European Tour. He’s made three starts over there since his 76th place finish at the U.S. Open and has performed quite well. Wiesberger has a victory, a runner-up, and a T16 finish on his resume over the past three weeks. He’s made just three cuts in five chances at The Open Championship but this is about as strong as he’s played over his career.

Tommy Fleetwood ($9,700) is a guy that can go as low as anyone when he clicks. I don’t envision this turning into the British Sony Open or anything but we know that the Englishman can string birdies together in bunches. He hit a bit of a lull at the PGA Championship and U.S. Open but seems like he’s gearing up for a run this week. Since the U.S. Open, he’s made a couple of starts. He’s finished in the top 25 in both of those events, with seven of eight rounds in the 60s. Fleetwood is averaging 75% of his GIR hit during that span. 

Cash Locks

So far this season, the totals for the cash locks are 47/52 (90.3%) made cuts, 36/52 (69%) top 30s, and 16/52 (30.7%) top 10s. Here are this week’s cash locks:

  • Xander Schauffele ($9,500)
  • Patrick Cantlay ($9,000)

The Open Championship - Model Results

There are "NAs" in the table. Many of them are because I don't have enough data in the set to run the numbers because of limited Euro data.

For a look at how the model has performed historically search "Introduction to Power Ranking Model" above.
NameSalaryPower RankingOwnership
Rory McIlroy11600-2.9518.9
Brooks Koepka11400-1.4116.9
Dustin Johnson10900-211.9
Jon Rahm10600-218.9
Tiger Woods10200-1.687.15
Justin Rose9900-2.0312.9
Tommy Fleetwood9700-1.3510.84
Xander Schauffele9500-1.4218.9
Francesco Molinari9400-0.619.15
Rickie Fowler9300-1.287.15
Bryson DeChambeau9200-1.498.91
Justin Thomas9100-1.2414.15
Patrick Cantlay9000-2.1321.9
Jordan Spieth8900-0.728.15
Adam Scott8800-1.8824.18
Matt Kuchar8700-1.9723.93
Jason Day8600-1.088.65
Hideki Matsuyama8500-1.9914.9
Henrik Stenson8400-1.1528.07
Paul Casey8300-1.5310.9
Gary Woodland8200-1.48.74
Matt Wallace8100-0.67.9
Louis Oosthuizen8000-0.614.9
Shane Lowry7900-1.188.26
Graeme McDowell7900-1.1210.19
Tony Finau7800-0.627.9
Sergio Garcia7800-0.778.9
Marc Leishman7700-0.8615.9
Ian Poulter7700-0.455.48
Webb Simpson7600-1.5915.9
Matthew Fitzpatrick7600-0.516.75
Eddie Pepperell7600-0.89.75
Phil Mickelson75000.365
Rafael Cabrera Bello7500-0.5815.35
Danny Willett7500-0.392.73
Lee Westwood74000.53.28
Tyrrell Hatton7400-0.878.82
Patrick Reed7400-1.019.75
Brandt Snedeker7400-0.94.66
Branden Grace73000.330.91
Alexander Noren73000.282.4
Kevin Kisner7300-0.651
Thorbjorn Olesen7300-0.153.47
Hao-Tong Li730005.92
Abraham Ancer7200-0.131.83
Jason Kokrak7200-0.763.75
Zach Johnson7200-0.345.6
Bubba Watson7200-0.252.46
Padraig Harrington72001.090.36
Erik Van Rooyen7100-1.197
Chez Reavie7100-1.774.32
Russell Knox7100-0.892.47
Emiliano Grillo7100-0.843.5
Bernd Wiesberger7100-1.218.25
Jim Furyk7100-1.222.99
Byeong-Hun An7000-0.622.91
Thomas Pieters7000-0.921.11
Sung-jae Im7000-1.041.05
Keegan Bradley7000-0.671.13
Andy Sullivan7000NA3.59
Kevin Streelman7000-1.270.56
Mike Lorenzo-Vera7000NA3.91
Joaquin Niemann6900-1.158
Aaron Wise6900-0.630.9
Jorge Campillo69003.190.2
Billy Horschel6900-0.873.32
Cameron Smith69000.291
Adam Hadwin6900-1.021.96
Joost Luiten6800-0.131.12
Kiradech Aphibarnrat6800-0.230.96
Lucas Bjerregaard6800-0.31.34
Charles Howell III6800-0.891.3
Cheng-Tsung Pan6800-0.264
Ryan Fox6700NA1.06
Kyle Stanley67000.141.4
Charley Hoffman6700-0.271.03
Luke List67000.270.64
Si Woo Kim6700-0.010.59
Alexander Bjork67001.10.56
Tom Lewis67002.720.57
Robert Macintyre6700NA0.2
Andrew Putnam6600-0.873.11
Jimmy Walker6600-0.40.39
Paul Waring6600-0.522.38
J.B. Holmes66000.130.95
Robert Rock6600NA0.34
Romain Langasque6600NA1.47
Jazz Janewattananond6600-0.90.35
Adri Arnaus66000.560.2
Lucas Glover6500-0.893.34
Adrian Otaegui65000.850.47
Brandon Stone6500NA0.81
David Lipsky6500NA0.84
Keith Mitchell6500-0.480.72
Christiaan Bezuidenhout6500NA1.01
Ryan Palmer6500-0.320.87
Alexander Levy6500NA0.35
Mikko Korhonen6500NA0.35
Shugo Imahira64000.490.52
Andrea Pavan6400NA2.24
Justin Harding6400-0.440.95
Joel Dahmen6400-0.270.93
Stewart Cink6400-0.170.45
Prom Meesawat64002.50.17
Brandon Wu6400NA0.22
Richard Sterne64001.610.33
Oliver Wilson64000.560.46
Corey Conners6300-0.440.9
Patton Kizzire63000.620.29
Chris Wood63000.150.26
Nate Lashley6300-1.090.32
Connor Syme6300NA0.16
Zander Lombard6300NA0.24
Kurt Kitayama63000.490.3
Sung-Hoon Kang6300-0.590.61
Miguel Angel Jimenez6300-0.220.1
Callum Shinkwin6200NA0.81
Jack Senior6200NA0.08
Thomas Thurloway6200NA0.11
Yuki Inamori6200NA0.24
Yuta Ikeda62000.960.26
Darren Clarke62002.230.18
Doc Redman6200NA0.23
Yoshinori Fujimoto62001.730.24
Sang-hyun Park6200NA0.31
Ernie Els62000.560.65
Chan Kim6100NA0.12
Shubhankar Sharma6100NA0.21
Takumi Kanaya6100NA0.05
Tom Lehman6100-0.860.08
David Duval61002.640.08
Sam Locke6100NA0.08
Gunn Charoenkul6100NA0.11
Dimi Papadatos6100NA0.13
Paul Lawrie6100-0.010.15
Mikumu Horikawa6100NA0.21
Jake McLeod6100NA0.21
Shaun Norris61003.350.37
James Sugrue6000NA0.13
Andrew Wilson6000NA0.11
Austin Connelly60002.90.03
Garrick Porteous6000NA0.03
Matthew Baldwin6000-10.04
Inn Choon Hwang6000NA0.04
Yosuke Asaji6000NA0.04
Dong-Kyu Jang6000NA0.05
Doyeob Mun6000NA0.05
Ashton Turner6000NA0.06
Curtis Knipes6000NA0.06
Isidro Benitez6000NA0.06
Matthias Schmid6000NA0.06
Image Credit: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Rory McIlroy.

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