PGA DFS: Wyndham Championship Picks

Sedgefield Country Club will play host to the Wyndham Championship. It’s a par 70 that plays just a shade under 7,200 yards. The greens here aren’t small by any means, but at an average of 6,500 square feet, they are much smaller than the greens at the PGA Championship last week. As the golfers make their way around the track in Greensboro, NC, they’ll face a fair bit of trouble. Sedgefield features 76 bunkers and 16 water hazards. The greens, fairways, and rough are all bermudagrass this week.

Course and Event Facts

The three previous winners of this event are making the start here again in 2018. Henrik Stenson ($11,100), Si Woo Kim ($8,800), and Davis Love III ($6,500) have each hoisted the trophy over the past three years. This will be the 11th straight year this tournament is held here. In that time, the winning score has ranged anywhere from 14-under to 22-under. Getting off to a hot start is essential here. Only one winner in the past decade has come from outside of the Top 20 after the first round. Seven of the past ten winners have had at least a share of the 54-hole lead.

There is a pretty significant advantage to finding fairways at Sedgefield CC. Golfers who’ve finished in the Top 5 of DK points here have averaged a 36.8 Driving Distance ranking compared to a 27.7 Driving Accuracy ranking. Of that group of 51 golfers, 41 have hit at least 60% of fairways. Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, and Driving Accuracy each explain over 10% of DK Scoring. Driving distance, on the other hand, only explains about 1% of DK Scoring here. Over the past 24 rounds, Henrik Stenson ($11,000) and Ryan Moore ($9,000) lead the field in Fairways Gained according to Fantasy National.

When we’re looking for DK Points, the approach game can’t go overlooked. Of the 250 golfers who have finished in the Top 20 of DK Scoring, only 33 lost strokes on approach. In that same group, only 30 golfers have hit less than 70% of greens. When winning scores hover around 20-under, you need birdie opportunities. Daniel Berger ($9,300), Tyler Duncan ($7,300), and Henrik Stenson ($11,000) are the top three in the field when it comes to Strokes Gained: Approach over the past 24 rounds.

Narratives

The Wyndham Championship never has much of a chance at a strong field considering its spot in the schedule. Sandwiched between the final major of the year and the first week of the FedEx Cup Playoffs, it rarely sees a strong field. There are exactly zero golfers from the Top 15 OWGR making the start at Sedgefield CC. In fact, there are only 8 golfers in the Top 50 OWGR. One of the more popular narratives this week will be centered around the FedEx Cup Playoffs, though, as this is the last chance for many golfers to qualify for the Northern Trust next week. Chad Campbell ($7,700), Robert Garrigus ($7,000), and Corey Conners ($6,500) are the first three just outside of the bubble as things stand now.

Expensive Golfers ($9,500+)

There’s a trio of golfers in the $11,000 range with Webb Simpson ($11,600), Hideki Matsuyama ($11,300), and Henrik Stenson ($11,300). From a fit perspective, Stenson has won this event before, and his ability to keep his tee ball in play is an obvious advantage here. He missed the cut at the PGA last week, but it was largely due to his putting as he gained strokes in every other category. He’s 5th in SG: Off the Tee and 4th in SG: Approach over the past 24 rounds.

Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($10,100) caught fire on Sunday, shooting a bogey-free 64 to vault into the Top 10. One of the most impressive parts of his week was how he gained strokes consistently across all categories. If you’re looking for a reason to play someone, an all-around game is a good place to start, and RCB showed all parts of his game last weekend. He’s made six straight cuts, including three Top 25s. The bermudagrass greens will play into his hands as well since he’s positive on that surface.

Joaquin Niemann ($9,700) and Billy Horschel ($9,600) are at the top of the $9k range and could be two of my favorite plays this week. Niemann has everything going for him. The 19-year-old is 1st in DK Points, 4th in SG: Off the Tee, and 9th in GIRs Gained over the past 24 rounds. Horschel is 13th, 1st, and 6th in those same categories, respectively. They both can be a bit shaky when it comes to their short games, but I’ll target ball-striking and hope to find a hot putter between these two ball-strikers.

Mid-Range Golfers ($9,500 – $7,000)

Sedgefield CC is the ultimate “old man” course. Low scores require precision off the tee and hitting greens in regulation. Steve Stricker ($8,300) makes a ton of sense at a course like this. He’s 5th overall in my course fit model. While it’s easy to assume he doesn’t have upside for DK purposes, it’s not true. He’s 14th in DK Points over his past 24 rounds. He’s Top 35 in this field in everything from GIRs Gained to Fairways Gained, according to Fantasy National, which is what we’re looking for this week.

There are a few GPP fliers worthy of consideration in the low $7,000 range. Chris Kirk ($7,500), Bronson Burgoon ($7,400), Tyler Duncan ($7,300), and Sam Ryder ($7,300) are all Top 10 in DK points over the past 24 rounds, according to Fantasy National. We’re chasing upside once we get into this range of golfers and all four of those guys have proved they can score in bunches. If you’re looking for a cash play here, Rory Sabbatini ($7,400) fits the bill. After missing a couple of cuts, he seems to has gotten his ball-striking back on track and has a 12th place finish his last time out.

Dart Throws (Sub – $7,000)

In this range, I’m looking for the best combination of SG: OTT/Fairways Gained, and Approach Game with some DK Points upside factored in. Here are some of the highlights from that model:

  • Mac Hughes ($6,800) is 15th overall in the model I put together that only factors in those inputs over the past 24 rounds.
  • Corey Conners ($6,500) is 33rd and has the FedEx Cup #narrative on his side.
  • Hunter Mahan ($6,900) is 27th.
  • Brandon Harkins ($6,900) is 98th percentile in my course fit model.

Course Fit Simulator

I wrote a program that simulates DK Scoring based on how they’ve performed, historically, on certain types of holes. This is skewed a bit towards upside and doesn’t have any recent form baked in. It takes a look at all of the holes played since the start of the 2018 season. The top twenty are listed below:

  1. Joaquin Niemann ($9,700)
  2. Andres Romero ($7,000)
  3. Brandon Harkins ($6,900)
  4. Steve Stricker ($8,300)
  5. Webb Simpson ($11,600)
  6. Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($10,100)
  7. Rory Sabbatini ($7,400)
  8. Brian Gay ($7,100)
  9. Ryan Blaum ($7,200)
  10. Billy Horschel ($9,600)
  11. Ollie Schniederjans ($8,600)
  12. Sam Ryder ($7,300)
  13. Henrik Stenson ($11,000)
  14. Scott Piercy ($7,200)
  15. Shane Lowry ($10,000)
  16. Cameron Percy ($6,600)
  17. David Lingmerth ($7,000)
  18. Tom Lovelady ($7,000)
  19. Hunter Mahan (6,900)
  20. Tyler Duncan ($7,300)

Thanks for reading and good luck this weekend. You can find me on Twitter @MattJonesTFR.

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mjones

I host a podcast called Bogey Free which can be found on iTunes or YouTube. I'm one of the PGA Analysts at DraftKings. On this site, you can find me talking Football Redraft or PGA DFS. Follow along on Twitter @MattJonesTFR to stay up to date.

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