Daily Fantasy Tee Time: 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions
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Daily Fantasy Tee Time: 2018 Sentry Tournament of Champions

Welcome back, golf fans. We here at Tour Level Fantasy are thrilled to be joining Golf News Net for the upcoming season. If you haven’t heard of us yet, Tour Level Fantasy & Sports is where sports betting meets daily fantasy advice. We founded with one goal in mind: helping people make money through betting or DFS golf. Picking winners alone won’t ensure DFS profitability, so we take you through our entire process to help you best prepare each week!

The first week of 2018 takes us to the beautiful shores of Maui. Tour Level is on-site this week in Maui breaking down all the action pre-tournament, and during the tournament as well. The tournament is played at the Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort. As the Sentry Tournament of Champions name of the tournament suggests, the field is comprised of golfers who won a PGA Tour event in 2017.  This is a very small field (34) and a no-cut event.

This tournament, like all PGA Tour events, is very philanthropic, raising more than $5.6 million to benefit Maui charities since the Tournament of Champions was moved to Hawaii in 1999. Some of the beneficiaries include Hale Makua Health Service, Golf for Maui Charities, and the Maui Council of the Boy Scouts of America. We at Tour Level feel it’s vital to take note that the game of golf, which many consider elitist and a tool for entrenching socio-economic disparities, does a lot of good throughout this country, over a very long and spread out season.

Course Preview: Kapalua Resort's Plantation Course

The Plantation Course was one of the first projects by the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and opened in 1991. It measures 7,452 yards and plays as a par-73, featuring four par 5s and only three par 3s, leaving 11 par 4s. Bermudagrass greens are seen throughout the fairways and rough, and the average green size of 7,120 square feet is very large. The Stimpmeter here is normally rolling at 10 feet, meaning slow greens compared to normal PGA Tour events.

Since the course is set quite a bit above sea level and sits up on the plantation, elevation changes are frequent and significant. Thus, the field average for driving distance is around 290 yards on what many consider to be a very driver-heavy course.  This is bolstered by the fact that the average percentage of fairways hit is over 70%, falling in the category of easy-to-hit fairways.  What makes this a very easy-to-score course is that the field average for greens in regulation (GIR) is even higher than the fairway average, coming in at over 80%.

The Plantation Course (and Bay Course for that matter) and corresponding television coverage offers some of the most breathtaking views of the entire season (be sure to check out our Twitter @tourlvlfantasy & Instagram tourlevelfantasy_ for some incredible pictures.) With that sweeping natural beauty, comes an exposure to the elements, specifically the whipping winds which often turn extreme -- s extreme that the tournament in 2013 had a Tuesday finish, as the tournament administrators battled the wind all four days. Most years, the crazy winds stay benign enough for the winner to shoot 20 under par over four days.

Now that we’ve set the stage for the tournament, and built a course profile, let’s dive into the field and see what players may be best suited here!

Introduction to DFS golf

If you have not played Daily Fantasy Golf before, then this section will be of utmost importance to you. Some basic DFS info first. Last year alone the two major DFS companies (DraftKings & FanDuel) paid out over $20 million in prizes for golf contests. A sport that has seen significant growth in DFS over the last few years, this is setting up to be the biggest and best year of DFS golf yet.

Now a brief introduction to each of the two Daily Fantasy sites that we will focus our attention on:

DraftKings: The biggest contests can be found here. Some people may think golf is boring to watch, but if you had the chance to win $50,000, it becomes less and less boring. Trust us. The goal is to score as many points as possible by picking six golfers that must fit under a salary cap of $50,000. Each golfer will have an assigned salary, and your team cannot exceed that $50,000 total. The golfers earn you points based on a few different factors:

  1. Finishing position of the tournament: The better the golfer finishes, the more points he receives.
  2. Hole-by-hole scoring: This is where the golfers earn most of the points. Each hole a golfer plays and records a score, that score will go to your DK points: 8 points for an eagle, 3 for a birdie, 0.5 for a par, -0.5 for a bogey and -1 for a double bogey or worse.
  3. Bonuses: DraftKings has some bonus points category that include bogey-free rounds, birdie streaks (a golfer gets 3 or more birdies in a row), all 4 rounds under 60 and a hole-in-one bonus.

FanDuel: Similarly to DraftKings, at FD you pick 6 golfers as well. This time you must stay under the $60,000 salary cap. FanDuel just released golf last year, so their contest sizes are not quite as big as DK yet. Much like with DraftKings, each golfer you choose will receive points based on the criteria:

  1. Finishing position of the tournament: The better the golfer finishes, the more points he receives.
  2. Hole-by-hole scoring: This is where the golfers earn most of the points. Each hole a golfer plays and records a score, that score will go to your FD points: 8 7 points for an eagle, 3.1 for a birdie, .05 for a par, -1 for a bogey and -3 for a double bogey or worse.
  3. Bonuses: FD has their own set of bonus points that include bogey-free rounds, 5 or more birdies in a single round and bounce back (golfer makes a birdie after a bogey).

Golfer salaries are determined by some algorithm each site has created, but basically, is based on odds to win the tournament. The better the odds of the golfer, the higher the salary will be. Now that we have a good knowledge base underway, we can dive a bit more into the process we have at Tour Level when selecting golfers & contests!

DFS golf contest selection: What to enter

Contest selection can be just as important as the golfers you choose to make your lineup. In Daily Fantasy Sports, there are two different types of contests:  cash games (50/50) and guaranteed prize pools (GPP). Each contest will have a different strategy in which golfers to choose, and that’s what we at Tour Level make sure to help you with each week!

Cash Games are contests in which 50% of the people win and 50% of the people lose. You can play in a 50/50 contest with 5,000 people (where 2,500 win) or against just one other person. To start, we recommend playing the one with 5,000 people. Contest buy-ins for 50/50 contests range from $1 all the way up to $10,000.

Guaranteed Prize Pools (GPPs) provide the opportunity to win big, but consequently, lose it all as well. Only about 15-20% of the entries cash in a GPP, and contests buy-ins range from $0.25 to $5,300! This week, the biggest GPP being offered is by DraftKings, with a top prize of $50,000 with a buy in $7 and $300,000 is the total prize pool.

DFS golf strategy

With two different contest types, each has their own unique strategy. In GPPs you are trying to beat 80% of the field just to cash, where in cash games you only need to beat 50% of the field. To beat 80% of the field you need to have golfers that nobody else has in their lineup, and those golfers must perform well. With cash games you only need to beat 50% of the field, so you want to be more conservative and choose the “safe” golfers to ensure you have golfers playing the weekend! Below we will highlight our top plays from each type of contest! This week will we focus on just DraftKings players.

Cash Games: The goal is to focus on players that are deemed “safe” and also give you the ability to have plenty of salary flexibility to make sure all of the golfers you choose are of quality.

  • Cameron Smith ($7,600) -- Cam has been playing arguably some of the best golf of anyone in the field. He won the Australian PGA just a few weeks back and came in fourth at the Australian Open. Combine that with some of the best wedge play on Tour, you can expect Cam to have plenty of birdie opportunities this week. His salary is perfect for the start of a cash game lineup.
  • Bryson Dechambeau ($7,000) --  Bryson played well in the three events he played this fall, finishing in the top 20 in all 3. His tee-to-green game was on point over the fall circuit which should translate very well here in Maui. Starting a cash game lineup with these two guys should give you plenty of salary left to add in some of the stars!

GPPs: The goal is to hone in on players that not many people will be focusing on this week. To win a GPP against 50,000 other entries, you need to diversify as much as possible and take risks with the golfers you choose.

  • Brian Harman ($8,600) -- Harman, one of the best putters on Tour, has a salary that sits him in between fan favorites Xander Schuaffle and Patrick Cantlay. Many people will choose the other two guys over Brian, thus giving us the opportunity to diversify our lineup with him in it. Harman is a streaky player that, if his approach game is on point, has a chance to win.
  • Wesley Bryan ($6,400) -- The trick-shot artist has not played well in quite some time. One of the worst parts of the game was off the tee, and the aforementioned fact that the Plantation Course has some of the widest fairways all year, which should negate that to a degree. He’s also very good with his wedges which should give him plenty of birdie looks this year.

Not keen on Daily Fantasy Golf? Well Tour Level also offers some great betting and hedging strategies!  For those strategies and more, visit us at tourlevelfantasy.com!

About the author

Jason Rouslin - TourLevelFantasy.com

Jason Rouslin is founder of tourlevelfantasy.com. He has been playing golf for the 18 years and PLAYING golf for the last 5. The passion for the game led him to follow professional golf, which he has been writing about since 2015. Jason has earned top-10 player status under the RotoGrinders Ranking System. Hailing from Rhode Island, Jason now resides in Tampa Florida, just a short drive to Walt Disney World.

About Tour Level Fantasy: Where sports betting meets daily fantasy advice. Founded with one goal in mind: help people make money through betting or DFS golf. With actionable and tailored content, combined with fantastic tools, we give you everything you need to be profitable this golf season!