Each week, including this week’s 2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Golf News Net offers daily fantasy (DFS) golf advice, picks, lineups and tips for DraftKings PGA Tour games, scrutinizing the pricing model and looking for players who will perform best in both guaranteed prize pool (GPP) events and cash games.[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]
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For $75 per year or $225 for lifetime access, GNN+Forebucks members get even MORE, including our course fit modeling, Quality Stokes Gained data, course demand insights, grass-specific performance and further tools, as well individual access to fantasy expert Ryan Ballengee for your unique questions.
ADDITIONAL TOOLS INCLUDE
- Searchable PGA Tour results database — A full database of PGA Tour results dating back to 2011, including strokes gained breakouts, money, designers and grass info.
- PGA Tour top-15 finish trends — A look at the players who have finished in the top 15 in any of the last five PGA Tour events.
- Player-course fit modeling — This one is experimental, but I think it has lots of potential. This tool looks at the breakdown of each player’s Strokes Gained Putting, Approach, Off the Tee and Tee to Green when they finish in the top 25 and compare to the averages in those categories for top 25 finishers at each week’s event. I believe similarities in the breakouts can help clue us in to potential course fits (or horses for courses).
- Player performance comparison — Each player has different strengthes and, therefore, a different path to success, be that finishing in the top 15 or making the cut. So, we compare Strokes Gained Putting, Approach and Off the Tee when each player finishes in those positions to help understand player strengths and weaknesses.
- Strokes gained putting by grass type — Some guys just putt better on Bermudagrass or Bentgrass, the two dominant strains on the PGA Tour. Always helps to see specialists on either surface.
- NEW! Strokes gained by course length
- NEW! Strokes gained by course par
- Course demands: Each week, you’ll be able to see the strokes gained breakout — putting, approach, off the tee, tee to green — for each host course compared to the PGA Tour as it relates to winners, top-15 finishers and top-30 finishers.
- Top average Quality Strokes Gained for the year: Our Quality Strokes Gained combines strokes gained and strength-of-field figures into a single statistic, so this data shows the players who perform the best against the best competition.
- Top 50 QSG performances of the year: We wanted to help you understand Quality Strokes Gained more broadly, so we have the rolling list of the top 50 QSG performances of the year.
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2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational preview
For one final time, the final World Golf Championships event of the season is being played at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. The top 50 in the world plus 22 others arrive in the Cleveland area looking for a big pre-PGA Championship win.
This golf course is largely long and straight, with holes mostly running parallel to each other. The winner is made on approach play, though keeping the ball inside the tree line is a must to get a chance to score.
2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational DraftKings picks
Each week, we’ll offer players in 3-5 buckets of pricing so as to offer some mix-and-matching with your lineups based on our recommendations.
Recent PGA Tour Trends
We start by looking at the recent past, back at players who have finished inside the top 15 in the last five individual, non-opposite-field, stroke-play PGA Tour events.
- Tommy Fleetwood – 2 – T-12 British Open, T-6 RBC Canadian Open
- Francesco Molinari – 3 – WIN The National, T-2 John Deere Classic, WIN British Open
- Tiger Woods – 2 – T-4 The National, T-6 British Open
Event Finish History
Here are the players who finished in the top 15 in this event in the last 5 years:
- Kevin Chappell – 2
- Jason Day – 2
- Rickie Fowler – 4
- Zach Johnson – 3
- Matt Kuchar – 2
- Hideki Matsuyama – 2
- Rory McIlroy – 2
- Patrick Reed – 2
- Justin Rose – 2
- Charl Schwartzel – 2
- Adam Scott – 4
- Jordan Spieth – 3
- Henrik Stenson – 2
- Bubba Watson – 2
It seems to me the best way to use Strokes Gained data is to give a sense of a course fit. My working theory is a player is a course fit — or a potential course fit, at least — if their Strokes Gained breakout when they finish in the top 25 is similar to the average for top-25 finishers at this week’s event.
Of course, current form then informs thinking around these possible course fits. However, in concept, many of these names make some sense and help narrow down a potential list of golfers.
Firestone Country Club’s South Course is a big-boy course, though it’s kind of bland. It does offer a little more balance in demands compared to some other PGA Tour courses. However, the biggest demand, like usual, is approach play. Then worry about putting thanks to good approach play. Driving matters, yes, but more so keeping it in play long enough than driving it long and straight, hence the reduced value of SG:OTT.
Here’s our breakdown for the week:
Off the Tee: 20%
Tee to Green: 70%
Based on that data, some great course fits include:
- Justin Thomas
- Daniel Berger
- Cameron Smith
- Ian Poulter
- Branden Grace
- Emiliano Grillo
- Russell Knox
- Charl Schwartzel
- Henrik Stenson
- Matt Kuchar
- Tiger Woods
- Zach Johnson
2018 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational DraftKings recommendations
$10,000 and up
We have six players in this group, and I lover Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler here. I find DJ and Rory, who are great picks in concept, too expensive for a good team.
We have 16 players in this group, and the strategy this week should really be to build in this price range. There’s approximately one-fifth of the field in this range.
Francesco Molinari seems like a hot choice but not a great fit. Otherwise, I like Justin Thomas, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey and Zach Johnson, who always seems to play well here.
DraftKings basically breaks the rest of the field in half at the $7,000 mark. There are still plenty of good choices in this range, and this is where we’ll round out our teams.
I like Xander Scahuffele, and I’m willing to gamble on horse-for-course Adam Scott. Branden Grace seems a good fit, and Matt Kuchar typically plays well here. Kevin Chappell, Ian Poulter, Russell Knox and Charl Schwartzel all appear good course fits. Daniel Berger is going to look sexy here, but he does his best damage on easier golf courses.
Below or at $7,000
We’re looking for bargains in this range with a threat to top-10. World-class players for under $7,000?! Insane, yes, but for a reason.
I would look to Austin Cook and Cameron Smith in this round. I’m always up for some Kiradech, too.
My primary DraftKings lineup
- Jon Rahm – $9,600
- Tommy Fleetwood – $9,200
- Paul Casey – $8,600
- Zach Johnson – $8,100
- Adam Scott – $7,500
- Austin Cook – $7,000