Each week, “Chalk…or not?” looks at exclusive Tour Level Data to create a model that projects DraftKings ownership. The golfers with our highest projected ownership percentages and some other potentially low-owned golfers are then analyzed for you to give you a true ownership edge on the competition.
As always, get your week started correctly by reading the most comprehensive course breakdown in the industry: The First Cut by James Miles. And this week the Tour Level team has published two cheat sheets for your statistical needs: Check out The Pin Sheet and The Form Generator. If it’s cash you want, it’s cash you’ll get in our Making The Cut piece.
This should be an intriguing week for lineup construction because if you want to get Dustin Johnson and one of the other studs priced above $10,000, you’ll need to make some tough calls on at least a few players priced below $7,000.
Dustin Johnson ($12,500, 30.0 percent projected ownership): Per the Form Generator, DJ leads the field in year to date (YTD) Strokes Gained: Ball Striking at 1.96. He’s also got the second-best Course History rank (28.33) and ranks third in Recent Form (36.0) according to the Pin Sheet. Johnson is perfect in seven starts at this event and has four top-10 finishes. It’s also safe to say he’s never arrived at TPC Las Colinas in better form. You could consider a DJ-fade based on projected ownership alone, but I’d prefer to differentiate my roster someplace else this week. Fading the best golfer on the planet is not for the faint of heart.
Brooks Koepka ($10,200, 24.0 percent ownership): Checking in with our third-highest projected ownership, Koepka has made some serious strides in his approach game recently. His 1.898 four week average against his YTD average in Strokes Gained: Approach is the sixth-best score in the field. As a result, his 30.94 Recent Form score ranks second overall. Koepka hasn’t finished worse than 16th in his last three tournaments and he lost this event in a playoff last year. Brooks deserves to be nice and chalky this week and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him and DJ battling for the win on Sunday.
Jonathan Randolph ($6,700, 15.2 percent ownership): What a time to be alive! Randolph could be chalky this week. With a salary below $7,000, Randolph is a sharp play that gives you the roster flexibility to fit two of the guys priced above $10,000 into your lineup. Randolph’s 1.338 four week average against his YTD average in Strokes Gained: Approach ranks 14th in the field and his 43.8 Recent Form score is ninth overall. And Randolph’s putter is getting hot: His 1.117 four week average against his YTD average in Strokes Gained: Putting is the 17th-best differential in this field. Randolph hasn’t finished worse than 27th in his last three starts and he placed 34th at this event in 2015.
Sergio Garcia ($11,000, 21.0 percent ownership): The only two-time winner of this event, Garcia leads the field with 1.15 Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. Surprisingly, his course history rank (51.27) is outside the top-15 but only because he has played this event twice since 2011 and three times since 2008. Sergio looked a bit rusty in his opening round at THE PLAYERS and fell apart with a 78 on Sunday. A hole-in-one and very nice 67 on Saturday made his results (and DK points) look better than they should have been. I’d rather pay up for one of the other studs mentioned above this week.
Tony Finau ($9,200, 23.0 percent ownership): Finau’s form hasn’t been the greatest: His 62.3 Recent Form rank is 39th this week and he missed the cut at THE PLAYERS. According to our Form Generator, nearly all of Finau’s Strokes Gained metrics have suffered over the past four weeks compared to his year to date averages. That said, he is two for two at this event including a top-10 finish last year and hasn’t finished worse than 12th.
Sung Kang ($7,400, 18.0 percent ownership): He’s not quite as cheap as Randolph but at $7,400, Kang is still a solid value. Kang finished 30th at THE PLAYERS last week when he ranked ninth in Strokes Gained: Approach. Prior to last week, he had ripped off a second-, a sixth-, and 11th-place finishes in three straight tournaments: His 36.14 Recent Form rank is fifth overall this week. Kang placed 34th at the Byron Nelson last year.
Jason Dufner ($8,800, 24.5 percent ownership): Dufner’s 29.71 Course History rank is third overall and his 57.45 Recent Form rank is 30th this week. Dufner has made six of eight cuts at this event and he won it back in 2012. As mentioned in Making the Cut, Dufner is great for cash games, but with our second-highest projected ownership percentage of the week, there is some merit to approaching him cautiously in tournaments. Duf-Daddy was seven-over par on the weekend at THE PLAYERS and he has scored 60 DK points or less in two of his last three tournaments.
Jordan Spieth ($10,800, 14.4 percent ownership): Spieth has missed two cuts in his last three events and he has never come away with a top-15 finish at this event. In fact, his average finishing place in the last four years here is 38.25. If you make no changes to our Tour Model Cheat Sheet, Spieth’s overall rank is outside of the top-35 this week.
Hump’s Hole Out
Hump looked like a genius on Friday night when last week’s hole out pick, David Hearn, was leading THE PLAYERS. Then Hearn went out and shot an 80 on Saturday and Hump looked like Hump again. Unlike many others however, Hearn didn’t MDF, although he only managed to accumulate 48.5 DK points through his four rounds.
This week, I’m going with Smylie Kaufman, who we have projected at 11.5 percent ownership. Per our Form Generator, Kaufman’s 1.644 Strokes Gained: Ball Striking differential in his last four weeks is the 10th-best score in the field. Moreover, Smylie’s 28.12 Recent Form rank leads the field this week: He placed 12th at THE PLAYERS last week and brought home a fifth-place finish at the Wells Fargo Championship the week before.
Bowdo’s Picks From Down Undah!
A two-time PGA Tour Winner and the 2015 Byron Nelson Champion, Steven Bowditch, brings you the edge this week with what he calls “fliers from the semi-cut”. We here at TourLevel call them “Bowdo’s Picks From Down Undah!” These are players on the bottom end of both the ownership and salary spectrum that Bowdo thinks have the potential to surprise if everything comes together.
In case you didn’t know, Bowdo led all four rounds here in 2015 and carded a massive 27 birdies on his way to an 18-under par finish.
Bowdo thinks Cameron Tringale ($6,700) is striking the ball well and our Strokes Gained: Ball Striking metric seems to back up those thoughts. Tringale’s 1.077 four week differential is the 26th best score in the field. Triangle led the field in Strokes Gained: Around the Green last week at THE PLAYERS, where he finished 35th. If Tringale gets his flat stick going this week he can finish well.
Ben Crane ($6,500) is hitting his driver “further and more consistently” according to Bowdo. Crane has played well at Las Colinas in the past: He has made 10 of 13 cuts here with two top-10 finishes — his 47.61 Course History rank is 14th overall this week.
Chad Campbell ($6,200) is “a local dude who plays the course a lot”. Campbell has made 11 of 15 cuts at this event, finished in fifth-place in 2006, and ended up with a top-12 last year. Bowdo is digging the local narrative with Campbell this week. We currently have Chad projected at 1.2 percent ownership in guaranteed prize pools.
Boo Weekley ($7,100) is hitting the ball great: He led the field with 2.25 Strokes Gained: Approach, was fifth in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (2.52), and was 10th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee (0.87) last week. Weekley has made four of five cuts here and finished T5 in 2014. Boo has the highest salary and highest projected ownership (5.6 percent) among Bowdo’s fliers from the semi-cut this week.