Each week, “Chalk…or not?” looks at exclusive Tour Level Data and past trends 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. Plus, Tour Level’s two unique 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 with Scott McAfee (who had a huge week last week) in our Making The Cut piece. Jason Rouslin gives you some high level game theory in Against The Grain for both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Adam Scott ($11,000, 19.0 percent projected ownership): Scott is not being touted nearly as much as most of the other golfers priced above $10,000 this week so there is potential he flies under the radar. Scott’s 44.2 Recent Form rating is 10th on our Pin Sheet this week and he ranks seventh there in our Strokes Gained: Ball Striking metric. If you can roster the 12th-ranked player in the world at ownership lower than everyone else in his salary tier you might as well do it.
Phil Mickelson ($10,200, 25.9 percent projected ownership): I love Phil as much as the next guy, and he does have the weird “Graduation > U.S. Open Narrative” going for him, but with his elite course history — he ranks first on the Pin Sheet by a country mile — and his relatively low price, his ownership could go through the roof this week. Of course, he has finished third or better here in three of his last four trips to TPC Southwind and he seemingly hasn’t missed a cut since the early 1990s, so there’s certainly risk to looking elsewhere this week.
Brooks Koepka ($11,500 20.7 percent ownership): Koepka has actually finished tied with Phil here at Southwind the past two years, so his course history isn’t too shabby either: His 23.53 Course History rating from the Pin Sheet is tied for third with Billy Horschel. Koepka ranks second in the field in Birdie or Better percentage and he is tied for 11th on Tour for Par 5 Eagle scoring. Brooks has delivered three eagles in his last five rounds and has had at least one eagle in his last three tournaments. Koepka has struggled scoring from 150 to 175 yards however: He has one of the worst Birdie or Better percentages in the field from that distance.
Francesco Molinari ($10,500, 21.0 percent ownership): There’s lots of talk about Molinari this week and he is popping in virtually all the relevant stat categories. Plus, he got the powerful Pat Mayo stamp of approval when @DFSJimmie appeared on Pat’s show earlier this week. I’m holding out hope that the Euro-bias that traditionally suppresses ownership for Euro Tour players wins out this week, but I think the Mayo hammer will smash that bias and Ol’ Frankie will be nice and chalky. Per the pin sheet, Molinari ranks first in the field in Strokes Gained: Approach, third in the field in Good Drive Percentage, and his 37.05 Recent Form rating is second overall.
Daniel Berger ($9,300, 18.9 percent ownership): Berger won this event last year and his salary this week is very reasonable. Berger has the 10th-best Birdie or Better percentage in the field and he’s tied for 14th in Strokes Gained: Approach this week. Berger’s recent form hasn’t been great: He’s finished 65th and 36th in his two most recent tournaments and hasn’t played since THE PLAYERS Championship.
Rickie Fowler ($12,000, 26.8 percent projected ownership): Fowler was featured in Hump’s Hole Out as my favorite chalk-pay of the week last week but this week I’m not so high on him. He has the highest salary in the field and our highest projected ownership. He virtually needs to win the tournament to pay off the monster salary this week so there’s merit in investing elsewhere. That said, Fowler has the game to win here: He leads the Tour in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, leads this field in Birdie of Better percentage on the Pin Sheet, and he is fifth in both Strokes Gained: Approach and Proximity from 150 to 175 yards. But in tournaments, you could potentially lap a quarter of the field if he has a down week.
Kyle Stanley ($8,400, 21.0 percent projected ownership): There’s no doubt Stanley is a statistical fit for his course — he ranks seventh on Tour in both Strokes Gained: Approach and Off the Tee — and he’s coming into the tournament in great form with three top-10s in his last five starts. What gives me pause is his course history which is just slightly better than disgustingly awful. In four trips to TPC Southwind since 2012, Stanley has two missed cuts and no finish better than 49th. With ownership projected over 20 percent this week, I’d rather pivot to someone like Stewart CInk or even Scott Piercy in GPPs.
Hump’s Hole Out
With Berger $500 cheaper and Stanley a whopping $1,400 cheaper, I feel like a potentially chalky play that could end up going lower owned than expected is Russell Henley ($9,800, 19.2 percent projected ownership). Henley’s Strokes Gained: Ball Striking rank is tied for sixth in this field, and his Birdie or Better Percentage from 150 to 175 yards is ranked 12th this week. He finished seventh at this event last year but is coming off a missed cut his last time out at the Byron Nelson.
Bowdo’s Hump’s Picks From Down Undah!
It’s Bowdo’s birthday so he’s taking this week off, but as previously disclosed, Hump once spent two weeks on a boat in the British Virgin Islands pretending to be from Australia and speaking with a wicked authentic Australian accent, so I’m qualified to bring you picks from down undah… mates. Now lets throw some shrimps on the barbie and drink a few Fosters before we kick some kangaroo’s ass.
Give me some Tom Hoge ($6,800) who has a top-20 rating in my Tour Level Model this week. Hoge ranks first overall in Proximity from the magic 150 to 175 yard range that we are targeting this week. Plus, Hoge’s 46.55 Course History rating — which the fellas from the Yardage Book agreed should be weighted heavily this week — ranks him 17th overall. Hoge finished 34th here last year and was 12th in 2015.
Camillo Villegas ($6,700) finished 63rd at the Memorial last week but his YTD Strokes Gained: Approach ranks 13th in this field, and he has three top-20 finishes here at TPC Southwind in the last four years. Vilegas’ has the fourth-best Course History rating on our Pin Sheet and he ranks 34th on Tour and 15th in this week’s field in Proximity from 150 to 175 yards.
Bowdo told me last week that he has a theory on his picks from down undah. That theory being he is sometimes a week or two ahead of the player turning their form into results. For instance, he picked Daniel Summerhays two weeks ago, and then Summerhays beast-moded 82.5 DK points on his way to a 10th-place finish last week. With that in mind, my first Theory of Bowdo pick is Ben Crane ($6,500) who’s +1.02 four-week-differential in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee ranks second in the field this week. Moreover, Crane has made four-straight cuts at this event and won the whole thing in 2014: His 24.25 Course History rating on the Pin Sheet is tied for fifth. My second Theory of Bowdo pick is Russell Knox ($7,400), who played very well the first two days last week, but faded over the weekend. Knox finished eighth here in 2015 and his +1.874 differential in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking on the Cheat Sheet ranks him second overall.
This just feels like a tournament where Ken Duke ($6,400) could finish well — Bowdo once picked a guy because he liked his shoes — plus, Duke has two top-10 finishes here in four trips since 2012.
Good luck this week!