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, then follow that up with The Yardage Book for an inside look at how the course is playing this week. 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.
In most tournaments I would advocate fading the chalkiest golfers, especially when they’re also the players with the highest salaries in the field but this week…
Rickie Fowler ($12,000, 28.3 percent projected ownership): Per the Pin Sheet, Folwer ranks fourth in the field and 11th on Tour in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: T2G), second in the field and fourth on Tour in Birdie or Better percentage (BOB%), and he’s fourth in the field and 10th on Tour in Bogey Avoidance. Rickie looked like he was going to run away with the U.S. Open after his first round 65, but he settled for a fifth-place finish. He has three top-fives in his last six starts.
Patrick Reed ($11,100, 26.7 percent ownership): According to the Form Generator, Reed’s +1.252 four week differential in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking ranks fifth in this week’s field. Reed’s game is really coming around: He has finished 22nd or better in five of his last six tournaments, including a top-15 at the U.S. Open, and he posted a T5 last week.
Justin Thomas ($10,900, 19.8 percent ownership): Thomas continues to lead the PGA Tour in BOB% and as a result is always a threat to put up big DraftKings points. In the last four tournaments that JT has made the cut, he has averaged 88.37 DK points per tournament. In this smaller and weaker field, it’s likely Thomas will stick around for the weekend, finish well, and post another solid DK performance.
Marc Leishman ($9,800, 24.1 percent projected ownership): Kenny Kim (@kendovt on twitter) tweeted about Leishman’s wife being pregnant and due shortly so it remains to be seen if that provides Leish with any future-daddy swag, or if his mind is elsewhere. Regardless, Leishman is playing well: He ranks third in Recent Form on the Pin Sheet.
Kevin Chappell ($9,300, 21.8 percent ownership): Per the Pin Sheet, Chappell ranks fifth in Recent Form: He has three top-10s in his last six starts, including a win at the Texas Open. Chappell ranks 11th in SG: T2G in the field this week, and 17th in Strokes Gained: Approach.
David Lingmerth ($8,500, 27.2 percent projected ownership): Lingmerth, and his 2012 Web.com win at TPC Potomac, are being touted heavily across the industry this week. Call this one a gut-play, but I think everyone eating the David Chalkmerth sandwich is gonna end up with a Henrik Stenson-like case of the runs this week.
Hump’s Hole Out
Brendan Steele (21.5 percent projected ownership): As pointed out by @DFSGolfer23 in this week’s Against the Grain, Steele is likely to be heavily owned, but for good reason. Per the Form Generator, Steele’s 1.365 Strokes Gained: Ball Striking last week ranked ninth in the field. Steele has scored at least 82 DK points in three of his last four tournaments.
Hacking It From The Deep Rough
Spencer Levin ($6,600) is coming off an MDF at last week’s Travelers’ Championship, but according to the Form Generator, his +1.529 four-week differential in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking is the best in this weeks field. Levin is accurate off the tee (25th on Tour in Driving Accuracy and eighth in this field), so he should be able to keep his ball in the short stuff around this tough layout. Plus, he’s priced at the stone-bone minimum so a poor performance shouldn’t completely derail you.
Lost in all the Lingmerth tout-train noise is the fact that Sung Kang ($6,800) finished sixth at the Web.com event played here in 2013 (a year after Lingmerth won). Kang ranks 39th on Tour in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee and 21st in this week’s field. Per the Pin Sheet, Kang is tied for 19th in this field with his Par 4 scoring average, and he quietly ranks 30th in this field in BOB%. Kang’s +0.657 four-week differential in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking ranks 17th this week.