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.
Justin Thomas ($10,200, 22.7 percent projected ownership): Thomas leads the field in Birdie or Better percentage, ripped off an historic — shut yer face Johnny Miller — 63 at the U.S. Open last week, posted a 59 in Hawaii to start the season, and shot 62 here last year. If there’s any player with projected ownership above 20 percent I’m willing to ride with in DraftKings scoring system it’s the birdie-making-machine known as JT!
Paul Casey ($9,700, 25.8 percent projected ownership): Casey’s projected ownership literally makes me queasy and has me flashing back to Adam Scott at Erin Hills last week, but his game really suits River Highlands well. He’s ranked third in Strokes Gained: Approach and fourth in Strokes Gained: Ball Striking, plus he’s got course history on his side: He finished 17th here last year and lost in a playoff in 2015.
Jordan Spieth ($11,400, 24.7 percent ownership): Spieth is one of the few big name players who actually made the cut last week and although his overall event was uninspiring, he played excellent in the tough conditions during Sunday’s final round shooting a 69. Jordan is making his debut at the Travelers but he leads the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained: Approach, and that will likely help him navigate this track quite well.
Brendan Steele ($9,000, 23.7 percent ownership): As noted by @DFSgolfer23 in Against The Grain, Steele can pile up DK points in a hurry and is a great value play this week. Steele has an average finishing position of 15th here in his last four trips.
Bubba Watson ($8,400, 24.8 percent projected ownership): Bubba was seemingly getting better with a sixth-place finish at the Memorial and he has won this event two times since 2010, but at ownership projected over 20 percent, I’m willing to pass this week. Watson has missed the cut in three of his last five events.
Hump’s Hole Out
Jason Day ($11,500, 14.5 percent projected ownership): I picked Day to win last week and he was 1,000 over par when all the dust settled and missed the cut easily. Going back to golfers the week after they stink can be either stupid or genius, but anytime you can grab one of the world’s best golfers at ownership under 15 percent in GPPs it’s worth taking a stab or two. There’s no three-foot high fescue in Connecticut, so Day should be better this week.
Bowdo’s Picks From Down Undah!
A two-time PGA Tour Winner, Steven Bowditch, brings you the edge every 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.
David Hearn ($6,700) is rounding into form as evidenced by his 10th-place finish at the St. Jude Classic his last time out. Hearn is extremely accurate off the tee, and per the Pin Sheet, ranks 21st in this weeks field for Driving Accuracy. Hearn finished 38th here in 2011.
Kevin Na ($6,900) looked very sharp when he fired a 68 in the opening round of the U.S. Open but has either missed the cut or withdrawn from this event in his last three trips. Despite the course history, Bowdo likes Na’s game this week.
I’m not sure if Bowdo realizes this or not, but Spencer Levin ($7,300) fits the Theory of Bowdo vibe as he was one of the original fliers that didn’t pay off. Levin has made the cut in three of his last four events with two finishes inside the top-40, and he finished 11th at the Travelers last year. Levin is another player accurate off the tee: He ranks 14th in this field.
Robert Streb ($6,800) has two top-35 finishes in his last two starts and according to the Form Generator, his four-week differential in Strokes Gained: Approach is the 18th-best mark in this field.