The Scorers Tent: In an effort to enhance our weekly offerings we decided to recap most of the articles here in the “Scorer’s Tent” in order to provide more room for strategy in the current weeks’ article.
Dustin Johnson closed out a convincing win over Andrew Putnam with a hole out eagle on the 18th hole. DJ claimed his second win this season and moved back to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings after a 4 week hiatus. Poor Putnam, trying to claim his first victory on the PGA Tour, just couldn’t overcome what seemed to be a bit of nerves. Through 54 holes, he had just 1 bogey (Par 4 5th/R2) before making double bogey on the first hole in the final round. Putnam added another bogey on the Par 4 5th before converting his only birdie of the final round at the Par 4 7th hole. Despite not capturing a win, the solo runner up finished is his 3rd top 10 this season and it also marks his best finish on Tour in his 44 starts.
A few other facts to know this week:
- The win is DJ’s seventh top 10 finish of the season, tying him with Brian Harman for most top 10s on the PGA TOUR in 2017-18.
- In 10 stroke-play events this season, Johnson hasn’t finished outside the top 20, with his lowest finish coming at The PLAYERS Championship (T17).
- Before Johnson’s hole-out for eagle on the 72nd hole, the last time a player holed out from off the green to win on the PGA TOUR was Jordan Spieth at the 2017 Travelers Championship. Unlike that hole out, I don’t think DJ’s nonchalant reaction will garner many little kid recreations. Oh well!
- DJ ranked first in Strokes Gained: T2G, he hit 30 of 56 fairways for the week and 49 of 72 greens. Additionally, he needed 104 putts for the week.
- With a final-round 67, J.B. Holmes jumped from a tie for 10th into solo 3rd to secure his second top-5 finish of the season.
- Stewart Cink (T4) collected his first top 10 finish on the PGA TOUR since last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic (T10).
All in all, a good week of golf considering the field we were working with. DJ’s winning score of 19 under eclipsed his 2012 win by 10 shots. With TPC Southwind playing host to the WGC next year, DJ is someone who clearly likes his course and can go low. We will remind you of that next year.
DFS Winning Lineup Recap:
The winning lineups from the big GPPs this week each had the winner, Dustin Johnson, in their lineup along with 2 other players from the optimal lineup this week. In a weak field event this week, we can see that the optimal lineup used up nearly the entire $50,000 salary. Remember, we have seen in some of the stacked fields as much as $7,000 being left on the table when the optimal lineup is built after the tournament. So, as we head into the US Open this week, just keep in mind that there are often under-priced players vs. their talent simply due to the fact that DFS requires players to build within a budget!
The $33 PGA $500K Dogleg ($100K to 1st) Winning Lineup:
The $444 PGA $300K Pressure Putt ($50K to 1st) Winning Lineup:
Below are the top 20 DK point earners and their ownership %
In an effort to keep our content fresh and actionable each week, we’ve moved the recaps to one convenient place, allowing for each article to be focused solely on the current week’s tournament.
Making the Cut: (DFS Cash Game Focus)
After an excellent week last week for Making the Cut, we seemed to hit a little bit of a snag in this event. Cash games are always a lot harder in events where the field just isn’t as strong as normal. You have less “cut makers” and grinders overall and these events require you to likely roster players you never would in a regular week. Ben Crane missing the cut this week was the biggest bust. Luckily, if you played him this week you likely should have still cashed if he was your only MC as nearly 50% of lineups had him in there. Dustin Johnson was suggested in the other players to consider section but he wasn’t very high owned overall.
Against the Grain: (GPP Focus)
A nice week overall for Against the Grain with most of the players mentioned coming in at relatively low ownership which is the ultimate goal of this article. A few stellar plays this week included Putnam, Retief Goosen, and Seamus Powers. There were several guys who averaged ownership levels below 1% that made the cut and provided good leverage on the field.
The Winning Element had a nice week overall with 71% of the players mentioned in the article making the cut this week. Dustin Johnson was highlighted in the core plays this week which marks a nice run of winner’s being mentioned in the article. Yes, there were some big names that missed the cut but that is going to be the case in some of these weaker field events. Most casual PGA fans don’t know a lot of these guys and even the most avid DFS players likely have to do extensive research to highlight plays like Andrew Putnam. These are the weeks where managing bankroll is going to always be key.
Tour Level Tech Review:
We were able to get back to the CS review this week. First, I have highlighted the top 20 ranked players in the CS this week. As you can see, there were just 6 missed cuts inside the top 20 and Dustin Johnson was 2nd in our model this week. There were 9 players inside the top 20 ranked players that finished T30 or better so if you avoided the 6 MC players it should’ve been a great week. If you don’t believe me, check out how well the optimizer did in the Fanduel GPP below.
The second screenshot highlights the top 20 DK scorers for the week which allows us to take a look at how well the CS is doing overall at capturing high scoring DK plays. It also helps to see places that it missed so that DFS users can see that sometimes long shots do find success. The only real “reach” plays (aka those you’d have to likely manually put into your lineups) this week were Richy Werenski and Retief Goosen. These 2 guys fell outside the top 50 in the CS but if you dig a little deeper into Werenski, who had 2 top 30 finishes this year on Bermuda grass, you might have made the choice to play him especially at a value price.
Just wanted to share some additional news and success straight from the optimizer. Using the opto this week I was able to have a really profitable week with 6 lines finishing inside the top 10 in the Fanduel $7.77 GPP. Great to see such amazing results leading up to the US Open next week. Below is the winning lineup that came straight from the Tour Level CS and optimizer.
The U.S. Open
An exciting week is ahead for PGA fans and DFS players alike as we head into the Tours’ second major of the year, The US Open. The course rotates every year so course history is going to be tougher to come by but it is important to remember that all major events are meant to really test players so don’t expect to see scores like we did at last years US Open at Erin Hills. The USGA was outspoken about how easily they felt the course played last year and they did everything they could to ensure this years event is more in line with the true difficult test expected at Major events. Here are the winners over the last few years dating back to 2004, the last time the US Open was held at Shinnecock Hills:
Players and fans alike head to Southampton, NY for the 118th U.S. Open Championship. No other golf course besides Shinnecock Hills Golf Club has held U.S. Opens in three centuries – 1896, 1886, 1996, 2004 and now again in 2018. This course was initially a 12-hole championship course on Long Island’s South Shore that measured 4,423 yards. Now, this Par 70 course is a product of a complete redesign and will play 7,445 yards. Having played golf in the Northeast for 20 years, the natural landscape and rolling fescue will make this traditional links-style course flourish in one golf’s biggest weeks of the year. If you want a more detailed breakdown of the course, head on over to The First Cut for a hole by hole breakdown with key approach distances highlighted throughout the piece.
The Tour Level Cheatsheet features 2 “Key Stats” every week, typically a combination of a few important stats, which the Tour Level team has deemed relevant to consider based on the course description above. The stats below may or may not include Strokes Gained (SG) stats, but they are ALWAYS our main statistical focal point each week, especially SG: Tee to Green (SG: T2G). Don’t forget, while SG: Putting is usually very important, it is a stat that has proven to be very elusive and very difficult to predict week to week.
Key Stat 1: SG:OTT + Proximity + Approaches 150-175
Key Stat 2: SG:APP + Total Driving + Approaches 200+
Below are the top 5 golfers in each category from last weeks field that are also in the field this week:
No real surprise that DJ finds himself in the top 5 of every stat category that makes up out 2 key stats this week. A few guys to consider going into next week and who would be good to dig into more extensively in your research include Harold Varner III, Richy Werenski, and Matt Jones. Those guys should come in relatively low owned, like sub-5%, and are showing some good form coming into the event. Good luck next week and hope to see more Tour Level subs at the top of some leaderboards.