The tour playoffs heads to its third leg this week in Illinois as the players will be back at Conway Farms, the venue that also hosted this event back in 2013 and 2015. As this event takes place on rotating courses, make sure you double check course history before using any stats. The venue this week is a shorter par 71 that measures in at between 7,100 and 7,200 yards. It does carry a few longer, tougher holes, but there are plenty of scoring opportunities around this venue too. Jason Day won this event back in 2015 over Daniel Berger by six strokes at 22 under par, and if the weather holds up I won’t be shocked if someone approaches 20 under or better once again.
Field and Format: The field this week is down to 70. There is no cut at this event but players will be battling for FedEx Cup points all week which will be vital for their standing next week. The top 30 players in the rankings at the end get to go on to the Tour Championship and the top five at the end of this week control their own destiny to win the huge bonus at that event. For DFS, high birdie rates will be crucial here as no cut means everyone will be racking up six players worth of points all week.
Player Fit: Last time around in 2015 the big hitters off the tee dominated the event as six of the players inside the top ten finished inside the top ten in driving distance for the week too. The venue is quite open in places off the tee, but still puts a lot of emphasis on approach games. A calm week weather-wise likely means bombers will have the ability to go low here again, so watch for any weather updates, because this course yielded a ton of birdies to bombers off the tee last time out and that may be the play here again.
Jordan Spieth ($11,800): Good buddy jokes aside I doubt any of the top players arrive with more motivation to get a win here than Jordan Spieth. Having come second two weeks in a row to players he’s battling for the player of the year award should keep Spieth focused and the fact he brings the best approach game to the course this week isn’t a bad thing either. The price is big but with the best players at the top of their game you need to get some exposure here.
Rickie Fowler ($10,700): Fowler hasn’t lit the world on fire lately, like his fellow 20-something buddies, but his performance in the first two events of the playoffs has been solid. Fowler is currently ranked third in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee in the last two tournies combined and is also still rolling the ball fine on the greens. A little bump to his iron play here and this may be the spot where we finally see him get that second 2017 win. He was T4 at Conway Farms in 2015 which is also encouraging.
Jason Day ($9,600): Day’s game is still not fully back, and while I’m not sure he can necessarily pull off the win this week, he is setting up like a premium DraftKings play regardless. In a no cut event, you’ll need players who can reel off a ton of birdies and Day comes in ranked sixth in Birdie or Better percentage on tour and is also coming off a week where he made the second most birdies at TPC Boston. He’s finished T4 and won at Conway Farms in two appearances and destroyed this venue to the tune of 22 under par on his win. He’s a great target at under 10k this week.
Others: Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay
Patrick Reed ($8,000): Reed continues to churn out good results, even if he can’t quite put his entire game together at once. The American has riding a great short game and a hot putter to the tune of a T20 and a T6 in the first two playoff events and is keeping himself ready for a potential run at the overall FedEx title. If he’s going to make that run it will have to come here however and if his iron play improves a bit the rest of his game is in good enough shape to make that happen. He’s a nice upside play at only 8k.
Kyle Stanley ($7,400): Stanley has rebounded after a mini-slump and has now finished T25 in the first two playoff events. The American who won his second tour event this season has never played Conway Farms but his accurate approach game (eighth in SG: Approach on tour) means the venue should fit to his liking. Stanley can also pile up birdies with the best of them (18th on season in BoB %) and comes in having made the third and fifth most birdies over the first two playoff events of the season. In a no cut format, that kind of firepower should be targeted especially at under 7.5k.
Xander Schauffele ($6,900): Schauffele was a disappointment his last time out, but for enduring that bad week we at least get a nice discount on him here. The rookie is still in a battle for the rookie of the year award and making it to East Lake would be a huge piece of achieving that goal. While he struggled ball-striking wise in Boston, he was 11th in SG: Approaches at the first playoff event and a week of rest may have been helpful for him to regain some form. With a high floor min-salary on DraftKings this week, he looks like a great sub-7k play.
Others: Kevin Na ($7,900)
High-upside GPP Picks
Brooks Koepka ($9,100): Koepka has started the playoff season slowly with T18 and T49 finishes but his best might be coming down the stretch. The American has still only won once this season and while getting a major title is no easy feat he’d surely like to back that up with another win. DFS wise, seeing him at $9,100 here, on a course where bombers really dominated in 2015 is extremely appealing. He’s fifth on tour in Birdie or Better percentage and a great gpp target when many fantasy players may be willing to overlook his potential to save salary.
Emiliano Grillo ($7,600): Grillo backed up his T29 performance at the first playoff event with another solid T22 placing at TPC Boston. The Argentine finally got his putter working in Boston and if that confidence carries over to this week we’ll see him improve once again. Grillo still has one of the best approach games in the world when he’s on and his recent selection to the President’s Cup team should also help breed some confidence. I really like him in gpps on DraftKings this week.
Anirban Lahiri ($6,900): Like Grillo, Lahiri was also a President’s Cup captain’s pick and will be making his second showing in that format this season. He’ll need a huge week here to continue on to East Lake, but he has the firepower to make that happen as he’s ranked 17th in Birdie or Better percentage on the season and generally has performed his best on shorter scoring courses like the one we’ll be seeing this week. He can be inconsistent, but with no cut to worry about his birdie upside and cheap price makes him a perfect gpp target for me this week.
Other: Si Woo Kim
Players to Consider (in no order)
– Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed, Kyle Stanley
– Emiliano Grillo, Anirban Lahiri, Xander Schauffele, Kevin Na, Si Woo Kim, Patrick Cantlay
Patrick Cantlay 55-1 EW
Emiliano Grillo 8-1 top ten
Anirban Lahiri 20-1 top ten