This week, The Tour heads back to the states for The 2018 Career Builder Challenge. This is a different type of golf event, as it involves three different courses. Barring any injury or withdrawal, all of these 156 golfers will play a round at The TPC Stadium Course (par 72, 7,113 yards) and The TPC Tournament Course (par 72, 7,159 yards) of PGA West and a round at La Quinta Country Club (par 71, 7,060 yards), which are all located in La Quinta, California. There is a cut line involved, happening on Saturday instead of Friday, with the top 70 and ties playing another round, their final round, at The Stadium Course. This format with The Stadium being the main course has only been in effect for the last two years, putting an emphasis on these past two seasons when looking at course history.
All three of these tracks are fairly easy with The Stadium being the toughest of the three. Hudson Swafford took home the big check last year, shooting -20, and all of the winners since 2008 have finished at -20 or better. With three different course involved it is difficult to be very specific with stats, but over the last five seasons, each winner has ranked first in par four scoring during their wins. So, I clearly want to find strong par four players, but I also think we should target players who play well on par fives. As I said earlier, every winner since 08 has shot -20 or lower, so we also need to find players who rank well in BOB%, but also putt well, especially on Bermuda greens if we can, with all three of these courses being home to this type of putting surface. But, most importantly, with multiple courses involved, we must, as always, focus on the primary stats of DFS golf, like SGT2G and GIR%. The guarantee of three full rounds of golf for each player makes it an enticing week to take more risks with your cheap golfers. I will be using this strategy, but it is still important to focus on getting 6/6 through the cut if you don’t want to see all that money you are winning dwindle come Sunday night. @Hunta512.
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Kevin Streelman: (7,500) Streelman missed the cut here last season, but the year before, he finished with a T11 in 2016. In his MC last year, he really struggled with his approach game, only hitting 63% of the greens for the week. This shouldn’t happen again this time around, as he has been excellent with his irons in his last handful of starts, averaging a 78% GIR rate in his last five events. Dating back to last season, he has made six straight cuts, with four top 20s. He hasn’t played since the fall, but over his last 12 rounds of golf, he ranks 2nd in SGT2G, 6th in ball striking, 22nd in strokes gained approaching, 3rd in greens hit, and 6th in par four scoring. (via Fantasy National)
He ranks well in all these stats, but the one cause of concern has been his putting, with a 30.5 average putts per round in his past four starts. But, as we all know, putting can be a very tough thing to predict, and he has shown he can be solid with the flat stick at this event, putting a decent 28.3 average putts per round on these greens the last two years at The Career Builder. Streelman is a solid all-around golfer who doesn’t make many mistakes (10th in bogeys avoided in last six events) that should be able to handle the difficulty of taking on three different courses. I am not expecting a high ownership for him in GPPs (9-12% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs) and I think we see him playing on Sunday this weekend.
Ben Martin: (6,900) After missing back to back cuts back in November, Martin’s game has been trending up, with him finishing T22nd at The RSM Classic and then with a T7th last week at The Sony Open. He has been very consistent, shooting under par in seven of his last eight rounds. In these two starts, his numbers have been solid, ranking 46th in SGT2G, 52nd in strokes gained approaching, 18th in strokes gained putting, 10th in BOB%, and 18th in par four efficiency. (via Fantasy National)
He is 1/2 here in made cuts since the change over to The Stadium Course hosting two rounds, with a T34 in 2016. He has racked up 20 birdies in both of his last two events, helping him to some really solid DK scores. (95 DK point average) His 80/1 odds (via Bovada) are strong when you consider his cheap price tag and he is my favorite play under $7,000 this week and he should really go under the radar, even though his current form is great. (2-4% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs)
J.J. Spaun: (7,900) Spaun’s game has been awesome and he has now made five consecutive cuts, including two top tens. He stands out in almost every stat I am targeting this week and over his last six starts, he ranks 4th in SGT2G, 5th in ball striking, 5th in strokes gained approaching, 2nd in greens hit, 6th in BOB%, 14th in par four efficiency, and 19th in par five efficiency. (via Fantasy National) Even though he has been making all these cuts, his putting has been very hit or miss, ranking 142nd in strokes gained putting in his last 24 rounds of golf.
This may seem alarming, but I am not going to let it bother me, because he is a better putter than usual on Bermuda greens, ranking 28th in strokes gained putting on this type of green in his six starts that involve this type of grass. (via Fantasy National) It wasn’t an exciting finish, but Spaun is 1/1 here, finishing with a T50 in his first try at The Career Builder last season. I think he makes the cut again and has a real good chance of posting a top 25 finish this weekend.
Also Consider: David Lingmerth, Adam Hawdin (back to back top tens here), Brian Stuard (2nd in par four efficiency in his last 12 rounds and has made six straight cuts with three top tens), Ryan Armour, JT Poston (five straight made cuts before his MC at The RSM and has a T34 here last season), Talor Gooch (first time at a Career Builder, but is a very intriguing young talent. He finished T18 last week at The Sony Open and should come with a very lower ownership), and Scott Brown.