For the second straight week, we get an invitational sized field (120 players) for The 2019 Memorial Tournament, which is held at Muirfield Village Golf Club, in Dublin, Ohio. This the only course to ever host this tournament and Muirfield Village is a par 72, that measures in at 7,392 yards. Bryson DeChambeau was victorious here a year ago (-15) and each of the last five Memorial winners have finished -13 or lower.
At Muirfield Village, most players will club down off the tee. The rough is extremely thick and there are many penalizing bunkers that these golfers will want to avoid. This is track primarily looked at as a second shot course and you must be a strong iron player to contend. In his win, DeChambeau ranked T12 in greens found and each of the last four champs at Murifield Village have been T16 or better in GIR.
The four par fives are all score-able and you must take advantage of every birdie or better chance you can get on these holes. Furthermore, while they might not be as easy, scoring on the par fours is also important and six of these holes land in between 450-500 yards. Each year this course creates problems for many players and I think bogey avoidance must be looked at. Just last year, in his win, DeChambeau finished with only four bogeys, good enough to rank him T1 in least bogeys of the week. Finally, just like with The Charles Scwhab Challenge this past weekend, there will be a top 70 and ties cut taking place after the second round. With only 120 golfers competing, this means a higher percentage of players than usual will be making the cut. @Hunta512.
Rory McIlroy: (11,500)
For only $300 more, McIlroy is my preferred choice over Tiger Woods. He has made a notable 19 cuts in a row and has only finished outside the top ten once in his last nine starts. Statistically, McIlroy ranks first in my model when we compare all of these players last 24 rounds (1st in SGT2G, 3rd in SG APP, 1st in BS, 4th in GIR, 2nd in BOB%, 2nd in bogeys avoided, 3rd in SG on P5s, and 3rd in SG on P4s between 450-500 yards) and his ball elite striking should lead him to another top ten.
He currently leads The PGA Tour with nine this season and has four at Muirfield Village in only six total starts, making McIlroy the clear favorite to win this weekend. (9/1 via Bovada)
Matt Kuchar: (9,400)
Coming in on a 16 made cut streak, with three top tens in his last four starts, Kuch is a very tough value to avoid this week. He is currently in outstanding form, ranking inside the top ten in each of these stats over his last six events: SGT2G, SG APP, BS, GIR, SGT, SG on P4s, SG on P4s between 450-500 yards, SG on P5s, and bogeys avoided. To get into further detail, no player in this field has gained more strokes on par fives than Kuchar in their last 24 rounds of golf.
If his current form wasn’t enough to sell you, he has a terrific course resume at Muirfield Village. In 13 career starts in Dublin, Kuchar has made 12 cuts and has recorded seven top tens. All in all, Kuchar feels like a must have value at this price, no matter his ownership.
Justin Thomas: (9,300)
Thomas will return this week, after missing the last month and a half with a wrist injury. He claims to be fully past the injury and says that he could have played the past few weeks, but opted for more rest, “just to let it heal”. Now, JT heads to Muirfield Village, where he has finished T4 and T8 the last two seasons. (3/5 overall) Prior to sitting out, he had produced 7.8 total strokes per event in his previous five and had made 16 consecutive cuts, with nine top tens during that stretch.
While I think it is wise to look elsewhere for cash games, Thomas is an outstanding GPP play, that could easily contend if he is truly fully healthy. This is the cheapest he has been in 15 tournaments and the first time he has been under $10,000 on DraftKings in nine months. (18/1 via Bovada)
Hideki Matsuyama: (9,100)
Matsuyama has made 20 straight cuts and has finished no worse than T33 since early January. His ball striking, to no surprise, has been masterful (6th in SGT2G, 11th in SG APP and 10th in BS in L24 rounds) and he has actually gained positive strokes on the greens in back to back events. This is perfect timing for Matsuyama, because he loves playing at Muirfield Village.
He won at this course in his Memorial debut back in 2014 and has finished T5, MC, T45, and T13 the last four years. If he can actually continue to roll it well with his putter, Matsuyama should find himself in the mix for a win this Sunday.
Adam Scott: (8,700)
Scott has been great recently and is always a strong target at Muirfield Village. (10/11 with three top tens) He has gained 8.03 total strokes per event in his past three, which were all world class fields, with T12 at The Players, a T18 at The Masters and then a T8 at The PGA Championship.
Scott’s ball striking will always be his calling card (22nd in SGT2G this season), but he has also been dominant on both par fours (1st in SG on P4s and 6th in SG on P4s between 450-500 yards in L24 rounds) and fives as of late. (12th in SG on P5s in L24 rounds) He currently holds the best odds to win of all the players under $9,000 (33/1 via Bovada) and Scott is an excellent value that can be used in all formats.
Henrik Stenson: (8,500)
Stenson only has one MC to his name this season and it is all because of his irons. For the year, he ranks 1st in SG APP on The PGA Tour and over his last five starts, he has gained 5.5 strokes when approaching the green.
Even at tracks that require more distance, Stenson likes to use his three wood over driver, making him and Muirfield Village an ideal match. He is 4/5 at this venue and just had his best career finish at the track last year. (T13) With his approach game at an even higher level now, Stenson has the potential for a top ten this this weekend.
Emiliano Grillo: (7,900)
Grillo has improved in each of his last three starts (T33, T23 and T19) and has been solid at Murifield the past three years. (T11, T40 and T23)
His putting has been ugly (negative SGP in nine of last ten), but he we have seen some suspect putters thrive at this course (Matsuyama and Scott just to name a few) and Grillo’s tee to green game has been great per usual. (5.9 SGT2G in L3) That alone should help him into the top 30 this weekend, with obvious upside, if he can find any rhythm with his flat stick.
Jim Furyk: (7,500)
After missing back to back cuts, Furyk rebounded last week at Colonial Country Club, with a T13. In this finish, he ranked T4 in greens hit and gained 5.6 strokes tee to green. Like his course history at Colonial (17/22), Furyk’s record at Murifield Village is also very impressive, making 20/23 cuts for his career, with ten top 25s.
This course manger is always in play at courses that require minimal mistakes (4th in bogeys avoided in L24 rounds) and Furyk is very reasonably priced for his safety.
Russell Knox: (7,100)
Knox looked great The Charles Schwab Challenge last week (T8) and has made the cut at last four Memorials. His only missed cut at Muirfield Village came in his debut at the course in 2014.
Over his last 24 rounds, Knox has been an excellent approach player (8th in SG APP) and has been doing most of his damage on par fives (8th in SG on P5s), which are two skills that I am prioritizing this week. Overall, Knox is 12 for his last 14 and just too cheap at $7,100.
Corey Conners: (6,900)
After his T31 last weekend at Colonial, Conners has now made five of his last seven cuts, including his win at The Texas Open last month. This will be his first crack Muirfield Village, but I think Conners’ elite iron play will lead him to a made cut and potentially a top 30.
When we look at all these golfers last 24 rounds, The 27 year old ranks 1st in GIR, 9th in SGT2G, 5th in SG APP, and 3rd in BS. He has gained 4.7 SGT2G in his last two and Conners currently presents the best top ten odds for a sub $7,000 player.
Joost Luiten: (6,500)
Luiten is a full time player on The Euro Tour, but he just made the cut at The PGA Championship (T64) and is 3/3 in PGA events this season. Plus, if we include all his work overseas, this man has only missed two cuts in his last 20 starts. In his last seven, he has also been sticking greens at a high rate. (72.4% GIR) Luiten did travel to Ohio to play in The 2011 Memorial, but was disqualified after his first round for an apparent scoring error.
Either way, with a bigger group of players making it to the weekend in this smaller field, I think Luiten is a very sneaky cheap option that could surprise. He shouldn’t be highly owned at all and after Conners, the European holds the best odds for a top ten finish of all the golfers under $7,000.
David Lingmerth: (6,300)
Lingmerth is a previous winner at Murifeild Village (2015) and has never missed a cut here in six tries. If we include his starts on The Web.com Tour, he has made it to the weekend in six of his last seven tournaments.
None of his stats stand out, but we aren’t targeting Lingmerth for his rankings. We are considering him based off his course history and nobody else in this price range has had even close to the success Lingmerth has had at Muirfield. At this low of a cost, all we need is for him to make the cut, which doesn’t seem impossible for this course horse.
*Please note that some of these rankings are from Fantasynational.com