Welcome back guys. Alex here, and these are my DraftKings sleeper picks for The 2018 PGA Championship. If you are looking for some more picks and a breakdown of this year’s host course, Bellerive Country Club, be sure to read my initial write up for this major, through this link. Below are some of my favorite cheap plays of the week, that will hopefully come with lower ownerships in GPPs. @Hunta512.
Thorbjorn Olesen: (6,700)
The European Tour player, originally from Denmark, has possessed huge upside over the last two months. He won the Italian Open back at the start of June and since then he has made four of six cuts, finishing T2, T6, T12, and T3 in those four tournaments he made it to the weekend. In his last two starts, he has gained an average of nine strokes for each event. In his T12 at The Open Championship, he ranked 12th in driving distance and T9 in greens hit. Furthermore, in his T3 last week at The WGC Bridgestone Invitational, Olesen ranked 5th in distance off the tee and T8th in GIR, helping him to rank 5th in GIR, 5th in BOB%, 11th in bogeys avoided, and 15th in SGP when comparing all of these players last two starts. (via Fantasy National) He has made four cuts in five tries at The PGA Championships and is 10/16 in majors over his career.
The odds makers are giving him plenty of respect in this current form, at 75/1 to win (via Boavda), which are, by a wide margin, the best odds for a golfer $7,000 and below this week on DraftKings. Simply put, these are tremendous odds for a player this cheap. For example, major champions, Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson are both priced over $8,000 and have much worse odds to win at 100/1. (via Bovada) Fantasy Labs currently only has him with an ownership somewhere between 9-12% and Fantasy National is calculating an ownership of 10.7%. If these numbers end up being close to accurate, I will be very overweight on Olesen in GPPs.
Ian Poulter: (7,400)
After an ugly 81 in his second round of The Open Championship, Poulter has looked excellent, posting a T12 at The RBC Canadian Open and a T10 at The WGC Bridgestone last week. He did indeed miss the cut at Carnoustie due to that poor round, but this was just a small blimp on the radar for Poulter, as this was his only MC in his last 13 starts. In this run, he has nine top 25s, including a win at The Houston Open. If we eliminate his performance at The Open, Poulter is averaging a strong 7.22 averages strokes gained in his last five made cuts. For a bigger sample size of his form, he ranks 10th in SGT2G, 12th in SG APP, 11th in ball striking, 11th in BOB%, and 10th in SGP in his last 24 rounds. (via Fantasy National)
His driver has also been better than usual, gaining 1.2 strokes off the tee in his last five events, with an average drive of 306 yards. Even as a tenured veteran of The PGA Tour, Poulter didn’t compete here at The 2008 BMW Championship. But, either way, he has made the cut in five of his last six majors and is looking like a solid bet for a top 25 in his first crack at Bellerive.
Ryan Moore: (7,400)
Moore is having an exceptional season (14/18 cuts and nine top 25s), but I still feel like he will go under-owned in this major, just because, when the field is strong, he tends to be a forgotten name. In the two majors Moore has played in this season, he has seen an average ownership of 4.9% in The Millionaire Makers on DraftKings. In both of these majors, he proved the players who faded him wrong, with a T28 at The Masters and a T12 at The Open Championship. That T12 was his last start and he is now nine for his last 11 in made cuts, with six top 20s. No, he isn’t the longest player (177th in DD), but Moore has been one of the best players on Tour in SGT2G, ranking 13th in the stat this year.
He is averaging 4.7 strokes gained total in his last ten tournaments and ranks 4th in SGT2G, 3rd in SG APP, 25th in SG OTT, 5th in ball striking, 29th in SG on par fours, and 11th in bogeys avoided in his past 24 rounds. (via Fantasy National) As for success at majors, he has only missed two cuts in his last ten, with four top 30s, two of which were this year. I am expecting another sub ten percent ownership for Moore in this major, making him one of the sneakiest plays of the week.
Xander Schauffele: (8,200)
He had an ugly week at The WGC Bridgestone, but as he has shown us time and time again, no matter the finishes he had right before, Schauffele tends to show up in a big way on the major stage. Thus far into his career, he is 5/6 at major events, with three top tens and one top 20. Two of those top tens came this season, with a T6 at The U.S. Open and a T2 at The Open Championship. Just yesterday, Jason Sobel of The Action Network took the time to actually break down each player’s results in majors vs regular events over the last five years, and Schauffele was the player who presented the most dramatic splits in favor of majors, with an average finish difference of 19.57. That’s an insane number when you wrap your head around it and with some people still bitter about his T68, near last-place finish at The WGC Bridgestone last week, this seems like a perfect time to attack Schauffele in GPPs.
Webb Simpson: (7,700)
Very much like with Moore, Simpson is someone who people tend to forget about at majors. In the first three of the season, he has finished T20 at The Masters, T10 at The U.S. Open, and T12 at The Open Championship, but has only seen an average ownership percentage of 6.4% in The Millionaire Makers. It’s really odd this has been the case, when you consider Simpson has been a steady option in majors, making six straight cuts and 21/29 in his career. As for his current form, he has gained 5.0 strokes in his last ten events and ranks 10th in SG on par fours and 2nd in bogey avoidance in his last 24 rounds. (via Fantasy National) He is currently at 66/1 to win (via Bovada) and I think another major top 20 is very possible for Simpson at Bellerive.
Louis Oosthuizen: (7,700)
As expected, in Sobel’s piece, Oosthuizen also showed his major pedigree, with a positive finish difference of 8.4 spots in majors the last five years, which was third best of all the golfers ranked. As you probably already know, his major success goes back much longer than five years, but just to refresh your mind, Oosthuizen is 26/40 in majors for his career, with 19 top 30s, six top tens, three runner-ups, and one win, which came at The 2010 Open Championship. Recently, his game has been heading in the right direction, making five straight cuts, including a T16 at The U.S. Open and T28 at The Open Championship. Additionally, he is gaining 6.3 strokes per event during this stretch. At this modest price tag, Louis is a high upside play that can’t be ignored.
Danny Willet: (7,000)
After a very ugly season, it seems like Willet has finally started to regain some form. The 2016 Masters Champion has made three cuts in a row, with a T6 at The Irish Open, a T19 at The Scottish Open, and a T24 at The Open Championship. As expected, with this being the only signs of life he has shown in quite some time (6/16 this season), his stats aren’t very appealing, but at The Open, he ranked T6 in GIR and gained 6.4 strokes total, which was the most he has gained in a PGA event since his Masters win over two years ago. He was dealing with some injuries and making major changes to his swing, but he seems to be over those challenges and is ready for the challenge of this coming major. There’s absolutely risk involved in rostering Willet, but he should come with an extremely low ownership in The Millionaire Maker (0-1% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs), making him in an ideal risk for that large tournament.
Russell Henley: (6,700)
Henley was also a victim of a bad second round at Carnoustie, resulting in a MC, but this was his first missed weekend in six starts. Plus, prior to this, he had posted four straight top 30s, with finishes of T29, T25, T6, and T10. In that span, he was averaging an excellent 7.65 strokes gained per start. Also, before The Open, he had made seven major cuts in a row, with four finishes inside the top 30. Finally, this is the second lowest DraftKings’ price Henley has seen all season. He hasn’t played since that MC and I am sure he is ready for a bounce-back performance at this year’s final major.