Welcome back everyone. Alex here, and I am a back with my DraftKings sleeper picks for the season’s final major, The PGA Championship. Last week was a terrific week for my sleepers, as Kevin Chappell and Xander Schauffele both finished T13th, and Charley Hoffman almost captured a win, ending with a lone 3rd place at The WGC Bridgestone. All of their ownerships ended up being higher than projected, but regardless of ownership levels, all three of the featured golfers turned out to be extremely strong value plays. Now let’s try to keep this going this week at The PGA Championship. This year the event is being held at Quail Hollow Club, which is a 7,600 yard par 71, located in Charlotte, North Carolina. This course is usually where The Wells Fargo Championship takes place every year, so we have a decent amount of course history to fall back on for this Major. There have been some changes to the course, but I still think course track records are still a valuable tool for this week. James Hahn is the last player to win a PGA event at this venue, finishing -9 at The 2016 Wells Fargo Championship. This course is home to some difficult fairways to hit and bombers have had the most success in the past.
You don’t need to be extremely long, but a good amount of the time these players will be approaching the green from the rough, so it makes sense to target players who hit it decently long and gain strokes off the tee. Via Fantasy Golf Metrics, the last ten winners at Quail Hollow have hit an average drive of 305.5 yards with a low driving accuracy percentage of only 55.2%. This is a longer track with plenty of long par fours. Not only will it help to be long off the tee, it will also be important to play well with your longer irons, as that the last ten winners on this course have seen 34.5% of their approach shots come from over 200 yards. (via Fantasy Golf Metrics) Finally, I want to target efficient par four players here at Quail Hollow. Over the last ten tournaments here, all ten of the champions have ranked in the top five in par four scoring during those weeks, with six of these winners leading the field during their wins. Rory McIlroy actually lead field in both of his wins here in 2010 and 2015. So outside of these stats, as with all the majors, I will be also focusing on current form of course, PGA Championship history, major pedigree, along with Quail Hollow history if available. After one no cut event last week at The WGC Bridgestone, we are now back to a normal full field, with the top 70 and ties making the cut. DraftKings, as usual, has used their very soft pricing yet again for a major and this is an ideal week to use a higher amount of your bankroll for both cash games and GPPs. So have fun, good luck, and if any of these picks help you win or if you need any help making a decision, just let me know on Twitter. @Hunta512.
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Tony Finau: (7,000) When I first looked at the pricing for this major, the name that stood out as an extreme value was Finau at only $7,000. His game is a great fit for Quail Hollow and he has already proven twice in 2015 (T16th) and in 2016 (T28th) that he can compete at this track. His form is great right now, making eight straight cuts, with two top tens and four top 20 finishes. We all know Finau is one of the longest hitters on The Tour, averaging a 314.6 yard drive in his last eight starts, but he also has been rolling it well on the greens, with a 28 average putts per round during this stretch.
He ranks 9th in birdie or better percentage, 41st in par four birdie or better percentage, 10th in par four scoring, T59th in approaches from over 200 yards, and 4th in strokes gained off the tee this season. As of late, he has been on of the best DraftKings point producers, ranking 4th in DraftKings scoring of the all players in this field over their last 36 rounds. (Via Fantasy National) Lastly, he is 4/6 in majors, including a 10th place back at The 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Everything is setting up for Finau to have a very successful week and I think he is one of the best values in the field that I will be using with confidence in both cash games and GPPs.
Ian Poulter: (7,000) He isn’t a monster off the tee, which is a slight concern, but everything else about Poulter’s game right now is perfect for this course. After almost losing his Tour card, the veteran player has made eight consecutive cuts, including a T9 at The Scottish Open, a T14 at The Open Championship, and a 3rd place at The Canadian Open. He has ranked with the best statistically over these past three tournaments, ranking 9th in strokes gained total, 14th in birdies, 5th in strokes gained tee to green, 5th in strokes gained approaching the green, 5th in strokes gained around the green, and 1st in strokes gained on par fours. (via Fantasy National)
This won’t be his first rodeo at Quail Hollow either, as he is 3/5 in made cuts in Charlotte, making his last three, with a T5 in 2009, and is 11/14 in PGA Championships total. He seems to be in a much better place mentally and if he continues to shoot low numbers on par fours, Poulter has top 20 upside, and is a name that could potentially get overlooked in GPPs. (9-12% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs)
Danny Lee: (6,600) If you forget about his withdrawal from The John Deere Classic, Lee has technically made eight straight cuts, finishing inside the top ten in four of these events. In his last four made cuts, he has been on fire when approaching the green, hitting a high 75% of greens and has been decently long off the tee, averaging a 291.75 yards per long drive. Also, again if we exclude that one round he played at The John Deere, Lee has been shooting an awesome average score of -6 on par fours per tournament in his last two made cuts, at The Canadian Open and The Greenbrier Classic.
Additionally, for the year, he ranks 33rd in strokes gained putting, 82nd in strokes gained tee to green, 57th in par four scoring, 29th in par four birdie or better percentage, and 33rd in regular birdie or better percentage. His major record isn’t great at 4/8 made cuts, but he has made the cut in both of his only two starts in PGA Championships, and he has been very successful here at Quail Hollow, making 4/5 cuts, posting back to back top 15s in last two tries at this venue. At the moment, he seems to be a forgotten man in the DFS golf world and I think this is a great time to hop back on Lee at this depressed price tag in GPPs. (2-4% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs)
Also Consider: Charl Schwartzel, Bubba Watson, Kevin Chappell, Xander Schauffele (nice fit for this track and even though he has been playing extremely well, he might go under owned because of his lack of history at Quail and in PGAs), Steve Stricker, Jamie Lovemark, Jhonattan Vegas (2/2 in PGAs, his approach game was ugly last week, but he has the distance), Francesco Molinari (T17th at Quail Hollow last year), Zach Johnson (eight straight made cuts at Quail Hollow), and Gary Woodland.