After a short layover, golf is back. Alex here, and I would like to welcome you to my first PGA post of the new year, my DraftKings Sleeper Picks for The Sentry Tournament of Champions. This PGA stop is held at The Plnatation Course at Kapalua in Hawaii. (Par 73, 7,452 yards) Its unfortunate, but for our first event back, we get a smaller no cut tournament with only 34 golfers in the field. Justin Thomas is the defending champion, winning the event at a low -22 last season. This was the third straight season that the winning score was -20 or lower, so barring any crazy weather, we should see very low numbers again. This is an easier track and the elevation of the course significantly helps the ball carry off the tee, helping everyone, even the shorter hitters who usually don’t bomb the ball. Finding the fairway isn’t overly difficult and approach game and hitting the greens is more important than your play off the tee. Four of the last five winners have ranked inside the top 20 in greens hit during their wins, with Thomas, most notably just last year, nailing 88% of the greens, good enough to rank him 2nd in GIR for the week.
Scoring on the four par fives will be important, but converting birdies on the 11 par fours has been the most crucial stat in the past. Over the past five years all five of the winners have ranked in the top five in par four scoring, with three of these champions actually leading the field in the stat. So all in all, I think we need to mainly focus on strokes gained tee to green, strokes gained on approach or GIR%, birdie or better percentage, DraftKings scoring, and last but not least, par four scoring. I know we are all very excited with the return of DFS golf, but with this small of a field and no cut involved, I think it is smart to hold yourself back and to just play GPPs this week. Naturally, every player’s ownership is going to be inflated and separating yourself is going to be a difficult task. Not only does the lack of players and no cut line hurt the product, but most of these golfers haven’t played in awhile, so even though we still use the data from their last group of events, we don’t know exactly what kind of current form they are truly in. This is a better week to play a smaller amount of your bankroll and to have fun, while using this week’s results as information for the coming weeks and the rest of the season. @Hunta512.
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Kyle Stanley: (6,800) This week, it is hard to overlook Stanley at this cheap of a price. He ended last season with three top 25s in his last four starts, then followed that up, with T21 at CIMB Classic, a T19 at The C.J. Cup, and then a T5 at The HSBC Champions in the fall. His stats were excellent in these three fall starts, ranking 6th in DraftKings points, 1st in strokes gained total, 23rd in strokes gained on approach, 7th in BOB%, 1st in greens hit, and fourth in par four efficiency when comparing all of these golfers last 12 rounds of golf. (via Fantasy National) Furthermore, during this span, he ranked 2nd in strokes gained on par fours that land between 350-400 yards, which is the range that five of these 11 par fours fall in. He is an extremely strong par four player and overall scorer making him the perfect fit for this venue.
He has only teed it up here in Hawaii once, back in 2013, when he finished T30, but he is far better player now, making 26 of his last 32 cuts, compared to in 2013, when he only made half of his cuts, going 12/24 for the season. Lastly, it’s worth noting that his odds are currently at 55/1 to win this Sunday at Kapalua, which are the strongest odds to win for any player priced at below $7,000 on DraftKings. I can’t say he is a sneaky play, but his expected ownership of 17-20% (via Fantasy Labs) is decently low, given the size of this field. But regardless of what his ownership ends up being, I think Stanley is one of the best values available this week, that must be considered at this soft price tag.
Bryson DeChambeau: (7,000) DeChambeau is a very tough golfer to read, but he ended last season with two top 35s in his last two FedEx Cup stops and then quietly posted three straight top 20s in the fall season. As far as stats go for those Fall events, Bryson ranked 7th in DraftKings points, 5th in strokes gained total, 5th in strokes gained tee to green, 6th in strokes gained approaching the green, 10th in BOB%, 2nd in GIR%, and 8th in par four efficiency. If this current form continues, he has all the tools for his fourth straight top 20 finish this week.
DeChambeau has never played here, which is slightly concerning, but this may keep his ownership lower than it should be. (9-12% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs) With no cut line to worry about, DeChambeau is the exact type of gamble I want to take in GPPs, that could really out perform his price tag, with him averaging 75.2 DK points in his last five starts.
Ryan Armour: (6,100) Armour carries a ton of risk, but at only $6,100, which is the second cheapest price on the board, I think he warrants GPP consideration after his solid showing in the Fall season. He opened the year with a MC at The Safeway Open, but rebounded nicely, making four consecutive cuts, including a T20 at The Shriners, and a win at The Sanderson Farms. Obviously these fields don’t even compare to strength of this week’s, but he was arguably the hottest player with his irons during the Fall stretch, nailing greens at high rate of 75%. Over his last 12 rounds golf, he ranks 2nd in strokes gained tee to green, 5th in ball striking, 1st in strokes gained approaching the green, 11th in strokes gained putting, and 14th in par four efficiency.
In his last round of competitive golf before the break, Armour played extremely well at The RSM Classic, carding a five under day, which was tied for the best round for the final day of the event. Just like with DeChambeau, Armour has never played at Kapalua, which should keep his ownership depressed. (5-8% projected ownership via Fantasy Labs) He could easily let us down and have a bad week, but that’s the risk we are taking with a player this cheap. All we want is a top 20 finish and a good DraftKings score, which I don’t think is out of the question. His $6,100 helps you squeeze in the high end guys you want and I think he is the best bottom bin gamble of this event.
Also Consider: Russell Henley, Branden Steele, Patton Kizzire, Austin Cook, Si Woo Kim, and Pat Perez.