The tour heads to Dublin, Ohio this week for another “Invitational” event in The Memorial, a Jack Nicklaus hosted tournament which takes place at the great tournament course of Muirfield Village. Muirfield is a great venue and is usually set up as a challenging but fair test. As a par 72, it has very scorable par 5’s but some longer par 4’s which often prove pivotal throughout the week. This week the conditions look fairly benign with cooler weather and some light rain which may make conditions soft and scorable so make sure to factor that in when making picks or projections.
Course Conditions: The course this week might be softer due to cooler and calmer conditions which may give a slight benefit to the players with good approach games and possibly take some advantage away from the bigger hitters. Muirfield really is a second shot course for the most part anyways and targeting good approach games should be high on your radar for DFS here.
Soft Pricing: One thing to note this week in DFS on DraftKings is that the pricing is basically the softest it has been all year; or at least it sure feels that way. Fitting in multiple studs into your lineup will be easy with some great players in the sub-7k range and so either looking for those really low owned gpp plays who will vastly outperform their ownership or going with a leave some money on the table strategy for larger gpps might be beneficial. Either way, don’t expect the top salaried players to be under-owned (at all) as there is plenty of great value in the lower tiers this week to save with.
Jon Rahm ($11,100): Rahm is seeing Muirfield Village this week for the first time on tour but I wouldn’t let that stop you from rostering him. In his first full year on tour Rahm has conquered tougher venues his own way and looked much more in control of his swing last week at Colonial than he did at TPC Sawgrass, when he ejected himself out of the tournament after round three. Rahm ranks second in SG: Approach for the season which sets him up well to tackle Muirfield, and at $900 less than Dustin Johnson, brings very similar upside for a lessor price this week.
Jason Day ($10,300): Day is in an interesting spot this week, as he is coming off his best week of the season (a playoff loss at the Byron), but is also playing a course that has given him issues in the past. Still, for all of Day’s misfortunes at this venue he did shoot a 66 here last season and was in the hunt going into the final day. No one needs another good start amoung the top players more than him right now and I think that given his level of improvement over the past two seasons he should be able to build on his performance from 2016. His approach game needs to show some improvement, but with the magic seemingly back in his putter I’d not be afraid to ride the Aussie here, despite the poor course history.
Rickie Fowler ($8,900): Fowler has really been great all season and at $8,900 is really just an easy value target this week on DraftKings. At under 9k Ricky simply brings better upside and stats than the guys ranked above him do and he also has a great overall history at Nicklaus designed golf courses too, especially with his win this year at PGA National. The consecutive missed cuts at this event might give people pause but this is Rickie’s warm-up for Erin Hills, and don’t forget that he did finish second at this event back in 2010. The price and situation are so right here that he looks like a near must play to me this week.
Bud Cauley ($8,000): It was nice to see Cauley finally cool off a little last week if, for nothing else, that it should lead to lower ownership on him here at The Memorial. Even with the off week, Cauley still finished T41 at Colonial and brings in a record this week which includes four finishes of 10th or better now in his last five starts. Cauley has not finished better than 34th at this venue in three starts but is three of three in made cuts and has also performed very well at Nicklaus designs throughout his career; including this season with nice starts at the Honda Classic and Career Builder. Now 10th in SG: Approaches, Muirfield Village seems like a good fit for Cauley and I’d look for him to bounce back from a slow week here in a big way.
Others: Adam Scott
Justin Thomas ($7,600): There is a lot of soft pricing this week, but the softest might be Justin Thomas. Thomas is the 13th player in the world but has gotten no respect from the salary makers at DraftKings this week as he’s just the 26th most expensive player in this field, which is missing several top players. Thomas ranks first on tour in birdie or better percentage making him a great upside play for DK. He has only played once since the Masters but he has done well at Nicklaus courses over his career, including near misses at both the Career Builder and the Honda Classic. I’d take advantage of this ridiculous price this week.
Danny Lee ($7,500): Lee is a streaky player, which always makes him a bit of dicey proposition for me in DFS, but when he’s on the top tens do tend to come in bunches. Lee has now finished 6th and 5th over his last two starts and is riding a great approach game at the moment, one which saw him rank inside the top five in Greens in Regulation in both his past two starts. Lee’s only misgiving right now might be his lack of course history at Muirfield Village, but this can be a fickle venue and even some top players have struggled here. Don’t be shocked if Lee figures the course out this year and continues his nice mid-season run.
Byeong Hun-An ($6,900): To make a long story short, I am riding An till the wheels come off (aka he misses the cut). In a sea of great value this week An’s name still really sticks out to me as he was all of 8k in his last start (when he finished T5 at the Byron) and now comes in at under 7k. The South Korean has been perfect in terms of making the weekend this season as he comes in having made 12/12 cuts and with top tens now in his last two starts. An also finished 11th at this venue last season and is 10th in par 4 efficiency from 450-500 yards in 2017, a stat to target given there are five holes that fall in that range this week and two that fall just outside.
Rafa Cabrera-Bello ($6,700): Cabrera-Bello is a player I have really warmed to this season. The Spaniard has a great attitude on the course, as was shown by his exuberance with the fans and his determination down the stretch at THE PLAYERS. His last two starts have been decent (T24-T4) and have also been marked by a hot putter, as he’s ranked 12th and 3rd in SG: Putting in that category for those weeks. Bello’s approach game (often his strength) was still decent at TPC Sawgrass as he ranked 15th in that category for the week and if he continues down this road he should contend at Muirfield too. He brings a lot of firepower and birdie potential at just $6,700 and should be squarely on your radar here.
Others: Tony Finau
High-upside GPP Picks
Patrick Reed ($9,200): Reed has had a troubling 2017 but the signs are there that he might snap out of his funk soon. While his approach game is still giving him issues, Reed’s putting and around the green game have been on point over his last two starts as he was 2nd in SG: putting and 7th in SG: Around the Greens at the Byron Nelson. While holding off for some better form might be prudent Reed has done well at Muirfield Village in two starts and was a solid eighth here last season. At $9,200 he should be lower owned than most players in his range and makes for a nice tournament target this week.
Emiliano Grillo ($8,500): Grillo has been under the radar consistent this season, making 10/11 cuts. The Argentinian has had some issues stringing together four good rounds but lately the signs have been there that a really big week is coming, and coming soon. Over his last two starts Grillo has put together some big rounds, and his 65 on Saturday last weekend, in very tough conditions, should not go unnoticed. He was in contention at Muirfield Village last season before fading on Sunday and a little bit of revenge should be on his mind in 2017. His price should keep ownership levels down this year which makes him a great target for tournaments.
Jamie Lovemark ($6,300): Lovemark is player people really wanted to play early in the season right before his game went South. With no top tens since the Sony Open it’s easy to write him off here too, but his T18 at the Byron Nelson should make us take notice. He was sixth in SG: Tee to Green that week and if not for a wonky putter could have easily been inside the top five. Lovemark has also almost won on Nicklaus designs before (Career Builder 2016) and could easily pop here with a big week if he improves on the greens even a little. A great gpp target on DraftKings this week at near the minimum.
Other: Bill Haas, Sean O’Hair
Players to Consider (in no order)
– Jason Day, Jon Rahm, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, Bud Cauley, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Byeong Hun-An, Danny Lee
– Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Patrick Reed, Jamie Lovemark, Emiliano Grillo, Bill Haas, Sean O’Hair
Jason Day 14-1
Byeong Hun An 55-1 ew
Bud Cauley 70-1 ew
Emiliano Grillo 75-1 ew
Rafa Cabrera-Bello 90-1 ew
Jamie Lovemark 200-1 ew