PGA DFS Core Plays: Sony Open

Top-ranked grinder, Notorious, breaks down his favorite daily fantasy golf plays at various salary ranges for the coming week’s golf tournament. Who should you be building around? Find out below.

Sony Open

Based on the number of messages and Tweets that I received last week, it sounds like it was a solid start to the year for RotoGrinders members. It ended up being a profitable week for me, largely thanks to the showdowns slates in the first, second, and third rounds. I’m still trying to crack the code on the final round showdown and could have used a two-putt from Daniel Berger on the last hole, but alas, I will never complain about a winning week.

We now head to Waialae Country Club for the Sony Open. This event has been held here for at least 20 years, so we have plenty of course history and plenty of course data to work with. The course is essentially a polar opposite from last week’s Plantation Course. This is a short Par 70 where the fairways are difficult to hit, while last week was a long Par 73 with some of the easiest fairways to hit on tour. There isn’t much of a correlation between the two courses, although there has been some correlation between those that play in the Tournament of Champions and those that play in the Sony Open. This doesn’t mean we should only build lineups with golfers that teed it up last week, but it’s worth noting that shaking off the rust at the Tournament of Champions has been beneficial to golfers over the years.

If you look at the golfers with the best course history at Waialae, you will see a lot of what I like to call plodders. The Webb Simpson, Kevin Kisner, and Matt Kuchar types that have a very good short game and very good wedges. The course isn’t particularly long (just over 7,000 yards) and doesn’t require a lot of distance off the tee. Accuracy is certainly a premium here, but playing from the rough isn’t a big deal given the size of these greens. Compared to tour average, the fairways here are tough to hit and the greens here are easy to hit. The course features bermudagrass throughout, so it doesn’t hurt to find golfers with a good track record on bermuda. The primary defense of the course is the wind and we aren’t expecting much of it this week. There were 10-15 MPH winds for most of last year’s event and the winning score ended up being 21-under par. We shouldn’t be surprised if 25-under gets the job done this week.

In terms of the type of golfer that I am looking for, preferably they are accurate off the tee. Ultimately, I’m not weighing any off the tee metrics too heavily this week. Golfers need to be good with their irons and in order to contend, they will have to roll in putts on these greens. With little wind in the forecast, around the green play is unlikely to have as big of an impact as it usually would at this event. I should also note that course history here is very predictive year-to-year, meaning the same golfers tend to play well here over and over again. This is a slight knock to the first-timers, but certainly not a reason to fade them completely.

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About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

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