PGA DFS Core Plays: U.S. 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.

The U.S. Open

We could recap last week’s Palmetto Championship, but that would take away from this week’s U.S. Open. The third major of the year is on tap this week at one of my favorite venues, Torrey Pines. This course typically hosts the Farmers Insurance Open, although it’s important to note that they use the North Course for one of the two rounds of that event. It’s also important to note that the South Course will play quite a bit different with a U.S. Open setup. If you have any sort of social media, I’m sure you’ve seen videos of how thick the rough is already and they will only let it grow from this point.

Torrey Pines usually plays at a Par 72, but they will play it as a Par 71 this week. The course measures over 7,600 yards and will require precision off the tee and on approach shots. The last time it hosted a major event was the 2008 U.S. Open when Tiger Woods famously beat Rocco Mediate on basically one leg. For those agronomists out there, the fairways feature bermudagrass over-seeded with ryegrass, the rough features kikuyugrass with ryegrass, and the greens feature pure poa annua grass. This is typically one of the most difficult non-major tracks on the PGA Tour and we can expect it to be a stern test with a U.S. Open setup.

Even though this is a long course on the scorecard, it will not be easy off the tee. The average width of fairways at 250 yards out is only 26 yards, which makes them more narrow than the fairways at Colonial Country Club, Harbour Town, and PGA National (all courses that force many layups off the tee). For a reference point, many of the fairways at the PGA Championship (Kiawah) were 50 yards wide. You will need length off the tee to give yourself a chance at hitting these greens, but hitting fairways will be difficult. For my driving statistics this week, I am using a blend of strokes gained off the tee, driving distance, and good drive percentage.

Even though the U.S. Open changes venues each year, we typically see the same type of golfer play well at this event. Being long and straight off the tee is always a huge bonus at this major, which is why we see the likes of Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson play well at so many U.S. Opens. I expect a similar mold of golfer to fare well this week, as every par four on the scorecard except one measures 430+ yards. On top of that, all three par fives measure over 565 yards. There will be very few wedge opportunities this week, so focusing on those that hit their long irons well isn’t a bad idea. Between the long par threes, the long par fours, and the long par fives, we should expect plenty of approach shots from over 200 yards.

From a statistical perspective, I am looking for solid all-around golfers. Ideally, they will be long and straight off the tee, good with their long irons, good around the greens, and good putters on poa annua greens. While that’s stating the obvious, we obviously can’t afford six of those golfers in the same lineup. Aside from stats, I am looking at U.S. Open history, Torrey Pines history, West Coast history, and major history. These are all included in my model for this week’s event, so be sure to watch my model breakdown video, which will be released on Wednesday. As always, I am around to answer any and all questions throughout the week.

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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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