PGA GPP Breakdown: PGA Championship
Top-ranked grinder, STLCardinals84, will break down his top GPP golf targets for the coming week’s tournament, going over his favorite plays at various price ranges. Who better than PGA DFS master, STLCards, to help you on your way?
Welcome back, PGA DFS fans! The busy summer for the golf world continues with the final major of the year at the PGA Championship. This event rotates venues every year, and it will be held at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis this year. Bellerive last hosted this event in 1992, and it last played host to a PGA Tour event in 2008. Six under par was your winning score in 1992, while the 2008 BMW Championship saw a winning score of 15-under. This course will present a challenge for the golfers, but don’t expect a U.S. Open type challenge. It will play as a fairly long par 70 layout, but there will be some birdies out there.
Many golfers who have played this course in practice rounds have mentioned how important it will be to position the ball off the tee. The rough will be pretty thick, and it’s important to have the right angles into these greens. Total driving is a big angle for me this week, as I want golfers with a nice combination of distance and accuracy. Ball striking and scrambling will also be good statistics to target at a venue like this. You can virtually ignore any course history given the fact that we have no data since 2008. Current form takes priority here.
Let’s get to some GPP picks!
Dustin Johnson ($11,400 DK / $12,600 FD / $18,000 FDRAFT)
There’s little reason to doubt Dustin Johnson as a top pick at this point, as he is a top option on a weekly basis. Outside of his odd missed cut at The Open Championship, the form has been top notch of late. His last six starts have resulted in that missed cut and five top tens. His stats are elite across the board, with solid ranks in total driving (46th), ball striking (26th), and scrambling (10th). If anyone is capable of overpowering this golf course, it’s him. Despite a high price tag and likely high ownership, I can’t fade him here.
Rory McIlroy ($11,000 DK / $12,300 FD / $17,400 FDRAFT)
Some will argue that McIlroy’s form is just off right now, but part of that is attributable to our expectations. Since the beginning of March, he has the following finishes: 1st at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, 5th at the Masters, 2nd at the BMW PGA Championship (Euro Tour), 8th at the Memorial, 12th at the Travelers, 2nd at The Open Championship, and 6th last week. That’s seven top 12 finishes in his last eleven starts. That doesn’t sound like a slump to me. Use this as great leverage, as McIlroy will undoubtedly be lower owned than the likes of the aforementioned Dustin Johnson (especially after last week’s Sunday fade). While his driver has been wayward at times, his rank of 3rd on Tour in scrambling should help him on this course. There’s winning potential at lower ownership here, which is exactly what we want in GPPs.
Justin Thomas ($9,700 DK / $11,400 FD / $16,000 FDRAFT)
Salary, salary, salary. His price was too cheap on DraftKings last week, and it’s surprisingly affordable everywhere this week. This is a case where Thomas owners will benefit from the fact that pricing was released for this event before Thomas’ big win in Akron a week ago. He will be chalky, but it’s hard to pass on an elite golfer that is coming off a win and priced below five or six other players. He ranks in the top quarter of the PGA Tour in all the statistical metrics I am looking at this week, and I’ll have plenty of exposure despite his high ownership.
Tommy Fleetwood ($9,300 DK / $11,400 FD / $15,800 FDRAFT)
Fleetwood has played a LOT of golf this season, but his form does not seem to be slipping as a result of that. He has now posted three straight top 15 finishes in strong fields, and he is one of the best tee to green players on the planet. He currently ranks 3rd on the PGA Tour in total driving and 28th in ball striking. which is impressive given that he generally plays in the more difficult fields. He’s one of the safer high-end plays this week, and I’m fine targeting Fleetwood in any DFS game format. He will also attract a little less ownership this week than we would originally expect, with a lot of DFS players likely siding with Justin Thomas in this price range.
Patrick Reed ($8,900 DK / $11,200 FD / $15,200 FDRAFT)
DFS players don’t love targeting Patrick Reed. He comes off as a jerk. He doesn’t talk to his family. He was mean to that Golf Channel on course employee a couple weeks ago. I get it. He’s not the friendliest guy on the planet, and I often avoid him myself for those reasons. However, this guy is a proven “big game hunter” who always shows up for the major events. Reed has finished inside the top five in two majors this year, and he ranks 16th on Tour in scrambling. His tee to green stats don’t pop as much as some others, but there’s something to be said for his talent, the always limited ownership, and his tendency to show up in majors.
Patrick Cantlay ($8,400 DK / $9,700 FD / $14,700 FDRAFT)
Cantlay seems to be flying under the radar a little more right now, but his form hasn’t slowed down at all. He has only missed one cut in his last nine starts, and he has six top 15 finishes in that time span. The mid-range price point is very palatable in this spot, and his metrics from tee to green are elite with ranks of 34th in total driving and 17th in ball striking. With his ownership more in check these days, there’s plenty of GPP appeal given his upside. Even in a strong field, Cantlay is capable of contending.
Joaquin Niemann ($7,600 DK / $9,200 FD / $13,800 FDRAFT)
Niemann might have long odds in this field, but the kid is destined to be a major winner at some point, and he carries upside even in the loaded field. This is as cheap as his DFS price has been for quite some time, and he has already logged four top tens in 11 PGA Tour starts. He doesn’t have enough official rounds to be included in the PGA Tour statistics, but his tee to green metrics are fantastic. Don’t sleep on him being buried in the mid-value tier this week.
Keegan Bradley ($7,500 DK / $9,200 FD / $12,700 FDRAFT)
Though he is often a frustrating target, I like the way that Keegan Bradley sets up this week. He actually leads the PGA Tour in total driving this year and ranks sixth in ball striking, so there’s nothing to hate about the tee to green game. As always, the short game will be the hit-or-miss element for him. The price tag is very reasonable here, and despite a poor finish at The Open Championship, he warmed up with two top 15 finishes in July. He’s a very solid GPP value this week. If his tee to green game remains sharp, he should have a lot of birdie looks.
Gary Woodland ($7,000 DK / $8,900 FD / $12,200 FDRAFT)
Woodland went through a very poor stretch during the spring, but he has rebounded nicely of late. He has not missed a cut in his last six events and has now logged back-to-back top 25 finishes. He currently ranks 4th on Tour in total driving, and he leads the Tour in ball striking. His short game can be frightening at times, so he’s basically a slightly cheaper version of the aforementioned Bradley. Woodland tends to be very streaky, though, and I like the way he is trending right now. There is upside at a reasonable price tag here.
Thorbjorn Olesen ($6,700 DK / $8,600 FD / $12,000 FDRAFT)
He will probably garner a little more attention now after his weekend run at the WGC Bridgestone, but I don’t expect him to crack 12%+ ownership. Assuming he still flies under the radar, there’s plenty to like from a contrarian GPP perspective, especially since he is not a household name among the PGA DFS community and doesn’t play on the PGA Tour often. Olesen has five top 12 finishes in his last seven worldwide starts, and the price tag is still very cheap for our purposes. This is a great value selection.
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