Fantasy PGA Preview: Sony Open

Well here it is folks, the first real event for the 2015 PGA season. We have a full field and a cut line, meaning everything is right in the DFS PGA world. The PGA boys are in Hawaii this week, and some of them only had to travel a short distance. So, as the majority of the country is freezing their tails off, the top golfers in the world are soaking up the sun in Honolulu.

Hyundai Tournament of Champions recap

I am happy to say my 2015 started of with a pretty solid start. If not for Bubba Watson and his 72nd hole birdie, I would have had five of the six players in my article make the top 10. That’s not too bad, even for a 34-man event. Hunter Mahan (17th) was the only letdown from my article last week.

Jason Day led my picks with a blistering 62 (tied the course record) on Sunday. Not only did he go that low, but so did Chris Kirk earlier in the day. Next was Zach Johnson at 7th and Robert Streb at T8th, and Ben Martin and Seung-yul Noh rounded out my picks at T11th each.

I didn’t get to watch the end of the tournament though. I live in Oregon and the Ducks are my team. I was down at the pub with a few other friends that are Duck fans. I didn’t get to see it, but Patrick Reed’s eagle did a lot of my teams in. I was cashing in all of my GPPs until that moment. So, at least a great win for the Ducks helped me get over Patrick Reed crushing my fantasy teams……oh wait, never mind that last statement. Just a bad Monday in general. The only saving grace was cashing in all of my H2H leagues, getting me a little over the break even point.

As for Patrick Reed, this makes four Tour wins. Three of his Tour wins now have come in events that guarantee players three rounds or more: the WGC Cadillac, the Humana (3 rounds before the cut line) and now the TOC. Somewhat interesting.

The Sony Open

The Sony Open is played at the Waialae CC in Honolulu Hawaii. The course is a Par 70 that runs 7,044 yards long. It is protected by 78 bunkers and 3 water hazards that will come into play for PGA players. The green size is 6500 square feet, which is nearly 2000 square feet smaller than last week’s Tournament of Champions. The greatest defense for this course is the wind. The forecast is not calling for strong winds, but wind sometimes has the ability to pop up from nowhere. If the wind does stay away, then expect scores to go low. Plus, there might be a little rain this week. A softer course with no wind means higher fantasy scores.

Last week, I mentioned the pricing for DraftKings. It seemed similar to the old DraftStreet pricing and I was curious on seeing how it would be for a full field event with a cut line. With Jason Day being priced at $16,000 this week, it is safe to say they are continuing with DraftStreet style pricing. I love it!

For those who did not play DraftStreet golf, they used to have a $100,000 limit for your six golfers, and the top guys would push or exceed $30,000. Seeing as DraftKings plays with a $50,000 limit, it is safe to say that tight model is being used. The only aspect of this week’s pricing I would change is swapping Jimmy Walker and Jason Day around. Walker is the defending champion and almost won last week, making him the top dog on everyone’s radar this week.


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Ryan Palmer
DraftKings $9,700
Fantasy Feud $137,000
DraftDay $18,050
This week, there is so much value in the middle that you don’t need to chase after the most expensive players to succeed. Palmer fits into the mold of the perfect blend of past success at this course, coupled with solid recent form. His price will not break the budget either. Palmer won the 2010 Sony Open (-15) and is coming off a top 10 finish last year at this course. His last five starts have seen him pick up three top 10 finishes and five top 25 finishes. If you are a stats person, you will notice his stats are not complete. That is because he has only played one PGA event since the Tour Championship: the WGC HSBC event. They do not track as many stats for that event. The other two events he has played since the end of last season have been European Tour events.
Last Three Events
HSBC BMW Masters Alfred Dunhill
22nd 8th 14th
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Luke Donald
DraftKings $9,600
Fantasy Feud $130,000
DraftDay $17,600
When I first started playing DFS PGA, if you took Luke Donald you paid up the nose for him. He was priced as a player, who if you took him, it was top five or bust. Of course, that was when he was the top player in the world. Fast forward to 2015, and he starts this week off as the 33rd ranked player in the world. His price tag has dropped considerably and now is not in that “must tear it up” category. He has the ability to win every tournament he enters and could make a very strong GPP play this week. He is coming off a 3rd place at the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa. Glancing over his last 50 starts, Donald has had some strong finishes the very next tournament after a top 10 finish.
Last Three Events
Nedbank Dubai Turkish
3rd 26th 33rd
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Marc Leishman
DraftKings $9,000
Fantasy Feud $123,000
DraftDay $16,650
Leishman is a player who has enjoyed strong finishes here at the Sony. He is five out of five in cuts made, placing fifth here last year. He has four top 25 finishes under his belt in those five starts. His one finish out of the top 25 was a 27th finish in 2011. His average finish at the Sony Open is 14.6. In his 20 rounds played, 13 of them have been under par. Leishman enjoyed a successful trip back to Australia in the off-season, placing 11th at the Australian PGA Championship. He also placed 9th at the WGC HSBC.
Last Three Events
11th 5th 39th
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David Hearn
DraftKings $6,800
Fantasy Feud $88,000
DraftDay $13,700
Hearn should be a cheaper option than those above. His record at the Sony is four cuts made out of four trips here. He has had one top 10 finish (10th 2012). He has an average finishing place of 36.8, and his worst finish was in 2011, when rain wiped out most of the tournament, only letting the top 60 players advance. In that tournament, he finished 68th (still got credit for making the cut). So, out of the 14 rounds he has played, at the Sony he has scored under par in 10 of them. His first three starts this season have been solid, as he has placed inside the top 20 in all them with one top 10 finish.
Last Three Events
Mayakoba Sanderson Shriners
16th 14th 7th
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Stewart Cink
DraftKings $6,300
Fantasy Feud $81,000
DraftDay $12,850
Last season Stewart Cink was a cut making machine. He played in 25 events and only missed three cuts. Cink has played at the Sony 11 times in his career, making 6 cuts. While on the surface that does not sound great, three of those six missed cuts came in his first three starts at the Sony. His last five starts here have him making the cut four times, including last season where he finished T20th. He has made the cut twice this season in both tournaments that had cut lines (McGladrey and Shriners)
Last Three Events
CIMB McGladrey Shriners
56th 32nd 33rd
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Brice Garnett
DraftKings $4,800
Fantasy Feud $44,000
DraftDay $9,500
If you have read all of my articles, you know this is the fifth time I’ve written about Brice Garnett. There are two things I like about Garnett. One, whenever I write about him, he makes me look good. Two, he is the only PGA player to ever favorite one of my Tweets. So on both accounts, I thank you kind sir. Garnett does not usually make a lot of waves, thus the reason he is consistently priced near the bottom. On the flip side of that, in 2014 he started 29 events, and out of those 29 events, he only missed the cut 9 times. When you think about players like Billy Horschel and even last week’s winner Patrick Reed, they missed 6 and 7 cuts respectively in 2014. Now I’m not trying to say Brice Garnett is on the same level as the Tour Champion and last week’s winner, but his consistency in making cuts, coupled with his low price, makes him a perfect GPP play. To add on one more thing, he is coming off a top 10 finish at the Mayakoba. His lone top 10 last season saw him finish 53rd the following event. For $4,800 on DraftKings, I would take a 53rd from Brice Garnett, though I’m hoping for much better. If you need another sleeper pick, take a look at Tim Wilkinson at $4,200.
Last Three Events
Mayakoba CIMB McGladrey
6th 56th 73rd
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So there you have it guys: my picks for the Sony Open.

Good luck to everyone!


About the Author

  • Gibb Pollard (gibbathy)

  • Gibb Pollard has been a member of RotoGrinders since 2012. He is an example of the power of the RotoGrinders blog section, taking a little weekly PGA blog in 2012 and turning it into a two-time FSWA nominated column. In 2014 he took down the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year award. Originally hailing from Australia, he is a regular on our PGA GrindersLive shows, giving our cast of hosts some international flavor.


  • DrewCrew

    Great stuff as usual. Thanks. No CHIII though. Reason for fading him?

  • gibbathy

    2014 FSWA Golf Writer of the Year

    • Blogger of the Month

    It would be the 3rd year in a row I would have written about him for the Sony.

  • Frolik67

    I have the same reason for liking Streb as you like Garnett!! Just a little favorite on a tweet, and hes my favorite PGA player, just like that!

  • Bolwellb

    • 2015 FAFC Finalist

    Nice article… Another sleeper this week I’m targeting is Fabian gomez… he’s in good form (taking home a win and a 3rd on the PGA Latinoamerican tour and also currently ranked in the top 50 of the FedExCup). What are your thoughts on him as a possible sleeper?

  • Notorious

    Lead RG Analyst

    • 295

      RG Overall Ranking

    • 2018 DraftKings FBBWC Finalist

    • 2013 FanDuel WFBBC Finalist

    Great work Gibb!

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