Keeping the Card: Australian PGA Championship

Keeping the Card

As most of you know certain Tour pros have to make a certain amount of starts per year to keep his status on the PGA Tour. I have decided to copy that notion and do a few write-ups here and there to keep myself on the DFS Tour. Going forward I will be adding in my two cents for random tournaments to help give DFS players some insight into that particular event. A series of blog entries which I like to call, “Keeping the Card”.

As you all know the PGA Tour has stopped for 2017. Yes, I’m discounting the Hero World Challenge because, well, it sucks for DFS purposes. And yes, I like Tiger Woods, with ‘like’ being the key word there, but not even his presence is enough for me to throw even 25 cents into the mix on DK. The event itself should not be in the DFS rotation. But I digress.

I will, however, be getting in on the action for the Australian PGA Championship. I believe this is the first time I get to play DFS golf for an event from my home country and I’m a little excited. So what better way to start my series off than this event. Especially since information is very limited.

Now I will admit, I do not keep up with the PGA Tour of Australasia regularly, though I do read the newspaper from Australia everyday, especially the sports columns, so I have heard a few of these no names before but with no great research on them. I also know the European Tour is heading into the teeth of one of the biggest annual parties in Australia. Maybe even the biggest. It’s called Schoolies.

Schoolies is the term given to the annual three week party held on the Gold Coast as 30,000 teenagers descend into complete sin and party up the fact they no longer are in high school. It is believed that it generates $60 million in revenue for the area. Yes the Australian PGA Championship is a minor event in this area this week. I just think the juxtaposition is comical. On one hand you have a sport based on silence and abiding by the rules, just four miles east you have total and utter drunken debauchery. Since Queensland schools get out a week early this week is when schools from Sydney and Melbourne join in on the chaos. Week two is the craziest of the three weeks. Funny enough, the Australian PGA Championship has never been held on this week in the Gold Coast. So it should be interesting to see if it will be a distraction. Just to give you all a glimpse into what I am saying here is a promo of festivities. Schoolies As someone who participated in this festival (twice), I can tell you the area is loud and every hotel for miles has been booked out since January. Though most likely the hotel at Royal Pines has all of its golfers covered. If not, good luck getting any sleep lads.

As I search through social media I found this.

So why do I bring this up? Age might play a factor in selecting the right players. Though this week is designed for 18-20 year olds, players between 18 and 25 might be tempted to partake in the many events going on. This could lead to possible early exits and that might rock your fantasy lineup. My cash game lineup most likely won’t have a youngster on it. With exception to those born in Queensland. They are all use to this event and the Queensland section of Schoolies week is over.

So let’s take a look at the this week’s European Tour Event.

Australian PGA Championship

The venue for the Australian PGA Championship is the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast Queensland Australia. The area is a stunning place. The motto in Queensland is “beautiful one day perfect the next”. The whole area is a network of waterways and has a Florida feel to it. The weather does not look great for golf (ironically enough), with rain forecasted for the majority of the tournament. The wind should be coming off the ocean with an average of 9 miles an hour. Not too bad. Plus the Gold Coast has a very dense built up area of large hotels and busineses right on the water front. This will help absorb a lot of that ocean wind.

The course itself runs 7,364 yards long and plays to a Par 72. As mentioned above, the Gold Coast is a network of waterways and this course is no exception. Water is in play on almost every hole. In the four past tournaments held here, the winning scores have been scattered ranging from -19 from Harold Varner III last year, to even par the year prior. Adam Scott won with a -18 the first time here and Greg Chalmers won once with an -11 score. The back nine is the harder of the two nines having six of the nine toughest holes. There is also a “Party Hole,” similar to what we see at TPC Scottsdale. A hole-in-one gets you a cool one million dollars.

Golfers

European Tour events that are co-sanctioned by other Tours are usually much tougher to gauge than regular PGA events. Greater travel and less stats means you can’t accurately judge one player next to another. What I am taking into consideration is the regular course history and recent form. Though other things I am looking at are location of where each golfer is from, how have they played in the state of Queensland and the Northern Territory (never call NT a state, the locals get pissed). Traditionally Queensland and the Northern Territory are the warmer sections of Australia. I’m also monitoring social media for a few keywords. “Cocktails and Dreams” and the “Bourbon Bar”. Any youngster in this field mentioning those locations, avoid!

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$10,700

Nationality: Australia (Queensland)
Official World Rank: 86th
DraftKings Price: $10,700
Course History: 4 events, 2 top 10’s
Last Event: 4th (Australian Open)

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Analysis
As stated above I did not want to look at youngsters for this tournament as the temptation of surrounding events might play a role in their on course performance. My exception were young Queenslanders. Why? They are use to southern tourist flocking up north to party and the Queensland week of schoolies ended last week. That being said Cameron Smith is playing too good to pass up. I really love Marc Leishman as well, but his form is not as hot as Smith right now and the young Queenslander (Smith) has a better history here at Royal Pines with two top ten finishes.

Fitting in Marc Leishman on your squad will be tough as there are a lot of no names to sort through to get a roster you might like.

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$10,500

Nationality: Australia (Queensland)
Official World Rank: 31st
DraftKings Price: $10,500
Event History: 3 events, average finishing position (2nd)
Last Event: 50th (WGC HSBC)

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Analysis:
Oh how the mighty has fallen. It was not that long ago that Adam Scott was ranked number one in the world. Now he is all the way down to 31st. Ouch. Marc Leishman has taken over as Jason Day’s running mate as the top dogs in Australian golf. While there is no disputing that, the Gold Coast resident can still say “this is my yard.” Yes despite all the information on Adam Scott saying Switzerland is his residence (for tax purposes), he is a resident of the Gold Coast. In fact he is the Touring Pro at The Pines Golf Course just north of this event. His history at this course is amazing. A win, a second and a third. Scott to me is an almost lock for a roster spot and is a main reason I find Leishman the odd man out. I am hoping the Adam Scott haters are playing this week.

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$9,000

Nationality: Australia (Queensland)
Official World Rank: 186th
DraftKings Price: $9,000
Event History: 1 events, 2nd place 2016
Last Event: 36th (DP World Tour)

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Analysis:
With a lot of big names around, Queenslander Andrew Dodt might be a solid option as a GPP play. He has only played the Australian PGA Championship here at Royal Pines once, where he finished tied second behind Harold Varner III. Dodt is more of a European Tour player now and has not played many Australian events in recent years. Though he has a Queensland Open victory in 2014, beating Cameron Smith and Ryan Fox, to name a few. His last event was the DP World Tour Championship where he came a modest 38th. This will be one of the rare home events for Dodt and I foresee him playing well this week.

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$8,700

Nationality: Australia (Western Australia)
Official World Rank: 181st
DraftKings Price: $8,700
Event History: 4 events, 4 made cuts
Last Event: 19th (Australian Open)

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Analysis:
Though officially an Australian, Jason Scrivener was originally from South Africa and moved to Western Australia when he was ten. He makes another interesting GPP play as there are other names priced near him that would draw ownership away. Scrivener has been playing on the European Tour for all of 2017 giving him a more credible option than just a regular Australasian Tour player. He has played at this venue all four times, making the cut each time. He has two top 25’s here at Royal Pines. Jason is also coming in with great form. After placing well (27th) at the Spanish Open, he stepped off the plane and won the NSW Open in Sydney and then stayed in my hometown to place 19th at the Australian Open. I think Pampling and Fox will be a vacuum for ownership in this range making Scrivener a sneaky option.

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$8,300

Nationality: Australia (Western Australia)
Official World Rank: 318th
DraftKings Price: $8,300
Event History:3 events played, 3 made cuts
Last Event: 12th (Australian Open)

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Analysis:
So lets play a little game of summing up 2017 for one Brett Rumford (European Tour member). Starts off missing cuts in South Africa and Abu Dhabi. Then comes home to Australia, finishes 18th at the Victorian Open, then heads to Western Australia and wins the Perth ISPS. Then proceeds to crap the bed all over the world, all year long. Then returns to Australia a few months ago coming 18th at the Western Australia open, 47th at the New South Wales Open and then 12th at the Australian Open in Sydney. His course history at Royal Pines is three cuts made in three attempts. Rumford (or Rummy as he is known) must love the beer in Oz. His price makes me a little nervous so might be only worth a GPP play, though most of this field makes me a little nervous.

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$7,700

Matthew Millar

Nationality: Australia (ACT)
Official World Rank: 22nd
DraftKings Price: $7,700
Event History: 4 events, 3 made cuts
Last Event: MC (Australian Open)

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Analysis:
For me, Matthew Millar is only a GPP play. His course history for this event is four starts and three made cuts, with one top ten finish in those results. Millar is a PGA Tour of Australasia member and his recent form is scattered with either top ten finishes or a missed cut. Those those missed cuts were not played on Australian soil. Dating back to the start of 2015 his results from events played in Queensland have been: 2nd, 10th, 6th, 17th, 32nd, 72nd and 3rd. I’ll take those results in this field.

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$7,100

Nationality: Belgium
Official World Rank: 188th
DraftKings Price: $7,100
Event History: None
Last Event: 10th (Hong Kong)

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Analysis:
Thomas Detry is a name I never knew about until my last trip back to Australia. My cousin and I were smashing beers talking about golf, as he is an avid golfing fan. He was telling be about this young Belgium golfer he was watching and talking about how he really liked his swing. Like a drunken dumbarse I interjected and said you must be talking about Thomas Pieters. Then he said “close, but I’m talking about Thomas Detry”. This was right after his second place finish at the BMW International. Since then I have kept my eye on his results. I feel like this is a great time to play Detry. His results in Southern Hemisphere events have been solid. Even in nearby Asia his results have been good. For 7.1K he is a nice option in GPP’s.

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$6,700

Nationality: Australia (New South Wales)
Official World Rank: 636th
DraftKings Price: $6,700
Event History: 1 events
Last Event: 13th (Dell)

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Analysis:
The last player I will talk about has a great story and for this reason, I’ve always felt compelled to roster him. That is Jordan Zunic. In August of 2013, Zunic, was almost killed in a car accident in Little Rock Arkansas. He lost 40% of his blood thanks to a large cut from his ear to halfway to his mouth. After extensive rehab he was able to make it to the winner’s circle at the New Zealand Open in 2015. That punched his ticket to the former WGC Cadillac at Doral. Later that year he won the Northern Territory PGA Championship in Darwin Australia. Looking over his results from 2015 onwards, he has some real solid finishes in events with warmer climates in Australia. A lot of Queensland events and Northern Territory events. His history at Royal Pines for the Australian PGA Championship is two cuts made in two trips, with a top ten. For a field as shitty as this one, finding a diamond in the rough will be hard, but this might be the gem you are looking for.

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There are some of my picks for the Australian PGA Championship this week.

Good luck to all.

Cheers,
Gibb

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.

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