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Sam’s Teeing Off – 2021 British (Open Championship) Open DraftKings Preview/Picks/Fades/Pivots

All stats from Fantasynational.com!!! Ownership projections also provided by FantasyNational as well as data and trends from Fansharesports.com! Follow @fantasynational @fansharesports @sscherman on Twitter!

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Course: Royal St. George’s Golf Club, Sandwich, Kent, England

Fast Facts

  • Par 70; 7204 yards
  • Deep pot bunkers, hard scoring, mostly uneven lies everywhere
  • Bentgrass/Fescue greens
  • Only 2 Par 5s and in 2011 only 1 of them played under par
  • Per Justin Ray, since 2003, the 2 Opens played here were lowest GIR% on TOUR (sub 55%)
  • Field: 156 players; Top 70 and ties make the cut
  • Very weather dependent; if wind is up, expect a winning score in the single digits
  • Corollary Courses: Royal Birkdale, Royal Portrush, Royal Troon, Muirfield, Renaissance Club
  • Top Course Fit Targets: Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Tony Fianu, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Jason Day, Alex Noren

Course and Weather Notes: Easily my favorite major to watch of the year, and probably favorite tournament for that matter, the British (Open Championship, I guess) Open should bring the unpredictability we’re used to this year as Royal St. George’s is a very tough test. The course is full of uneven lies, wind that is not only random due to it being the UK but also, it’s near the coast and only has 1 tree (no protection), and many run off spots that will test even the best ARG players in the world. I’m weighing not only British Open course history but incorporating a course fit in as well with other links experience/finishes and in my 20 lineups I build this week I’m going to have a larger player pool that has 5-10% of several sub 7k guys to embrace the volatility that this tournament always brings with it. As you’ll see below, I’m weighing GIRs and Scrambling more than T2G as you obviously need a strong T2G/APP/OTT game, as you do every week, but saving par, scrambling, and avoiding the doubles or worse this week will be the key to success. Per the weather, everyone will say it but it’s worth repeating that you should wait till as late as possible to build your lineups as the wind/weather changes seemingly by the minute and even the smallest edge by waiting until right before lock can put you well above the field. In contrast, don’t be afraid to lineup stack a weather draw that’s opposite of what the industry is doing because as I just mentioned, the wind whips around and changes on a dime so while a forecast could show an advantage, if things switch, you could be in a terrific spot with the opposite stack. Good luck this week and I hope everyone is waking up at 2-3 AM with me to watch all day!

DRAFTKINGS

Key Stats – Last 8, 12, 24, and 50 Rounds (courtesy of FantasyNational.com)

In order of importance:

  • GIRs Gained
  • SG: APP (emphasis on 175+ yards)
  • SG: ARG/Scrambling
  • SG: T2G
  • Bogey Avoidance
  • Fairways Gained
  • SG: Putting

The table below are my top 10 players in my course fit/British Open history model

This table shows players that have gained strokes (on average per round) in ALL SG categories over the given time periods (i.e., Branden Grace has averaged positive strokes gained in T2G/OTT/APP/ARG/Putting over his last 8 rounds and last 12 rounds). The players highlighted in green have gained strokes in all facets across all time periods.

Salary Ranges: Plays, Fades, Pivots, Ownership


The players listed below are not my only plays I like but some of the highlights and those I find intriguing for one reason or another.

8.5K and Above:

Plays

1) Jordan Spieth ($9,700) Projected Ownership: 24%

Key Stat Ranks (bold indicates Top 25 rank in the field)

  • GIRs Gained – 15th
  • SG: APP (emphasis on 175+ yards) – 66th
  • SG: ARG/Scrambling – 21st
  • SG: T2G – 10th
  • Bogey Avoidance – 17th
  • Fairways Gained – 116th
  • SG: Putting – 13th

Recent Form (bold indicates Top 10 or better finish)

Last Start – 19th

Last 3 Starts – 19th // 18th // 2nd

Last 6 Starts (or max) – 19th // 18th // 2nd // 30th // 9th

Course Fit/Course History (Course Fit is calculated by a player’s SG: Total on similar courses, listed under “Fast Facts” above over their Last 50 or maximum rounds)

Starts: 7 – 20th // 9th // 1st // 30th // 4th // 36th // 44th

Wins: 1

Top 5s: 2

Top 10s: 3

Top 20s: 4

Notes: Could be the chalkiest player out there but I can’t fade him here (kiss of death) … made his last 12 cuts with a win, 5 Top 5s, and he’s gained T2G in every single one and gained on APP in 11 of 12; as shown in the tables above, Spieth is one of 3 in the field who’s has gained strokes in all SG categories across all 4 time periods! He’s too cheap and an elite play in all formats

2) Patrick Cantlay ($8,900) Projected Ownership: 17%

Key Stat Ranks (bold indicates Top 25 rank in the field)

  • GIRs Gained – 3rd
  • SG: APP (emphasis on 175+ yards) – 33rd
  • SG: ARG/Scrambling – 5th
  • SG: T2G – 6th
  • Bogey Avoidance – 1st
  • Fairways Gained – 99th
  • SG: Putting – 33rd

Recent Form (bold indicates Top 10 or better finish)

Last Start – 13th

Last 3 Starts – 13th // 15th // 1st

Last 6 Starts (or max) – 13th // 15th // 1st // 23rd // MC // 11th

Course Fit/Course History (Course Fit is calculated by a player’s SG: Total on similar courses, listed under “Fast Facts” above over their Last 50 or maximum rounds)

Starts: 2 – 41st // 12th

Wins: 0

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 20s: 1

Notes: Went through a rough stretch but now has a win* (Rahm should have won) and back to back T15/T13 over his last 3 starts; he’s gained strokes on APP in 3 of his last 4, gained OTT in his last 6, gained T2G in his last 5, and although he has limited Open experience, he’s a great scrambler and knows when to save par over trying to get all his shots back and get himself into trouble

Fades

1) Rory McIlroy ($10,900) Projected Ownership: 12%

Key Stat Ranks (bold indicates Top 25 rank in the field)

  • GIRs Gained – 10th
  • SG: APP (emphasis on 175+ yards) – 28th
  • SG: ARG/Scrambling – 134th
  • SG: T2G – 7th
  • Bogey Avoidance – 77th
  • Fairways Gained – 119th
  • SG: Putting – 68th

Recent Form (bold indicates Top 10 or better finish)

Last Start – MC

Last 3 Starts – MC // 59th // 7th

Last 6 Starts (or max) – MC // 59th // 7th // 18th // 49th // 1st

Course Fit/Course History (Course Fit is calculated by a player’s SG: Total on similar courses, listed under “Fast Facts” above over their Last 50 or maximum rounds)

Starts: 9 – MC // 2nd // 4th // 5th // 1st // MC // 60th // 25th

Wins: 1

Top 5s: 4

Top 10s: 4

Top 20s: 4

Notes: I can’t play everyone up top and I much prefer Rahm if paying up as well as the guys below Rory… his stats are great, his form is fine despite a MC last week, but I worry if Rory’s volatile putting over his last 6-8 tournaments could hurt him and he admittedly in an interview has been trying to really figure out his swing over the last few tournaments since his win

2) Collin Morikawa ($9,200) Projected Ownership: 13%

Key Stat Ranks (bold indicates Top 25 rank in the field)

  • GIRs Gained – 1st
  • SG: APP (emphasis on 175+ yards) – 5th
  • SG: ARG/Scrambling – 72nd
  • SG: T2G – 1st
  • Bogey Avoidance – 7th
  • Fairways Gained – 4th
  • SG: Putting – 67th

Recent Form (bold indicates Top 10 or better finish)

Last Start – 71st   

Last 3 Starts – 71st // 4th // 2nd

Last 6 Starts (or max) – 71st // 4th // 2nd // 14th // 8th // MC

Course Fit/Course History (Course Fit is calculated by a player’s SG: Total on similar courses, listed under “Fast Facts” above over their Last 50 or maximum rounds)

Starts: None

Wins: 0

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 20s: 0

Notes: Literally nothing about his stats says to fade Morikawa but like Rory, I can’t play everyone and I’ll cross of Morikawa as he doesn’t have British Open experience and while his ARG game isn’t terrible, his putter is always his issue and at this price, he’s not like someone in the low 7k/6k range where we can move past it; this fade is scary but hopefully the course plays tough and not a birdie barrage/pin seeking tournament where I think Morikawa is more likely to thrive

Favorite Pivot

1) Dustin Johnson ($10,400) Projected Ownership: 9%

Key Stat Ranks (bold indicates Top 25 rank in the field)

  • GIRs Gained – 31st
  • SG: APP (emphasis on 175+ yards) – 51st
  • SG: ARG/Scrambling – 35th
  • SG: T2G – 25th
  • Bogey Avoidance – 6th
  • Fairways Gained – 126th
  • SG: Putting – 18th

Recent Form (bold indicates Top 10 or better finish)

Last Start – 25th

Last 3 Starts – 25th // 19th // 10th

Last 6 Starts (or max) – 25th // 19th // 10th // MC // 48th

Course Fit/Course History (Course Fit is calculated by a player’s SG: Total on similar courses, listed under “Fast Facts” above over their Last 50 or maximum rounds)

Starts: 9 – 51st // MC // 54th // 9th // 49th // 12th // 32nd // 9th // 2nd    

Wins: 0

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 3

Top 20s: 4

Notes: While not in “elite” or “DJ-esque” form, I think DJ being out of form has been overblown by many… sure we never know if he cares or if he’ll have it, but DJ has gained strokes OTT in his last 7 measured events, has gained T2G in 5 of his last 7 and has gained strokes putting in 4 straight… if he starts out poorly he could always mail it in, but he’s the #1 player in the world, has 3 Top 10s at the British and he could be sub 10% owned…

Mid-Tier Options (7.0K to 8.4K):

Plays

1) Cameron Smith ($7,800) Projected Ownership: 7%

Key Stat Ranks (bold indicates Top 25 rank in the field)

  • GIRs Gained – 74th
  • SG: APP (emphasis on 175+ yards) – 37th
  • SG: ARG/Scrambling – 58th
  • SG: T2G – 79th
  • Bogey Avoidance – 29th
  • Fairways Gained – 60th
  • SG: Putting – 17th

Recent Form (bold indicates Top 10 or better finish)

Last Start –30th  

Last 3 Starts – 30th // MC // MC

Last 6 Starts (or max) – 30th // MC // MC // 59th // 1st

Course Fit/Course History (Course Fit is calculated by a player’s SG: Total on similar courses, listed under “Fast Facts” above over their Last 50 or maximum rounds)

Starts: 3 – 20th // 78th // MC

Wins: 0

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 20s: 1

Notes: This may be too risky as a “core” play given that Smith has missed 2 of his last 3 cuts and hasn’t really torn it up at the British but his game should really fit this course… great ARG player, great putter, and is used to tough conditions with a ton of experience on the Euro and playing in Australia; somewhat of a poor man’s Patrick Reed, his stats will never pop but he has upside and the ability to grind out pars

2) Rickie Fowler ($7,300) Projected Ownership: 8%

Key Stat Ranks (bold indicates Top 25 rank in the field)

  • GIRs Gained – 129th
  • SG: APP (emphasis on 175+ yards) – 69th
  • SG: ARG/Scrambling – 13th
  • SG: T2G – 56th
  • Bogey Avoidance – 26th
  • Fairways Gained – 24th
  • SG: Putting – 49th

Recent Form (bold indicates Top 10 or better finish)

Last Start – 32nd

Last 3 Starts – 32nd // MC // 11th

Last 6 Starts (or max) – 32nd // MC // 11th // 8th // MC // MC

Course Fit/Course History (Course Fit is calculated by a player’s SG: Total on similar courses, listed under “Fast Facts” above over their Last 50 or maximum rounds)

Starts: 9 – 6th // 28th // 22nd // 46th // 30th // 2nd // MC // 31st // 5th    

Wins: 0

Top 5s: 2

Top 10s: 3

Top 20s: 3

Notes: His form isn’t THAT bad… in his last 4 starts he’s made 3 cuts that include a T8 at the PGA Championship, a T11 at Memorial, two tougher courses/non birdie-fests and has gained over 1.5 strokes on APP in 3 of those 4… his putter has been cold for too long, he’s an elite scrambler when he’s in good form and I give him a bump as he’s 24th in my course fit ranks with a T6/T2/T5 in 3 of his 9 Opens

3) Branden Grace ($7,200) Projected Ownership: 11%

Key Stat Ranks (bold indicates Top 25 rank in the field)

  • GIRs Gained – 29th
  • SG: APP (emphasis on 175+ yards) – 40th
  • SG: ARG/Scrambling – 2nd
  • SG: T2G – 14th
  • Bogey Avoidance – 4th
  • Fairways Gained – 110th
  • SG: Putting – 24th

Recent Form (bold indicates Top 10 or better finish)

Last Start – 54th

Last 3 Starts – 54th // 7th // 4th

Last 6 Starts (or max) – 54th // 7th // 4th // WD // 38th // 54th     

Course Fit/Course History (Course Fit is calculated by a player’s SG: Total on similar courses, listed under “Fast Facts” above over their Last 50 or maximum rounds)

Starts: 8 – 51st // MC // 6th // 72nd // 20th // 36th // 64th // 77th

Wins: 0

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 1

Top 20s: 2

Notes: He’s getting a little trendy but it’s a great price for a guy who suits this course as his successes have come in lower scoring/tougher events and fields; a T7 and a T4 in 2 of his last 3 starts, he ranks 2nd in the field in Scrambling, 14th in T2G, and he’s gained strokes on APP in 4 of his last 5 measured events

Fades

1) Tony Finau ($8,400) Projected Ownership: 12%

Key Stat Ranks (bold indicates Top 25 rank in the field)

  • GIRs Gained – 60th
  • SG: APP (emphasis on 175+ yards) 61st
  • SG: ARG/Scrambling – 49th
  • SG: T2G – 30th
  • Bogey Avoidance – 44th
  • Fairways Gained – 153rd
  • SG: Putting – 150th

Recent Form (bold indicates Top 10 or better finish)

Last Start – MC

Last 3 Starts – MC // MC // 32nd

Last 6 Starts (or max) – MC // MC // 32nd // 20th // 8th // MC

Course Fit/Course History (Course Fit is calculated by a player’s SG: Total on similar courses, listed under “Fast Facts” above over their Last 50 or maximum rounds)

Starts: 4 – 3rd // 9th // 27th // 18th  

Wins: 0

Top 5s: 1

Top 10s: 2

Top 20s: 3

Notes: We can look at his stats above, particularly since he normally is a stat god, and see that Finau is in horrific form as he’s lost the putter, he’s lost strokes OTT and APP in his last 2 starts, and while his ARG game is above average, he is susceptible to making big numbers and will always end up slightly more owned than projected… I would rather play most guys around Finau

2) Matt Fitzpatrick ($7,900) Projected Ownership: 18%

Key Stat Ranks (bold indicates Top 25 rank in the field)

  • GIRs Gained – 50th
  • SG: APP (emphasis on 175+ yards) – 117th
  • SG: ARG/Scrambling – 54th
  • SG: T2G – 34th
  • Bogey Avoidance – 53rd
  • Fairways Gained – 5th
  • SG: Putting – 30th

Recent Form (bold indicates Top 10 or better finish)

Last Start – 2nd

Last 3 Starts – 2nd // 55th // 10th

Last 6 Starts (or max) – 2nd // 55th // 10th // MC // 23rd // MC

Course Fit/Course History (Course Fit is calculated by a player’s SG: Total on similar courses, listed under “Fast Facts” above over their Last 50 or maximum rounds)

Starts: 5 – 20th // MC // 44th // MC // 44th

Wins: 0

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 20s: 1

Notes: Narrowly missing a win last week should bump up Fitz’s ownership a ton; however, aside from last week’s T2, he’s lost strokes on APP in 4 of his last 6, he’s lost strokes ARG in 3 of his last 6 and maybe what’s most surprising to me is that his British Open history isn’t that great with a T20 in 2019 but before that 2 MC and 2 T44 finishes… I’ll pass on what should be inflated chalk

Favorite Pivot

1) Christiaan Bezuidenhout ($7,400) Projected Ownership: 8%

Key Stat Ranks (bold indicates Top 25 rank in the field)

  • GIRs Gained – 36th
  • SG: APP (emphasis on 175+ yards) – 50th
  • SG: ARG/Scrambling – 14th
  • SG: T2G – 73rd
  • Bogey Avoidance – 38th
  • Fairways Gained – 36th
  • SG: Putting – 5th

Recent Form (bold indicates Top 10 or better finish)

Last Start – 44th

Last 3 Starts – 44th // 23rd // 31st

Last 6 Starts (or max) – 44th // 23rd // 31st // 37th // 30th

Course Fit/Course History (Course Fit is calculated by a player’s SG: Total on similar courses, listed under “Fast Facts” above over their Last 50 or maximum rounds)

Starts: 1 – MC

Wins: 0

Top 5s: 0

Top 10s: 0

Top 20s: 0

Notes: Elite name and elite course fit as someone who loses strokes OTT normally due to being a super short hitter but tremendous ARG/putting prowess, ranking 14th in Scrambling and 5th in SG: Putting; not sure if anyone will notice, but Bez has not missed a cut since the Scottish Open in October 2020 and in that span has 2 wins, 4 Top 20s, and has made the cut/returned value in 3 straight majors that didn’t suit his game… now we’re at a great spot and he’s only 7400? Love it!

OTHERS I LIKE: Jason Day // Abraham Ancer // Sergio Garcia // Daniel Berger // Alex Noren

Low Tier Options (Under 7K):

Punt Quick Hits

1) Keegan Bradley ($6,800) Projected Ownership: 6%

Quick Hits: I could see him getting more popular than my projected ownership but man does this course suit him… 8th in the field T2G, 2nd in SG: APP, 14th in GIRs Gained, and 11th in Bogey Avoidance… similar to the likes of Justin Thomas/Morikawa/etc he has a great ARG game, but sucks at putting; last 2 haven’t been great but he does have 3 T20s or better at the open in his last 6 appearances

2) Richard Bland ($6,800) Projected Ownership: 2%

Quick Hits: Old guy narrative at the British! Bland is having a career year (clearly) and while he doesn’t have a huge sample size in terms of stats on the TOUR, on the Euro he ranks 15th in Scrambling, he finished T22 at his only British Open appearance (2017), and in his last 8 starts he has a 1st/T4/T3/T8/T15 and only 1 missed cut

3) Charley Hoffman ($6,700) Projected Ownership: 6%

Quick Hits: Is 7/7 in made cuts over his last 7 starts with a T3 and 3 T20s or better in that span; Charley is an older guy who’s having a career year in terms of ball-striking and his course history is above average for a sub 7k player with 5/7 made cuts with 2 T20s in the last 3 years (also, nerdy but he loves to attack a course with a low ball flight)

4) Ryan Fox ($6,600) Projected Ownership 1%

Quick Hits: I only get to play this bomber once or twice a year and his Open history isn’t too bad with 3 made cuts in 4 tries with a T16 in the most recent 2019 edition; no one will play him since he has no stats for models but on the Euro he’s 3rd T2G, 4th in SG: APP, and 26th in SG: OTT

5) Sam Burns ($6,300) Projected Ownership 10%

Quick Hits: It’s an obvious punt but worth mentioning nonetheless since this price makes literally zero sense… is he a lock? No because of how volatile he is, but Burns does have a win this year and ranks 37th in the field T2G, 27th in Bogey Avoidance and if he can avoid big numbers, he’s probably the best value in the entire field at an absurd price

6) Dean Burmester ($6,100) Projected Ownership <1%

Quick Hits: Similar to Ryan Fox, Burmester won’t appear in anyone’s models due to nearly all of his play on the Euro Tour, but over there he’s 29th T2G, 32nd in Scrambling, and 21st in SG: OTT; he’s still a cheap punt with a ton of risk, but it’s worth noting that while his most recent form isn’t great, over his last 8 starts he’s made 7 of 8 cuts with a T6, a T4, and a win

Cash Game Options

1) Jon Rahm

2) Xander Schauffele

3) Jordan Spieth

4) Louis Oosthuizen

5) Patrick Cantlay

6) Paul Casey

7) Daniel Berger

8) Harris English

9) Branden Grace

10) Alex Noren

11) Keegan Bradley

12) Sam Burns

My DK Power Ranks – Generated using 30% Key Stats, 35% Recent Form, 10% DK Points Last 5 Events, 5% of my calculated odds for them to win, 15% of their Top 20 Odds, and 5% Course History

  1. Brooks Koepka
  2. Louis Oosthuizen
  3. Jon Rahm
  4. Harris English
  5. Jordan Spieth
  6. Collin Morikawa
  7. Patrick Cantlay
  8. Shane Lowry
  9. Xander Schauffele
  10. Patrick Reed
  11. Paul Casey
  12. Viktor Hovland
  13. Abraham Ancer
  14. Branden Grace
  15. Rory McIlroy
  16. Scottie Scheffler
  17. Daniel Berger
  18. Keegan Bradley
  19. Brian Harman
  20. Dustin Johnson

Betting/One and Done

Value Bets:

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