This week, the Tour heads to Malaysia for a co-sanctioned event with the Asian Tour. Only 60 PGA Players receive automatic spots in this field, and the rest is rounded out by Asia’s best players. This week’s field is headlined by Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas, and Sergio Garcia. Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia are coming off decently long layoffs, Paul Casey comes in scorching hot, and Hideki Matsuyama comes off a win on the Japan Tour last week. It’s also important to note that this is a no-cut event, meaning every player gets to play four rounds, no matter what. That always lends itself to a stars-and-scrubs roster construction.
Daily and weekly Fantasy sports have become all the rage. Battling it out over an entire season is fun, but sites like DraftKings offer a quicker payoff and big payouts for winners! Not only do they offer daily action in the four major professional sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) as well as college basketball and football but also the PGA Tour.
Your DraftKings lineup is made up of six golfers you select from within the $50,000 salary cap.
Each week DraftKings offers a wide selection of games to enter at a variety of price points. You can even get a feel for the game in a freeroll contest. Before you put your cash on the line, I'll offer my Top Values and Steals in this space every week, specifically geared to help build a winning DraftKings squad. I'll also give you my Overpriced golfers to avoid and a couple of “Vegas Says…” tips to help you find those players for GPPs.
The course hasn’t changed since 2010, but it has changed names a few times (now called TPC Kuala Lumpur). This is a par-72 course which only measures 6,985 yards, making it one of the shortest the players see all year. This means distance isn’t going to be as important, and ball-striking, driving accuracy, proximity to the hole, and greens in regulation are my target stats. Our two-course horses fit that mold to a tee: Kevin Na and Ryan Moore. I also don’t think putting is as important this week because last year’s leaderboard was littered with sub-par putters: Justin Thomas (win), Adam Scott (2nd), Hideki Matsuyama (5th), and Tony Finau (8th).
Recent Tournament History
We have plenty of course history to draw upon, although most players in the field only have a year or two of data.
Here is the data we can draw upon for this week’s Tournament History:
Finished in the top-10 each of the last three years: Ryan Moore.
Finished in the top-10 in two of the last three years: Kevin Na, Gary Woodland, Charles Howell III.
Current Form Review
Each week, we’ll take a look backward at the last three tournaments on the PGA and European Tours. However, because this is the start of a new season and most players have had a month or so off, we will focus on course history and stats. I have, however, included the top-20 from last week’s Safeway Open, and highlighted the players in this field:
Birdie or Better % (BoB%):
There are not many weeks where we aren’t going to target birdie or better percentage because that’s what Fantasy golf scoring is all about. Last year, there were some low rounds here, and Justin Thomas won with a total of -26. Guys like Thomas, Tony Finau, Daniel Berger, and Smylie Kaufman come to mind in this week’s field when targeting birdie makers who will benefit from the no-cut format. It’s possible to have a player finish top-10 in Fantasy points while not finishing anywhere near the top-10 in the actual event.
Strokes Gained Approach (SG: Approach):
TPC Kuala Lumpur is a fairly short course, so hitting fairways and subsequently hitting greens will be critical. I think players will distance themselves from the field based on proximity to the hole on approach shots on the par-4s, and tee shots on the par-3s. When looking at how players in this field finished in 2016’s SG:Approach stats, you’ll see some names that are reflected in my rankings below: Adam Scott (1st), Kevin Na (2nd), Hideki Matsuyama (3rd), Kevin Chappell (9th), and Paul Casey (11th).
Par 5 Scoring (P5):
Not as critical as par-4 scoring this week, but there are reachable par-5 holes that players will need to dominate. I’m not just targeting bombers here, but players who score well on all types of par-5 holes (i.e. great wedge players).
As usual, we will be looking towards strokes gained tee-to-green from last season, but with a lot of players coming off month-long breaks, it’s a bit unpredictable.
As always, check back on the weather Wednesday to see the final forecast. This week it looks like players will see temperatures in the low to mid-90’s with a chance of rain on Thursday only. It sounds like weather won’t be too much of an issue, except for the heat.