2015 Fantasy GolfChris Garosi

Daily Fantasy Golf Strategy: WGC-Bridgestone Invitational

We move on to Akron, Ohio for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational after a rousing tournament in DC where Billy Hurley III secured his Tour card for the next two years and an invite here.

Our friends at DraftKings continue to roll out some fantastic contests. And I’m here to help you win some dough.

It’s a great week to check out DraftKings as they have some top notch contests.

Come on over and take a look.

Tour Stop

While many of the top European players are in France for the 100th edition of the Open de France, we still have an event here in the States. It’s the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. The event is played on the Firestone Country Club (South Course) which measures 7,400 yards and is a par 70 on the scorecard.  The last major redesign of the course was in 1985 and the greens are bentgrass on the greens.

It’s a small field each year, but this year it’s even smaller with just 60 golfers teeing it up this week. There is not cut for the event so you’ll need to leave some money on the table when attempting to differentiate your lineups.

The weather looks like it won’t be an issue at all so let’s not jinx it.

As always, continue to check up until lineup lock on Thursday.

Scorecard breakdown: A 7,400 yard par 70 means we’ve got some long holes. It’s the standard par 70 set up with 2 par 5s, 4 par 3s and 12 par 4s.

Field

The field is a bit weaker than normal as this tournament is up against the Open de France and many of the best European players are there.

The full field can be found here.

Also, thanks to GolfOdds.com for the odds this week. If you’d like to see a second set of odds, check out the Betting Zone’s odds here – just click on this week’s tournament on the left hand pane.

Past Tournament Results

The PGA has hosted a regular event at Firestone since 1976 when it was the World Series of Golf. The WGC event was established in 1999 and has been sponsored by Bridgestone since 2006.

Here is the top 20 for the last three years at Firestone.

2016_last_3_wgc_bridgestones

Statistical Review

Let’s take a look at the statistical angles in for this week’s tournament.

As for the key stats I’ll focus on this week, I’ll provide a short list below.

Seven of the 12 par 4s are between 464 and 494 so we’ll look again this week at Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 yards (P4E450-500).

The remaining five par 4s are between 399 and 442 yards so we’ll use Par 4 Efficiency 400-450 yards (P4E400-450) and round up the 399 yard par 4 to an even 400.

Finally, three of the four par 3s are between 200 and 221 yards so Par 3 efficiency 200-225 yards will also get into my model.

We will also use Driving Distance (DD) and Greens in Regulation (GIR) as small parts of the model this week.

I’m focused on 2016 stats now, but still check on 2015 stats to get a larger sample size on players.

And each week, we’ll look at Strokes Gained: Putting (SG:P) and Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG:T2G) with SG:T2G being more important this week.

DraftKings Expert Picks

Jason Day | $12,100 – Day is second with my stats view and has two top 15s in six attempts at Firestone. He finished 12th last year and has four top 10s in his last six PGA Tour events. He’s the best player in the field at the moment and I don’t see a reason to fade him unless you are worried he might withdraw as he did two years ago.

Dustin Johnson | $11,600 – Do you believe in current form or course history for DJ this week? He’s  first in my statistical model as he comes in off his first major win at the U.S. Open. He’s finished in the top 5 in his last three events and five of his last seven. The American’s best finish at Bridgestone is solo 15th place finish in 2010 and has only two top 20s in six starts. He  finished a distant T53 last year here.

Jordan Spieth | $11,300 – Spieth has started here twice and finished 49th and tenth in those two starts. He’s fourth in the statistical model this week, but his form has shown inconsistency.  He finished T13 at the Shell Houston Open and then finished T2 (Masters), MC, T18, WIN (DEAN & DELUCA), T57 and T37 (U.S. Open). 

Adam Scott | $10,500 – Scott has three top 20 finishes in his last five events including at the U.S. Open (T42 at the Masters, T17, T12, T55 and T18 at the U.S. Open). He has four top 10s here in 13 starts and won back in 2011. His profile is good outside his putting (119th in SG:P) as he’s first in SG:T2G, 50th in P4E450-500, 60th in P4E400-450, sixth in P3E200-225, 20th in GIR, and 19th in DD.

Justin Rose | $10,200 – The big concern with Rose is his back and more specifically, its health. There is only one way to guarantee a bad week at a no-cut event. That’s to have a guy who withdraws. However, the gamble may be worth it with Rose as he has been in the top five in three of his last four starts, and in the top 20 in six of his last seven starts at Firestone. His results have been up and down recently. He finished T10 at the Masters, then MC, third, T19, MC (U.S. Open). His profile isn’t a perfect fit to the course, but it’s worked in the past.

Bubba Watson | $10,100 – Bubba’s game has been off since the last WGC event and it’s not clear what the issue is. He finished T37 at the Masters, eighth at the Shenzhen International, then T43, T65 and T51 (U.S. Open).  His profile is similar to Justin Rose’s in that he’s not been great with the putter (116th in SG:P) and struggles in some of the scoring categories we’re looking at this week (22nd in P4E450-500, 86th in P4E400-450, and 132nd in P3E200-225). He had his first top ten here last year (second) in six starts and had three straight top 25s from 2010 through 2012.

Brooks Koepka | $9,900 – Brooks is in excellent form with his last three events ended with a solo second, T2 and T13 (U.S. Open). He debuted at the Bridgestone last year with sixth place finish. He’s ninth in my model this week with his only poor showing in par 3 scoring (189th in P3E200-225).

Matt Kuchar | $9,800 – I imagine Kuch could be the lowest owned player in this range. With Kukchar at fourth in my statistical model, he makes for an excellent option in GPPs. He had a string of four straight top six finishes ended at the U.S. Open (T46) in his last Tour start. He’s played Bridgestone seven times with two top 10s. His last top 10 was in 2012 and he’s finished T27, T12 and 25th.

Branden Grace | $9,700 – The stats don’t like Grace this week (176th in P4E450-500, 93rd in P4E400-450, and 151st in P3E200-225), but the last time we saw those same issues Grace succeeded at the U.S. Open. He has finished T123 and 17th in his last two appearances here. He’s won twice in 2016 including at the RBC Heritage a couple of months ago. He has three top 10s in his last four events including that win and a T5 at the U.S. Open in his last start.

Jim Furyk | $9,500 – Furyk seem like a trap, but I may just fall for it anyway. He has 10 top 10s in his 16 starts at the Bridgestone. He’s playing well with a T2 at the U.S. Open and a T21 last week at the Quicken Loans. He looks to be healthy and in form. It almost looks too good to be true.

Hideki Matsuyama | $9,300 – Hideki’s putter has been killing his chances this year as he sits 113th in SG:P. The rest of the profile is good enough to work here (fifth in SG:T2G, 80th in P4E450-500, eighth in P4E400-450, 162nd in P3E200-225, 25th in GIR, and 63rd in DD). However, he’s off form a bit having missed back to back cuts after four straight top 20s. He has one top 15 in three Bridgestone starts.

Patrick Reed | $9,100 – I liked Reed last week and he finished T38. He’s not been playing well lately (at least compared to his earlier work this year). His profile is “lumpy” (19th in SG:T2G, 93rd in SG:P, 122nd in P4E450-500, 43rd in P4E400-450, 37th in P3E200-225, 91st in GIR, and 49th in DD). He’s finished T4 and 15th in his two starts at Bridgestone.

Rickie Fowler | $9,000 – We want to believe that Fowler found something last week in those first two rounds at Congressional. He probably did, but they didn’t stick around for the weekend where he finished out with a 73-74 ending the week T44. It was his first cut made in four tournaments. He has three top 10s in six starts at Firestone with back to back top 10s. He is first in my statistical view this week so if you think Rickie can carry over his early week work from Congo, you’ve got a terrific value.

Phil Mickelson | $8,900 – Mickelson’s never missed a WGC-Bridgestone Invitational as he’s been here all 17 times it’s been held. He has five top 10s in those 17 starts. He missed the cut at the U.S. Open in his last PGA Tour start, but does have two top five finishes in his last five events. He’s seventh in my statistical model as he’s in the top 50 in all categories except his 78th place in both P3E200-225 and driving distance.

Shane Lowry | $8,700 – The defending champ will probably be low-owned based on his struggles on Sunday at the U.S. Open for everyone to see. The stats don’t line up particularly well this week (46th in SG:T2G, 84th in SG:P, 109th in P4E450-500, 172nd in P4E400-450, 70th in P3E200-225, 115th in GIR, and 57th in DD). However, he’s been in solid form with three top 25s in his last four events.

Charl Schwartzel | $8,600 – I may be too low on Charl, which is odd for me because I generally over value him each week. He is ninth in my stats model in the field (ninth in SG:T2G, 85th in SG:P, 73rd in P4E450-500, 15th in P4E400-450, third in P3E200-225, 19th in GIR, 69th in DD). He’s teed it up seven times and has only one top 20 finish. My concern with him is he’s travelling back from Japan this week and I’m not sure of the effect on the South African.

Jason Dufner | $8,500 – Dufner’s most recent start at Firestone was a T66 in 2014. However, his first two trips were far more profitable as he finished in the top 10 in 2012 and 2013. He’s playing well currently as he’s made six straight cuts and has been in the top 10 in two of his last three. The profile is good enough this week, if not outstanding (21st in SG:T2G, 156th in SG:P, 111th in P4E450-500, 35th in P4E400-450, 130th in P3E200-225, seventh in GIR, and 88th in 88).

Louis Oosthuizen | $8,400 – Oosty’s statistical profile is a mixed bag (18th in SG:T2G, 193rd in SG:P, 50th in P4E450-500, 194th in P4E400-450, 45th in P3E200-225, 34th in GIR, and 42nd in DD). He’s played five times at Bridgestone and finished in the top 10 twice and outside the top 35 three times. He finished T15 at the Masters and has made two of his four cuts since.

Zach Johnson | $8,300 – ZJ’s scoring (or lack thereof) is my main concern with him this week even if he was T8 at the U.S. Open. I think he may struggle to achieve full value unless he can end up in the top 10. The profile is average for the field (59th in SG:T2G, 60th in P4E450-500, 95th in P4E400-450, 76th in P3E200-225, 87th in GIR, and 162nd in DD). He’s played Firestone 12 times with three top 10s (last in 2013).

Daniel Berger | $8,200 – Berger’s one of my favorites this week in this range as he can score on par 4s and has a lot of other admirable qualities (28th in SG:T2G, 38th in SG:P, 43rd in P4E450-500, 18th in P4E400-450, 188th in P3E200-225, 54th in GIR, and 26th in DD). He debuts this week at the Bridgestone and has made 11 straight cuts on Tour with four top 10s.

Marc Leishman | $8,100 – Leishman profile lines up once again this week (41st in SG:T2G, 33rd in SG:P, 50th in P4E450-500, 70th in P4E400-450, ninth in P3E200-225, 62nd in GIR, and 44th in DD). He has three top 20 finishes in his last PGA events. He has one third place finish among his three Bridgestone starts.

Justin Thomas | $8,000 – I faded Thomas last week and he put up a T12 so I was wrong there. He’s made three of his last five cuts on Tour with two top 15s. Thomas debuts this week with a profile that doesn’t look like it should work at Firestone (62nd in SG:T2G, 150th in SG:P, 178th in P4E450-500, 141st in P4E400-450, 20th in P3E200-225, 99th in GIR, and 23rd in DD).

Bill Haas | $7,900 – Haas has one top 10 in six tries here in Akron. In fact his results aren’t terribly exciting (T33, T63, T19, T7, T41 and 25th last year). He was T3 last week at Congo, but he’s always played well there. His profile has some attractive pieces and some scary pieces (16th in SG:T2G, 141st in SG:P, 111th in P4E450-500, 26th in P4E400-450, 20th in P3E200-225, 38th in GIR, and 131st in DD).

Paul Casey | $7,800 – Casey’s profile is uneven (25th in SG:T2G, 129th in Paul Casey, 155th in P4E450-500, 22nd in P4E400-450, 86th in P3E200-225, 24th in GIR, and 53rd in DD). The Englishman has two top 10s in 11 starts at Firestone with his last one in 2007. He’s missed his last two cuts on Tour, but was T4 at the Masters and seventh at the WGC-Cadillac earlier this year.

Danny Lee | $7,400 – Lee has one start at Bridgestone and it resulted in a sixth place finish last year. He has made seven cuts in a row, but he’s trending in the wrong direction. The profile has a few things to hang your hat on (29th in SG:T2G, 125th in SG:P, third in P4E450-500, 128th in P4E400-450, 106th in P3E200-225, 102nd in GIR, and 148th in DD).

Kevin Na | $7,300 – Na’s profile shows strength on par 4s (40th in SG:T2G, 97th in SG:P, 19th in P4E450-500, 14th in P4E400-450, 113th in P3E200-225, 88th in GIR, and 179th in DD). Na’s last start was the U.S. Open where he finished seventh. He’s finished T23 and 15th in the last two years at the Bridgestone.

Harris English | $7,300 – English finished T14 and T31 in his two starts at Bridgestone in 2013 and 2014. The profile is solid especially in the scoring categories (92nd in SG:T2G, sixth in SG:P, eighth in P4E450-500, 70th inP4E400-450, 35th in P3E200-225, 114th in GIR, and 38th in DD). He’s made four cuts in a row on Tour with a solo second at the DEAN & DELUCA in that run.

Brandt Snedeker | $7,200 – Snedeker has never done well here as he has only one finish inside the top 30 in six. He’s also out of form having made just two of six cuts since the Masters (where he finished T10). I see him as a GPP option only as his stats SAY he should be good (47th in SG:T2G, 78th in SG:P, 42nd in P4E450-500, 27th in P4E400-450, 39th in P3E200-225, 71st in GIR,  and 84th in DD).

Byeong-Hun An | $7,200 – An debuted here last year with a T57. I predict he’ll finish higher this year! The profile works (52nd in SG:T2G, 105th in SG:P, 135th in P4E450-500, 24th in P4E400-450, 48th in P3E200-225, 64th in GIR, and 32nd in DD) and he’s made four cuts in a row  on Tour with two top 25s.

Scott Piercy | $7,100 – Piercy’s only elite stats are the ones I’m not weighting heavily this week DD and GIR. His profile isn’t great outside of those two and his results here aren’t great (T19 and T59). However, he’s shown up at bigger events (T2 at the U.S. Open, T17 at the WGC-Cadillac, and T29 at the Masters).

Charley Hoffman | $7,100 – The Californian has made 15 of his last 16 cuts on Tour, but his last three finishes have been T42, T37 and T57 (Quicken Loans). The statistical profile is a fit (33rd in SG:T2G, 77th in SG:P, 62nd in P4E450-500, 27th in P4E400-450, 34th in P3E200-225, 106th in GIR, and 36th in DD). He’s played Bridgestone three times and finished inside the top 25 once (T22) in his 2007 debut.

Emiliano Grillo | $7,000 – Grillo is also returning from Japan this week as he makes his debut at the WGC-Bridgestone. Like Charl, I worry about the travel after his second place finish at the ISPC HANDA Global Cup.

Chris Kirk | $7,000 – Kirk was tied for low round on Sunday at the Quicken Loans which enabled him to finish T12. It was his fourth top 20 in his last seven events. The profile works for this event (43rd in SG:T2G, 127th in SG:P, 58th in P4E450-500, 40th in P4E400-450, 86th in P3E200-225, 108th in GIR, and 143rd in DD). Kirk debuted here two years ago and finished T41.

Smylie Kaufman | $6,900 – Smylie will be heavily owned and for good reason because he’s a scorer (55th in SG:T2G, 89th in SG:P, 13th in P4E450-500, 58th in P4E400-450, 20th in P3E200-225, 39th in GIR, 29th in DD) and that’s what you want this week. His wrist is still an issue (he had it taped last week at Congo), but still finished T10. He’s made two of his last three cuts on Tour after missing three cuts in a row. 

William McGirt | $6,800 – I think I’ve highlighted McGirt as a solid play in every event over the last couple of months and I’m not going to stop now. He’s sixth in my stats model on the strength of his par 4 scoring (37th in SG:T2G, 27th in William McGirt, 29th in P4E450-500, seventh in P4E400-450, fifth in P3E200-225, 39th in GIR, and 138th in DD). He missed the cut at the U.S. Open after making six straight cuts culminating with a win at the Memorial. McGirt makes his debut this week at the Bridgestone.

Soren Kjeldsen | $6,700 – I think Soren will be low-owned this week, but there are some things to like about him. Kjeldsen missed the cut at the U.S. Open in his last start, but was 12th here last year in his second start at the Bridgestone.  He’s played well recently with four top 20s in his last seven worldwide starts including a T7 at the Masters.

Billy Hurley | $6,600 – Hurley III was a great story last week, but I’m not sure we’ll see anything close to that this week.

Andrew Johnston | $6,300 – Beef has to be under consideration for any tourney he plays. First, he’s nicknamed Beef. Second, he has five top 20s in 14 events in 2016. His form is trending poorly (T7, T12, T54, MC) so he’s a deeper play as he debuts here.

Kyung-tae Kim | $6,200 – Do you want a flyer down here so you can build a stars/scrubs lineup? Kim might just be your man. He’s actually played here twice with two top 25s though he last teed it up in 2012. He’s played extremely well in Japan and Korea this year with three victories and three other top three finishes.

George Coetzee | $6,000 – Coetzee won Dimension Data Pro-Am in late February of this year in one of the weakest fields you will ever see. Since then his best finish is a T35 at the Puerto Rico Open. This is not a weak field. We won’t likely see Coetzee contending.

Brian Stuard | $5,900 – Stuard won the Zurich this year. His best finish in his other 11 events? T55. No thanks.

Vaughn Taylor | $5,900 – Taylor has alternated missed and made cuts over his last nine events with a top finish of T35 at the Wells Fargo. He is fourth on the PGA Tour in P4E400-450 which could be useful this week.

Nathan Holman | $5,800 – The Aussie’s missed three of his last four cuts worldwide and was 56th at the WGC Cadillac Championship earlier this year. Pass.

Jim Herman | $5,800 – Herman makes a viable option this week after turning in a solid T39 at Congressional last week on a difficult, long course. We see another difficult, long course this week and Herman could do some damage. He’s been excellent all season in GIR (49th) and has shortened his game a bit by using 3-wood off the tee more (78th in DD).

Steven Bowditch | $5,700 – He won’t miss the cut this week so if you want to take a flyer, Bowditch is an option. He’s finished 44th and T12 in the last two years at the Bridgestone.

Davis Love | $5,700 – DLIII hasn’t played here since 2009, but prior to his vacation from Firestone he was a course horse of the highest order with six top 10s in ten starts. The stats don’t like him and his form is nothing to discuss. Perhaps the course will awaken his game?

Younghan Song | $5,600 – He’s here because he won the SMBC Singapore Open in last January 2016. Who finished second? Jordan Spieth. Not a lot of golfers can say that they won a tournament over Jordan Spieth. He’s been solid for much of the year in Asia having made 12 of 13 cuts with six top 20 finishes.

Michio Matsumura | $5,600 – Won the Bridgestone Open in Japan in 2015. Perhaps there will be some sponsor mojo?

Good luck this week! Head over to DraftKings to choose your squad for this week.

DraftKings Scoring

Roster size: 6 Golfers

POINT SCORING

Golfers on each team will accumulate points as follows:

  • Per Hole Scoring
    • Double Eagle (DBL EAG): +20 PTs
    • Eagle (EAG): +8 PTs
    • Birdie (BIR): +3 PTs
    • Par (PAR): +0.5 PTs
    • Bogey (BOG): -0.5 PTs
    • Double Bogey (DBL BOG): -1 PT
    • Worse than Double Bogey (WORSE DBL BOG): -1 PT
  • Tournament Finish Scoring
    • 1st: 30 PTs
    • 2nd: 20 PTs
    • 3rd: 18 PTs
    • 4th: 16 PTs
    • 5th: 14 PTs
    • 6th: 12 PTs
    • 7th: 10 PTs
    • 8th: 9 PTs
    • 9th: 8 PTs
    • 10th: 7 PTs
    • 11th–15th: 6 PTs
    • 16th–20th: 5 PTs
    • 21st–25th: 4 PTs
    • 26th–30th: 3 PTs
    • 31st–40th: 2 PTs
    • 41st-50th: 1 PTs
  • Streaks and Bonuses
    • Streak of 3 Birdies of Better (MAX 1 Per Round) (3+ BIR STRK): +3 PTs
    • Bogey Free Round (BOG FREE RD): +3 PTs
    • All 4 Rounds Under 70 Strokes (ALL 4 RDS UND 70): +5 PTs
    • Hole in One (HOLE IN ONE): +10 PTs

Scoring Notes: Ties for a finishing position will not reduce or average down points. For example, if 2 golfers tie for 3rd place, each will receive the 18 fantasy points for the 3rd place finish result. Playoff Holes will not count towards final scoring, with the exception of the “finishing position” scoring. For example, the golfer who wins the tournament will receive the sole award of 1st place points, but will not accrue points for their scoring result in the individual playoff holes.

Player Lock Notes: All golfers lock at the time the first golfer tees off on day 1 of an event.

Full rules are located here for DraftKings Daily Fantasy golf.

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