PGA DFS Optimizer Picks for the WGC Match Play: Jordan Spieth Earns the Luck of the Draw

Following Taylor Moore’s breakthrough win at the Valspar, the PGA Tour hosts the WGC Match Play in Austin, Texas, this week. Ever since this event was added to the PGA Tour schedule in 2016, Austin Country Club (par 71, 7,108 yards, poa trivialis greens) has been the only course to host this tournament. Scottie Scheffler won last season, defeating Kevin Kisner in the finals. This is a 64-man field and a five-day tournament that will begin Wednesday.

Only DraftKings is offering DFS contests for the WGC Match Play this week, and its scoring format is very different from a standard tournament. Instead of golfers accruing fantasy points based on pars, birdies, eagles, bogeys and finishing position, players will receive and lose points based on matches and holes won, lost and halved.

Below are some of the top PGA DFS picks for the WGC Match Play, utilizing Stokastic’s Top Golfers Tool to find the best leverage plays for GPPs.

PGA DFS Picks & Leverage: WGC Match Play

The field is dispersed into groups of four, which are called “pods.” Every golfer in each pod will face the other three players in their group once over the first two days of the event, and then the player with the best record in their pod will advance to the round of 16. Then those 16 golfers will compete in a single-elimination bracket for the final two days of the tournament.

Austin Country Club is a short, Pete Dye-designed par 71 that features small greens and an overabundance of bunkers. Both long and short hitters have won here, and like with most Dye creations, off the tee is not a focus for Austin Country Club. Instead, prioritize strong iron players and crafty golfers around the greens. Additionally, since the three par 5’s are easily the best scoring opportunities, targeting elite par-5 players has a ton of merit.

Leverage scores are a product of comparing a player’s ownership versus their salary-weighted odds to finish in the top 6 of the tournament.

Jordan Spieth

Stokastic Ownership Projection: 4.4%

Spieth is a must-roster, with Stokastic forecasting him for very low ownership. He was on the cusp of winning for the first time this season at the Valspar last week, placing third and gaining strokes in every major category. Spieth has now collectively gained strokes on approach and around the green in five straight starts, helping him card three top-6 finishes during this span.

Spieth is 10-7-3 in match play at Austin Country Club and begins this week in a favorable pod, facing Shane Lowry, Mackenzie Hughes and Taylor Montgomery. Lowry has never fared well in match play throughout his career (8-18-3 record), and this will be Montgomery’s debut in the format. Hughes is a solid 4-2-1 at Austin Country Club but has been poor lately, missing three of his last five cuts. Given how weak his pod and corner of the bracket is, Spieth is in prime position to rejoin the winner’s circle in his home state this weekend. He is the best contrarian pick on the board.

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Jason Day

Stokastic Ownership Projection: 9.2%

Day is in outstanding form, with six straight top-20 finishes. Furthermore, he ranks seventh in strokes gained around the green and first in bogeys avoided over his last 50 rounds. Day is an impressive 25-16 in match play for his career, and he will be going against Collin Morikawa, Victor Perez and Adam Svensson in his pod. Morikawa is obviously the biggest threat of the group talent-wise, but he has struggled in match play in his career, going 2-2-3. Svensson brings strong form to Austin, with three top-25s in his last five starts, but he has zero match play experience to his name.

Perez finished third in his debut at the WGC Match Play two years ago, but he is in far worse form this time around — 61st in the world compared to No. 33 heading into the 2021 edition of this event. Not only is Day a strong bet to move on from this pod, but he also has final-four upside this week.

Corey Conners

Stokastic Ownership Projection: 8.4%

Conners has five top-25 finishes in only nine starts this season and remains one of the best ball strikers on the PGA Tour, ranking 10th in strokes gained on approach over his past 50 rounds. He made it to the semifinals last season and is in an inexperienced pod that consists of Cameron Young, Davis Thompson and Sepp Straka. Young and Straka both are 1-2 in match play at Austin Country Club, and this will be Thompson’s match play debut.

Conners is way too cheap for his chances of advancing out of this pod, and is a terrific GPP target with Stokastic is slating him for single-digit ownership.

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