PGA DFS Optimizer Picks for THE PLAYERS Championship: Collin Morikawa the Ultimate Bounce-Back Play

Next for the Florida swing comes the “fifth major” of the season, THE PLAYERS Championship. Since 1982, this event has been played at TPC Sawgrass (par 72, 7,275, poa trivialis greens), which is in Ponte Vedra Beach. Cameron Smith (-14) won last year’s PLAYERS Championship but will not be defending his title this week, with Smith now a member of the LIV Golf league. This week’s field consists of 144 golfers, and there will be a normal cut of top 65 and ties following the first 36 holes. Below are some of the top PGA DFS picks for THE PLAYERS Championship, utilizing Stokastic’s Top Golfers Tool to find the best leverage plays for GPPs.

PGA DFS Picks & Leverage: PLAYERS Championship

With water in play on 17 of 18 holes, 88 bunkers, tiny greens and heavy wind, TPC Sawgrass is a truly a demanding test of golf. First and foremost, players need to be in elite form with irons. Smith ranked fifth in strokes gained on approach last season, making him the third straight PLAYERS winner to rank top 6 in the stat. Given the difficulty of TPC Sawgrass, prioritizing players who rank well in bogey avoidance is also a must, with four of the last five PLAYERS victors ranking top 6 in fewest bogeys recorded during their wins.

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.

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Collin Morikawa

Stokastic PGA Optimizer Leverage Scores Ranks: DraftKings: 50th, FanDuel: 12th

After missing the weekend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Morikawa is only hovering around 12% expected ownership for both DraftKings and FanDuel in Stokastic’s projections, making this a great time to buy low on him. Despite missing the cut at Bay Hill, Morikawa still gained strokes on approach, and before this speedbump, he had produced three top-6 finishes in his previous four starts.

Morikawa ranks seventh in strokes gained on approach over his last 50 rounds, and he has shown an encouraging ability to bounce back after missing the cut recently — he finished top 6 in three of his last four starts following a missed cut.

Justin Suh

Stokastic PGA Optimizer Leverage Scores Ranks: DraftKings: 3rd, FanDuel: 14th

Suh has never competed at TPC Sawgrass before, but he is a promising, young talent worth rostering. Suh is currently riding a 10-cut make streak and has had a very impressive Florida swing thus far, finishing fifth at the Honda Classic and 24th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week. He gained over three strokes on approach at both of these events and has gained strokes in the category in six of his last eight starts.

In this type of form as a ball striker, Suh is a strong fit for TPC Sawgrass and is a very enticing option for GPPs. His salaries on both DraftKings and FanDuel have decreased since last week, and Stokastic is projecting him for less than 5% ownership on both sites.

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Ryan Fox

Stokastic PGA Optimizer Leverage Scores Ranks: DraftKings: 63rd, FanDuel: 75th

Fox is also making his debut at TPC Sawgrass this week, but he is far too cheap for his talent. Plus, Stokastic forecasting him for low ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel. After carding five top-20 finishes in six starts during the fall in Europe — including a win at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship — Fox made his first start in America since last year’s U.S. Open at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last week and impressed, finishing 14th. Outside of off the tee, Fox gained strokes in every major category at Bay Hill and closed the event with a 5-under 67 on Sunday.

Fox is now the 32nd-ranked player in the world following this outstanding performance, but he is priced outside the top 70 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, showing how underpriced he is for his current form.

Emiliano Grillo

Stokastic PGA Optimizer Leverage Scores Ranks: DraftKings: 13th, FanDuel: 5th

Grillo put on a ball-striking clinic at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, leading the field in strokes gained tee to green and ranking fifth in strokes gained on approach. Unfortunately, he ranked dead last in strokes gained putting, limiting him to 39th place. Grillo can only improve from this showing with his putter, and if he can in any way replicate this performance as a ball striker at TPC Sawgrass, he should easily outperform his cheap salaries at this venue where he has flashed upside in the past.

Grillo has made 3 of 6 cuts at TPC Sawgrass, including an 11th-place finish in 2017 and a 26th in 2019. For both DraftKings and FanDuel, Stokastic is slating Grillo to be less than 3% owned.

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