For the third week in a row, the PGA TOUR will be in Florida. This time, they’ll tee it up at the famous TPC Sawgrass (par 72, 7,189 yards) in Ponte Verda Beach for the PLAYERS Championship. With a world-class field and the largest purse of the season at stake, The PLAYERS is regarded as the “fifth” major of the golf season. PGA DFS has a full slate of high-end GPP plays available for this tournament. Below are some of my favorite PGA optimizer fantasy golf picks of the week for both DraftKings and FanDuel.
PGA Optimizer Fantasy Golf Picks: PLAYERS Championship
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, last year’s edition of The PLAYERS Championship was cancelled after the first round of play. The popular PGA stop wasn’t rescheduled for the 2020 season and the last full event at TPC Sawgrass was in 2019, when Rory McIlroy (-16) edged out Jhonattan Vegas by two strokes. Annually, The PLAYERS is one of the most difficult tournaments of the year to predict. This Pete Dye-designed par 72 has some serious bite to it, and staying out of trouble is pivotal to success. Distance off the tee isn’t a must, but finding the right angles in the fairways is always crucial for setting up the approach shot. The field’s GIR rate at this venue is always lower than the season average. Since the players will likely miss these putting surfaces often, getting up and down for par consistently is key. I’ll be targeting strong ball strikers and scramblers who have been avoiding big numbers of late.
Awesemo PGA DFS Leverage Scores: DraftKings: 5.0%, FanDuel: -2.5%
Via Awesemo’s Top Golfers Tool, McIlroy has the second best chance to win The PLAYERS this weekend. However, he’s only slated for a 11.3% GPP ownership on DraftKings. As a result, the defending champion’s leverage score for the site is the second best of the week. The T10 at last weekend’s Arnold Palmer Invitational was McIlroy’s fifth T10 in 10 starts this season and his 30th made cut in his past 31 starts worldwide.
Including the win here in 2019, McIlroy has four Top-10s at TPC Sawgrass in his last seven appearances at the Florida venue. Additionally, if we analyze all of these golfer’s last 100 rounds on Dye-designed tracks, no player has gained more strokes than the 31-year-old. All things considered, McIlroy is the best GPP option on the board for this event.
Awesemo PGA DFS Leverage Scores: DraftKings: 2.7%, FanDuel: -0.3%
Missing the cut at Bay Hill last week is expected to depress Reed’s ownership for The PLAYERS. Per Awesemo’s Top Golfers Tool, of all the players priced above $9,000 on DraftKings, Reed carries the lowest ownership projection at 7.1%. Prior to last weekend, Reed was 17 for his previous 18 in made cuts. In addition, he had eight Top-10 finishes, including a victory at the Farmers Open less than two months ago. Furthermore, the 30-year-old had produced positive strokes tee-to-green, on approach and around the green in back-to-back starts before the speed bump at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Reed sports a 4/6 made-cut ratio at TPC Sawgrass and ranks 11th in total strokes gained over his last 50 rounds at Dye courses. At only $9,000 on DraftKings, the 2018 Masters’ champ is an excellent high-end pivot play this week.
Awesemo PGA DFS Leverage Scores: DraftKings: 0.9%, FanDuel: 2.2%
Very quietly, Kirk has been playing some tremendous golf this season. During his T8 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, marking his fifth Top-20 in his past ten starts, Kirk finished T8 in SGT2G, T7 in SG and third in SG ARG on the par fours. For the 2021 season, he ranks 25th in SGT2G, 24th in SG ARG and ninth in bogey avoidance. Kirk is also 10/13 in made cuts with five Top-25 finishes, shooting up a whopping 186 spots in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Kirk has an impressive course resume and low projected ownerships on both DraftKings and FanDuel. With qualities like that, he is someone you need to have exposure to this week. If we exclude his withdrawal from the event in 2016, Kirk is 7/8 at the PLAYERS with three Top-15s.
Awesemo PGA DFS Leverage Scores: DraftKings: 0.9%, FanDuel: 0.9%
If you’re in need of a full punt play this week, Dufner is a very interesting option. He is slated for less than 1% ownership on both DraftKings and FanDuel. This could be an advantageous position, considering TPC Sawgrass is a course that Dufner has always played well at throughout his career. In 11 starts at the illustrious par 72, he has only missed two cuts with a pair of Top-10s; one being a T5 back in 2018.
Dufner was shooting a four-under 68 at the 2020 PLAYERS, putting him at T7 on the leaderboard. Last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he posted a T36, making it his third made-cut over the past four starts. With a volatile week on our hands, taking a gamble on a cheap course horse like Dufner to help us roster a few studs is a GPP strategy that is guaranteed to be contrarian.
Looking for more PGA Optimizer picks for Arnold Palmer Invitational? We have loads of PGA optimizer picks articles, data, DraftKings and FanDuel cheat sheets and more on the Awesemo PGA home page. Just click HERE.
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