The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using tools and metrics from FantasyLabs to highlight notable golfers.
The TOUR returns to the United States in Houston this week as Memorial Park Golf Course hosts the Hewitt Packard Enterprise Houston Open. The course is a long par-70 measuring 7,432 yards with Bermuda grass greens.
I’ll be highlighting the best cash games / single entry games on the main DraftKings slate, but these players are often great options in any contest.
My analysis will frequently refer Wins won, a set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate the average number of strokes it takes for a player to put the ball in the hole, regardless of distance and situation. Strokes Gained is now available in PGA FantasyLabs models.
There are a variety of metrics related to won stroke, but the top six categories you should be aware of include:
- Shots won: off the tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
- Strokes won: approach (SG: Approach)
- Strokes won: Around the green (SG: Around the green)
- Strokes won: putting (SG: put)
- Strokes Won: Ball Strike (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
- Strokes won: from tee to green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green
For more information on Strokes Gained data and how to use it, see this article by Bryan Mears on The Action Network, which details each of the above metrics. I also recommend Chris Murphy’s Strokes Gained column after each round of this week’s PGA TOUR event, which highlights Golfers to Buy and Go, as well as Matthew Vincenzi’s weekly “Stats That Matter” column which highlights highlight the Strokes Gained sub-metrics that matter most for a given course.
And don’t forget to use our various PGA DFS tools such as our gamut generator, our PGA correlation dashboard, and our trending tool.
The following players listed are based on DraftKings rating and pricing.
Adam Scott ($ 9,600 DraftKings)
Scott is at a point in his career where he doesn’t play too often, so when he does, it’s probably for good reason. We know Scott doesn’t win any birdie-fest due to his putting issues, so on a tough course like the one we’ll be having this week we should definitely take note.
Scott is in great shape, coming off a T-5 at the CJ Cup and before that, a T-14 at the BMW PGA Championship in Europe. His irons were locked, placing eighth in this area in SG: Approach during his last eight rounds. We only have a year of history at Memorial Park, but Scott finished T-32 last year at this event. He is playing a lot better golf this season and his price is very reasonable in this heavy field. The Aussie is a rock solid cash game option.
Talor Gooch ($ 9,300 DraftKings)
Gooch has played the best golf of his life over the past two months or so, posting four straight top-11 finishes, including two top-five at the CJ Cup and Fortinet. He was in contention last week at Mayakoba before a final round 74 shattered any hope of winning the trophy.
Gooch took a liking to Memorial Park a year ago, finishing fourth in solo in what was a pretty solid field. Every part of his game is clicking right now, and he ranks seventh in this area for the total number of strokes won in his last 16 rounds. Obviously, it seems odd to see Gooch priced at $ 9,000, but he certainly earned that right, and everything is set for another solid performance this week.
Aaron Wise ($ 9,200 DraftKings)
Wise, like Gooch, also plays the best golf of his career. He has now finished in the top 26 in each of his last six events and finished T-5 and T-8 at the CJ Cup and Shriner’s, respectively. Wise also made it to Houston a year ago, finishing T-11. It’s incredibly difficult to punch a hole in Wise’s game right now, as he’s even improved on his once-poor putting. Overall, he ranks second in this area (behind CT Pan) for the total number of strokes won in his last 16 rounds.
Unlike last week where we had a ton of value to choose from between $ 7,000 and $ 6,000, this week it’s a lot tighter and it’s getting a lot harder to identify good games below 7,500. $. Having said that, I much prefer to go the route of balanced cash building, and Wise seems like a perfect choice.
Shane Lowry ($ 8,200 DraftKings)
Lowry is simply underrated for his level of talent in this area. I don’t really understand what DraftKings was thinking with this one. His price tag shouldn’t be lower than guys like Marc Leishman or Jason Kokrak, although he missed the cut last week. Much like Adam Scott, Lowry excels on the tracks where you need to heal the pars, which this week should present to us.
He had played exceptional golf before last week and even posted a T-11 at this track last year. The Irishman is expected to rebound in Houston after last week’s crash. At just $ 8,200, Lowry accommodates any build and has a ton of perks for the price – exactly what we’re looking for in gambling.
Mackenzie Hughes ($ 7,900 DraftKings)
This is my first time writing Mac Hughes, but it’s certainly justified due to the way he’s been playing lately and the fact that he finished T-7 at this event last year. We know he’s not the greatest striker on the ball, but he more than makes up for his shortcomings with his absurdly good short game. The Canadian ranks first in this area in SG: putting on his last 36 laps and is also a better putter on Bermuda than on other surfaces.
Hughes has been in good shape lately, posting a T-25 at the CJ Cup before finishing fourth at ZOZO. We’re not expecting a ton from him this week, and a cut done should do the trick.
Mito Pereira ($ 7,700 DraftKings)
Pereira didn’t play very well last week, which isn’t entirely surprising as these resort course events typically turn into putting contests, which clearly isn’t his specialty. He was one of the best ball forwards on the TOUR during his brief stint, and that will stand him in good stead this week on a much more difficult track.
The Chilean ranks No.1 in this area in SG: Tee-to-Green over his last 24 laps, which is pretty impressive considering the big names in the field this week. Last week’s failed cut led DraftKings to cut his salary a bit, and he’s now at a very acceptable $ 7,700. There are a ton of perks here, and Pereira is one of Slate’s strongest values.
Aaron Rai ($ 6,900 DraftKings)
Rai is way too cheap for his skill level, and he looks relatively undervalued after a T-15 last week in Mexico. He’s now finished in the top 25 in two of his last three events and continues to disrespect despite his five career world wins. Memorial Park was designed by Tom Doak, who also designed the Renaissance Club in Scotland, which hosts the Scottish Open. Aaron Rai won the Scottish Open in 2020.
Obviously, that’s not all, but it’s good to know that he’s familiar with Doak layouts. Combine that with its bargain price, and it makes it a pretty strong value option on a week without them.