The PGA Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s slate, using tools and metrics from FantasyLabs to highlight notable golfers.
The TOUR heads to Georgia this week as Sea Island Resort hosts the RSM Classic. There are two courses in play this week – the Seaside and the Plantation. Seaside will be played in three of four rounds and is par 70, measuring 7,005 yards with Bermuda turf greens. The Plantation course is a par-72, measuring 7,060 meters, and is the easier of the two.
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.
Scottie Scheffler ($ 10,900 DraftKings)
Normally, DraftKings makes the most expensive golfer in the business well over $ 11,000. They’ve done us a big favor by leaving Scheffler at $ 10,900 because he’s an absolute smash at that price.
It won’t be a long writing; the former Texas Longhorn just finished second last week in Houston and a T-4 in Mayakoba the week before.
Scheffler’s game is in full swing right now, placing fourth in this area in Strokes Gained: Total in his last eight rounds. This is a bird making machine that will play the fairway almost any hole, what you might have heard is pretty big on Sea Island. Scheffler is knocking on the door to his first career PGA TOUR victory in some time now, and having finished fifth at this event on his 2019 debut, this could very well be the event he overcomes. If you pay this week, Scheffler is the preferred option by far.
Corey Conners ($ 9,900 DraftKings)
Perhaps the purest ball forward in this area, Conners, will be in his wheelhouse this week on a short par-70 Bermuda track. This will be his fourth career start at Sea Island, having been T-37, T-23 and T-10 respectively on his first three trips.
As mentioned earlier, playing off the fairway and avoiding the rough will be paramount this week, and Conners is ranked # 2 in this area in SG: Off-the-Tee in his last 48 laps.
His putting problems are less of a concern this week as Bermuda is his best surface, and his precise iron game will make him look like a routine birdie. The Canadian has improved his final position every year he’s played here, so if that trend continues we are looking at another top 10 this week. It is as safe a game as it gets.
Russell Henley ($ 9,600 DraftKings)
Henley tore up the fall swing, most recently with a T-7 arrival last week in Houston. He’s been winning shots from the tee to the green every round at Memorial Golf Club and will now play a home game this week at Sea Island. Henley was born in Macon, Georgia, and attended UGA University. He’s played this event eight times over the past decade and has three top-10s in that streak.
It’s no surprise that Sea Island treated him well, as Henley is a top iron player who thrives on Bermuda’s par-70 tracks. The 32-year-old is No. 1 in this area in SG: approaching in his last 48 laps and coming into play on a familiar course in great shape. The contextual factors are all in place to make it go smoothly this week, and it should be a staple in the cash game.
Mackenzie Hughes ($ 8,600 DraftKings)
Hughes has a delicate past at Sea Island, having won this event in 2017 but displaying a T-65 with three missed cuts in his four additional appearances. He comes into the game in great shape, however, having made each of his last seven cuts with a bunch of top 30 rankings in that streak. We know the Canadian doesn’t wow anyone with his ball hitting, but his short game and putter are so strong that he always aims for a top 20 wherever he plays.
The fact that Hughes is arriving in good form and having won here puts him firmly on the radar for gambling this week. There’s not a ton to like in the $ 8,000 range on DraftKings this week, so if we’re going to sign anyone up there, make them Mac Hughes.
Chris Kirk ($ 8,000 DraftKings)
Kirk is another Georgia Bulldog playing at home this week. Last time we saw him he opened with a hole-in-one in Mayakoba, en route to a first round 64. Unfortunately, he played the next three rounds at a combined plus one, finishing tied for 64th. We’ll put that behind us, however, as he’s now made four straight cuts and has an elite history at Sea Island.
Kirk won this event in 2014 and has posted two more top five since. Much like other players on the field with a great history of course, Kirk is in his element on shorter par-70 tracks where driving distance is not a factor. He’s a good midrange iron player and he also has a great short game which gives us everything we’re looking for on a course like this. At just $ 8,000 on DraftKings, Kirk is one of the best values in the table.
Henrik Norlander ($ 7,300 DraftKings)
Norlander made four consecutive cups in this event dating back to 2016. During that streak, he finished in the top five twice, including a runner-up in 2017. The Swede made every cup during the fall swing and has even a T-4 finished at Sanderson Farms a few weeks ago. Nothing special about his game will blow you away, but he’s a better putter in Bermuda and can heat up with his irons at times. At this price point, all we’re looking for is a cut done, something he seems to be doing every time he plays here.
Norlander currently resides in Augusta, Ga, so it’s likely he played this course a ton. He’s standing out in what appears to be a sterile $ 7,000 range this week.
Alex Smalley ($ 7,100 DraftKings)
Smalley has really been watching the game during his brief stint on the PGA TOUR this season, having made four of five Cups, including back-to-back top 15 standings over the past two weeks in Houston and Bermuda. Last week was particularly impressive, as he won over 1.2 strokes as it approached Saturday and Sunday at Memorial Park, which turned out to be a big boy’s course.
Although on a small sample (14 laps), Smalley rode extremely well over Bermuda, gaining about 0.4 strokes per lap on the field. The 25-year-old appears to be the real deal, and hardly anyone knows how good he is just yet. DraftKings kind of lowered his pay after a good two weeks, so let’s go. Smalley is a great game in all formats.