First off before we dive in, we wanted to let everyone know that the extensive PGA strategy guide is coming TOMORROW (1/12). This is something that is a must-read for all fantasy golfers, as it digs deep into every week’s tournament breakdown week-by-week for all of 2017, player rankings and lineup advice, along with a great amount of other strategy tools that we at DFI believe every DFS golfer needs to read. With all of this information, we believe the Guide will make this the best golf season yet for you.
Now to the tournament this week in Hawaii at Waialae Country Club for the 2017 Sony Open.
After a few no-cut events over the past few tournaments on Tour, we are back to the normal style tournament with the top-70 (and ties) playing the weekend. In last year’s Sony Open, Fabian Gomez beat out Brandt Snedeker in a sudden death playoff to win with a final score of -20 for the week. This is a tournament where the wind could come into play as the course hugs the coast, and this has made things a little more difficult for the players over the years at Waialae. As of now, however, winds should be calm through Saturday with a chance of picking up Sunday. This should make the scoring conditions fairly easy, so don’t be surprised to see the winning score dip around -20 again.
Waialae Country Club is a Par 70 course with four par 3’s and two par 5’s. The last few years on this course, driving accuracy hasn’t been especially important, but the ability to find fairways and hit greens on the approach will be at a supreme priority given the shortness of the course. Because of that, we looked at players that are good at par 4 scoring, excel in their approach game, and altogether have a solid chance to win. With these factors, along with other important research practices found in the PGA Guide, we were pointed to one guy…
Paul Casey (DK $9,500) – Casey has only played this course once (2015 with a 30th place finish), but here is a guy who was on fire to finish the 2015-2016 season. Casey arguably exploded onto the scene the most in the Playoffs last year, as he saw finishes of 31st, 2nd, 2nd, and 4th through all four weeks.
Waialae Country Club is a course with 12 par 4’s and only 2 par 5’s, meaning par 4 scoring becomes extremely important this week. Luckily for Casey, he is a guy who was 17th on Tour last year in par 4 scoring, which sets him up nicely for this week. The greens here are well protected by some difficult bunkers, which makes the approach shots also heavily important this week in order to score low as well as avoid bogeys. Casey was 2nd in overall ball striking to go along with 2nd in GIR (Greens in Regulation) and 16th in Strokes Gained: Approaches last year. All in all, Casey’s game could not be a better fit for what is needed to score this week at Waialae.
When our research dove in a little deeper, we see that he was 12th in bogey avoidance and 9th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. One weakness in Casey’s game seems to be his putting, where he was only 77th in Strokes Gained in 2016. That being said, with his approach game being on point and winds expected to be calm, his putting should not play enough of a factor to hold him back from cashing in on a lot of birdies in what can turn into a shootout. We expect Casey to be playing through the weekend and in contention come Sunday. For a relatively low price for a Premier Player (see Guide for Premier Player breakdown/advice), we strongly advise that you give Casey a look this week in Honolulu.