Rory McIlroy put on quite a display en route to winning the RBC Canadian Open as the golf world was on 59 watch until his approach shot on 18 landed found a greenside bunker. It served as a great appetizer for US Open week as we move out to Pebble Beach for the final major of the year on American soil.
Pebble Beach Golf Links: Par 71, 7,075 yards.
Average Driving Distance: (Pebble 267 yards vs. PGA Tour Avg 283 yards)
Hitting Fairways: Historical Not Relevant as USGA has narrowed from 34 yards wide down to 29 yards wide
Hitting Greens: (Pebble 61% vs. PGA Tour Avg 66%)
Pebble Beach will play host to the US Open for the first time since 2010 when Graeme McDowell won, Tiger Woods won the previous US Open held here in 2000. Historically the fairways at Pebble have been easier than to hit than the PGA Tour average but the USGA has narrowed fairways significantly and grown out the rough, increasing the accuracy premium. This adds to Pebble’s reputation as a less than driver course that has seen an average tee ball around 15 yards shorter than PGA tour average and we will likely see that gap widen as golfers will be more cautious off the tee this week than normally seen during the Pro-Am. Pebble’s greens are small and difficult to hit and we will likely see more misses this week as the average approach shot distribution will most likely be further out than the 100-125 yard range that is typical during the Pro-Am due again to golfers laying further back off the tee. We can also expect scrambling to be more difficult this week as the lengthened rough, firm greens, and pin placements the USGA likely has in store this week will present a challenge around the greens.
Out of all the majors, the US Open requires play mistake free in all facets of the game. Precision will be required off the tee as by growing out the rough to extreme lengths the USGA hopes to enact a half stoke penalty for missing the fairway. The rough around the green requires a premier short game and the Poa greens are expected to be firm and running very fast this week. As mentioned above, they are small targets to hit so gaining strokes on approach will also be a must a Pebble.
Here are our top stats to consider this week:
Strokes Gained Approach
Proximity 125-150 and 200-225
Par 4 Efficiency 350-400 yards
We have a full field of 156 and only the top 60 and ties make the cut so 6/6 lineups will be at a great advantage over the weekend. There are a handful of players who made it into the field through sectional qualifying that to not have a track record on the PGA or Euro Tour. These players do not merit consideration for DFS lineups as there will be plenty of established tour players to value options as you put together lineups. As always for the majors there is a lot of money on the table in DFS contests with a higher than normal amount coming in from casual DFS players. That along with a quality field of golfers who have all been preparing for this tournament for months should make for an exciting week of DFS. Here are three targets for your DraftKings cash game/single entry GPP lineups:
Mid-Range – Hideki Matsuyama – $8,800
I normally like to take the balanced approach to cash game lineup construction for the majors as we get a nice discount on many world class players as DraftKings needs to fill in all the salary ranges and this week will be no different as I anchor my main lineups with Hideki Matsuyama and Paul Casey. Hideki’s run of solid ball striking continued last time out at the Memorial as he gained 10 strokes tee to green. In the event he needs to scramble his around the green game has been solid this year as he has gained strokes in that department in all his starts this year since the Sony Open in January. Although he has not competed at the AT&T Pro-Am over the last few years, his track record in US Open’s has been consistent with only one missed cut in his last six starts to go along with four top 20 finishes.
Mid-Range – Paul Casey – $8,300
The normally consistent Paul Casey has let the DFS world down in a few big spots over the last few months with missed cuts at the Players and the Masters and a Friday morning withdraw after posting a nice 1st round score at Colonial. Reports were that the W/D was due to the flu so with nearly four weeks to recover I expect him to be good to go for this week’s US Open. Casey provides good value at $8,300 as he has gained 8+ strokes tee to green over his past two starts in very strong fields, the PGA Championship and Wells Fargo. Pebble Beach is also a much better course fit than Bethpage due to the shorter length and accuracy premium, a fact backed up by Casey’s second place finish this February at the AT&T Pro-Am along with his back to back victories at Valspar, a similar layout that requires players avoid the rough as much as possible.
Value – Webb Simpson – $7,700
Webb Simpson will be a popular play in cash games this week as he projects to provide a margin of safety at a very reasonable price point. He arrives at Pebble in sold form coming off a 2nd place finish at the Canadian Open where even though he gained 9 of his strokes putting, he still gained 5 from tee to green. Webb’s game profiles nicely for Pebble Beach as he gains his strokes off the tee from accuracy over distance and s very solid on and around the greens. He also has a US Open victory under his belt from when the event was held at the nearby and similarly shorter Olympic Club. At this price point you are simply looking for a made cut in cash games but Webb also provides the upside needed to help boost your lineup in GPP’s.
How we did last week:
Cash/Single Entry Article Plays:
Jim Furyk – 27
Dustin Johnson – T20
Adam Hadwin – 6
Optimal Sports Subscribers Core Plays:
Jim Furyk – T27
Peter Maltani – 31
Erik Van Rooyen – T20
Henrik Stenson – 8
Webb Simpson – 2
Nick Watney – MC
Last Week’s DraftKings Double Up Contest Result: Win
2018-2019 Season Double Up Record: 19-11
Record in Double Ups Since 1/1/18: 44-21
Brought to you by Optimal Sports DFS