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2019 Honda Classic: DFS Golf Picks

2019 Honda Classic - DFS Golf Picks

When filling out a DraftKings lineup, picking among the favorites is a fairly safe proposition. It’s when you have to choose between a pool of golfers down the line is where you make or break your chance to win big.

Here’s the critical decisions you’ll face as you fill out your lineup this weekend (with values courtesy of DraftKings):

Golfers Valued $8,000-$8,900

  • Emiliano Grillo – $8,900
  • Lucas Glover – $8,800
  • Zach Johnson – $8,700
  • Russell Henley – $8,600
  • Matt Wallace – $8,500
  • J.T. Poston – $8,400
  • Charl Schwartzel – $8,300
  • Kiradech Aphibarnrat – $8,200
  • Scott Piercy – $8,100
  • Michael Thompson – $8,000

Puke. There’s warts all over this group of golfers. But unless you want to load up on three top guys and then go dumpster diving with the likes of Anirban Lahiri, Bronson Burgooon and Ben Crane, chances are you’ll have to close your eyes and pick at least one or two as a part of your lineup this week.

Emiliano Grillo was a giant bust last week in Mexico. Despite some pretty sterling ball-striking statistics heading into the event, Grillo got out of the gate in brutal fashion when he lost almost four strokes to the field tee-to-green to end his tournament hopes by the end of the first day. Grillo was better tee-to-green over the next three rounds, but his woes around the greens continued and kept him towards the bottom of the leaderboard. I’m willing to give Grillo another shot in DFS this week in part due to his overall good ball-striking that he’s shown this year, as well as a decent track record at the Honda Classic in his career, which includes a T8 finish last year.

It’s been a very tumultuous last 12 months for Lucas Glover. His troubles started shortly before the Players Championship last year when news broke about the arrest of his wife for domestic violence against himself and his mother. Glover disappeared from competitive golf shortly after the U.S. Open, only to resurface when he had to play his way back onto the PGA Tour through the Web.com Finals. Things may be a little better on the home front for him, as he’s had six Top 20 finishes in his first seven starts on the PGA Tour season, and he’s back to being one of the better iron players on the tour. Glover ranks 21st in Strokes Gained – Approach and 2nd in Greens In Regulation % so far in 2019. With two straight Top 30 finishes at the Honda Classic, look for Glover again to be a solid option for DFS lineups this weekend.

Zach Johnson will probably be a popular pick in DraftKings this weekend because he has the most name-recognition of this group. If you’re picking chalk at other areas of the lineup, picking Zach Johnson likely isn’t for you. Regardless, there’s reason for optimism on him. Zach Johnson has averaged a strokes gained on his approach shots over the field in his last three tournaments, despite only a high finish of T28. Up against a weaker field this weekend, he could be in line for his first Top 20 finish of the calendar year.

Golfers Valued $7,500-$7,900

  • Joel Dahmen – $7,900
  • C.T. Pan – $7,800
  • Russell Knox – $7,800
  • Chesson Hadley – $7,700
  • Whee Kim – $7,700
  • Graeme McDowell – $7.600
  • Joaquin Niemann – $7,600
  • Talor Gooch – $7,600
  • Jimmy Walker – $7,500
  • Kelly Kraft – $7,500

Between a solid history at the Honda Classic and good ball-striking statistics this year, Russell Knox is a decent option at this price point. On the year Knox ranks 51st in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green this year, which doesn’t sound all that great but when compared to the rest of the field it’s one of the stronger performances in 2019. Knox has gained on average about a stroke tee-to-green over the field in two of his last three tournaments, and has gained 1.30 strokes on the field in his career at PGA National. Though he’s missed the cut in the event in his last two tries, Knox is a good option for a DFS lineup this week.

It’s been a while since we’ve considered Graeme McDowell as a legitimate contender at an event. His game never really took to the advancement in technology of equipment, and his lack of length off the tee pro probably cut short his prime. He still contends at a handful of shorter courses where solid iron play is at a premium or at golf courses where the use of the driver isn’t heavily relied upon, such as Harbour Town, Pebble Beach, and at right here at PGA National. He’s had a very good career at PGA National, gaining 1.76 strokes on the field in his career there and his ball-striking numbers have markedly improved from last year. McDowell ranks 39th on the PGA Tour in Strokes Gained – Approach and 7th in Greens in Regulation %. At a tough golf course where trouble surrounds all the greens, a consistent ball-striker like McDowell won’t be the flashiest name on a DFS lineup, but could be the most useful.

Bottom of the Barrel (Golfers <$7,500)

Jim Furyk – $7,000: Furyk has spent the better part of the last six months as the punch line to a lot of my jokes on Twitter after a comically poor performance as captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team. So to repay him for my slights, I’ll tout him this week as a decent option for the Honda Classic. Furyk’s ball-striking statistics were pretty bad in 2018 following shoulder surgery, but he’s turned it around in 2019. Furyk ranks 42nd in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green and 27th in Strokes Gained – Approach in 2019 and played solid at both the Genesis and AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. At a place as trecherous as PGA National, a no-nonsense solid ball-striker like Jim Furyk is quite useful for this event.

Adam Schenk – $6,900: Like most rookies, Adam Schenk’s first year on the PGA Tour was a disaster, as he missed the cut in eleven of 27 events with only one Top 20 finish. After going through Web.com Finals again in the fall and re-securing his card, he’s been much better in 2019. Schenk has made the cut in nine of 11 events with three Top 20 finishes. His ball-striking statistics have improved from last year, and one of his lone bright spots of 2018 came at last year’s Honda Classic where he finished T29. At this price point, a made cut for an appearance this weekend is more than you can ask for.

Others to consider – Ryan Palmer ($7,200), Bud Cauley ($7,200), Kevin Streelman ($6,700), Keith Mitchell ($6,700).

Golf analyst for SportsGamblingPodcast.com, providing insight on news and betting tips for the PGA Tour, as well as commentary and banter on the World of Sports. Follow him on Twitter @SteveSchirmer

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