We are back to full-time PGA Fantasy Tour golf.
The Fall Swing is out of the way, a collection of no-cut events have come and gone and it’s time to strap yourself in for a huge run of DFS golf during the next few months with Moneyball.
The action picks up this week at the Sony Open in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club, a 7,044-yard par 70 track. There’s only two par fives but both greens are accessible in two strokes for a majority of the field and this event marks the 53rd edition at the same course.
Justin Thomas is the defending champion after he opened last year’s tournament with a 59 before going on to set the 72-hole scoring record at 27-under.
It’s a nice field with a handful of stars at the top and a host of hungry youngsters ready to make their mark on Tour.
We move to a full-field with 144 players on deck. With little wind expected the scoring should be low.
As always, if you can get nine players through the cut you will give yourself a huge advantage.
The fairways are tough to hit – this course has provided the lowest percentage of fairways hit on Tour across the past three years – but it doesn’t matter because the rough is not penal.
With such a large sample size of course history, there’s some obvious course horses to consider.
Putting is valuable in this tournament and only two players in their 20s (Russell Henley and Justin Thomas) have won this event since 2000, which suggests the experienced types fare well.
The $8K and $9K Range
Jordan Spieth ($9,600) – Spieth is the most expensive golfer on offer this week but I think he’s a great pillar for your lineups. Spieth was third at this event last year and is an elite iron player. Also, for one of the best putters on Tour, he lost nearly four strokes to the field at last week’s Sentry Tournament of Champions; providing he returns to normal form with the flat stick he makes for a strong play.
Marc Leishman ($8,900) – Leishman will be popular, as he always seems to be on Moneyball given the Australians back their own, but his iron play will put him in position here. Leishman was second in the field on strokes gained: approach at the Tournament of Champions last week.
Kevin Kisner ($8,100) – Kisner seems built for this course. You could even start lineups with Kisner and work downwards. As per fantasy sports guru Pat Mayo, Kisner leads this field in par fours from 400-450 yards across the past 36 rounds. There’s a range of shorter par fours here so Kisner, who also putts well on Bermuda greens, sets up well.
The $7K Range
Zach Johnson ($7,600) – Johnson is a two-time major champion and enjoyed a nice run of results in the Fall Swing. He’s a course horse who won the event in 2009 and also has three top 10s in his past four appearances.
Tony Finau ($7,100) – OK, I know we look at Tony Finau nearly every week but this is another course that he can take advantage of with two short par fives. Finau also dominates shorter par fours with his length from the tee. His iffy putting is a worry but his price makes him appealing.
Charles Howell III ($7,000) – It’s Charles Howell Season, baby! Chucky Three Sticks has only two wins on Tour in more than 500 starts but his course history cannot be ignored. Howell will be popular so you can definitely justify pivot plays here but it’s hard to look past CH3’s form line. He’s made 10 cuts in his past 12 appearances at the Sony with seven top-eight finishes.
The $6K Range
Chez Reavie ($6,400) – Chez Reavie is an uber consistent type that is a great play in the Moneyball format because he just makes cuts and is a great filler for your roster, particularly at this price. His past five starts have all yielded top-25 finishes, while he is also the only player inside the top 12 in this field for strokes gained: approach and strokes gained: putting.
JJ Spaun ($6,100) – No statistics here but Spaun is one of the players that are due for their maiden win on Tour. He has been close and his ball-striking is so good that he has to win at some point.
The $5K Range
If you’re top-heavy in your roster, this range will be vital for your lineups.
Jason Dufner ($5,800) – Dufner’s putting is improving, which is a big plus for the former PGA Championship winner. His iron and approach game is really solid and this price is unbelievably low. Dufner picked up strokes on the field with his putter at the Tournament of Champions last week.
Aaron Wise ($5,600) – Wise is one of the more boom-or-bust players on offer but he is extremely talented and cheap. He can score on the two par fives too.
Piece of Chalk: Jason Dufner will be highly-owned at $5,800 but I can’t see how you can turn him down.
Scrub-A-Dub: Aaron Wise ($5,600) is a scorer and has boatloads of talent, let’s hope he makes the cut.
Good luck for this week.