The final major of the PGA Tour season is here, as we take a look at The Open Championship at Royal Portrush. New golf writer James Mazzola did a phenomenal job looking at some outrights and some matchup plays for us and here we’ll take a look at the best options for the daily fantasy market.
As always, value picks are the theme. Those bargain bin options that you can use as punts with potential to fill out a lineup and save some money can be the difference between winning and losing.
Salaries are from DraftKings.
Hideki Matsuyama ($8,500) – This field is extremely loaded. So loaded that one of the top ball strikers on the PGA Tour comes in right around the average salary for the $50,000 salary cap contests. Hideki Matsuyama has made all 18 cuts this season. We last saw him on the PGA Tour at the 3M Open, where he entered the tournament in the top 25 in driving distance, par 4 scoring, par 5 scoring, SG: Tee to Green, SG: Approach, SG: Around the Green, birdie or better, and bogey avoidance. He was so bad in SG: Off the Tee that he ranked 26th. Putting and driving accuracy have been the shortcomings for Matsuyama. Both of those are definitely important this week, as British Opens have been known to punish errant drives, but if the wind conditions kick up, Matsuyama has the strength and the ball striking to cut through Mother Nature’s hazards. At this price a price we rarely see Matsuyama, it’s hard to pass.
Matt Wallace ($8,100) – Matt Wallace has been getting a lot of run in the lead-up to this event. We don’t see Wallace much on the PGA Tour side, so he’s something of an unknown for US-facing golf fans. He was 12th at the US Open at Pebble Beach the last time most people saw him. Prior to that, he was third at the PGA Championship on a very tough course at Bethpage Black. On the European Tour side, he was second at the British Masters, as he had 20 birdies against three bogeys and the dreaded double. He was third in the BMW International Open and 14th last week in the Scottish Open with four rounds under 70 in a very strong field that included a lot of PGA Tour guys. Wallace has a good chance at a top-10 finish this week.
Webb Simpson ($7,600) – Do people realize how well Webb Simpson has played this season? Simpson has four top-10 finishes out of 13 made cuts, including a second at the RBC Canadian Open in early June. Simpson hasn’t played since the US Open, so I guess there are some rust concerns in play, but he did finish T-16th there, even though he had more bogeys than birdies. Simpson finished T-5th at the Masters this year. He’s consistent and he’s consistently making cuts. That’s what you really want to find with these guys that are down the salary board. You want four chances to accumulate points. Simpson may not be able to go out there and hang ultra low numbers, but he’s been outstanding with the putter this season and that will keep him in contention this weekend.
Rafael Cabrera Bello ($7,500) – If recent form is your thing, nobody is hotter than Rafael Cabrera Bello, except for maybe the elites like Brooks Koepka. Cabrera Bello has three straight top-10 finishes over on the European Tour. He was third at the BMW International Open, fourth at the Irish Open, and ninth last week at the Scottish Open. A lot of players lit up the course last week, but Cabrera Bello had two bogeys and only one double bogey last week against an eagle and 20 birdies. He fired four rounds of 67 or better and each of his last nine rounds has been in the 60s. He hasn’t shot a round over par since his third round at the US Open. Cabrera Bello may just be one of those guys more comfortable on the European Tour and he’s surely been comfortable of late.
Byeong Hun An ($7,000) – Byeong Hun An has been idle since the Rocket Mortgage Classic, where he finished 13th. He’s played really well in some of the stronger fields this season, as he was 16th at Pebble Beach for the US Open, 17th at the Memorial down in Columbus, and he tied for 26th at the PLAYERS Championship. An went into the Rocket Mortgage Classic 21st in driving distance, 11th in SG: Tee to Green, 36th in SG: Off the Tee, 49th in SG: Approach, and 1st in SG: Around the Green. Like so many players, his putting has been a problem, but An is such a strong ball striker that he can always be a threat, even in fields where he appears to be outgunned. You could do a lot worse than him at this price point, that’s for sure.