GOLF

Daily Fantasy Golf Helper: Sony Open

The PGA returns to a full-field format this week for the Sony Open at Waialae. Who should you roster on FanDuel?

By now, you've probably dabbled in daily fantasy sports, but if not, don't worry. Now is a great time to start, especially with FanDuel's daily fantasy golf offering.

Golf can be one of the most exciting DFS sports to follow, as tournaments span four days and allow ample time to prepare each week. It's a great balance between time to research and time spent tracking your team.

But whether you're brand new to the PGA or daily fantasy sports in general, we have you covered -- and we have daily fantasy golf projections and lineup building tools, too.

Let's take a look at some golfers to target this week.

Key Stats

Key Stats for the Sony Open
at Waialae Country Club
Driving Accuracy
Strokes Gained: Approach
Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
Strokes Gained: Around the Green
Strokes Gained: Putting on Bermuda


So, this week, accuracy rates out as more important than driving distance, and the recent winners by the eye test back that up -- Matt Kuchar, Patton Kizzire, Justin Thomas, Fabian Gomez, Jimmy Walker (twice), Russell Henley, Johnson Wagner.

Then from there, those of you who are observant will see that all four of the strokes gained stats make their way onto my list, but they should be weighted accordingly. Approach always takes precedent. This week, off-the-tee and around-the-green performance also matter to a lesser degree.

Putting matters more here than usual, and with the Bermuda greens, it's worth looking into some splits.

For a more detailed breakdown on the course, check out our course primer from Mike Rodden.

Stats cited below come from FantasyNational and include the past 50 rounds on the PGA Tour unless noted. Ranks are among the field.

Best of the Best

Justin Thomas (FanDuel Price: $12,300 | FanDuel Sportsbook Win Odds: +500) - Thomas is fresh off a win and is the class of this field -- at a course where he has had plenty of success. Thomas, since 2015, has finished 6th, cut, 1st, 14th, and 16th here at Waialae. He ranks top-five in all three tee-to-green strokes gained stats and is a passable Bermuda putter (57th in the field over the past 100 rounds).

Webb Simpson ($11,500 | +1200) - Simpson ranks fourth in Bermuda putting over a 100-round sample and checks pretty much all the other boxes, too: he's 7th in strokes gained: approach, 23rd in strokes gained: around the green, and 48th in fairways gained over the past 50 rounds. Simpson has no lack of experience at Waialae, as he has played here eight of the past 10 years, most recently following up a string of three 13th-place finishes with a 4th in 2018.

Collin Morikawa ($10,900 | +1600) - Gets bumped when we can downplay distance (he's 96th in distance) and play up accuracy (22nd). Morikawa also grades out 21st in strokes gained: off the tee and 2nd in strokes gained: approach. The elite young ball-striker is disappointing with the short game still over the full sample of his PGA Tour data, but he deserves to be in the mix for fantasy lineups because his more predictive stats (the ball-striking) point to a high ceiling.

Others to Consider:
Patrick Reed ($11,700 | +1100)
Joaquin Niemann ($10,800 | +3300)
Corey Conners ($10,500 | +5000)

Mid-Range Options

Brian Harman ($9,800 | +6500) - Harman ranks top-24 in both ball-striking stats (24th off the tee and 18th in approach) and is also 38th around the green. Harman also sits 33rd in strokes gained: putting on Bermuda over a 100-round sample. He did miss the cut here last year, but that was after a four straight top-20s and a 4th in 2018.

Brian Stuard ($9,600 | +6500) - Stuard has posted consecutive top-eight finishes at Waialae and has four such finishes over the past seven years (six events). Stuard has a bit of a lengthy layoff since a 10th-place finish at the RSM Classic. However, he ranks second in fairways gained (and 146th in distance), so this is exactly the type of course where we should prioritize the short, accurate Stuard.

Vaughn Taylor ($9,100 | +10000) - Taylor has been all over the place, which isn't always what we want in a golfer, but volatility is real for everybody, so we may as well embrace it. On the bright side, Taylor's high-end range has been impressive with a 2nd at the OHL and a 10th at the RSM in November, his two most recent events. Taylor is accurate (14th) and picks up approach strokes, so he fits what we're looking for at Waialae.

Others to Consider:
Rory Sabbatini ($9,400 | +8000)
Sebastian Munoz ($9,700 | +6000)
Russell Knox ($9,600 | +8000)

Low-Priced Picks

Kyle Stanley ($8,800 | +12000) - Another golfer who benefits from a course that doesn't require distance, Stanley stands out. He's 15th in fairways gained and 5th in greens in regulation gained and in strokes gained: approach. The short game turns up red, and that includes his putting splits on Bermuda, but overall, using his recent play and win odds, he should be priced somewhere in the upper $9,000 range instead of the upper $8,000 range.

Ryan Armour ($8,700 | +10000) - Armour leads this field in fairways gained and is just 141st in distance, so he should be able to play above his baseline at Waialae. He has finished 22nd and 39th here over the past two years. We can feel confident in another made cut from Armour, who is 27th in greens in regulation gained and should be priced at around $1,000 dollars higher than he is.

Bud Cauley ($8,700 | +10000) - Cauley isn't as accurate (80th) as some of the other cheaper golfers I'm targeting, but he does rate out well with his approach numbers (25th) and around-the-green numbers (3rd). Cauley can scramble well enough to avoid disaster and overcome three missed cuts over the past seven years at Waialae.

Others to Consider:
Xin-Jun Zhang ($8,300 | +15000)
Adam Long ($8,500 | +12000)
Cameron Percy ($7,800 | +18000)
Mark Hubbard ($7,600 | +21000)