Welcome to Masters Hangover week! The Tour takes a quick trip to Hilton Head for the RBC Heritage!
My name is Josh Thomas, and I am a PGA and NFL Coach here at DFS Army! Welcome to the 2019 PGA Season! We here at DFS Army have got you covered this year for DFS golf with my weekly preview out on Sunday Nights, Chalk Donkey article breaking down the ownership projections, where to pivot, and GPP strategy out Tuesday Nights, and our Research Station that is full of more information than you could ever need!
TIGER TIGER WOODS YA’LL! Seriously. I can’t believe that we just saw that. I never thought we would see Tiger in red putting on the green jacket again. It gives me chills just typing this. The affairs etc notwithstanding, being able to come back from the back issues he’s had in the last few years to get this point is truly incredible. He was excellent all week and really could have run away with this tournament had he putted a bit better or taken advantage of the par 5’s like Brooks Koepka did.
Francesco Molinari put on a master class all week. He was so solid tee to green, never had a nervy putt, and just tore Augusta apart methodically. That is until the 12th hole on Sunday. I’m not here to criticize Moli, but with a two-shot lead on Sunday, with a traditional Sunday pin on the right, you hit the ball to the middle of the green over the bunker. 2 putt par. Bogey at worse. It’s a sucker pin over there. You essentially have to hit it past the hole and have a tricky downhiller coming back at it if you want to hit there. Short is dead. And as we saw, Francesco went after it and ended up in the water, making double bogey and giving Tiger Woods life…something you really don’t want to do. A stray pine cone on the 15th ended Molinari’s tournament (and my outright bet on him), but it was over as soon as he decided to go at the pin on 12.
It was an incredible tournament, start to finish and so much fun to watch. A really poor week for me DFS wise (Matt Wallace/Sergio Garcia missed the cut, and not enough Tiger/Cantlay/Deki), that got worse with Molinari blowing it on Sunday as that outright hit would have paid for my week, but I’m not even mad. I got to watch Tiger put on a master class at Augusta and put on the green jacket again. Well worth the price of admission if you ask me.
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Everyone is on the Masters Hangover this week but this is a really fun tournament and one that is typically profitable for those looking to put the time into research. It’s also one of the most STACKED fields that the RBC Heritage has ever seen (barring any WD’s) and should be a really fun week at a tight, Pete Dye design on the South Carolina coast.
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Located in Hilton Head, South Carolina, the RBC Heritage is played at the coastal Harbour Town Golf Links. Harbour Town is a Pete Dye design from 1987. Dye designed the course with the help of Jack Nicklaus. The course plays at 7099 yards and is a par 71 with eleven par 4’s, three par 5’s, and four par 3’s.
Harbour Town and the RBC Heritage are consistently rated as one of the tour players favorite tournaments of the year. While some may see the length and tight fairways and wonder why the reality is that this is really a fun test of all aspects of your golf game. While the fairways are tight and tree lined, the rough isn’t very long, therefore allowing players to shape shots out of the rough into these itty bitty greens, under and over trees. There is a ton of ways to get around this course and its a true ‘shotmakers’ paradise. You also don’t want to weigh driving accuracy too heavily, as that mostly accounts for Driver as players are often hitting that club 10-12 times a round at a normal tour stop. Here though, they will be using lots of 3 woods and Irons off the tee and this course actually rates out as having some of the easier to hit fairways because of that.
At an average of 3700 square feet, these are the smallest greens on tour. Players hit them at an average of about 57% of the time. SG: Approach will be HUGE this week, but also we need to consider that players will have to be sharp with their short game around these greens as they are difficult to hit. Par is often a good score until you get your next opportunity to score. If you do hit these greens in regulation you have a very good chance at a birdie.
While short and tight, you can still hit driver around here. Dustin Johnson finished 16th here last year (was in contention until a poor 3rd round where he shot even par) and he hit 4-5 drivers a round.
This course is all about shot placement and missing in good spots. You need to be in a position to get to these little greens. Accuracy off the tee will be vitally important this week.
With this course on the coast, the wind is almost always a factor here, and as it looks now, the weather is going to be an issue. Here is Friday’s forecast:
Looks, like there is going to be a deluge of rain, with possible flooding. It’s entirely possible that they don’t play at all on Friday. That would almost ensure a Monday finish here. A long week is in store for everyone teeing it up here. Saturday and Sunday look pretty nice, with just the standard 10-12 mph wind that one is to expect at any coastal course. Because it is so tree lined, players often don’t feel the wind, but have to know that it’s blowing at 20 mph above the trees and it’s going to affect their ball flight.
Overall, a fun test that requires you to be able to shape the ball both ways, think your way around the course, and deal with the variety of winds. The trees will be a factor, and don’t be surprised when you see a player only advance a ball from the rough or tree line 30 yards because they hit a tree limb.
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Key Stats to look for this week – SG – Approach (number one by a mile), Birdies Gained, Par 4 Scoring, Long Par 3 Scoring, SG: Around the Green Course History, SG: Putting Bermuda, and Projected Course Score.
You can find all of these key stats in our DFS Army research station accessible ONLY for our VIPs.
In this section, I’ll cover who is in the field this week, the odds, any pricing discrepancies, and a few of my favorite plays on first look!
What a field! Seriously, I can’t believe the field we have this week for an event the week after a major. With the PGA Championship being moved to may and only 4 weeks away, players are jumping at the chance to play again this week. This is easily the best field this event has likely ever had.
Leading the way is three golfers that finished in the top five at the Masters, Dustin Johnson, Francesco Molinari, and Xander Schauffele. Only 3 of 36 winners at this event over the years have placed T14 or better at the Masters, but we also haven’t had this many studs from the Masters show up here. Many ‘touts’ this week will be talking about player motivation at this event coming off an emotionally draining run at the Masters. That’s not something we can have any idea about unless we get a nugget in a presser or on twitter. That’s all speculation, and personally I like to jump on guys whenever else thinks they are ‘disinterested’ as we get a world class player at depressed ownership.
One of those guys who followed up an excellent week at the Masters with a win here was Matt Kuchar. At some point, he’s gotta get tired right? He crushes here though and is interesting play again this week at the price. A guy with a similar skill set that seems to be finding something in his game coming into this event is Webb Simpson. He’s had back to back top 11 finishes here and a return to Bermuda should suit him. Can Jordan Spieth continue on with the game he seemed to find on the weekend at Augusta? At 22-1 is an intriguing price on a guy I think is trending in the right direction.
A bit further down the board, we have my favorite, Sungjae Im. Coastal course that requires excellent tee to green game and a solid around the green game as well? Sounds exactly like the type of week I want to be all in on Sungjae again.
As we continue on down the board here we keep seeing class players. Marc Leishman, Cam Smith, Brendan Grace, even Rafa Cabrera Bello at a crazy 75-1. A player I’m really interested in again here though is Justin Harding. 90-1 seems really long for a player that was around the top of the leaderboard at Augusta. I’m a bit concerned with his GIR % from Augusta, but his tee to green game and short game were great.
Deep down we have players like Kevin Na, Patton Kizzire, Joel Dahmen, and J.T. Poston all with the ability to win here.
Building rosters for DFS this week will be a challenge. There are a ton of studs, but the pricing is somewhat tight. You’re going to have to make some ownership stands that are uncomfortable. I’ll cover all of that in my weekly GPP article Chalk Donkey that will be out Tuesday Night/Wednesday AM, you won’t want to miss it!
Beat the Bookie Betting Card:
Something new I’m adding each week to this article is my personal betting card for the week for Outrights, First Round Leaders, Top 5’s and Top 10’s. The real bread and butter with golf betting is a tournament and round matchups but I’m saving those for our Beat the Bookie VIPs!
As a rule, I typically don’t bet many outrights under +3500 unless its an extremely weak field (DJ at the FedEx St. Jude last year comes to mind) It’s just not a +EV most weeks when you think about 156 guys teeing it up. Hitting 3-4 outrights a year is a fantastic year for most golf bettors. The return on investment of hitting an outright at 50-1 can pay for a long dry spell (which is fairly typical in golf betting if you are only playing Outrights, FRLs, and T5/T10).
Sungjae Im tops my card here as I think regardless of the field strength +4000 is a bit long for him. I think this is a perfect course fit for him. I don’t buy into narratives, but last years top two places went to a guy who played on the Japanese Tour like Sungjae, and another Korean, both were first timers on the course, so take from that what you will. I do think a week off is really going to benefit him and was more than happy to pay 40-1. I’d venture we see this closer to 35-1 as the week goes on. He’s also a fantastic price in DFS.
Ryan Moore is coming off a really strong performance at the Valero and seems to be getting his game back in shape. He crushed it tee to green in Texas and had a t16 finish here last year. Strong field but 50-1 felt really long for a guy with his pedigree.
As I stated earlier, I really like Justin Harding in this event and 90-1 for a guy with a proven track record of winning, coming off being in contention at a major, I’ll happily pay that price all day long. He’s a player who struggled a bit with his approach game at Augusta only hitting 62% of greens in regulation which is a bit of a concern, but was excellent with the short game. I just can’t pass up this price on an in-form proven winner though.
Kevin Na is someone who I believe is underpriced based on field strength and form of late. He’s been dealing with an injured pinky finger but I thought he played really well at the Match Play and again at Augusta. Missed the cut here last year but has a 4th place finish 3 years ago at this event, so he knows his way around.
And finally, we have an in-form Jonas Blixt who has a 14th place finish here last year. This course has had long shots win multiple times over the years and I think Blixt fits the mold of that sort of player. His irons have been great lately, putter has been hot, and of all the long shots, he’s one of the only ones with multiple wins on tour. In contention, he can get it done. He’s a bit of a grinder and with the weather forecast being what it is, I like a player like Jonas to contend. He’s also coming in with much better form than last year, having made the cut in 6 consecutive events. Last year before his 16th place finish he had missed 3 of the previous 4 cuts.
I’ll have Head to Head and full tournament matchups posted for our Beat the Bookie VIPs on Wednesday. And there are some reaaaaly juicy ones this week! These are truly where you can make your money in golf betting, while not as sexy or as big as an outright win, they are much more profitable.
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I really like Masters Hangover week, it’s a time where there is actually a lot of dead money in events because some of the newbies who made money on the Masters will come in and fire at this tournament as well. Looking back, this is typically one of my more profitable weeks of the year, so let’s get it!
We will have content for you all through the week at DFS Army. Our research station and domination station optimizer will be updated on Tuesday and I will have my full Chalk Donkey article breaking down all the ownership and GPP strategy for our VIP’s on Wednesday afternoon! If you aren’t a VIP yet, use code UPNORTH for 20% your first month!
Also, give me a follow on twitter @dfsupnorth as I’ll be posting updates there as well as useful retweets leading up to this weeks event!