The most notable difference about this week’s U.S. Open compared to almost all other PGA events is that only 60 golfers will make the cut. As a result, the value of getting each of your golfers through the cut in a daily fantasy golf lineup will increase drastically. With 156 golfers in the field, this won’t be easy, as it’s possible that as little as 38 percent of the field will make the cut. However, there are strategic steps you can take and certain underpriced golfers you can target for the year’s third major in order to both increase your chances of rostering six made cuts and winning a GPP.
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U.S. Open picks and PGA DFS strategy
Although Henrik Stenson hasn’t really ever relived the dominance he showed at his Open Championship win in 2016, he has been playing excellent golf recently. With only two top-10 finishes this year and four missed cuts, his results look as though they may leave something to be desired, but that doesn’t really tell the full story. Stenson has made seven straight cuts with three top-25 finishes and a top-10 finish last week at the RBC Canadian Open. On top of this recent surge, his game should fit Pebble Beach quite well — not to mention Stenson’s price is remarkably cheap. Stenson is a past major winner with 20 overall professional wins, including six on the PGA Tour, and you can roster him as a salary saver. While he won’t fly under the radar, I don’t think Stenson’s ownership will be unmanageable due to the presence of equally appealing options around him such as Webb Simpson. Stenson has a strong chance of making the cut and a very realistic chance of a high finish. At his price, that’s a steal.
If you have been rostering Sergio Garcia in majors recently, you probably aren’t too happy. Garcia has missed the cut in his past seven majors (yikes!). Luckily, we aren’t talking about some random golfer. This is a 10-time PGA Tour winner who also happens to have a win at the 2017 Masters. He’s missed the cut in his past two tournaments, but he also has five top-10 finishes in only 12 tournaments this season. There is no denying the frustration that can come with rostering Garcia, but it’s also hard to find comparable upside at below average salary. I think Garcia is a terrific risk to take at Pebble Beach considering his low price and what I expect to be very low ownership. He has the capability to not only make the cut in a competitive field, but as he has proven many times over the course of an incredible career, compete for a win. If he does so at his price point and low ownership, he may be your ticket to taking down a GPP.
Graeme McDowell has something in common with both Stenson and Garcia – he also has one major win. What makes McDowell stand out is that his was a U.S. Open victory at this very course. This alone makes McDowell an intriguing play for a more than palatable price, but beyond the history, he also happens to be having a resurgent season. McDowell has only missed one cut this year, and has three top-10 finishes and a win in his pocket. With all three top-10 finishes coming in his past six tournaments, including one last week at the RBC Canadian Open, he should be coming into this week hot. I don’t anticipate heavy ownership on McDowell with Brandt Snedeker and Shane Lowry around. McDowell could very well surprise at Pebble Beach.
Aaron White graduated from Northwestern University with a B.A. in Economics. He has played DFS professionally for several years and has won featured NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and golf GPPs on both FanDuel and DraftKing