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Another easy, breezy Hawaii course!
Week 2 of 2017 brings another easy track on the PGA Tour. Waialae Country Club ranked as the 45th-hardest golf course out of 50 last season. It is a Par 70 and plays around 7,044 yards. With only two reachable Par 5s in play this week, Par 5 scoring is not a big deal. It does however feature 12 Par 4s, with only two playing fewer than 400 yards (one of those is played at 398) and most playing at 420-460 yards. These yardages will put a lot of emphasis on short and mid irons this week. The greens this week are smaller than average and are only hit on field average of 63.9%, making Greens-in-Regulation (GIR) the top key stat.
Key Stats: GIR, Approach 150-175 yards, BoB%(Birdie or Better), Bogey Avoidance, Scramble, Putting 5'-20'.
This will be the first cut tournament of 2017; the top 70 (plus ties) after Friday's round will advance into the weekend. The usual cut line at the Sony Open is 1-2 under par.
In this article we give you our top value plays and sleepers for the week on DraftKings.
Paul Casey ($9,500)
Paul Casey at this price is mind boggling. He finished 2016 as the hottest golfer not name Matsuyama and he has begun the new tour season where he left off, placing 12th, 21st and 3rd in his first three events. This will be Casey's third time playing The Sony Open where he finished 30th in 2015 and missed the cut over a decade ago.
Casey has one of the best all-around games on tour, gaining strokes all over the golf course. Last year he ranked in the top 75 of every strokes gained category, with Tee to Green (7th) and Approaching the Green (11th) as his best. His total strokes gained ranking was 7th on tour last season. He has bettered that by two thus far this season. He ranked 50th in putts inside 10', 44th in putts 10'-15', and 30th in putts 15'-20' last season, which makes him one of the best putters within our putting key stat. Saving the best for last, Casey ranked 2nd in GIR last season and is 31st thus far in 2017. Casey is the sixth-highest salaried player this week but ranks as the top play for us. His $9,500 price allows you to pair a bunch of mid-salary players instead of dipping into the $6,000s.
Justin Rose ($9,300)
You can pair him with Casey or pivot from Casey to Rose. Either way works as both are priced low enough. Rose withdrew from the Hero World Championship in December after taking some time off to rehab his back, leading some to believe he wasn't ready yet. He played the following week to defend his title at the UBS Hong Kong Open and finished all four rounds, placing 36th. Rose has since taken four weeks off. His back issues will keep him low owned and we feel that issue is in the past.
The Olympic Champion will look to begin his 2017 PGA Tour season like he did in 2011 and 2010, placing 13th and 12th in his opening event. Rose is a much better all-around golfer now and it shows in his 2016 statistical rankings: 15th in approaches 175-200 yards and 40th in GIR, 23rd in birdie-or-better percentage and 35th in Par 3 scoring. Rose will look to bounce back from a below-average putting year and taking a month off may be just what he needed. If Rose has just an average putting tournament, he will be on the first page of the leaderboard on Sunday and there is no telling how low he can go if the flat stick gets hot.
Value Picks and Sleepers
Daniel Berger ($8,800)
Berger is coming off a 14th-place finish in last week's ToC and a runner-up in the WGC HSBC Championship back in October. He closed out 2016 with a 15th at the Tour Championship and a 10th at BMW Championship. This will be his third straight year playing The Sony Open where he finished 42nd last year and 13th in 2015.
Berger's biggest strengths are his short- to mid-irons. He ranked 7th in approaches 150-175 yards and 3rd in approaches 175-200 yards last season. He also ranked 30th in putting 4'-8' and 22nd in putting 15'-20'. With an emphasis on Par 4 scoring this week, Berger's rank of 14th last season should be very beneficial. He also ranked 46th in our top key stat this week: GIR. Berger is a perfect match to play with Casey and/or Rose and should also be low owned in GPPs on DraftKings.
Charles Howell ($7,800)
The guy who skipped his high school prom to practice golf has become the best above-average golfer on tour. Although you can normally pencil in 7-8 missed cuts a year for Chuckie 3 Sticks, you will get 10 top 25s and five to six top 10's every year as well. He already has a top 10 this season, placing 7th in the OHL Classic, and also took 13th at the RSM Classic and 15th at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open.
Howell ranked 38th on tour last season in GIR while ranking 14th in Par 4 scoring and 50th in Par 3 scoring. He ranked 19th in BoB% and 13th in Bogey Avoidance, making him one of the top ranked players in this field for our key stats.
Howell has seven top 10's in the last 12 Sony Opens and finished 13th last season. He is great play this week and his salary being under $8,000 makes him even more attractive.
David Hearn ($6,400)
The lanky Canadian sure does like Hawaii. In six trips to The Sony Open he is a perfect 6-for-6 in made cuts, including a 10th-place finish in 2012. Hearn ranked 31st in GIR last season and dominated both Par 3 scoring (ranked 10th) and Par 4 scoring (ranked 14th). He was among the top 60 in all our key putting stats and ranked 40th in scrambling last season.
Although he won't make a lot of birdies, Hearn is a steady player who stays out of trouble, as shown in his bogey avoidance ranking last season (7th). Here's one value play you shouldn't have to sweat on Friday!
For more insight, be sure to visit FantasyLabs for player projections, podcasts and even DFS lineup optimizers to help you build winning lineups this week!
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