This article is part of our PrizePicks Golf series.
PrizePicks offers a unique twist on DFS play in the form of Over/Under picks for individual players in almost every sport imaginable. You have the opportunity to pick two, three or four players per entry, and the goal is to predict whether the individual player will end up over or under the projected total PrizePicks provides. For PGA play, you are required to pick at least one Over and one Under play. The legend for scoring in this format is as follows:
|Double Eagle or Better||13|
|Double Bogey or Worse||-1|
Unlike your usual PGA DFS platforms, PrizePicks offers PGA gameplay on a per-round basis, not for an entire tournament. So, the projected totals you see today are for the individual rounds on Thursday, and once Thursday's round commences, you will see updated numbers for Friday, and so on.
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Today we will tackle the opening round of the WGC - FedEx St. Jude Invitational, where a selected list of the world's top golfers begins their quest for the FedEx Cup. Let's get to it!
TPC Southwind – Memphis, TN
Par 70 – 7,244 yards
The first thing you notice about this deceptively lengthy layout is the abundance of water hazards on the course. In fact, TPC Southwind routinely outpaces all other courses on Tour when it comes to wet-ball frequency, and you can reasonably assume there will be plenty of golfers "making waves" with errant shots this weekend.
This is not a typical TPC course that pros can overwhelm – there are several hard-to-hit greens, and most fairways are narrow and generally unforgiving. Along with the numerous water hazards, the greens are well-protected with bunkers and there's a number of sand hazards in the fairways as well. Accuracy on approach to the green is going to be an essential statistic this week, as this course's biggest challenge is GIR percentage – a lot of the Bermuda greens aren't much bigger than postage stamps, and players who can work the ball with ease will fare the best in this category.
Like all other WGC tournaments, there is no cut, and furthermore, there are less than 70 players competing this weekend. This obviously makes things easier for DFS players as they have no cut line to worry about, but we are just looking at Thursday. If you've been following my PrizePicks analysis this year, you're already aware that what works for DFS doesn't always translate to smart moves in this format. This course is familiar to most golfers on tour, and some players I'll be mentioning have destroyed this course (see below). Among the available PrizePicks selections, Over/Under lines range from 18.0 (roughly 4-under par) to 15.5 (roughly 2-under par). The tournament regularly posts a final-round score in the 12-to-15-under par range.
Neither the early nor late tee-times possess a significant weather advantage on Thursday.
Dustin Johnson – 17.5
This is the first time DJ has graced his presence with an Over spot in my analysis, but it's hard to ignore how hard he crushed this course last year with a 19-under par massacre of a win. Aside from that feat, he's generally played well here overall. Unfortunately, Johnson hasn't been playing his best golf of late, but TPC Southwind is the perfect place for him to right the ship. He's rated highly in all of my key categories and while Overs are tough to come by in this format, DJ's history and stats makes a convincing argument for him to beat this number.
Tommy Fleetwood – 16.0
I'm happy to ride the hot hand with Fleetwood, as he pasted yet another great opening-round score last week in the Open Championship. While this course presents a completely different challenge, accuracy on approach shots is essential, and it's a category Fleetwood dominated at Portrush. Fleetwood is an interesting play, as he doesn't check all the boxes statistically, but you have to consider the low O/U and make a call based on his recent success.
Paul Casey – 15.5
Even though Casey doesn't come out of the gate quickly, I find it hard to avoid him at such a reasonable Over/Under line. He ranks 17th on Tour in SG: Approach and GIR. He also ranks among the Tour's best in accuracy off the tee, which is another essential skill, as some of the holes have narrow doglegs with narrow angles of attack.
Rory McIlroy - 18.0
It's pointless to enumerate all the stats that he crushes here, and much like the Open Championship, he'll enter the week as a clear favorite. Despite his convincing numbers, his dreadful first round last week is an indicator that his game is a bit off. Heading into this tournament, you have to assume his Open performance will affect his head-space a bit. He was under extreme pressure to perform well in the British press, but I think a lower profile in Memphis won't heal what ails him currently.
Jon Rahm - 17.0
Identifying Rahm as an Under candidate flies in the face of a key statistic. He ranks 4th on Tour in Round 1 Scoring Average. He's also very strong off the tee. His SG: Approach numbers aren't the best, however (59th on Tour,) and his GIR is even weaker (63rd). Rahm has the ability to wreck your picks on any given week due to his streaky play, but Rahm has never played this track. That fact could be enough cause to fade him.
Adam Scott – 16.0
It's been an up-and-down year for Scott, and he's certainly not a good candidate for a low first round (127th on Tour in Round 1 Scoring Average). He does reasonably well in our key statistics, but I think his accuracy off the tee is where he'll struggle this week. The rough at TPC Southwind isn't expected to be especially unforgiving, but the course's tight fairways are a far cry from last week's wide-open layout. His Approach numbers will suffer if he can't place his drives at the proper angle to attack these greens.