Before entering a one-month offseason, the Hero World Challenge will be taking place this week, at the Albany Golf Course (par 72, 7,414 yards, Bermuda greens) of New Providence in the Bahamas. Outside of in 2020 when this event was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Albany has hosted the Hero World Challenge every year since 2016. With a winning score of 18-under par, Victor Hovland edged out Scottie Scheffler by one shot at Albany last season and is this week’s defending champ. Overall, the average winning score has been 19.5-under par since Albany became the Hero World Challenge’s host in 2016.
Albany is a links styled seaside course that was designed by Ernie Els in 2010. Evident from the low scores posted as this track, Albany is a fairly easy course by PGA TOUR standards, with the venue’s main challenges being how small the putting surfaces are and that there are 52 bunkers on site. With tough-to-hit greens, we should not only be prioritizing accurate iron players, but golfers who are consistent around the greens, as missing some of these tiny putting surfaces is inevitable. Also, Albany is a rare par 72, with the course presenting eight par fours, five par threes and five par fives. At this untraditional setup, scoring on the par fives is bar none the most important for success, with five of the six golfers to win at Albany ranking top-five in par five efficiency during their victories.
This week, Tiger Woods was expected to make his anticipated return to competitive golf, after missing the cut at the Old Course of St. Andrews for the Open Championship in July. Unfortunately, the 46-year-old withdrew from the event on Monday with plantar fasciitis in his right foot and will be replaced by Sepp Straka. This is a field of only 20 players, including six of the top-10 ranked players in the world, with Scottie Scheffler as the current betting favorite on the DraftKings Sportsbook at +500. There will be no cut for this tournament and below, I break down my three favorite sub $7.5K value plays for the Hero World Challenge on DraftKings.
Tommy Fleetwood ($7,300) – Fleetwood finished T13 in his lone start at Albany back in 2018 and returns to the Bahamas in terrific form. After posting a T4 at the CJ CUP, the Englishman went on to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge a few weeks later and then finished T5 at the DP World Championship last week. In both starts, Fleetwood notably ranked inside the top-three in greens found for the event. Combine this stellar form with his irons with his love for Bermuda greens and Fleetwood should make some serious noise in his second attempt at Albany this week. When we compare this field’s last 24 rounds at courses with Bermuda putting surfaces, Fleetwood ranks first in total strokes gained.
Collin Morikawa ($6,900) – Morikawa is a must-play at this laughably low salary. The two-time major champion last competed at the World Wide Technology Championship three weeks ago, when he carded a T15 finish. At Mayakoba that week, Morikawa led the field in GIR, ranked fifth in par five scoring and posted an eight-under 63 during the second round, which was one stroke from tying for the lowest number of the tournament. The elite ball striker ranks second in SG: Approach when we compare this field’s last 50 rounds and was the leader heading into the final round of last year’s Hero World Challenge. Unfortunately, Morikawa blew up Sunday with a four-over 76, resulting in a T5 finish. The Berkley product has only shot over par twice in his last 16 rounds coming into this week and should find himself in the mix for a win at Albany again this weekend. While Morikawa is the No. 10 ranked player in the world and holds the 10th best odds to win the Hero World Challenge on the DraftKings Sportsbook (+1800), the 25-year-old is only the 13th most expensive player on DraftKings this week.
Tom Kim ($6,500) – Kim is another value play that can’t be ignored this week. The rising star is coming off a T11 finish at the CJ CUP, which is just one of his six finishes of T13 or better across his last 10 starts. During this run, Kim picked up the first two PGA TOUR victories of his career, impressively wining the Wyndham Championship by five shots and then Shriners Open by four shots. While the 21-year-old has never competed at Albany before, Kim’s well-rounded game is a perfect match for the par 72. When we analyze this field’s last 24 rounds, Kim ranks first in SG Approach, second in SG: Tee-to-Green, third in BOB% and 10th in par five efficiency. Similar to Morikawa, Kim is criminally underpriced for his upside this week. Despite carrying the seventh best odds to win the Hero World Challenge on the DraftKings Sportsbook (+1600), Kim is 16th most expensive golfer on DraftKings for DFS.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.