Heading into the final round up one shot, it appeared that Jordan Spieth had his 16th PGA win of his career locked up at Colonial Country Club this past weekend. But, the three-time major champion struggled mightily Sunday, carding a three-over 73, and Jason Kokrak’s even par final round was good enough to get him the win at the Charles Schwab Challenge, edging out Spieth by two strokes. Now, the PGA Tour will leave the lone star state and travel to Muirfield Village Golf Club (par 72, 7,543 yards) of Dublin, Ohio, for the 2021 Memorial Tournament. Given the risks of traveling during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic a year ago, the PGA hosted the Memorial at Muirfield Village, but also the inaugural Workday Charity Open the week prior. Collin Morikawa recorded the win at the Workday, finishing at -19, while John Rahm claimed the top prize at the Memorial at -6. Hence these results, the Workday was purposely setup as an easier test of golf, and we should expect similar conditions from Rahm’s win this week at Muirfield Village.
This course was designed by Jack Nicklaus, and despite its lengthy yardage total, distance isn’t a must at Muirfield Village. We have seen both long and short hitters pick up win at this PGA site, and OTT stats aren’t overly important this week. Strong iron play on the other hand is crucial for success. Over the last five years, all but one of the Memorial winners ranked inside the top-10 in SG APP during their victories. The Bentgrass greens these players will be attacking at Muirfield are very small compared to the PGA average, and these golfers are going to miss these putting surfaces often this week. This makes your skills around the green also crucial in addition to your work with your irons. Rahm led his field in SG ARG last season, and 2019 Memorial champ Patrick Cantlay ranked 5th in the stat.
To contend for the top prize at Muirfield Village, you need to be successful on both the par fours and fives. Over the last four years, we have seen three of the Memorial winners finish runner-up or lead their fields in SG on the par fives. As for the par fours, seven of the ten in Dublin fall between 450-500 yards, and all of the last five golfers to secure a win at the Memorial have ranked in the top-10 in SG on these specific par fours.
Annually, we see a large amount of the best players in the world make the trip to Jack’s place, and 2021 is no exception. 14 of the top-20 ranked golfers in the world will be teeing it up this week at the Memorial, and overall, this is a smaller field of 120 players. Still, there will be a standard top-65 and ties cutline taking place after the first 36 holes. This results in a higher percentage than usual making it through the cut, and below I give you four of my favorite value plays to consider when building your DraftKings lineups this week for the Memorial.
Matt Kuchar, $7,400
This is the cheapest Kuchar has ever been priced for a Memorial in the history of DraftKings’ golf. The course manager owns a terrific course resume in Dublin, advancing through the cut in 13 of 15 starts at Muirfield Village, with seven top-10s, most notably the victory back in 2013. Of all the players in the field this week, Kuchar is tied with Cantlay for the most career strokes gained at this venue. Furthermore, if we compare all of these golfer’s last 100 rounds at Nicklaus’ designs, no one in this field has gained more strokes than Kuchar.
He has generated three top-20s in his last six starts on Tour, and Kuchar is a very safe target at Jack’s place.
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Patton Kizzire, $7,300
Kizzire has made 17/20 cuts this season, and is coming into this week with T3s at both the Charles Schwab Challenge and Byron Nelson Championship in his past two starts. At Colonial Country Club, he finished 2nd in SGT2G and 5th in SG APP.
Kizzire has been one of the best putters on Tour this season, ranking 15th in SGP, and if he can continue to light up from T2G this week, another high finish is absolutely possible, even in this elite field at Muirfield Village.
Lucas Glover, $7,200
Glover has a 10/16 record at the Memorial, making his last seven cuts at the par 72, and the former major champion has been playing on the weekend in 12 of his last 15 starts on Tour. Just this past week at Colonial, Glover notched his 3rd top-10 of the season, while ranking 11th in SG APP and 12th in SG on par fives.
He also gained 4.1 strokes with his flat stick, which was the 5th time in his last seven events that Glover has positively produced strokes on the greens. Combining the veteran’s reliable ball striking with some solid putting is always a recipe for success, and Glover brings top-20 upside this week at a very reasonable cost. The last time he attacked one of Nicklaus’ creations, Glover supplied a T18 at the Honda Classic.
Kyle Stanley, $6,100
This is a shockingly low price tag for Stanley at Muirfield village, and he is a value play that must be utilized. At the Charles Schwab last week, Stanley had an incredible showing as a ball striker, ranking 1st in both SGT2G, and SG APP, en route to a T8 at Colonial Country Club. In his previous start, which was a T26 at the Wells Fargo, Stanley also shined, ranking T13 in SGT2G and 9th in SG APP. The 33-year-old is now four for his last five in made cuts, and he also ranks 5th in SG on par fours between 450-500 yards over his past 12 rounds.
If this form wasn’t enough to sell you on Stanley at his near minimum salary, his course history should be the icing on the cake. In seven career appearances at Muirfield Village, Stanley has made five cuts with three finishes inside the top-six.
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