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DraftKings Fantasy Golf Picks: The Open Championship Predictions, Preview

Reid Fowler previews the Open Championship and gives his picks for your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups.

The 149th Open Championship, the last major of the season, will be played at Royal St. George’s Golf Club located in Sandwich, Kent, England. The course will play as a par 70, measuring 7,211 yards. The greens will be 40% bentgrass and 60% fescue this week.



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STRATEGY

Royal St. George’s GC has hosted 14 Open Championships and was the first course outside of Scotland to host the tournament back in 1894. Built on a wild duneland, this course is a proper test of links golf, with partially blind shots and deep bunkering around the course; the fourth hole is reported to have the deepest bunker in championship golf. Situated on the coast, Royal St. George’s GC will be susceptible to inclement weather, even with wind power as benign as 10 mph. The weather can also change at a moment’s notice, so checking the weather report right up until lock is highly advised. Only one player, Greg Norman, was able to record a double-digit winning score of 13-under back in 1993, but scores this and every year will depend on the conditions.

This week’s field is somewhat of a moving target, with several players deciding not to play due to travel requirements or other reasons. Sungjae Im and Si Woo Kim have decided to prepare for the Olympics in Tokyo. Hideki Matsuyama, Kevin Na, Matthew Wolff and Cameron Davis have opted not to make the trip, while Bubba Watson, who was in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and Zach Johnson, who tested positive for COVID-19, are also not in the field.

Links experience is crucial this week. Six out of the past nine winners played at the Irish or Scottish Open, on a links course, the week previous. Also, 13 of the past 14 winners have had a top 10 in an Open Championship before their victory.

Still, current form and golfers who are playing well heading into The Open Championship is also worth mentioning. As with all par 70s, par 4 efficiency will be important this week. The top 5 in Strokes Gained: Par 4 coming into this week is Jordan Spieth (+1400, $9,700), Patrick Cantlay (+3500, $8,900), Abraham Ancer (+6500, $ 7,600), Collin Morikawa (+2500, $9,200) and Louis Oosthuizen (+2500, $9,300). Placement Off-the-Tee will help this week but make no mistake, this is a second shot course. The top five golfers in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green over the last 24 rounds are Morikawa, Emiliano Grillo (+20000, $6,700), Daniel Berger (+4500, $7,400), Paul Casey (+3500, $8,600) and Rory McIlroy (+1800, $10,900).


Brooks Koepka (+1800 to Win, $10,700 on DraftKings)

The narrative of playing Brooks at a major needs no explanation at this point. He has three top 5s in his previous four starts with a fourth at the U.S. Open and a runner up at the PGA Championship. With a top 5 in 2019 and a sixth-place finish back in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, Koepka should be an anchor in both cash and GPP lineups this week. Over his previous 24 rounds, Brooks ranks 10th in approach and sixth off-the-tee. It should be noted that Brooks’ finishes at the U.S Open at Torrey Pines and the PGA Championship at the Ocean Course were both coastal courses. He also had a seventh-place finish at the RBC Heritage last season at Harbour Town, another coastal track.


Paul Casey (+3500 to Win, $8,600 on DraftKings)

The Englishman has had stellar finishes in the two previous majors and a win earlier this season at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. Ranked 20th in the world, Casey’s form is just what you want coming into this week. He’s got 16 Open Championship appearances to his name, with a T3 in 2010 as his best finish. Don’t worry about his T54 in 2011 here; focus more on his form, ranking second in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green over the previous 24 rounds. A top-5 finish at Pebble Beach and the PGA Championship, along with his stellar iron play and tournament experience, make Casey my favorite play this week, especially when the greens are bentgrass (even if it’s only 40%).


Branden Grace (+7000 to Win, $7,200 on DraftKings)

Another favorite play this week is the smooth-swinging South African. No, not Louis Oosthuizen (+2500, $9,300), but Brendan Grace, the 2021 Puerto Rico Open champion. Few have been playing better than Grace, ranking ninth in Strokes Gained: Total over the past 24 rounds and 23rd with his irons over the previous dozen rounds. We know Grace can go low at this tournament, with the lowest Saturday round of 62 at Royal Birkdale in 2017. Grace has a top 20 in 2015 and a sixth-place finish in 2017 at past Open Championships. Another player we should be interested in is Alex Noren (+8000, $7,200), who has been playing fantastic golf recently. A form player, Noren has a top 15 and a top 5 in two of the past three starts, gaining an average of 3.37 strokes Tee-to-Green over that timeframe. Noren also has a spectacular record at this tournament, finishing 11th in 2019 and earning top 10s in 2017 and 2012.


Kevin Kisner (+18000 to Win, $6,900 on DraftKings)

Since 2015, Kisner ranks 30th in SG: Total at The Open Championship. A top 30 last season and a runner-up finish in 2018 at Carnoustie CC, Kisner has found success across the pond, which is most likely his best chance of winning a major. Hamstrung by his lack of length, Kisner more than makes up for it with his short game, ranking 34th in Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green and third in putting over the past 24 rounds. He’s missed the cut in all three majors this season, but he’s another player who’s had success on coastal courses.


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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.


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