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DraftKings Fantasy Golf Picks: 2021 Tokyo Olympics Golf Predictions, Preview

Reid Fowler previews the 2021 Tokyo Olympics Golf tournament and gives his picks for your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups.

Golf is back once again in the Summer Olympics after returning for the Rio games in 2016. Now in Tokyo, both the men and women will play on the East Course of the Kasumigaseki CC, a private club in Saitama, a little over 30 miles northwest of Tokyo. The course is 92 years old and was renovated four years ago to add length (and difficulty) in preparation for the games taking place in 2020. The course measures 7,447 yards, is a par 71 and should have bentgrass greens.



Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: INTL GOLF $700K Gold Golfer [$200K to 1st]



STRATEGY

Up to 60 golfers (in both men’s and women’s events) will be competing in a stroke-play, four-round, no-cut event similar to a World Golf Championship (WGC) event. Top-ranked players Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau have tested positive for COVID-19 and will not be competing. Patrick Reed (+1400, $10,100) has taken DeChambeau’s place on the United States team. The men’s tournament starts on July 29 and finishes on Aug. 1.

Tom Fazio was responsible for renovating the course to fit the modern tests and parameters of today’s game. Fazio lengthened the course, added fairway bunkers where golfers should hit their drives and reshaped the greens similar to what’s on TOUR. The fairways are treelined and wide and the greens will be huge, so proximity to the hole will play a factor this week.

Fazio says this course reminds him of Donald Ross’ designs in the Northeast (Plainfield CC, Sedgefield CC). If we know anything about Ross courses, it’s all about the second shot and position golf Off-the-Tee. Other Fazio courses on TOUR are Firestone CC (WGC-Bridgestone), a redesign of Quail Hollow (Wells Fargo), Conway Farms (BMW Championship in 2013, 2015 and 2017) and Shadow Creek (2020 CJ Cup).

With no cut, all six golfers are going to make the weekend. Similar to WGCs, placement points and birdie or better scoring are a must if you want to win a GPP this week. The top five golfers in birdies or better gained over the previous 24 rounds are (starting from highest) Rory McIlroy (+1200, $10,300), Sungjae Im (+2800, $9,000), Sepp Straka (+25000, $6,400), Cameron Smith (+2800, $8,900) and Xander Schauffele (+800, $10,700).



Justin Thomas (+1100 to Win, $10,900 on DraftKings)

When in doubt, zoom out. Over the previous 50 rounds, Thomas ranks seventh in DraftKings points gained over the field and third in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green. Thomas’ recent finishes aren’t pleasant for the fourth-ranked golfer in the world, with only one top 10 since his win at THE PLAYERS back in March. Still, he’s got one of the best win rates outside of Collin Morikawa (+650, $11,200) among the top players, winning a tournament, on average, every nine events dating back to the BMW Championship in 2019. Thomas gets even better when it’s a no-cut event, ranking first in Strokes Gained: Total over his previous 50 rounds in these events, and with nine of his 14 wins coming in this format.


Paul Casey (+1200 to Win, $9,500 on DraftKings)

Casey’s success this season started with a win overseas at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and has continued throughout the season on TOUR with three top 10s and three top 5s since then. Over the previous 50 rounds, Casey ranks seventh in birdies or better gained and fifth in bogeys avoidance. Viktor Hovland (+1100, $9,900) is playing well, ranking second in Strokes Gained: Total over the previous two dozen rounds, but he’s projected to be the highest-rostered golfers in this range as of press time.


Cameron Smith (+2800 to Win, $8,900 on DraftKings)

The Australian has a knack for performing well in similar events, with Top 5s at the 2014 and 2017 CIMB Classic, a top 10 at the WGC-Mexico in 2019 and an 11th-place finish at the most recent WGC-Workday Championship at Concession. The 28th-ranked player in the world has three top 10s in 2021, which includes this year’s Masters Tournament. A winner at the 2021 Zurich Classic with fellow teammate (then and now) Marc Leishman (+3500, $8,500), Smith could be in line for a solid finish, especially since he ranks 18th in approach and fourth in birdies or better gained over his previous 24 rounds.



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Set your DraftKings fantasy golf lineups here: INTL GOLF $700K Gold Golfer [$200K to 1st]


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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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