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How Tony Niehaus Won $1 million playing Fantasy PGA Tour Golf in the DraftKings Championship Series

We sat down with Tony Niehaus after he won a ticket to the Tournament of Champions on top of $1 million.

The first officially minted Championship Series Millionaire has been crowned. Tony Niehaus of Run Pure Sports earned a seat at the DFS Tournament of Champions by winning the $20 $2.5M Fantasy Golf Millionaire contest. Big T (childhood nickname) is no stranger to DraftKings and has played DFS for close to a decade. Niehaus joined us to discuss everything from his strategy, thoughts on the DraftKings Championship Series and how he plans to spend his winnings.

Under the username, ‘BigT44, Tony Niehaus is all about positivity. The first thing you notice about him is he genuinely wants everyone to succeed and is a firm believer in a ‘rising tide raises all ships.’ When the COVID-19 pandemic stopped all our lives, it allowed Niehaus to focus on what the next step in his life was going to be. With a ton of optimism at his disposal, he and a couple of friends boldly started their own company during this time called “Run Pure Sports,” which provides sports gambling and DFS content.

Niehaus has been close to winning a Millionaire contest in the past - about four or five times. A rouge bounce of the pigskin here or an unfortunate bogey there has resulted in many close calls. After his lineups across multiple sports flirted with first, Niehaus knew he was getting close and just needed things to go his way more than they had in the past. One strategy he attributes a lot of his success to is rostering a smaller player pool. During THE PLAYERS week, he ended up rostering just 25 golfers across all of his lineups, which allowed him to win big when the proverbial stars aligned. Another tactic Niehaus relied heavily on is feeling. “Every week’s strategy relies on feel and passing the ‘eye test’ more so than analytics.” These tactics landed him on a trio of golfers who helped his lineups succeed. Sure, the other golfers helped, but the trio of Brian Harman, Justin Thomas and DraftKings’ very own, Bryson Dechambeau, contributed the most.

Harman ($6,900) and DeChambeau ($9,700) finished T3, scoring 105 and 105.5 DKFP, respectively. Thomas ($9,900) ended up winning the tournament and provided Niehaus’s lineups with 129.5 DKFP, giving Big T a whopping 610.5 DKFP. So much of PGA DFS is going off of public sentiment or projected roster percentage. Niehaus capitalized on both DeChambeau and Harman projecting in lower ownership than those priced around them. Harman ended up in only 4.5% of lineups but close to 40% of Niehaus’s rosters.

Even though Niehaus mentions he was feeling good after Thursday’s round, he was sweating the finish on Sunday, knowing it would come down to Dechambeau’s play. Bryson’s eagle on the par 5, 16th hole pushed Tony into first place, but it was far from over. Niehaus knew that he and Bryson still needed to successfully navigate the 17th Island Green and the 18th hole with water down the entire left side to win the Fantasy Golf Millionaire. Bryson delivered with two pars on 17 and 18, providing Niehaus with the win.

It isn’t over for Tony Niehaus. He has two seats at the Fantasy Basketball World Championships, and wants another seat at the Tournament of Champions. “One seat isn’t enough. I want another one. Knowing you’re competing with the best or someone completely random is what’s fantastic about these events.” Niehaus says. So, he will continue to enter into more Championship Series contests, something he’s been a fan of since the inception. Niehaus also wants his community to join in at the Championship Series Event at the end of the year and hopes everyone can meet in person when things are safe, something he’s missed since the COVID-19 pandemic discontinued public gatherings. His plans on how he’s spending the money? “Not much is going to change,” Niehaus mentions. “I’m going to be the same, positive guy, grinding out lineups because it’s what I love to do.”


As sports roll on, DraftKings will continue to give you a shot at being one of the 100 minted millionaires this season, plus win your seat at the end-of-season Tournament of Championships. Follow the DraftKings Championship Series page to see all the upcoming events.