2019 Memorial DFS Preview

Kevin Na returned to the winners circle last week at Colonial for his third career PGA Tour victory. This week, Tiger Woods returns to action as the PGA Tour heads to Jack’s Place in Ohio for the Memorial Tournament.  

Muirfield Village Golf Club: Par 72, 7,392 yards.

Greens: Bentgrass

Average Driving Distance: (Muirfield Village 284 yards vs. PGA Tour Avg 283 yards)  

Hitting Fairways: Easy (Muirfield Village 68% vs. PGA Tour Avg 62%)

Hitting Greens: (Muirfield Village 62% vs. PGA Tour Avg 66%)   

This is the first time we will see a par 72 since Augusta but at just under 7,400 yards and with many of the holes playing downhill you do not need to a bomber to compete at Muirfield. The course’s fairways are on the wider side of the PGA Tour average and will be easy to hit but those who do miss will encounter long, thick rough as well as some tree issues. This is an approach centric layout as success in strokes gained approach is three times more prevalent than any other stat among top finishers over the past five years. The Bentgrass greens usually run very fast and along with the many bunkers and difficult rough making scrambling for pars less likely than the average PGA Tour venue.

The course has received a lot of rainfall this spring and should play soft with the cut line most likely falling in the +2 to +E range. The majority of par fours will be in the 450-500 yard range with only one par four under 400 yards. We will see four par fives for the first time in a while and players will need to capitalize on these holes as they are all reachable in two and plenty of bogeys lurking on the par threes and fours.

In terms of stats, Muirfield Village is a second shot golf course so I will be focusing in heavily on strokes gained approach and proximity. The key distance on proximity will be from the 150-200 yard range which has historically been the most common approach distance here. Given the difficult around the green areas, approach play will be even more important as players will want to avoid having to scramble for pars. Again, important this week will be good drives gained as players will be at a disadvantage hitting approaches from the thick rough or behind trees.

Here are our top stats to consider this week:

  • Strokes Gained Approach
  • Good Drives Gained
  • Bogey Avoidance
  • Proximity 150-200
  • Par 5 Efficiency

We have a strong field this week as a good course along with the opportunity to honor tournament host Jack Nicklaus serves to draw many of the best players in the world to Ohio. Along with Tiger Woods we will see Rory McIllroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama, and Jason Day headlining a field that will also include defending champion Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas. In addition to just listed, it looks like we have plenty of good value options to select from as we build out our lineups. Here are three targets for your cash game / single entry tournament (GPP) lineups on DraftKings:

Upper Mid-Range – Hideki Matsuyama – $9,100

I will most likely be starting my main lineup off with Hideki this week as he has continued his strong iron play gaining two shots on approach vs. a very strong field in his last start at the PGA Championship. It’s beginning to sound like a broken record in these writeups but the fact that he has gained strokes tee to green in each of his last 15 Shotlink events highlighted by gaining an average of 3.5 strokes on approaches over his last ten starts shows that his iron play is dialed in, something that will be very important this week at Muirfield. He also won this event back in 2014 and secured a top five so the course suits his eye.

Upper Mid-Range – Matt Kuchar – $9,400

While I like Hideki a bit more, Matt Kuchar makes a ton of sense as a complement to start out cash game lineups as current form, stats and course history all come together to make him one of the safest plays on the board. He has top 15 finishes in each of his last four starts that include the Masters and PGA Championship. His approach play has been red hot as he’s gained an average of 5.45 strokes per event with his irons over his last four starts and historically, he has been on of the best in the game at hitting fairways and greens. His course history also stands out as his results since 2013 include one victory, four finishes in the top 15, and no missed cuts

Value – Emiliano Grillo – $7,900

He treated us well last week as he continued to show signs of heating up with his iron play gaining 4.4 strokes on approach including 1.7 on Sunday as he was a good putting day away from improving on his T-19 finish. The good thing for Grillo is that Bentgrass is his preferred putting surface so the flatstick will be less likely to serve as an anchor this week. He is 3/3 in cuts made at the Memorial two top 25 finishes, so he does bring some upside along with the cut making ability. 

How we did last week:

Cash/Single Entry Article Plays:

Paul Casey – WD

Emiliano Grillo – T19

Russell Knox – T8

Optimal Sports Subscribers Core Plays:

Paul Casey – WD

Emiliano Grillo – T19

Russell Knox – T8

Brandt Snedeker – T19

Francesco Molinari – T53

Kevin Streelman – T31

Last Week’s DraftKings Double Up Contest Result: Win

2018-2019 Season Double Up Record: 17-11

Record in Double Ups Since 1/1/18: 42-21

Brought to you by Optimal Sports DFS