DFS Dish: Variety could prove to be the winning spice for Colonial lineups
4 Min Read
Written by Tour Junkies @Tour_Junkies
Course Preview (David Barnett)
Let’s keep the hot picks rolling in the DFS streets as the PGA TOUR heads to Colonial for the Charles Schwab Challenge. The field features some solid top-end strength, with Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth trying to win another one for the boys from Texas.
Colonial’s longtime history of hosting this event gives us a solid sample size as to what it takes to get across the finish line on this Perry Maxwell design. One thing we love about this course is that historically, a variety of skill sets can contend. We’ve seen bombers, shorter hitters, great putters, not-so-great putters, and just about everything in between win at Colonial.
When it comes to DFS, the variety of players able to contend opens up a multitude of options for constructing lineups that have ownership leverage and upside. Colonial demands precision off the tee, strong mid-iron play into smaller-than-average greens, and solid Bentgrass putting. With so many players in the field able to check these boxes, don’t be afraid to fade the chalky (more popular) players.
The biggest defense over the years at Colonial has been the wind. Early in the week, it appears we’ll see very little wind during the tournament rounds. With easier scoring conditions, we see the winning score resembling more like the 2021, 2020 or 2018 version of the Charles Schwab Challenge. More birdies for the week could lead to someone other than Scottie Scheffler taking it down. The last time we saw a single-digit favorite win at Colonial was Jordan Spieth in 2016 at +700.
One last thing to be aware of is that U.S. Open qualifying began this week with a 36-hole qualifier in Dallas. There are a number of guys in the Charles Schwab field that played in this marathon Monday qualifier in hopes of getting to L.A. Country Club for the U.S. Open. This could lead to some fatigue for a few and could also mean that the less experienced around Colonial get less time to see the course.
Disclaimer: This isn’t a huge deal, but could be a tiebreaker when making a roster decision between a couple of players. Plus, Colonial course history has shown to be more predictive than the average PGA TOUR stop. If you’re a younger player with zero experience on Colonial, and you played this Monday event and/or played the weekend at the PGA…fatigue and lack of knowledge could prove detrimental.
DFS Picks (Pat Perry & Ben Little)
Alright folks, let’s get right into the picks this week and start up top with Viktor Hovland. Hovland heads to Colonial after a beautiful ball-striking performance at the PGA Championship, where he led the field in Strokes Gained: Approach. Shockingly, Hovland also found himself gaining strokes around the green. Has everyone’s favorite Norwegian leveled up his short game? Time will tell.
Typically we can see a slight fall-off in play and ownership for guys coming off a disappointing finish in a big spot in a major, but we think Hovland just wants to win anything he can get his hands on at this point. He’s landed two top 25s in two attempts at the Charles Schwab Challenge and had his eighth-best Strokes Gained: Putting performance of his PGA TOUR career at Colonial last year. If we get Hovland now making putts in addition to the elite ball-striking…he’s just too good to pass up in DFS formats.
At one point, just a few short months ago, Cam Davis was missing a lot of cuts (five in a row to start the year, but who’s counting) and breaking our fragile DFS hearts. He disclosed he’d been battling an illness for the first part of 2023 during an interview at The PLAYERS Championship back in March. He clearly started feeling better that week, with a T6 finish to jump-start his performance to what we see today on the heels of a T4 result at Oak Hill.
Davis has always found a way to gain strokes off the tee, even on shorter courses. Bentgrass putting surfaces are his best surface by far when you analyze his putting splits. Plus, he’s improved at every appearance at Colonial, including a T7 in 2022. In three attempts at Colonial, he’s gained over six strokes putting.
Finally, let’s look at a player just below Cam Davis in the $8K range on DraftKings that will likely give your lineups some ownership leverage. We think K.H. Lee will be ignored by many in the DFS community this week, but probably through no fault of his own. DFS players are seemingly more enticed by the likes of Davis, Rickie Fowler and Stephan Jaeger. However, Lee deserves our attention coming off four top 30s (all elevated events) in his last six starts.
Lee’s a two-time winner in Texas with two top 10s in 2023 at elevated events. He appears to have leveled up his ball-striking and putting since the Valspar Championship in March. He’s hitting it better than ever, and he’s now throwing in good putting weeks on the greens. His record at Colonial isn’t good at all, but he arrives this week on a new level (at least for now). We think taking the chance on Lee’s legitimate top-10 upside is worth the pivot in the $8K range.