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DraftKings preview: WM Phoenix Open

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LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 22: Scottie Scheffler hits his tee shot on the second hole during the third round of the The American Express at the Stadium Course at PGA West on January 22, 2022 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

LA QUINTA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 22: Scottie Scheffler hits his tee shot on the second hole during the third round of the The American Express at the Stadium Course at PGA West on January 22, 2022 in La Quinta, California. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)



    Written by Reid Fowler @DraftKings

    Daily Fantasy preview for WM Phoenix Open


    Putting a bow on the West Coast Swing, the TOUR makes its way to Scottsdale, Arizona, for this week's WM Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course. The course will play to par-71, measuring 7,261 yards and contested on Bermuda greens. Currently, the field is 15% less than what we’ve seen in recent weeks.


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    STRATEGY

    Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green is still the priority, but Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee measures almost the same as approach in average strokes gained per round by former winners. On paper, the course doesn’t lean toward golfers who hit it far, especially not as much as Torrey Pines a couple of weeks ago, but this could be a contrarian strategy for lineup construction this week. Distance hitters like Tony Finau (+3500, $8,900), Gary Woodland (+10000, $7,300), and Bubba Watson (+4000, $9,000) routinely play well here, with the latter two winning this tournament. Bubba’s admitted to hitting drivers a lot here in the past, with the rough not being penal. Like Bubba, longer hitters have the advantage of hitting shorter irons into these fast greens. The course sits over 1,500 feet above sea level, which could be another reason we see the average driving distance 12 yards higher (293 yards) than the TOUR average. Also, consider golfers trending well in Par 4 efficiency between 450 and 500 yards and Par 5 efficiency this week. All the par 5s are reachable in two and need to be taken advantage of this week, with three of the last four winners ranking inside the top 11 in Par 5 efficiency in the years they won.

    Conversely, and maybe just as important, is driving accuracy with 70 bunkers and three water hazards. Golfers like Abraham Ancer (+5500, $7,900), who ranks top 10 in fairways gained over the previous 24 rounds, could fare well with accuracy this week like 2020 champion Webb Simpson (+3500, $8,600), who ranked third in fairways gained en route to his victory.

    The WM Phoenix Open has proven challenging to win as a 54-hole leader — only two out of the past 12 golfers have held on to win when leading after Round 3 — and six of the previous nine winners have come from two or more strokes back to earn the victory. Brooks Koepka (+3000, $9,400) was five shots behind Jordan Spieth (+1600, $9,900) and Xander Schauffele (+2000, $9,700) heading into the final round last year.

    GOLFERS TO CONSIDER

    Justin Thomas (+1000 to Win, $11,000 on DraftKings)

    Those looking to chase the elite should consider Thomas, who’s finished 13-3-3 in his previous three starts in Phoenix. His ball-striking is elite, ranking 21st in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and third in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green over the past 24 rounds. It’s all about putting with Thomas, and two of his top-20 putting performances on TOUR have been at TPC Scottsdale. It’s been 16 weeks since Thomas’ last win on TOUR, his longest drought since 2018. That streak could come to an end this week.

    Scottie Scheffler (+2200 to Win, $9,100 on DraftKings)

    Successful finishes preceding the WM Phoenix Open haven’t been a prerequisite, but it never hurts. Looking deeper into his stats, Scheffler ranks top five in Par-5 efficiency and Greens in Regulation Gained over the previous 24 rounds and was top three in Strokes Gained: Approach-the-Green at Torrey Pines. A top-25 finish at The American Express and a top-20 finish at the Farmers Insurance Open is a good start for Scheffler, but he’s looking for his first win and it could easily be this week.

    Aaron Wise (+6500 to Win, $7,100 on DraftKings)

    Just missing the cut during his season debut at the Farmers Insurance, Wise comes into Phoenix well suited for a solid finish. Recently, few have been better than him on desert locales, finishing eighth at the 2021 Shriner’s Childrens Open (TPC Summerlin) and fifth at the CJ Cup (Summit Club). His putting looks good, gaining strokes on the greens in five-straight measured events heading into this week. Wise also looks solid on the par 5s, ranking 11th in Par-5 efficiency and fifth in eagles gained over his past 24 rounds. He also had one of the best Fall swings of anyone not named Talor Gooch (+5000, $7,800), finishing no worse than 26th in five starts across October and November last year.


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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. The contents contained in this article do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups.


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