This article is part of our PrizePicks Golf series.
PrizePicks offers a unique twist on DFS play in the form of Over/Under picks for individual players in almost every sport imaginable. You have the opportunity to pick two, three or four players per entry, and the goal is to predict whether the individual player will end up over or under the projected total PrizePicks provides. For PGA play, you are required to pick at least one Over and one Under play. The legend for scoring in this format is as follows:
|Double Eagle or Better||13|
|Double Bogey or Worse||-1|
Unlike your usual PGA DFS platforms, PrizePicks offers PGA gameplay on a per-round basis, not for an entire tournament. So, the projected totals you see today are for the individual rounds on Thursday, and once Thursday's round commences, you will see updated numbers for Friday, and so on.
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Today we'll be focusing on the opening round of The British Open, which will introduce a brand-new course into the Major mix. Let's get to it!
Royal Portrush GC – Par 71, 7,334 yards
As I said, we have absolutely no course history to rely on, as the last time the Open was played here was 1951. You're going to expect the usual Open fare at Portrush, however. It's a links-style course that is crafted to penalize with treacherous rough and severe undulations tee-to-green. Wind is also a prevailing factor on a coastal layout, and gust are expected to surge to 25 MPH almost every day. As a rule, links fairways are wide, but you're in a heap of trouble with the rough if you can't keep it on the short grass. If a long hitter can keep it between the goal posts, he has a leg up on the competition, but I believe course management will be the biggest difference maker as the Tour's best make their way around this track.
Did I mention that the greens were tough? Well, 'undulating' might have been a mild term to use. Some of the greens at Portrush have greenside traps of their own, so I'm going to put a special emphasis on proximity to the hole in my stat review. If you can't place the ball well here, three-putts will be in your immediate future.
In a word, unpredictable. It's not a question of when it will be windy – it's how windy it will be on any given day. You have to give a nod to the Euro tour grinders over Americans in these conditions because they're simply more familiar with playing in adverse weather. I definitely plan on giving elite Euros a bump in my projections. It's also going to be cold, which will affect a certain GOAT (see below).
EXAMINING THE FIELD
At first glance, you'll notice that our O/U's are pretty reasonable, ranging from 19.5 at the top to 16.5 at the bottom. In our scoring system, this means our Over thresholds vary from a reasonable 3-under, while the top performers will need a 5-under total to hit their mark. Here is where things get a little different than DFS play. I like Rory McIlroy a lot for the weekend, but for the opening round it's anyone's guess how he will come out of the gate. As I say every week, Overs are more difficult to predict and I'm going to look low for the best opportunity in that category whenever I can and do the opposite for my Unders.
Tommy Fleetwood – 16.5
Fleetwood is a popular Over favorite for me whenever he makes the board, as his 69.18 Round 1 average ranks sixth overall on Tour. He also ranks a respectable 26th in Bogey Avoidance, a statistic that should always be considered in a difficult Major. His driving accuracy isn't the best and I'd like some better ball proximity numbers, but with such a low threshold, I think he has a great chance to beat this line.
Brooks Koepka – 18.0
What? Koepka for the Over? This will be the first time all season that I've selected Brooks for an Over designation. With no course history to speak of, we can only assume that every Major will keep most scores over par. No one is better able to debunk that theory than Koepka, who fired an insane number in the first round of the PGA Championship. The only hurdle Koepka faces is keeping his long bombs out of the rough. If he can do that, he should manhandle this layout. He dominated Majors with DAPs in the high 50's and is coming off a nice weekend off the tee in the 3M Open where he kept his drives in the fairway 66 percent of the time and sported an impressive 79.2% GIR rate.
Patrick Cantlay – 18.5
Cantlay will be heavily owned in DFS formats and I think he has an excellent chance to come hot out of the gate Thursday. His worst major finish was a T21 in the U.S. Open, and were it not for Koepka he could have easily won the PGA. My favorite stat for Cantlay is Bogey Avoidance, where he ranks 2nd on Tour. He also performs well in my other key categories.
Tiger Woods – 17.5
Woods has taken over a month off from golf in hopes of making a statement here, but he's almost a definite to hit the under on Thursday. He's notoriously slow out of the gate and I think that the chilly conditions won't do his back any favors. I don't expect a WD or anything like that, but I have doubts that Woods can even make the weekend.
Rory McIlroy – 19.5
McIlroy has an excellent chance to win this tournament outright, but you almost never see his name grace the leaderboard on Day 1, and I'm banking on a tepid start here. This one will be close – and since ownership is not a concern for these selections it might be wise to look elsewhere, especially if you're a McIlroy fan. He checks every box statistically and it's hard to find a weak spot. I think he'll coin a 65 at some point on the weekend – just not on Thursday.
Bryson DeChambeau – 17.0
Simply put, The Open doesn't favor DeChambeau's game at all. His best finish was 4-over par last year, and the year before that, he missed the cut by a mile. DeChambeau thrives in warmer climates, and while I'm sure he'll come up with ways to battle the wind with his analytical approach to launch angles, etc., it's not going to be enough to take the Claret Jug.