DraftKings Fantasy Golf Picks & Plays for The U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills
Welcome back for another week of PGA DFS at DraftKings, FanDuel, and FantasyDraft. We’re here to give you the full report on picks for The U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills. We’ve also got a free PGA DFS contest this week at DraftKings! Click to play now!
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Shinnecock Hills is one of the oldest and most prestigious courses this side of the Atlantic. It’s rich in history and, like any great venue, constantly seeks to improve. The course has undergone major changes since the last time we saw it in 2004. A brutally long, links-style par 70 that is nestled among the South Hamptons, Ol’ Shinnie is a course for the golfing purist.
How it Plays
The last time we saw Shinnecock (U.S. Open 2004) it had significantly more trees and greens that got away from the USGA, resulting in true carnage over the weekend. Since then, the fairways have been widened, all the trees are gone, the areas around the greens are shaved, and don’t expect to see the sins of the past repeated with regard to the greens. This means the tiny bit course history we have has little value this week.
Normally, I start with the tee-to-green aspects of a course, but since Poa is such a drastically different surface than the others, I want to start here and work outward. With lighting-fast U.S. Open greens and the ever-pesky Poa bounces, I want to know the golfers I am selecting are comfortable putting on Poa. This will also help easily narrow your pool for picking core players. Josh Culp has a great page for highlighting players who are positive in strokes gained putting on Poa here.
Now, knowing we want to favor above-average Poa putters, let’s look at the game to get to the green. Like any other U.S. Open, the USGA will be protecting par to some degree. That means length and speed matter.
Players who can go long and be accurate off the tee will be crucial to success this week. The native fescues are quite difficult to advance a ball from, and the fairways don’t seem to be as prohibitive to hit as in years past (sans 2017). There are plenty of strokes to be lost for the golfers missing off the tee this week.
Into and around the greens especially will become more important if the winds decide to pick up around Shinnecock. Tree-less and exposed, the course is at the mercy of the winds. Players will miss greens regardless of the wind, and even those landing on them could struggle to hold them; expect firm and fast. The shaved areas around the green only enhance the possibility of balls running off the numerous raised greens.
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Since we don’t have any real course history to work from, the card looks pretty bare. There is a lot of conjecture and speculation by the entire industry this week as to how exactly the course will play, but since this a U.S. Open, a few things are more probable than not this week.
- Par golf is great golf here.
- Expect more bogeys than birdies.
- The long par 4’s are the key to success in the U.S. Open format.
Also, based on my rough projections, approaches form 175-200 yards are the most important.
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1. Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
2. Par 4 Scoring 450 yds+
3. Strokes Gained: Approach
4. Birdie or Better %
5. Boegy Avoidance
6. Better than average POA putters
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PGA DFS Players:
Top Tier: $11.7K – $9.5K
Dustin Johnson ($11.7K)
If you didn’t catch my pick to win on the Pat Mayo show, it was DJ, and I wasn’t alone. Based on FanShare this week, DJ will be the most popular of the elites tier at Shinnecock. With a game built for the U.S. Open setup, elite length, hot approaches right now, and a strong Poa putter, DJ is a shoe-in as the favorite this week. You shouldn’t ignore him up top.
Jordan Spieth ($10.8K)
The last time we saw Spieth, it all fell apart for him at Memorial. His putting has been a bit of a concern this year, but his ball-striking remained among the best, until Memorial. Coming into Shinnecock, everyone is off Spieth after his tee-to-green game abandoned him. This makes him an excellent high-end GPP pivot in this field. An elite player who had a bad tournament and is admittedly not at his best, he’s still worth a couple shares as a GPP pivot in this top tier. Spieth has the ability to get his game up for the Major, and the course suits his style of play.
Jason Day ($10.5K)
You will hear a lot of talk this week about Day, both good and bad. The most polarizing of the elites this week, Day carries an impressive U.S. Open record. He’s also coming in riding a red-hot putter and a pair of wins this year. Now, Day’s approach game is what will cause folks to shy away from him and keep his ownership in check.
My thought in playing him when others won’t is that maybe his approaches won’t matter as much with the shaved areas around the greens. Day has been phenomenal scrambling this year, and if it is really firm and good shots are rejected by the firm upside down bowl greens, it could mitigate Day’s current approach woes just enough. Keep an eye on his FanShare start/sit tags this week to see how the crowd feels about Day as we get closer to lock.
Other to consider: Obviously at a Major with the level of talent of this tier, anyone is viable and in play.
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Mid Tier: $9.5K – $7.6K
Brooks Koepka ($9K)
If Brooks defends his U.S. Open title this week, he would add his name to a short and elite list. While unlikely to defend, Brooks has been playing some really snapping golf lately. Post-wrist injury, he has rattled off a 42/11/2/30, gaining strokes consistently off the tee and with his putter. Owning the best scoring average over the last five years at the U.S. Open with results of 1/13/18/4 in his four outings, Koepka clearly has the big-stage game and stands as good a chance as the other greats to repeat.
Patrick Reed ($8.5K)
The Masters champion is looking to join more elite company by going back to back in the season’s first two Majors. Disclaimer, I am not a Reed fan, but it is hard to ignore some of his trends at the recent U.S. Open. Despite the course setups not suiting his game on first glance, Reed has found ways to score at this tournament. In his last five years at the U.S. Open, Reed has the 10th-best scoring average, the eighth-most birdies per round, and is making 75 percent of his cuts. Certainly in form and with the ability to post a high finish, Brooks will likely still be lower owned in this range.
Brendan Grace ($8.4K)
Grace is in form and seems to always show up at the Majors. Despite a lacking course fit, Grace has big-stage game and the linksy layout should help him, especially if the wind gets up. Also don’t forget the “Nappy Factor”; Grace is a new father and this event concludes on Father’s Day. That said, I know but there is plenty of reason to play him outside the “Napa Factor.”
Note: Sergio also has the “Nappy Factor” but is playing awful golf right now.
Tommy Fleetwood ($8.1K)
Despite looking more like a vagrant than one of the world’s elite golfers, Fleetwood is a true international player. He has performed well and won at all levels of competition, all around the world. We don’t have any great comp course results for Tommy other than to say his game tends to elevate to his competition. With elite approaches and plenty long off the tee, and with more links experience than most in the field, Fleetwood sets up well on paper for Shinnecock Hills. If he can depend on his putter at all this week, Fleetwood is dangerous to contend.
Paul Casey ($8K)
Possessing one of the most consistent tee-to-green games on any tour and coming into the season’s second Major off a long-awaited win, Casey represents the most value on this slate at his price tag. A golfer who annually finds top 10 performances but fails to really contend, Casey has shaken that label a bit this year. He’s played some of his best golf in the lead-up to Shinnecock Hills. He’s notched five of his last six U.S Open cuts, so look for Casey to be locked into most Cash games this week. I also expect him to rank inside the top three for Fanshare tags this week. Don’t get cute here; you should have exposure to Casey, regardless of his ownership number.
Louis Oosthuizen ($7.8K)
Louis always seems to end up a bridesmaid, especially on American soil. The South African is playing exceptionally well lately, and his tee-to-green game is well intact. A decent Poa putter and a big-game specialist, Louis always finds a way to pop up on a leaderboard at Majors. Shinnie is built to suit a game like Oosthuizen’s. If his back is in good shape and his putter is warm, look out for Louis to make a splash this week at a course that loosely comps to St. Andrews in terms of links and wide fairways.
Others to consider: Bubba Watson, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Matt Kuchar, Patrick Cantlay
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Value Tier: $7.5K and Lower
Shane Lowry ($7.2K)
The big Irishman is making his way back to Major-caliber golf as of late with some decent showings from the Shell onward. Lowry has made his last five cuts as well as qualifying for the Open the hard way. Clearly eyeing a return to his 2016 performance and looking for redemption from his heartbreak at Oakmont, Lowry has world-class game when he’s on, especially on links-style courses. Lowry can go well here if his putter gets warm. Either way, at his price tag, he’s a good bet to make the cut.
Matthew Fitzpatrick ($7.4K)
The baby-faced Englishman is coming into Shinnecock with some solid under-the-radar form. Fitzpatrick has made the cut at all five of his recent starts while posting an 8th at the very prestigious and difficult BMW Championship at Wentworth. A great long-iron player and long enough off the tee, Fitzpatrick should be able to manage his way around Shinnecock. The other thing that has me on Fitz this week is his U.S. Open form. He’s made the cut in all three of his appearances in Opens. Surprisingly, he boasts the 10th-best birdies per round in the field at the U.S. Open the last five years. I like Fitz as a low owned, GPP pivot who can post a solid number if he can avoid his usual Saturday struggles.
Brandt Snedeker ($7.3K)
Brandt is showing signs of life just in time. I touted him last week and am going to ride him again this week for some consistency. “Sneds” is the most efficient golfer in the field in terms of birdies versus bogeys in the past five years at the U.S. Open. A steady tee-to-green player who loves to putt on Poa, Brandt could continue his strong form at U.S. Opens. Posting five of six made cuts with a 39/9/MC/8/9/17, Brandt knows what it takes on tough courses in major events.
Jimmy Walker ($7.3K)
Jimmy is well over the Lyme Disease and currently running hot in all facets of his game. A Major winner and well suited for Poa greens and tough scoring conditions, Walker has a steady tee-to-green game and can hang around all week at a track like Shinnecock. He also boasts the mental game to get it done in a Major field like this.
Others to consider: Brendan Steele, Gary Woodland, Jason Dufner, Andrew “Beef” Johnston, Charles Howell III (good Poa putter)
That does it for this U.S. Open breakdown. Good luck this week!
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