The 2019 Masters Tournament — beginning Thursday, April 11 — will be the 83rd running of golf’s greatest event at Augusta National Golf Club. An $11 million purse and one green jacket await a loaded field with many of the top-ranked players in the world playing their best golf through the first three months of the year.
In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the course and stats you should be identifying, plus players from three tiers to target for your DFS lineups on DraftKings.
The iconic par-72 course at Augusta underwent a minor alteration this winter with 40 yards being added to the Par-4 fifth hole. Already ranked as the sixth-toughest on the course with a scoring average of 4.164 in 2018, it’s been upped to 495 yards and is just 15 yards shorter than the Par-5 13th.
Six of the 10 Par 4s at Augusta National measure at least 450 yards with No. 5 now matching No. 10 for the second longest behind No. 11 White Dogwood, which played to a scoring average of 4.4 last year and allowed a tournament-low 13 birdies with 21 double bogeys or worse. The four Par 5s and 350-yard Par-4 third hole offer golfers their only reprieve while battling the undulating fairways and the topographical nightmare-fueling bent grass greens. These were the only holes with scoring averages below par last year. No. 3 Flowering Peach was the lone hole to not induce any score worse than a bogey last year.
DFS players will need to check out leaders in the following statistics while constructing lineups, as they’ve strongly correlated to success in recent years:
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
- Strokes Gained: Approach
- SG: Around the Green
- SG: Par 5
- Par 4 450+ Scoring
Experience, rather than outright success, matters more at Augusta than nearly any other stop on tour. Only Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979 had won the Masters on his first attempt since Horton Smith and Gene Sarazen did so in the first two years of the Augusta National Invitation Tournament in 1934 and 1935.
DraftKings Lineup Building Strategies
When building a daily fantasy golf lineup for a typical Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP) tournament, DFS roster managers should want to spend as close as possible to their $50,000 cap. With six-player lineups on DraftKings, this comes to an average of $8,333 per golfer with individual player salaries generally ranging from $6,000 to $12,000, with rare exceptions.
In tournaments such as DraftKings’ Millionaire Maker, however, managers need to get even more creative in finding ways to differentiate their rosters from the 235,200 lineups they’re competing against. If you truly believe in a lineup that leaves several thousand dollars on the table, this is the time to roll those dice.
Always be aware of the expected ownership percentages of the golfers you’re rostering. The better a low-owned player in your lineup performs, the higher you’ll place and the greater your prize will be. A site such as FanShareSports is an essential tool when deciding between players of a similar overall caliber and price. Having the one who’s on fewer competing rosters can be more important than any other stat as long as their total fantasy points are the same. This is taken into account with several of the picks listed below, but be sure to check-in with FanShare during Masters Week.
Don’t be afraid to take risks. With the volume of lineups involved in a tournament such as the Millionaire Maker, it’s likely that all lineups which end up placing are going to have all six golfers make the cut. This isn’t always a necessity to cash in a tournament, but taking a risk on a golfer who isn’t in form, has poor course history, and has middling statistical ranks at a salary deemed too high by others, can be your winning ticket.
Ownership percentage and risks aren’t generally factors in cash games. Roster managers usually need to be simply aiming to get all six golfers through to the weekend, with their final placing being less significant in double-ups, 50-50s or any other form of a multiplier. With more people playing with more lineups during Major weeks there is a little more pressure than usual to put together a higher-scoring lineup, especially in head-to-heads. Still, it can be best to play it safe, and build a lineup of six mid-tier golfers, and forego the top and bottom ends of the salary pool.
It’s important to consider a Major Week different from any other, due to the increased number of entries. For example, DraftKings’ largest tournament for the Valero Texas Open has a cap of 95.1K and the largest cash game is maxed at 2,298. As mentioned above, there’ll be space for 235.2K entries in the Millionaire Maker, and the larger double-up is capped at 11,400 entries.
The Masters PGA DFS Picks
Top Tier: $11.6K – $9K
Thomas comes into the Masters ranked no lower than third in any of our key stats except for scrambling (45th). The world No. 5 has played in nine events this year, most recently at The Players, where he finished tied for 35th. He’s made each of his cuts and has five top 10s dating back to the CIMB Classic last October, but two consecutive finishes outside the top 30 and no wins since last year’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational may have him out-of-mind relative to other top players. This could drop his ownership to a more advantageous level.
Fleetwood matched Thomas with a T17 showing last year in just his second attempt; he missed the cut in 2017. He has three top 10s in six events this year and his runner-up finish at last year’s U.S. Open and a 12th at The Open have given him the necessary Major experience. He ranks seventh in both SG: T2G and SG: Par 5. Plus, he is coming off top fives at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players.
Koepka finished 2018 ranked No. 1 in the world but has fallen to fourth despite a runner-up finish at the Honda Classic and a win at the CJ Cup in October. Just a week later, he missed the cut at the API and came in 56th at The Players. He leads the field in SG: Par 5 and will again have ample scoring opportunities after missing last year’s event due to a wrist injury. He tied with Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, and Hideki Matsuyama for 11th in 2017 before his first Major victory.
McIlroy leads the tour in SG: T2G and is the only player in the field with a top 10 result in Augusta each of the past five years. He’d be higher ranked here if it wasn’t for his assuredly high ownership. Still, the winner is a must-have, and he’s as likely as any.
Mid Tier: $8.9K – $7.5K
Gary Woodland ($7,500)
Woodland’s a darling of the key stats, excelling in all areas except SG: ATG and Scrambling. He missed the cut at the Valspar and did the same in each of his past three Masters appearances, but he has six top 10s on the season and finished T6 at last year’s PGA Championship.
Matt Kuchar ($7,900)
Kuchar finished as the runner-up in the WGC-Match Play after entering as the No. 23 seed. His past Masters’ results include a T4 in 2017, a T5 in 2014, and a T3 in 2012. The 40-year-old deserves to be in the conversation for the best player without a Major title and has top 10s at each event to back his case.
Adam Scott ($8,500)
Scott, the 2013 Masters champion, has made the cut in each of the past five years but has just one top-10 result. His struggles with the flatstick have long been public discourse, but he ranks 17th this year in SG: Putting and is coming off a T12 at The Players.
Francesco Molinari ($8,600)
The 2018 Open champ picked up another victory at the API this year to give him three wins over the last two years. He made it to the semifinals of the match play and is as cool in big moments as anyone right now.
Value Tier: $7.4K and Lower
This pick had previously been listed as Matthew Fitzpatrick ($7,300) but greater value exists with the cheaper Kim following his T4 finish at last weekend’s Valero Texas Open. He previously had a solo third finish at the Genesis Open this year and a T4 at the AT&T Pebble Peach Pro-Am — both coming with fairly loaded fields. Kim missed the cut in his first attempt at the Masters, but he corrected with a T24 last year. He’s excellent around the green and at giving himself scoring opportunities. He’s a safe pick to make it to the weekend and has top-20 potential at a near-minimum salary.
Horschel, a T17 finisher in 2016, has made all 11 of his cuts this year, including an 8th at the Farmers Insurance Open. He ranks third in Par 4 Scoring from the key distance and sixth in Scrambling, adding another notable rank of eighth in SG: Putting.
Smith broke out at last year’s tournament with a T5 after previously finishing T55 in 2016. He finished solo sixth in a stacked field at the WGC-Mexico Championship in February with two other top 10s this year.
Kevin Kisner ($6,700)
The freshly crowned WGC-Match Play champion picked up top 50s each of the past three years at the Masters. His runner-up result at last year’s Open and 12th-place finish at the PGA Championship show he can hang in Major fields.