There are very few players on tour that are more erratic than Si Woo Kim. The 22-year-old South Korean won the 2017 Players Championship and proceeded to follow that up with four out of five missed cuts. For what it is worth, his one made cut in that stretch was a T13 at the 2017 U.S. Open. Kim is not afraid of the big moment, and for that reason he can never be truly counted out of any event. The issue is where and when do you actually feel comfortable with using him? As a GPP flier at $6,700 on DraftKings or 250/1 on an outright price to win the tournament he is worth a look, but we would keep him far away from any cash-game lineup because of his volatility.
Anyone else enjoying Jason Dufner’s vast ensemble of hats he rolls out weekly? Sadly, his golf game hasn’t been up to par for us to be able to get more glimpses of him on the course. This will be Dufner’s eighth trip to Augusta National. He has seen middling success in his prior seven attempts, culminating in two top-25s and five of seven cuts made. Dufner also rates out towards the middle of the pack in most key statistics for the week. In strokes gained ball-striking, strokes gained around the green, three-putt avoidance, driving distance and proximity from 200-plus yards, he grades out between 41st and 56th in the field in his past 24 rounds. When Dufner locks in with his irons, he can be deadly, but Bentgrass is statistically his worst putting surface. For a guy who is already a below-average putter, he doesn’t need more of a reason to question himself over a putt.
Chez Reavie enters the 2018 Masters having missed the cut in his three other appearances in 2002, 2009 and 2012. Reavie was on a torrid pace, which started at the 2017 St. Jude Classic and lasted all the way into the AT&T Pro-Am of 2018. Through a 19-tournament stretch, Reavie produced 17 top-40 finishes, including 14 top-25s and four top-10s, highlighted by back-to-back second-place finishes at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and AT&T Pro-Am. Since then, the wheels have completely fallen off, as he's missed his last two cuts at the Valspar and Houston Open. Augusta in theory was always going to be too long for Reavie, but his terrible form will not help negate how short he is off the tee.
One of the European Tour’s brightest new stars will get his first crack at the Masters. Only three men have ever won the Masters in their first try, with the last being Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979. Dylan Frittelli brings a unique blend of U.S. experience, having studied at The University of Texas, but also adds grittiness from grinding on the European Tour. His missed cut at last weekend's Houston Open, mixed in with the fact that no debut winner has won since 1979, should help to keep his ownership numbers way down. With a price tag of only $6,700 on DraftKings, he provides an interesting contrarian take.
The last major can finally be crossed off the list for 28-year-old Satoshi Kodaira. He finished tied for 46th in last year's U.S. Open and T48 in last season's PGA Championship. His other two major appearances had come at The Open championship, where he missed the cut both times. U.S. soil has not been friendly for Kodaira in his limited trial run. Having only 12 lifetime stroke-play events on the PGA Tour, his T46 at the 2017 U.S. Open is his best finish he has to date.
As far as Masters debuts go, Thomas Pieters' T4 last year is just about as good as it gets. He followed that up with a fourth-place finish at the WGC-Bridgestone. Unfortunately, those happened to be his only top-10 finishes of the PGA season. The rest of the season was marred with erratic results and quite often erratic temperament from Pieters. His $8,300 price tag on DraftKings makes him an interesting GPP flier. He has all the talent in the world to repeat last year’s performance, but consistency is still a major question mark with him.
Cameron Smith will get his second chance to take on Augusta after finishing tied for 55th in his only other appearance in 2016. Smith is by no means short off of the tee but he won’t be confused for one of the bombers either. He will look to use his immaculate short game to get himself into contention. In his last 24 rounds, he ranks ninth in the field in strokes gained around the green and sixth in three-putt avoidance, a stat that will be very vital when dealing with these blistering-fast Bentgrass greens. It must be noted that since 2014, Smith has lost 0.393 strokes compared to his average when putting on Bentgrass.
Kyle Stanley is one of the game's elite ball-strikers, but for whatever reason this has not translated into Major championship success. His only performance at the Masters resulted in a missed cut in 2012. In fact, Stanley throughout all majors is only 4-for-12 in made cuts and he doesn’t have better than a T39 to show for it. A T25 at the WGC-Mexico Championship and a T14 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational leaves some reason for optimism, though, not to mention a deep run at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where he fell 2-1 to Justin Thomas in the quarterfinals. Until Stanley proves he can handle the Majors, he will be tough to trust but at a price tag of only $6,800 on DraftKings, it makes him one of the cheaper players who is actually in form.
Adam Hadwin got his first taste of Augusta last year, finishing tied for 36th. Thursday through Saturday provided a bit more helter skelter than he would have liked, shooting a 75-74-75, but he wrapped up Sunday with a nice, clean 70 to propel himself up the leaderboard. While Hadwin doesn’t have the distance off the tee, ranking 166th on tour this season, he does have the ball-striking skills to make up for it. Augusta will always be a distance course that has very little rough to worry about but if Hadwin can keep up his pristine iron play that has gotten him a T9 and T12 in his last two non-match play events, he will be a name to keep on your radar.
The Dubai Desert Classic has proven to be an indicator for Masters success. Danny Willet captured both titles in 2016 and Sergio Garcia did the same in 2017. Since his win in January, though, Li has done nothing but go the opposite direction. He has failed to produce a top-50 in his last five starts, which is highlighted by a WGC-Mexico Championship performance where he shot 14-over to miss the cut. These two rounds featured an astonishing negative-16.6 strokes gained total. If the 22-year-old wants to keep the correlation between the Dubai Desert Classic and the Masters alive, he better find something that hasn’t been there these last two months. His $7,200 DraftKings price tag makes him a risky selection this week.