Hello RotoBaller PGA family! Veteran Martin Laird held off Matthew Wolff and Austin Cook last week to win the Shriners Hospitals For Children Open for the second time in his career.
We stay in Las Vegas this week, but the CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek certainly has a different vibe than the Shriners. It's an elite, limited field that will be teeing it up at legendary Shadow Creek Golf Course. With a no-cut format and zero course history to evaluate, this will be an interesting PGA DFS week. In this article we'll discuss some of the standout PGA DFS plays available on FanDuel for the CJ Cup. While it's impossible to hit on every player, we'll touch on some different plays across all price ranges, breaking the groups down into "High", "Mid", and "Low" price options.
Like always, the purpose of this piece is to help you put together your optimal daily fantasy golf lineups for FanDuel, whether that be from a GPP perspective or a cash-game mentality. Be sure to also read all of our other top-notch weekly PGA DFS and betting articles to help you win big!
CJ Cup @ Shadow Creek - PGA DFS Overview
Shadow Creek Golf Course
7,527 Yards - Par 72 - Greens: Bent - Designer: Tom Fazio
Shadow Creek is legendary. A spare-no-expense project of Las Vegas billionaire Steve Wynn to lure high rollers into town, Shadow Creek is what it would look like if you could pick up and move a lush Georgia golf course and then plop it right down in the middle of the Nevada desert. We can expect beautiful and pristine conditions this week. Considered one of America's best golf courses, this Tom Fazio layout is shrouded in mystery. A longtime home for Vegas' resident high rollers and visiting celebrities, Shadow Creek is a tough nut to crack when trying to determine how the best players in the world will fare.
Now owned by MGM resorts, the course was renovated by Fazio in 2008 and lengthened to a more-modern 7,500-plus yards. Since the redesign, Dustin Johnson holds the course record at 66, which is kind of incredible considering the number of pros that routinely play here. If we adhere to the legend that Shadow Creek is unbelievably tough, we would want to target "grinders" this week. However, with the course playing at this yardage - and with four Par-5s on the scorecard that will probably only be reachable by the longest players in the field - we must also consider those with plenty of distance to their game. Anytime we're dealing with an unfamiliar layout, I tend to fall back towards leaning on overall Tee to Green ability as my default "go to" stat. That will once again be the case for me this week and I'll also give a bump to distance, as well as players that have traditionally been successful at major championship venues and/or "tough" golf courses. You can also glance at putting splits on Bent if you give much weight to putting.
Let's Look At The Stats
|Stat||Shadow Creek||Tour Average|
|Average Three-Putts Per Round||N/A||0.55|
- Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
- Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
- Par 5: Birdies or Better Gained
- SG: Approach
- SG: Putting (Bent)
- Driving Distance
Fantasy Golf Lineup Picks for FanDuel (PGA DFS)
We have tons of great weekly PGA articles, DFS analysis, tools and DFS advice. Be sure to read our other fantastic articles regarding this week's event including DFS lineup picks for DraftKings/FanDuel, betting advice and DFS prop picks.
High-Priced FanDuel DFS Players
Dustin Johnson ($12,000) *W/D - PIVOT TO JUSTIN THOMAS*
No hesitation with going straight to the top of the salary scale with Dustin Johnson this week. I expect DJ to get a lot attention in the DFS industry this week. With such little to go on as it pertains to Shadow Creek, Johnson holding the course record is at least something tangible. Even without that nugget, I would be all over DJ in this spot, as he's basically "course proof". He's the guy I always want on long, tough layouts. Johnson frustratingly only has one major championship, but his track record in golf's biggest events is pristine, as he's posted six top-10s in majors since winning the U.S. Open in 2016. We also know that DJ slays it in elite, limited-field events, as he has six career WGC victories. Johnson leads this CJ Cup field in SG: Total, T2G, Ball Striking, and Approach over the last 24 rounds.
Jon Rahm ($11,900)
Jon Rahm is kind of a "Next Gen" DJ in that he's basically "course proof" at this point. We've seen the Spaniard win on two of the PGA Tour's toughest stops recently with victories at Muirfield Village and Olympia Fields, so if we expect Shadow Creek to play difficult, Rahm has the ability to grind it out due to his length and surprisingly-sharp touch around the greens. We know that the course will play long this week, which is right in his wheelhouse. Rahm ranks third in the field in Driving Distance over recent rounds and also pops in at sixth in Good Drives Gained.
Xander Schauffele ($11,500)
Whenever "plays well on hard golf courses" is a focus for me, Xander Schauffele immediately pops on my radar. Schauffele is a player that I've relentlessly targeted in majors over the past couple of years and he's responded with fabulous performances on golf's toughest stages by posting a ridiculous seven top-10s in 13 major starts since 2017.
The California native is making his first start since another impressive outing at a major championship, a fifth-place finish in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot. It was just the latest in a long streak of quality outings for Schauffele. Since the PGA Tour's restart, he's made 11 of 11 cuts with 10 top-25s! Those results have came on many layouts that we can consider "difficult", like the aforementioned Winged Foot, East Lake, Olympia Fields, TPC Harding Park, and Muirfield Village. I don't have any knowledge of Xander's familiarity level with Shadow Creek, but it's a good bet that the tougher it plays, the better it is for his prospects this week.
Matthew Wolff ($11,200)
Matthew Wolf was highlighted in this article last week, but I'm going right back to the well with the young bomber. Wolff came up just short in a sudden-death playoff at the Shriners, but it was after overcoming a "sluggish" opening-round 68 to shoot 66-61(!)-66 over his last three rounds at TPC Summerlin. The dude is perhaps the most explosive player in the game at the moment and - while we don't expect super-low scoring at Shadow Creek this week - the 21-year-old has demonstrated the ability to take it deep on even the toughest of layouts, dropping rounds of 65 at both Winged Foot and TPC Harding Park over the last couple of months.
Tony Finau ($10,600) *W/D - PIVOT TO HIDEKI MATSUYAMA*
Really love Tony here, with my only concern being any lingering effects from his positive COVID-19 test of a week ago. It's something I'll monitor as the week progresses and hopefully we can get some reports as to just how serious it was for him. Strictly talking golf, Finau appears to be a tremendous fit on paper. His major championship track record is impeccable and he always pops for me on these types of long layouts. He handles long Par-4s with ease and is one of the players in the field that should be able to take advantage of these stretched-out Par-5s.
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Mid-Priced FanDuel DFS Players
Viktor Hovland ($10,100)
In the absence of concrete stats from the week's golf course, I'm gonna lean on tee-to-green ability and ball striking. My guy V-Hova checks those boxes in neon Sharpie. The youngster is a player that I'm quickly learning to target on long, difficult layouts. After coming out of the restart blazing, it seemed like Hovland it a bit of a wall, as his normally-excellent ball striking became a bit spotty for about a month. However, the youngster looked recharged at Winged Foot, gaining 8.5 strokes T2G and 4.3 on Approach en route to a T13...his second finish inside the top-13 in two career U.S. Open starts. The short game is always the concern with Hovland, but he's actually gained strokes putting in three of his last four starts and Bent is statistically his best surface.
Louis Oosthuizen ($9,700)
As we move into what we normally consider the "mid range", there's honestly not a lot that I'm crazy about, as I find myself more interested in taking a "Stars & Scrubs"-type of approach in this no-cut event. One of the players that does stick out at this price point is Louis Oosthuizen. Oosthuizen's classic swing is something that I'll trust on just about any type of layout. Oosty not only has a history of playing very well on major-championship golf courses, but he's also been in razor-sharp form, posting top-25 finishes in five of his last six starts while gaining strokes T2G in each. As the course difficulty gets cranked up, so does the South African's average strokes gained per round. Oosthuizen averages gaining .82 strokes per round on "Difficult" courses, versus marks of .61 and .53 on layouts classified as "Average" and "Easy".
Sergio Garcia ($9,500)
I probably won't personally play Sergio Garcia (there's bad history there), but I can understand the thought process behind rostering the Spaniard. Similar to Louis Oosthuizen, Garcia is a veteran that has seen every type of golf course in the world and can handle pretty much any layout that you throw at him thanks to his historically-good tee-to-green ability. Most of the buzz surrounding Sergio's win at Sanderson Farms was on his unique "putting with his eyes closed" routine on the greens, but his recent ball striking shouldn't be overlooked. He gained a massive seven strokes on Approach in Jackson (+12 T2G) and follow the victory up with another strong iron demonstration last week at the Shriners, where he gained just over four strokes on Approach.
Joaquin Niemann ($8,800)
Niemann is an elite, young ball striker that I've started targeting on long, tough layouts. He popped up for a near-win in the BMW Championship at Olympia Fields at the end of August, eventually finishing in third place. Niemann followed that outing up with a top-25 finish at Winged Foot and he sufficiently knocked the rust off with a T13 last week at the Shriners. Tee to green, the Chilean is as talented as perhaps anyone on the PGA Tour, but his downfall often comes with the flat stick. The silver lining is that Niemann's only positive putting splits come on Bentgrass greens, which is what he'll be dealing with this week at Shadow Creek.
Low-Priced FanDuel DFS Players
Russell Henley ($8,500)
I'm really digging the "low" end of the salary scale this week and we'll kick things off with Russell Henley. Henley is a player that I was invested in heavily last week and he posted a ho-hum T27 at the Shriners thanks to losing over a stroke putting for the week. However, I'm willing to reload with him this week on a Shadow Creek layout that we expect to demand great tee-to-green performances from the players in this field. The Georgia Bulldog has been on a ball striking tear and has gained strokes with his irons in eight straight starts, which has resulted in three top-10s since July.
Jason Kokrak ($8,500)
Some may see Jason Kokrak's missed cut at the Shriners last week and run the other way. I'm willing to bet on a Kokrak rebound though, as the guy didn't play bad at Summerlin in his first start since the U.S. Open, falling short of the weekend despite a pair of 68's. Shadow Creek should be a better fit for him, as he routinely brings his best game at "big ballparks". Kokrak ranks 14th in the field in Driving Distance, while standing 25th in Good Drives Gained.
Bubba Watson ($8,400)
Bubba Watson is a player that I usually only give serious DFS consideration to on a handful of select layouts (Augusta, Riviera, River Highlands), but I'm intrigued by some seeming similarities between Shadow Creek and Augusta National, as both are tree lined with sprawling, slopey Bentgrass greens. In addition to that narrative based line of thinking, Watson has been striking the ball beautifully as of late, but just hasn't been able to putt it into the ocean. He's gained strokes T2G in each of his last seven starts, including a very impressive performance with his irons at Winged Foot, where he gained just over six strokes on Approach. This one makes my stomach a little queasy, but I'm willing to take the risk in this no-cut event.
Cameron Smith ($8,100)
Like the aforementioned Bubba, Cameron Smith is a guy that I rarely roster. However, I was on Smith last week at the Shriners a bit and I'm willing to go back to him for the CJ Cup. Smith's short game is one of the best in the world, but he's often undone by spotty ball striking. The Aussie has settled into a nice groove with his irons as of late. He gained 2.8 strokes on Approach last week at the Shriners, which was his sixth straight start with positive Approach numbers. Also, in a nugget that's totally devoid of statistical reasoning, Smith has always been in beast mode during the month of October for some reason.
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