Yahoo DFS Golf: Tournament of Champions
Yahoo DFS Golf: Tournament of Champions

This article is part of our Yahoo DFS Golf series.

Sentry Tournament of Champions

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
Kapalua (Plantation Course) - Par 73 - 7,518 yards
Field - 34 Entrants
Purse - $6.5M

The Preview

As we return from a brief winter break of sorts, a rewarding expedition to the Kapalua Resort in Maui is on tap for 34 of the PGA Tour's past champions, all of whom earned entry via their wins throughout the last 52 weeks. The star-studded field includes a plethora of the Official World Golf Ranking's top-25, though the polarizing Mr. Tiger Woods has elected to join Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose on the sideline as the trio won't travel to Hawaii due to various reasons. Turning our attention to Kapalua's Plantation Course itself, extraordinarily wide fairways entice players to whip out the driver as even the field's least accurate pros can rack up lofty FIR numbers. Massive, but slow greens also inflate the rate of GIRs, so proximity becomes paramount in both three-putt avoidance and birdie or better percentage. As for the beautiful weather in Maui, high winds are expected throughout the early stages of the tournament and gusts can be exaggerated due to the major changes in elevation across the resort's layout.

Recent Champions

2018 - Dustin Johnson
2017 - Justin Thomas
2016 - Jordan Spieth
2015 - Patrick Reed
2014 - Zach Johnson
2013 - Dustin Johnson
2012 - Steve Stricker
2011 - Jonathan Byrd
2010 - Geoff Ogilvy

Key Stats to Victory

Birdie or better percentage - Over the past six years the average winning score has been 22-under-par

Proximity - Quality iron and wedge play also ties in with SG: Approach as players will look to attack these pins on colossal greens

SG: Putting - 2018 champ Dustin Johnson paced the field in putts per GIR

Yahoo Value Picks - based on $200 salary cap

Cream of the Crop

Dustin Johnson - $46

Including a demanding eight-stroke victory at Kapalua in 2018, Johnson has played the Plantation Course in a combined 54-under-par throughout the past three editions of the event. The two-time TOC champion should be hungry to rejoin an exclusive race for the No. 1 spot in the OWGR after falling behind Brooks Koepka and Justin Rose.

Jon Rahm - $41

The Spaniard ended his 2018 campaign with a bang as he found the winner's circle at the Hero World Challenge just two weeks after a top-5 finish at the DP World Tour Championship, ascending to sixth in the OWGR. Rahm was the runner-up during his TOC debut in 2018 and ranked third on Tour in birdie average last season.

Glue Guys

Patrick Reed - $39

Reed has finished sixth or better in three straight trips to Kapalua, a stretch that was kickstarted by his win at the Plantation Course in 2015. The American's recent form includes a T2 at the DP World Tour Championship before mediocre results at the Honma Hong Kong Open and Hero World Challenge, which ultimately kept his price under $40 this week.

Webb Simpson - $33

Simpson feels a bit underpriced this week coming off a stretch of four consecutive top-15s, including a third-place finish during his last start at the RSM Classic. He led the Tour in scrambling throughout the 2017-18 season and the improvements he's made with the flat stick have been nothing short of incredible as well.

Marc Leishman

The Australian has earned a reputation as a stellar wind player much like many of his fellow countrymen, but he's also gone 2-T18-Win in his last three starts worldwide to end 2018 at No. 20 in the OWGR. Leishman came out on top during his season debut at the CIMB Classic and placed T7 at the TOC last year.

Bargain Bin

Matt Kuchar - $27

The 40-year-old bounced back from an underwhelming FedExCup Playoffs run with a win at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in mid-November, earning a spot in the TOC field for the first time since 2015. He ranked top-40 on Tour in both SG: Around-the-Green and SG: Putting this past season, while his lack of distance off the tee isn't much of a drawback at Kapalua.

Cameron Champ - $20

The next time that you'll have a chance to snag Champ at the minimum price could be, well...never. So it wouldn't be surprising to see the impressive rookie become a high-owned play in a studs and duds approach, but his upside is evident after a win at the Sanderson Farms Championship preceded additional top-10s during his last two starts at the RSM and Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Brandt Snedeker - $20

Snedeker has never finished worse than 14th in five trips to the Tournament of Champions, adding a pair of third-place results in the process. He consistently ranks as one of the Tour's best putters and was fourth in average distance of putts made last season.

Strategy Tips on Yahoo this week

Often times with a no-cut structure we'll see elevated usage of the studs and duds approach, where gamers fit as many bombers into their lineups as possible in an effort to increase birdie or better percentage. But this week at Kapalua, finesse both on and around the greens plays a much larger role than power in determining a champion, so it's important to look deeper than everyone's favorite SG: Tee-to-Green statistics. Though ball striking becomes a bit more difficult in the expected windy conditions, there is money to be made with a dominant putting performance.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bryce Danielson
Bryce covers the PGA for RotoWire and provides input on the golf cheat sheet. He also contributes to the coverage for NFL, NBA and other sports.
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