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Course Preview

Pete Dye’s dune-swept and bunker laden Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin will play host to it’s third PGA Championship this week. 156 of the world’s best touring and club pros will gather at the venue to try their hand at the season’s final major; aptly named “Glory’s Last Shot”. The last time players made their way to this track in 2010, we witnessed the unforgettable gaffe of Dustin Johnson grounding his club in what was deemed to be a fairway “bunker”. Johnson’s hiccup practically overshadowed the fine play and Sunday charge of one Bubba Watson who ultimately lost in a 3-hole playoff to Martin Kaymer.

The Straits Course can be stretched out to over 7,500 yards and winds its way through dunes and seemingly thousand of bunkers. And although it’s not the longest course we’ve seen even this season for a major, we still have to hand an edge to the big hitters of the field. A premium will also be placed on Par 5 Scoring this week. With 3 of the 4 par 5’s on this golf course measuring between 593 and 618 yards those players who successfully plant themselves on the green in two have a large advantage over the shorter-hitting players in the field. Once on the green, players will be tasked with many lengthy and very undulated putts so we must also key on 3-Putt Avoidance, a killer in Majors. Last but not least, course history and recent form will be two factors we rely on heavily this week. Without further ado, let’s get down to our targets.

High End ($9,000+)

Bubba Watson ($9,900) – Bubba is without a doubt my favorite options across the board this week. Not only does Bubba come into this week riding excellent form having finished 2nd in his last two Tour stops, he shows great course history having finished 2nd here in 2010 as previously mentioned. Bubba has all the factors we’re looking for this week: he bombs the ball off the tee averaging 315.8 yards which is second on Tour, his 4.40 stroke Par 5 Scoring Average is best on Tour and while his T131 rank in 3-Putt Avoidance leaves a lot to be desired, he has been rolling the rock with ease of late. The best part about Bubba this week is his price. He’s an absolute steal at $9,900 on DraftKings. Severely underpriced.

Jason Day ($10,800) – The fan favorite Australian comes into this week riding a string of superb play having finished no higher than T12 in his last 4 events. Two of those high finishes were in Majors as Day battled through an odd bout of Vertigo at the US Open all the while finishing T9 and he then proceeded to post a T4 finish at the Open Championship missing out on a playoff by 1 shot. Ranking third on Tour in Driving Distance with an average of 314 yards, T20 in Par 5 Scoring at 4.59 strokes and a very respectable T36 in 3-Putt Avoidance, Day presents himself as a premier high end option this week. Coming in at $10,800 on DraftKings, I will have a ton of him throughout my lineups.

Risk/Reward Plays – For those of you who fancy a gamble on a few higher end players I will present two player who I believe carry a large amount of risk/reward. Rory McIlrory ($11,700) comes in on this list for me as I’m not “100%” convinced that his serious ankle injury won’t flare up walking the contours of this rolling course. One false step could spell disaster for the Ulsterman and his chances at even completing a full 4 rounds. Dustin Johnson ($11,200) finds his way into this fray as his inability to close out the big tournaments and his recent struggles to remain in top form for four straight rounds is too much of a risk for me at such a high price point.

Mid Range ($7,000 – $8,900)

Jason Dufner ($7,300) – When we think of guys who just simply play well at a specific event regardless of where it’s held, Dufner surely comes to mind. Prior to his WD from last years’ PGA with bulging discs in his neck, Dufner had found himself in the Top 27 at each of the previous four PGA Championships. One of those being a win in 2013, a second place showing in 2011 and a 5th place finish here at Whistling Straits in 2010. Dufner isn’t the longest hitter in the field averaging only 284.2 yards per drive but he still manages to post a Par 5 Scoring Average of 4.64 strokes which ranks him T57 on Tour. Dufner’s impeccable PGA pedigree and his recent form of five straight cuts made makes him a wonderful addition to any lineup at only $7,300 on DraftKings.

Lee Westwood ($7,300) – It has been a rather quiet year for one Mr. Westwood. We have not seen him back in the winner’s circle yet but would you be surprised if I told you that Lee has actually finished inside the Top 50 in 8 of his last 10 Tour appearances with 5 of those being Top 25 finishes? Lee comes into this week having finished T17 at the Bridgestone. He made 18 birdies last week, a number we’d love to see him post here on the Straits Course. His 299.50 yard average off the tee ranks him in solo 30th on Tour and a 4.76 Par 5 Scoring Average make him another very attractive option at only $7.3k on DraftKings. Having finished 15th in last years PGA and 8th in 2011, I love this play.

Keegan Bradley ($7,400) – Keegan makes for a great mid range option this week at only $7,400 on DraftKings. This kid hammers the ball off the tee having an average distance of 306 yards, not to mention he also hits 65.68% of his fairways. His 4.60 stroke Par 5 Scoring Average is also good for T24 on Tour. A PGA Championship winner in his rookie season in 2011, 3rd place finish in 2012 and 19th in 2013 make him a very viable option. Keegan finished T27 at this years US Open at Chambers Bay as well, a course that shares a lot of similarities with Whistling Straits.

Buy Low (<$7,000)

Robert Streb ($6,800) – Likely to be one of the highest owned players in the field, Robert Streb is on a marvelous run. With 8 straight cuts made, all Top 42 or higher, Streb is by far the best ‘Buy Low’ play on the board at only $6.8k on DraftKings. His last 4 tournaments have resulted in finishes of T2, T14, T18 and 5th last week at the Bridgestone. Over that span he’s averaged 19 birdies per tournament to only 8 bogeys per. That will surely be enough to find himself in contention this week if he continues the pace. Having never played in a Major championship until this year, Streb’s pricing has a little validity to it but in the end we should be all over this guy as anybody can win on any given week and he has certainly been putting himself in a position to do so.