• The first major of the season has finally arrived, the Masters. The azaleas will be in full bloom as we get to reacquaint ourselves with Augusta National Country Club located in Augusta, Georgia. Something about this tournament feels a little different compared to the other majors on the schedule. Perhaps it is because it is the only major that doesn’t feature a course rotation and we see Augusta every year. It could be the lure of the green jacket the champion dons each year. Maybe there is something about the amazing finishes and the countless memorable moments we have seen here over the years. Whatever it is, this one is a cut above the rest and I am excited for it.

    Before we get into things, one quick note; Corey Conners was able to emerge victorious at TPC San Antonio for the second time in his career. Conners was already slated to be in the field this week so there will not be an added member and the field will be at 89 players.


    The Course

    Most of you are familiar with Augusta National Golf Club, which hosts this event every year. If you are not, this is one of the most exclusive and well manicured courses in the world. It plays as a Par-72 and after some renovations to the course, will play over 7,500 yards. It plays even longer than that due to the frequent elevation changes. The fairways are wide and generous, but if golfers are too wild off the tee, they can find themselves in a poor situation whether it be in the pine straw or the natural terrain.

    The greens are pure Bentgrass and can be lightning quick. Slopes, undulations and the precise manicuring of the greens make them unlike anything the players will see on tour. The greens are the main reason it takes some a few times to get a feeling for playing at Augusta. We have also seen traditionally poor putters (Will Zalatoris and Corey Conners come to mind) magically find their way around these greens with no issues and actually putt better than their baseline expectation.

    The most referenced stretch of the course is the iconic “Amen Corner” featuring holes 11-13. Hole 11 is a 500+ par-4 that typically plays as the most difficult hole on the course. The green is guarded by a pond on the left-front side daring long approach shots. Hole 12 is a 155-yard par-3 with two bunkers behind the hole and Rae’s Creek flowing through in front of the green. 12 is most notorious for wreaking havoc on Sunday afternoons. Jordan Spieth made a quadruple bogey 7 on this hole back in 2016, surrendering a lead he would never regain in his bid for back-to-back Masters championships. The 13th (which will have the tee boxes pushed back this year) is barely over 500 yards and is one of the easiest holes on the course, sporting a birdie or better rate of nearly 45%.


    The Field

    88 players will vie for the green jacket this week (Aaron Wise withdrew). All participants this week needed to qualify by meeting one of the following requirements; a PGA Tour victory since last year’s Masters, be ranked inside of the top-50 of the Official World Golf Rankings, a previous champion of the Masters, win a major championship within the last 5 years, winning various worldwide amateur tournaments (second in the U.S. Amateur gets in as well), winning THE PLAYERS within the last 3 year, placing within the top-12 of the previous year’s Masters or by placing in 4th or better in any of the previous year’s major championships.

    Top-50 and ties will make the cut and advance to the weekend. Previously any player who was within ten strokes of the leader was eligible for the weekend, but that came to an end in the 2020 version of the tournament.

    For DraftKings purposes, this will put a greater emphasis on getting 6/6 of your rostered golfers to the weekend to make money as over half the field will make the cut. That number also increases when you remove some of the older past champions (Fred Couples, Sandy Lyle, Vijay Singh, etc.).

    There are 16 debutants at Augusta this year including Tom Kim, Sahith Theegala, Ryan Fox, Kurt Kitayama, and Mito Pereira. While a first-timer hasn’t won the Masters since Fuzzy Zoeller in 1979, that doesn’t mean we will exclude them from our DraftKings player pool.


    Key Stats

    I will be skewing my stats more towards recent form for this event. We have seen time and time again that more often than not, golfers do not find “it” here. I am also heavily weighting course history since per DataGolf, Augusta is the most predictive course based on past performance.

    Here are the key stats I am considering when building my lineups this week.

    1. SG: Approach– Iron play is always on this list and forever will be. It is the most correlated long-term stat with success. This course is also so demanding with second shots and poor iron play will result in a missed cut this week.
    2. 3-Putt Avoidance– I mentioned earlier that these greens take some getting used to. The greens at Augusta have also seen the highest percentage of three-putts on tour over the last two years (only available timeframe for such data from Augusta). We want golfers who can limit these mistakes as much as possible.
    3. SG: Off The Tee– Distance is not the only metric that goes into this stat, but distance certainly helps here. However, we also want to make sure our golfers are accurate off the tee and leave themselves in the fairways to avoid the nasty trouble that awaits if you spray around.
    4. Par 5 Scoring (550-600 YDS)- Due to the pushed back tee boxes on 13, every par-5 on the course now falls into this bucket. Taking advantage of these holes will be important for scoring and to keep up with the rest of the field.
    5. Scrambling- Getting up and down will be important to maintain momentum/not give away strokes. Greens in regulation percentage is lower here than the average PGA Tour stop, so we will be looking for golfers who are not compromised when they miss a green.

    Follow me on Twitter @mlafem10 for additional thoughts as the week goes on and I’d be happy to help out with any lineup questions you have. Let’s make some money!


    Round 1 Props

    Thrive Contest Plays for Thursday’s Round 1 Action

    Tiger Woods 69.5 Strokes- MORE (90 Pts): This is not going to be a popular pick, but the Tiger market is always inflated, especially the current version of Tiger. I love that he is still competing and people will reference 2019, but that was 4 years ago at this point. 7 of his past 8 rounds at Augusta have been in the 70s.

    Matthew Fitzpatrick 4.5 Birdies- LESS (80 Pts): Fitz has not been playing very well at all lately. His neck has really been an issue and Augusta is not really a course where you find form. Does he have the talent to beat this number? He absolutely does, but not in the current form he is in.

    Viktor Hovland 73.5 Strokes- LESS (75 Pts): I don’t understand this line. Yes, the shor-game is a concern for Hovland, especially around here, but I am willing to bet on talent. Has only gone OVER this line once in twelve career rounds at the Masters and is coming in with terrific form with a 10th at Arnold Palmer and a 3rd at THE PLAYERS


    Props Record YTD


    DFS Top Tier Play

    Scottie Scheffler

    Salary: $11,100

    I am done trying to pretend someone else is a better option up top. We saw Scottie run away with the tournament a year ago much like he did at THE PLAYERS a couple weeks ago. The scary thing is, from a statistical standpoint, he is playing even better leading into the Masters than he was last year (which included 3 wins within a month). Putting is the only thing that can seem to stop Scheffler at this point, but I trust Scheffler to not putt himself out of the tournament. Off the tee, approach play, bogey and three-putt avoidance, par-5 scoring; he just does it all and he will be the anchor in a lot of my lineups.

    Others Considered: Collin Morikawa ($9,100), Patrick Cantlay ($9,500)

    DFS Mid Tier Play

    Viktor Hovland

    Salary: $8,500

    Hovland is somebody I could see wearing the green jacket someday. Maybe not this year, but he is so solid off the tee and with his irons that it’s a little surprising he hasn’t done better in the past here. He hasn’t done poorly by any means, but has never cracked the top-20 in three attempts. His around-the-green game is always terrifying and can lead to some big numbers to take him out of the tournament, but his recent form (10th API, 3rd PLAYERS) has me thinking this could be the year we see Viktor really take a step forward at this event. The price is too cheap for me to ignore and we could get him at an ownership reduction with more popular plays Jason Day and Tony Finau in the same price range.

    Others Considered: Sungjae Im ($8,100), Shane Lowry ($7,900)


    DFS Value Play

    Russell Henley

    Salary: $7,000

    Henley found his irons at THE PLAYERS which was nice to see (gaining nearly a stroke on the field). While that is not some huge number, Henley had lost with his irons in his 3 previous starts and the results showed (MC, MC, 53rd). The winner of the World Wide Technology back in the fall is normally very sharp with approach play so it was concerning to see him not do well in that department. Henley also has pretty good course history, having only missed one cut in six-career appearances and never having a finish worse than 31st. He has also sprinkled in a pair of top-15 finishes at Augusta (2017 and 2018), so he has flashed upside to really pay off this price tag. It is slim pickings once you get below $7,000 this week, so Henley gets the nod for me.

    Others Considered: Sepp Straka ($6,300), Tom Hoge ($6,900)


    Outright Betting Picks

    Patrick Cantlay 19-1 (FD)

    Justin Thomas 22-1 (FD)

    Collin Morikawa 29-1 (FD)

    Viktor Hovland 37-1 (FD)


    Lineup Builder

    Position Player Name DK Salary
    G Scottie Scheffler $11,100
    G Russell Henley $7,000
    G Viktor Hovland $8,500
    G Sungjae Im $8,100
    REMAINING BUDGET $15,300 for 2 golfers


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