October 4, 2023, 12:53 pm
The PGA FedExCupFall returns after a brief hiatus for the 2023 Ryder Cup which saw the Americans once again fail to win on European soil. As a reminder, the fall events are a somewhat continuation of this past season. For those that missed the Fortinet Championship, I have provided a breakdown of what is at stake for these fall events below.
FedExCup points are still going to be accrued for those in the field that did not finish inside the top 50 of this past season’s standings. It is a little bit of a mess how they are doing this but here is my best attempt at summarizing everything:
- Those who finished inside the top-50 are qualified for Signature Events next season and can compete in the FedExCupFall events, but only for money and not accrue and FedExCup points.
- Those who finished 51-70 are guaranteed their Tour eligibility, but can continue to earn points to make themselves eligible for the first two Signature Events (after the Sentry Tournament of Champions).
- Those who finished the season at 71 and beyond are competing to be inside the top-125 by the end of the FedExCupFall and receive exemption for all full-field events and the PLAYERS Championship in 2024.
- All winners of events during the FedExCupFall series will receive invites to the Sentry Tournament of Champions, PLAYERS Championship, the Masters and the PGA Championship (if not already qualified).
The DraftKings plays were somewhat profitable as Cam Davis (3rd) came through in a big way from the core plays and Nate Lashley did enough to pay off his price tag. Akshay Bhatia let us down with a missed cut. The betting slip was rewarded with an 18-1 on Sahith Theegala however, making the week and overall success. Let’s try and keep the momentum going.
The fields will be weak all fall, but there is still money to be made, so let’s dive in.
The Country Club of Jackson (Jackson, Mississippi) hosts the Sanderson Farms Championship for the tenth year this week and has been a recent staple of the fall events.
Playing as a par-72 at 7,461 yards, CC of Jackson ranked as the 13th easiest course on tour last season. While the course is long, there is not much in the way of penalty for going into the 2” rough. There is also not a lot of water or sand to contend with for golfers, so it is bombs away off the tee for those with distance.
The four par-5s on the course play as four of the five easiest holes on the course, with all of them yielding a birdie in the 35% range, with the exception of the 612-yard 5th (26%). While eagles are few and far between, most of the long hitters in the field can reach these greens in two, leading to the high birdie rates. There are four par-3s as well with all four of them ranking inside the nine hardest holes on the course. Two of them play over 200 yards (the 214-yard 7th and the 223-yard 10th) and both feature a bogey rate in the 15-17% range. This is evidence that even the most difficult holes, are not overly difficult here.
The par-4s are predominately pretty short by PGA Tour standards with six of them playing between 400-450 yards and one of them playing between 350-400 yards. Three is a long par-4 hole, the closing 18th (505 yards) and is the third hardest hole on the course (bogey is made here nearly 20% of the time). This present an interesting finish as the 16th and the 18th are two of the three hardest holes on the course, leading to potentially for disaster down the stretch on Sunday afternoon.
Off the tee is not very challenging at CC of Jackson. Two inch rough and the aforementioned lack of water and sand gives golfers the opportunity to let it rip with the driver. Excellent drivers of the golf ball can put themselves in premium positions on the shorter holes and give them the opportunity to go for the green in two on the par-5s here. While not essential, length of the tee (like at most courses) is certainly an advantage at CC of Jackson.
Wedges will be coming into play on approach shots, as nearly 30% of second shots come from 100-150 yards out. This courses often sees a below Tour average distribution of shots from the 150+ yardage range.
We head back to the southeastern part of the country this week, which means the return of pure Bermuda greens. Relatively average in size, there is not much in the way of penalty for missing the greens here, as SG: ARG is higher here than the average PGA Tour stop.
Here is a link to a flyover of the course:
The first event of the FedExCupFall series was able to attract some bigger names through sponsorship ties, those native to the area, and some looking for some last-minute prep for the Ryder Cup. This week does not have those same luxuries with European young gun Ludvig Aberg, fresh off a winning Ryder Cup appearance in Rome last week as your favorite. Past champions in the field include last season’s champ Mackenzie Hughes, Cameron Champ, Peter Malnati, Ryan Armour, Scott Stallings and Cody Gribble.
As of this writing, we have seen a withdraw from Joseph Bramlett, Nicolai Højgaard, Grayson Murray, Aaron Baddeley, and Webb Simpson. Ricky Barnes, Scott Brown, Tommy Gainey, Ted Potter Jr., and Greg Chalmers are your replacements added to the field.
Brett White, Chase Parker, Chris Baker, and Zack Fischer are your Monday qualifiers for the week. This week is a 144-player event.
Here are the key stats I am considering when building my lineups this week.
- SG: Approach– Iron play is always on this list and forever will be. It is the most correlated long-term stat with success. Winners have on average picked up over one stroke per round on approach at CC of Jackson.
- Birdie or Better %– Scoring is going to be a theme throughout this write up. We want golfers who are making birdies and not going through the motions with pars. That will not cut it this week with the average winning score coming in the 18 to 22 under range.
- SG: P (Fast/Lightning Bermuda)– A hot putter has been an essential ingredient for strong performances here. With an average rating of 12.5 on the stimpmeter, these Bermuda greens play fast, so targeting typically strong putters in these conditions isn’t a bad idea.
- Par 5 Scoring- In a potential birdie fest/low scoring environment, we want our golfers to get after the par-5s, especially when the four on the course are the four of the five most gettable.
- Proximity 100-150- While there is certainly more length to this course than what we saw at Silverado, there are still a good number of short holes with wedges in. This stat is particularly important for those who are shorter off the tee and will be turning some of the longer par-5s into three shot holes.
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!
DFS Top Tier Play
A year ago, if you told me I would be recommending people play Eric Cole in a PGA event at $10.300 and betting on him to win at 20-1, I would have replied “Who is Eric Cole again?”. Fast forward to today and here we are. There are not many boxes that Cole doesn’t check this week. He comes in with recent form after a solo fourth finish to kick off the fall events at the Fortinet. Cole also provides safety as he has not missed a cut since last May at the Charles Schwab Challenge (which I have absolutely now jinxed). Relevant to this course specifically, Cole ranks first in the field over the past 24 rounds in birdies or better gained on easy courses, fifth in the field on approach, inside the top ten in proximity from 100-150 yards out, and inside the top 15 in SG:P on Bermuda greens that rate out as fast/lightning speed. If you want to poke holes in Cole’s fit here, it is that he lacks the distance to really attack the par 5s aggressively, but he dialed in enough with his irons and putter, that I am not worried about that. We have also seen plenty of guys with lack of power have success here, so it is not essential. Cole does have a missed cut here in his only appearance a year ago, but Cole is now leaps and bounds the player he was then. The ownership up top appears to be mostly spread out as well, but I am not so concerned if Cole becomes chalky because he would be “good chalk” and I will look to get different elsewhere in my lineups.
Others Considered: Adam Svensson ($9,000), Emiliano Grillo ($10,100)
DFS Mid Tier Play
There is a lot to like about Hoge this week. I would argue that he is slightly under priced given the field strength this week. If he was priced at $9,300-$9,500, I don’t think anyone would have batted an eye at that. Nobody is going to confuse Hoge as a bomber off the tee, but as I mentioned before, I think that narrative might get pushed a little too hard this week. Hoge is one of the best iron players in the field, which is always a nice skill to fall back on, but what has me excited about Hoge this week is the combination of his play on easier courses and his past performance in fall events. Per Ron Klos of Betsperts Golf, Hoge ranks first in the field in total strokes gained in fall events (from 2020-2023). My model ranks Hoge as 11th in the field in easy conditions and third in the field in birdies or better on easy courses (over the last 24 rounds). Putting can be hit or miss for Hoge, but he does well enough on fast Bermuda greens and has even gained at least three strokes putting in his last three events played. If we can get that type of putting to go along with Hoge’s baseline iron play, this could be a smash spot for him. I like playing him and a couple others in the $8K range to pair with my Eric Cole starts, as I think that will be a somewhat unique roster construction this week. You can pick any two that you like best, with Garrick Higgo projecting for the most ownership in that range (but not enough to scare you away if you like Higgo this week).
Others Considered: Dyland Wu ($7,600), Sam Ryder ($8,500)
DFS Value Play
The $7K range is presenting an opportunity to get different this week (as is the case with most weeks in PGA DFS). There seems to be a few players that the models and projections seem to love, so everyone gravitates to them. This week those players seem to be Nick Hardy ($7,400), Hayden Buckley ($7,300) and Dylan Wu ($7,600). To be clear, I don’t have an issue playing any of these guys, just be careful how many of them are in your lineup and who you pair them with. Now, to get to the actual recommended play in Scott Stallings. Stallings had a fantastic end to the 2022-2023 season and carried that momentum to a few strong starts to begin this year. That tailed off after the Masters however, with his best finish being a pair of T-56s spaced three months apart out. Stallings has made four of his past five cuts including another 56th in the first fall event this year at the Fortinet. I am betting on his past play (16th in the fall events ranking referenced in the Hoge section), as well as his iron play which seems to be rounding back into form. At this time last year, Stallings would certainly be more than $7,200 in this field and has flashed top of the leaderboard upside in his career. I am viewing this as a buy low spot for Stallings, who isn’t going to pop in any models or projections based on recent form, which makes me a little nervous, but such is life in this price range when playing PGA DFS.
Others Considered: Dylan Wu ($7,600), Trey Mullinax ($6,900)
Eric Cole +2000 (1U-FD)
Sam Ryder +4400 (.4U-DK)
Dylan Wu +6000 (.4U-FD)
Akshay Bhatia +7500 (.4U-FD)
Trey Mullinax +11000 (.2U-DK)
Position Player Name DK Salary G Eric Cole $10,300 G Tom Hoge $8,600 G Scott Stallings $7,200 G G G REMAINING BUDGET $23,900 for 3 golfers