This article is part of our PrizePicks Golf series.
PrizePicks offers a unique twist on DFS play in the form of Over/Under picks for individual players in almost every sport imaginable. You have the opportunity to pick two, three or four players per entry, and the goal is to predict whether the individual player will end up over or under the projected total PrizePicks provides. For PGA play, you are required to pick at least one Over and one Under play. The legend for scoring in this format is as follows:
|Double Eagle or Better||13|
|Double Bogey or Worse||-1|
Unlike your usual PGA DFS platforms, PrizePicks offers PGA gameplay on a per-round basis, not for an entire tournament. So, the projected totals you see today are for the individual rounds on Thursday, and once Thursday's round commences, you will see updated numbers for Friday, and so on.
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SPECIAL NOTE!!! For regular Prize Picks players, you'll notice a new feature! The site is now offering a 'Flex Play' option. Unlike the 'Power Play' option, you can still make a good bit of money if you get one player wrong. The payouts will be less, but you can still make a mistake and earn more cash.
Today we'll be focusing on the opening round of the BMW Championship at Medinah as the FedEx Cup Playoffs continue. Let's get to it!
Medinah CC (Course # 3) – Par 72, 7,613 yards
As you can see above, Medinah is one of the longer tracks on the PGA Tour, bolstered by four Par 5s. That's where you'll see most of the gained strokes this weekend. While the fairways are wide, the rough is far less forgiving than golfers found at Liberty National last week. It's thick, luscious Kentucky Bluegrass rough, and those who send their ball there will likely find themselves looking at third-stroke approach shots. While the greens aren't postage stamp-sized, they are certainly smaller than average for the Tour and are guarded cleverly with bunkers that will see a lot of action. Most of the greens are elevated here as well, so most golfers will need to club up as they make their approaches. While the course has its challenges, it is beatable, as most Sunday finishes have usually ended up well in the double digits. The four Par 3s and Par 4 approaches will be in the 175-200 range, so we will put a special focus on those who strike mid-irons well from this distance.
EXAMINING THE FIELD
The field consists of only 70 golfers and there is no cut this weekend (good news for full-length DFS players), and only the top 35 will move forward to the FedEx Cup finals. Obviously, the world's top talent will be on display this weekend and I'd expect most of them to be in top form. First-round O/U numbers settle to usual totals, with lines ranging from 19.5 (roughly 5-under) to 17.5 (roughly 3-under). With four Par 5s, we might see an eagle or two from the longer hitters, which is richly rewarded with 8 points in this format. One or two lucky holes will easily boost a player well past the Over line.
Medinah is known as a windy course – they don't call Chicago the Windy City for nothing. Early reports suggest that the morning will be slightly more challenging with sustained winds, but things should settle down by the afternoon. If you are looking for an edge, guys like Jon Rahm, Patrick Cantlay, Webb Simpson, Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson are teeing off later in the day.
Jon Rahm – 19.5
Rahm is the new top dog in Round One Scoring Average after a long tenure from Matt Kuchar, and that alone is enough to give Rahm an extra boost in my rankings this week. He sports an average of just above 68 in 16 total rounds, and despite all the other intangibles in play this week I still feel that the Round 1 stats play huge in our format. Rahm is an emotional player who tends to get a bit streaky, but he's a dependable play when we're looking for someone to jump out of the gate.
Justin Thomas – 18.5
Thomas is another one of those guys that can come out hot. The only drawback for Thomas currently is his putter. The wrist injury seems to be largely behind him, but the short stick is still giving him a bit of the yips. I don't want to be on the wrong side of Thomas when he finally heats up on the greens! If he putts well, it's hard to argue with the rest of the metrics. He ranks 1st in Par 5 Average, 17th in SG: Around The Green and an impressive 1st on Tour in SG: Approach. Lock him in.
Rickie Fowler – 17.5
I simply think Fowler's due despite his recent missed cut at the Northern Trust. His most compelling stat in our metrics is an impressive 14th on approaches from 175-200 yards, and he's not too bad in Round 1 Scoring average (T-15th). The wheels have fallen off later in the weekend for Fowler, but I think he has enough gas in the tank to come out of Thursday with a 69, and could easily smoke the Over with an eagle. He's the biggest risk of my three picks.
Rory McIlroy – 19.5
Sure, I'm playing with fire once again, as I got burned last week when Dustin Johnson went nuts in the first round. McIlroy is a beast in all of our metrics and he's a favorite to win this week, but I will take a risk and predict that he'll challenge this over but fall just short in the first round. McIlroy was the linchpin of the Miracle at Medinah in the 2012 Ryder Cup and he hasn't set foot on the course since that remarkable comeback. I think the expectations rival those that he encountered in this year's Open Championship, and that pressure could equal a tepid start to the week.
Bryson DeChambeau – 17.5
It's a low Over line, but DeChambeau isn't a fast starter and he falls short in many of our metrics. He's mediocre around the green and merely serviceable off the tee, and his lack of accuracy (61st on Tour) could cost him on this layout. DeChambeau's only strong suits are a Par 5 Scoring Average of 4.51 and a perfect 3.0 Par 3 Average, but the well-protected greens could spell trouble for him on Thursday.
Adam Scott – 18.0
Whenever Scott can use his long putter, he's always a contender, but I think this Over is a little too high for Scott out of the gate. His driving accuracy could prove to be a problem on this course, and his 175-200 approaches (55th) aren't strong either. He does fare well in Par 5 Scoring Average (3rd) but his high Round 1 totals (119th) give me pause.