DFS PGA Picks for Cognizant Classic  

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The PGA Tour will start the Florida portion of their schedule this week when they travel to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida for the Cognizant Classic in the Palm Beaches. This is the former Honda Classic (The PGA Tour new sponsorship this year). The next four tournaments will be played in Florida, so the golfers better get used to Bermuda grass.

The field is much stronger than it was last week in Mexico, but it is not as strong as the “signature events” have been this year. 19 of the top-50 golfers in the World Golf Rankings are expected to tee it up Thursday. We should have plenty of choices to build some winning lineups this week.

 

COURSE BREAKDOWN

PGA National plays 7,145-yards in length and is a par-71 (Hole number No. 10 was lengthened and made a par-5 this year). If this course had a water slide it could officially be considered a water park. There is that much water to deal with. What made PGA National incredibly difficult in the past were the small greens. The Nicklaus Design Company decided to add 14,000 square feet of putting surface to the course (Roughly 800 square feet per hole). That should make the approach shots a little easier but the golfers will still need to be accurate this week.

The drinking game word of the week will be “Bear Trap.” This consists of holes 15, 16 and 17. These three holes rank as some of the toughest on tour. Do not get too excited about your DFS lineups until your golfers are in the clubhouse. These three holes could destroy your lineups.

Click here to see the course: PGA National (Champions Course)

 

KEY STATS FOR COGNIZANT CLASSIC

– Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green

– Strokes Gained Putting (Bermuda)

– Ball-Striking

– Bogie Avoidance

– Scrambling

 

Here is the recent form and course history for each golfer this week: History and Form

 

TOP 30 GOLFER RANKINGS

 

CORE GOLFERS FOR COGNIZANT CLASSIC

 

 

COGNIZANT CLASSIC STRATEGY

The Cognizant Classic (or the old Honda Classic) has been tough for Cash Contests. The strategy for building a successful Cash Contest is to select six “safe” golfers who can score well and finish in the top-35. PGA National has so many hazards that no golfer is safe. I will build my Cash Contest lineups around golfers who have a history of playing this course well and are in decent form.

The pricing for DraftKings is the same as last week. We have one high-priced golfer (Rory McIlroy) and a bunch of golfers in the $5K range. I heard this structure is here to stay on DK. It will definitely change the way we build our lineups. “Stars and Scrubs” is going to be really popular this week, but there is a lot of value in the $8K and $7K price ranges that I want a piece of.

The question this week is… What should we do with Rory McIlroy? He is clearly the best golfer in the field and the $5K range makes it easy to fit him into lineups. The question is, does he care about this tournament with and a signature event next week and THE PLAYERS after that. I think he will be highly owned, so I will fade McIlroy and play Cameron Young.

 

DRAFTKINGS CASH CONTEST

RUSSELL HENLEY ($10,200): Henley is the best golfer to start your Cash Contests with. He checks all of the boxes this week. Henley has made every cut this year (5 for 5), he has made five cuts in a row at this tournament, including a win in 2014 and he ranks No. 1 in the field in putting on Bermuda greens. I expect Henley to score well this week.

ERIC COLE ($9,900): Cole is my pick to win this week. He probably should have won this tournament last year, but a poor chip led to a long putt that he was unable to sink on the last hole. His form is better than it was last year (Cole made 6 of 7 cuts this year) and he ranks in the top-30 in every stat category. Pairing Russell Henley with Cole gives us two safe plays with the upside to win for our Cash Contest lineup.

STEPHAN JAEGER ($8,800): How can you not play Jaeger in Cash Contest lineups. All he has done this year is made every cut (9 for 9) and finished in the top-three in two of his last three tournaments. Jaeger finished 14th in this tournament last year. I am betting on Jaeger to win and I will play him in my Cash Contest lineup too.

CHRISTIAN BEZUIDENHOUT ($7,600): C-Bez checks all of the boxes this week. He has made four of five cuts on the PGA Tour this year. His only missed cut was at the Farmers. That is a bombers course that doesn’t fit his game well. C-Bez has played this tournament twice. He finished 42nd last year and 25th in 2022. C-Bez ranks No. 15 in the key stats and No. 2 in SG Approach 125-175 yards (an important stat this week). I like his chances to finish in the top-10 Sunday. * I also like Mark Hubbarb in this spot

MAVERICK MCNEALY ($7,100): McNealy enters the Cognizant Classic in good form. He has made four cuts in a row on the PGA Tour. McNealy ranks No. 21 in SG Tee-to-Green, No. 9 in SG Putting (Bermuda), No. 9 in Scrambling and No. 17 overall in the key stats. He finished 11th in this tournament in 2020. I expect McNealy to play well again this week.

JUSTIN LOWER ($6,400): I used Lower in my Cash Contest lineup last week and he rewarded me with a third-place finish for $6,100. I doubt he will do that again, but Lower should make the cut and play well. He has made every cut on the PGA Tour this year (5 for 5) and he is 1 for 1 in cuts made at the Cognizant Classic. Lower ranks No. 15 in SG Tee-to-Green, No. 8 in SG Approach (125-175 yards) and No. 30 overall in the key stats. Lower is just too cheap to pass up this week.

 

 

DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP

BYEONG-HUN AN ($9,500): I have been playing Benny-An a lot this year and I will play him again at one of his better courses. He finished 5th in 2018, 4th in 2020 and 21st last year in this tournament. Benny-An has also made every cut this year (5 for 5). He ranks No. 5 in the key stats this week. There is a lot to like about Benny-An at PGA National.

SHANE LOWRY ($9,300): Lowry is a former major champion who plays well at PGA National. He finished 5th in this tournament last year and 2nd in 2022. Lowry has never missed at cut at this course (7 for 7). His form is not great, but it is not bad either. Lowry has made six of his last seven cuts and he ranks 22nd in the key stats. I will take a chance with Lowry at his best course.

COREY CONNERS ($9,100): Conners has made every cut this year (6 for 6) and 10 cuts in a row dating back to last year. He doesn’t have much course history, but Conners is an elite ball-striker. He ranks No. 3 SG Tee-to-Green, No. 5 in SG Approach (125 – 175 yards), No. 2 in Ball-Striking and No. 7 overall in the key stats. Conners should score well if he just plays like he has been playing all year.

KEITH MITCHELL ($9,000): I watched “Casmir Keith” last week and I about threw the controller through the TV after watching him start the Mexico Open with three straight bogies. He bounced back to finish 19th. Now, Mitchell gets to play at a course where he has had some success. Mitchell won this tournament in 2019 and he finished 9th in his last trip to PGA National in 2022. I was surprised to see Mitchell ranks No. 2 in the overall stats this week. I would not be surprised if he won in Florida Sunday.

ADAM SVENSSON ($7,700): I want golfers who are elite ball-strikers, in good form and have good course history. Svensson checks every box. He ranks No. 13 in SG Tee-to-Green, No. 17 in SG Approach (125 -175 yards), No. 9 in Ball-Striking and No. 22 overall in the key stats. Svensson has never missed a cut at PGA National (3 for 3) and that includes a 9th-place finish in 2022. He should be a safe golfer for our lineup with a lot of upside this week.

PARKER COODY ($5,100): Cody will be my “punt play” this week. He finished 24th last week in the Mexico Open and 25th in his previous tournament at Torrey Pines. All I need Cody to do is make the cut. He has made 5 of his last 6 cuts on the PGA Tour. He also ranks No. 24 in SG Tee-to-Green, No. 29 in SG Approach (125 -175 yards) and No. 42 overall in the key stats. We get all of this for the minimum price? I will take it.

Here are my lineups for Multi-Entry Tournament Contest: (Multi Entry Lineups)

 

 

FANDUEL CASH CONTEST LINEUP

 

 

FANDUEL TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP

 

 

PGATOUR.COM FANTASY PICKS

This is the ninth tournament in Segment 1. There are 10 tournaments in this segment, so use your golfers wisely this week. The field will be stacked at the Arnold Palmer next week, so use the best lineup you can this week (No need to save your golfers)   

 

 

FANTASY GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP ONE & DONE PICK: RUSSELL HENLEY (COGNIZANT CLASSIC)

Players in Fantasy Golf Championship One & Done so far: Tony Finau (13TH), Sahith Theegala (37th), Sam Burns (3rd), Max Homa (66th), Jason Day (MC), Taylor Montgomery (61st), Corey Conners (57th)

 

SEASON-LONG ONE & DONE PICK:  ERIC COLE (COGNIZANT CLASSIC)

One & Done picks used so far this season: Nicolai Hojgaard (52ND), Adam Scott (19th), J.T. Poston (MC), Jordan Spieth (39th), Keegan Bradley (43rd), Andrew Putnam (47th), Russell Henley (4th), Sungae Im (5th), Alex Noran (Won), Beau Hossler (15TH), Min Woo Lee (6th), Adam Schenk (MC), Eric Cole (35TH), Sahith Theegala (Won)

 

BEST BETS COGNIZANT CLASSIC

STEPHEN JAEGER (35-1)

CHRISTIAN BEZUIDENHOUT (65-1)

DOUG GHIM (70-1)

MAVERICK MCNEALY (80-1)

BEN GRIFFIN (90-1)

* The average odds of the winners in 2024 are 70-1. The average odds of the last three winners at PGA National (Sepp Straka, Matt Jones and Keith Mitchell) are 80-1. I would not be surprised if we saw a golfer at 70-1 to 80-1 odds holding the trophy Sunday.

 

Good Luck This Week!!!!

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