This week, the PGA Tour arrives in Ohio for a two-week stay at Muirfield Village. Yes, you read that right… a two-week stay. The Workday Charity Open and the Memorial Tournament will be held back-to-back at Muirfield Village Golf Club, a par-72 course of about 7,400 yards.
This Jack Nicklaus design places an emphasis on approach play, specifically from 150 to 200 yards. There are seven par 4s ranging from 440 to 500 yards, and all four par 3s are between 159 and 192 yards. So potentially, over half of one’s approaches could come from 150 to 200 yards. Also, Muirfield Village historically forces players to work for up-and-downs. The thick rough, deep bunkers, and fast, undulating greens make recovery shots tough. Of course, those who are dialed in with their irons won’t face as many of those tricky scenarios.
One thing to note: Muirfield Village will be set up slightly differently for the two upcoming tournaments. This week, the greens will be a touch slower and the rough half an inch shorter than normal. The Workday will also feature a drivable par 4 on the weekend. All in all, there shouldn’t be much of a difference.
All of that said, let’s check out some promising DraftKings and one-and-done plays this week.
Justin Thomas $11,100
Justin Thomas missed the cut in his most recent event, the Travelers, and at the 2019 Memorial. Why mention that? Well, typically you get a reduced price and reduced ownership in these cases, and there are good reasons to look past those two results from JT. During last year’s Memorial, he was still recovering from an injury. At the Travelers, he lost strokes on approach for the only second time in 17 events, which seems more like a blip on the radar than a trend. Thomas is the best player in the Workday Charity Open field, and I don’t think it’s close. Prior to his MC at the Travelers, he finished top 10 at Colonial and Harbour Town. He is first in the field in approach and birdies, and he is top 10 in sand saves, off the tee, proximity from 150-175 yards, and proximity from 175-200 yards. In other words, he is elite in almost every key area for this week. Don’t overthink it; just play Justin Thomas.
Marc Leishman $8,700
Leishman is never a sexy play for DFS, but he often gets the job done. He is consistent but has upside to win, as he typically maintains his position on the leaderboard when he’s in contention. At the Memorial, he has made the cut in all of his past nine appearances, and has finished top 15 four times in his past five. Leishman’s game is predicated on a fade off the tee and towering iron shots. He’s top 15 in approach, proximity from 150-175 yards, and proximity from 175-200 yards. All of this makes him the perfect fit for Muirfield Village.
The 2019 Memorial champion, Cantlay has a game tailor-made to this course. He is sixth in Strokes Gained: Approach, sixth in proximity from 175-200 yards, third in birdies, 15th around the green, 12th in sand saves, 21st in putting, and 26th off the tee. In his last event, he gained strokes in every category. Add all of that together, and you have a player who will likely contend this week.
Kuchar is your horse for a course. He plods his way around Muirfield Village and often finishes high. In seven of his past nine appearances, he has placed 15th or better. Obviously Kuchar isn’t flashy and doesn’t have the win equity of some other players, but odds are he’ll slide his way into the top 15 this week and earn you some money in your league.