Core Fore: Deutsche Bank
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It was a good week of sorts last week at the Barclays in that all four Core golfers made the cut, but Russell Knox finished T60 and Dustin Johnson was the best finisher at only T18. This week the FedEx Cup hits its second leg, coming into TPC Boston for the Deutsche Bank Championship – as always, read the course notes HERE. One minor format change: rather than including projected finishes, each golfer now gets a Ceiling & Floor.
CORE #1 – Hudson Swafford ($5500)
Author note: this was going to be Alex Cejka, but the injury WD changed that.
It’s a bit gross having a minimum priced golfer as a Core Fore play, but Swafford finished 33rd here last year and made 10 cuts in a row going back to the Players. He doesn’t show up as the highest ceiling player so maybe save him for cash games, but he offers the 9th best expected value per DraftKings dollar spent and leaves so much room up top to grab studs.
It takes a bit of searching to see what makes Hudson Swafford the 33rd best golfer at putting up birdies (3.77/round) and a top-30 golfer in Par-4 and Par-5 Scoring, because there’s not one aspect of his game that he excels at beyond hitting it a country mile (8th in Driving Distance at 307yards); rather, it’s a combination of his game from tee-to-green, when he stays out of the rough. He’s 65th in Strokes Gained:Approach which is above average, but it’s his proximity to the hole that stands out along with his greens in regulation – 27th in Proximity, 30th in GIR (68.29%) and 41st in GIR100+(64.41%).
Where Hudson struggles is his play with the short irons around the green, and when he’s in the rough. In total Strokes Gained: Around the Green he ranks a very poor 195th (-0.607) and his scrambling out of the rough has him 179th. When paired with his Proximity from the rough of 76th/43’7” – a difference of 9’ compared to hitting from the fairway – it paints a pretty bleak picture for a golfer with only 61.64% Driving Accuracy. He’s a top-50 putter in strokes gained, so no big concerns there.
Overall for this course though, he does check the bulk of the boxes required to succeed. Long off the tee with a good approach game, and an above average scoring golfer.
CEILING: TOP-20 / FLOOR: TOP-70
CORE #2 – Adam Scott ($10400)
Adam Scott has never missed the cut at the Deutsche Bank, and in his eight attempts has grabbed three top-10s and two top-17s. He enters the week having not missed a cut in all of his 18 events, and has had a great season with back-to-back wins at the Honda Classic and the WGC Cadillac; he’s here after a T4 last week at the Barclays.
With the premium being on 2nd shots this week, Adam Scott has a 1st place ceiling; he’s 1st in SG:App with a whopping 1.516 strokes gained which is 0.124 strokes better than 2nd place (Henrik Stenson) and a full 0.5 strokes better than 3rd place (Hideki Matsuyama). He’s the third best in Proximity, and hits just a hair under 70% of his greens in regulation (16th). From the all-important GIR%100+ stat for this week, he’s 8th at 67.39%.
If the game was played from tee-to-green, Adam Scott would have a much fuller trophy case; he’s 1st on Tour from tee-to-green, and 2nd in Total strokes gained, but his putting is just awful. With a lot of emphasis on awful. The only concern to ever have with the Aussie is his play with the flat stick, and you definitely don’t want him to have to make a 4’ putt under pressure – Scott is 140th in Strokes Gained: Putting with -0.181, he 3-putts 3.73% of the time (168th), and only knocks in one-putts at a 38% clip which is 120th on Tour. With that being said, he still scores well and has the 10th best Birdie or Better% at 22.74% which really speaks to the rest of his play.
CEILING: 1st / FLOOR: TOP-30
CORE #3 – Hideki Matsuyama ($8600)
Much like Adam Scott, if Hideki can finish in the top 25-30 range in Strokes Gained: Putting this week, he’ll have a real shot at winning. He’s an incredible player from tee to green (4th in SG:T2G, 1.604) mostly on the strength of his approach game which will be very important at TPC Boston. He’s 3rd in Strokes Gained: Approach, has a GIR% of 66.47% from distances above 100 yards (good for 10th), and ranks 13th in the field for Proximity to the Hole. He’s an excellent scoring golfer even with how awful he has on the greens – averaging 4.20 birdies per round (4th) and 6th on Tour in Birdie or Better%, he’s a top-21 golfer on par-3s, -4s, and -5s.
If you`re easily scared or grossed out, don`t look at this next group of statistics; Hideki ranks 150th in SG:P and 155th in 3-Putt Avoidance, and that actually seems better than it should after watching him week in and week out.
He is prone to missed cuts (four MC in 12 events since WGC Cadillac) but that’s less of a concern in a smaller field with a regular cut line. When he does make the cut he tends to have great results: of his eight made cuts in that time, five were top-10 finishes. He fits this course perfectly, has finished here twice (25th and 57th), he just needs to get the putter going.
CEILING: TOP-5 / FLOOR: TOP-40
CORE #4 – William McGirt ($6800)
McGirt’s an excellent player from tee-to-green, with the 9th best Good Drive % (85.62%) and 38th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. He’s not the longest hitter but he makes up for that by hitting 65.56% of his fairways (28th) and with good long irons. He’s 36th in GIR100+ which is actually 16 ranks higher than regular greens in regulation, and although his proximity is a bit lacking he still picks up 0.258 strokes on approach. He doesn’t typically score on par-5s at the rate needed to win here, but he’s just outside the top-20 for Bogey Avoidance and excels on par-4s.
Beyond his Good Drives, McGirt’s big skill is in putting where he ranks 25th in SG:P – he tends to be a little inconsistent on the greens with a slightly below average One-Putt % but he avoids 3-putting and grabs 3.58 birdies per round.
William has found some success here with a 12th place finish last year to go along with 3 other made cuts in five total tries. He’s had a great but inconsistent year on Tour, winning at Memorial but missing four cuts since the Honda Classic (16 events played) – not including his win, he also has four T10 or better.
CEILING: TOP-5 / FLOOR: TOP-50
TOTAL CAP: $31300 ($18700 remaining, average of $9350 per golfer)
Good luck this week! It’s basically the last playable week until the fall season, so make the best of it.