This year will mark the fourth running of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship. The field for this fall series event features 130-135 players in what will likely be one of the weakest fields we see in the 2022-23 season. Only one player from the OWGR Top 50 (No. 48 Seamus Power) is the field. The betting favorite is actually Denny McCarthy who is on the DraftKings Sportsbook at +1400 as of writing. He’s joined by Power, Thomas Detry and Mark Hubbard as some of the other names at the top of the betting odds for the week.
The first two winners of this event, Brendon Todd and Brian Gay, both went off at 100-1 or greater in the betting odds, so long shot winners have been the theme here. Last year’s winner Lucas Herbert also went off around 66-1. The event features a regular cutline after Friday where only the top-65 players and ties will advance to the weekend. For DFS, we could see lower fantasy scores prevail again this week with poor weather (see below) in the forecast.
Port Royal GC—Southampton, Bermuda
Par 71, 6,828 yards
This is the third year in a row that this event will be played at Port Royal GC, a shorter Robert Trent Jones designed course. At one time the venue did host the now defunct “Grand Slam of Golf” and underwent massive renovations just to be able to properly host this event prior to its inaugural running in 2019. The Oceanside course is the longest on the admittedly tiny island but still only stretches out to just over 6,800 yards, making it extremely short by PGA TOUR standards.
The venue fits alongside many of the other seaside venues that we see on the PGA TOUR, as it has at least six holes that stretch out and run alongside the ocean. While pure length isn’t necessarily a big bonus here, wind control will be. Three par 5s inhabit the course this week and will all be reachable in two, by nearly the entire field. These holes as a group played as the three easiest on the course the first two years, and they will be near must birdies on a week where low scoring could prevail if the wind stays down.
With short par 5s and an open course where wind can wreak havoc, you can start to see why shorter hitters like Brendon Todd (win) and Brian Gay (T3; win) have been able to dominate here when their short games and putters get hot. Most holes at Port Royal will allow modern day PGA TOUR pros to have short approaches if they hit a decent drive. Position and short-iron play really start to weigh more here than distance—especially with many holes skirting the water where even a small errant tee shot courts disaster. In many ways, just knowing how to manage your way around a short course will be a huge advantage, and that’s the strength of many veteran PGA TOUR players.
Brian Gay was an unlikely winner here in 2020 and averaged just 287 yards off the tee in the win. He ranked 10th in Putts per GIR and 17th in GIR percentage. Last year, Lucas Herbert ranked out seventh in driving distance but was also fourth in scrambling. Solid around the green play with some decent ball-striking mixed in, has been the key at Port Royal. It’s also worth noting that Gay and 2019 winner Brendon Todd have done the best work of their career at other shorter venues like Waialae (Sony Open), Hilton Head (RBC Heritage) and El Camaleon (host of the Mayakoba Classic in December). Those leader boards are all likely great comparisons for this week’s test.
2022 Outlook: Like the last couple years, the weather for this week could play a factor. The first two days are expected to produce rain and wind gusts of 12-15 mph with Friday looking like potentially the slightly worse day of the two. Thunderstorms could even mean we see some stoppages in play, so be prepared for a longer week and for any wave stacks you make to be disrupted by potential delays. This is the type of venue that we often see severe wave splits develop at, so waiting up until lock to make some final decisions on players (so you can get the latest forecast) isn’t a poor idea. Ultimately getting exposure to both sides of the draw will likely be your best bet as it’s impossible to know how the storms and stoppages will play out. Expect tougher scoring again, with the wind and rain likely to keep the winning score in the mid-teen range.
Last 5 Winners and Winning Trends
2021—Lucas Herbert -15 (over Patrick Reed -14)
Putts per Green in Regulation—14th
2020—Brian Gay -15 (over Wyndham Clark playoff)
2019—Brendon Todd -24 (over Harry Higgs -20)
- When Todd won in 2019, he was making his sixth start of the swing season already, and it’s worth noting that five of the top-6 finishers from 2019 had all played in four or more fall series events prior to that event.
- Both Todd and Gay ranked inside the top 10 in Driving Accuracy and GIR% for the week. Neither cracked the top 40 in terms of driving distance.
- Good short-iron play, good around the green play and putting are what matters here, so emphasizing a player’s long-term and short-term around the green and putting form may reveal a couple of diamonds in the rough this week.
- Last season, Herbert was seventh in driving distance, but still only averaged around 285 yards off the tee. It’s not a course where players will get to hit driver often.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value comparative to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
1. Justin Lower ($9,900, Recent finishes: T20-T45-T4): Lower has had a consistent fall and leads this field in strokes gained total stats over the last six weeks. He’s been leaning immensely on the putter which has gained him over a stroke against the field in five straight starts.
2. Davis Thompson ($9,600, Recent finishes: T12-T67-T9): Thompson has shown to have a solid tee to green game this fall, and he comes into this week ranked first in strokes gained ball-striking stats over the last 50 rounds. This may not be the best setup for the big hitter, but considering the weak field, he’s still worth rostering in DFS.
3. Seong-hyeon Kim ($9,600, Recent finishes: T64-T4-T13): Kim has played well to start the fall series, grabbing top-15 finishes in two of his last three starts. He’s played a lot of golf of late, but he has looked confident on and around the greens gaining strokes putting and ATG in three straight starts.
4. Mark Hubbard ($10,000, Recent finishes: T66-T28-T5): Hubbard should be liking his chances this week. He’s started the fall with some good play and ranks out first in the field in strokes gained approach stats over the last 50 rounds. He’s got as good of a chance as any of the favorites this week.
5. Adam Schenk ($8,700, Recent finishes: T16-T12-MC): Schenk can be streaky but he’s reeled off two straight top-20 finishes over his last two starts. He’ll need to take a step up with his short game and putter to really contend on this shorter venue.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Make Hubbard your lead horse
We’ve seen Hubbard on some leader boards deep into events this fall. The American put forth a solid effort at the Fortinet and then followed that up with a T5 at the Sanderson Farms, where he held the lead going into Sunday. A solid approach game and a putter that is trending well right now should put him in a good spot for a solid week. At 10k flat, he feels like a good core play in a field with no sure things. Below him, Patrick Rodgers ($9,700) feels like a player you can rely on somewhat this week, especially if you want to go top heavy and take two players over $9,500. Down below, Chesson Hadley ($7,600) looks like a decent value as well. He gained 3.0 strokes on approach his last time out and finished T16 at this event in 2020.
Tournaments: Have patience with Percy
Ownership numbers will be all over the place this week and a lot of the top players on DraftKings will likely all be heavily owned. Looking down a bit further, a player like Cameron Percy ($7,900) feels like a veteran who could easily surprise this week at a quirky, shorter venue where power won’t be much of a factor. The Aussie has gained strokes around the green in six straight starts and will be playing in Bermuda for the fourth time. He’s well rested and been off since posting a T25 at the Fortinet. Further down we can get as crazy as we want for GPP plays this week. Akshay Bhatia ($6,300), Sean O’Hair ($6,700) and Luke Donald ($7,000) are (scarily enough) all targets you can think about in big field GPPs this week.
MY PICK: Stephan Jaeger ($9,300)
This seems like a perfect place for a player with an elite short game and well trending approach game to strike. Jaeger comes into this event ranked second in strokes gained around the green stats over the last 50 rounds of play and fifth in approach stats over the same time-frame. The German has finally found his comfort zone on the PGA TOUR making the cut in each of his last five full-field events. That’s big for a player who has had issues keeping his PGA TOUR card in the past.
The six-time Korn Ferry winner finished T20 at this venue last season and also comes in ranked third in birdies gained and eighth in bogey avoidance. The shorter course means he won’t be disadvantaged much, if at all, off the tee. The rest of his game is on par with the best players in this field (or better). He’s a solid upside play in DFS and a good outright bet on DraftKings Sportsbook where he’s still available at a solid +3500.
MY SLEEPER: Scott Piercy ($7,300)
Veterans have been the theme at this venue with Brendon Todd and Brian Gay ($6,700) winning two of the first three iterations of this event. Scott Piercy is a veteran who we have actually seen pop-up on leader boards a bit of late and he comes in rested after taking last week off. Piercy’s last six starts have seen him miss three cuts, but he also posted a T19 at the Sanderson Farms event three weeks ago and is just six starts removed from a T5 finish in Minnesota, where he held the lead on the back nine on Sunday.
Piercy has now gained strokes around the green in five straight starts and played this event in 2014, grabbing a share of 14th place. Interestingly enough, his last win on the PGA TOUR came at the Barbasol on a shorter Robert Trent Jones course in Alabama, the same man who designed the course in play this week. Piercy looks like a great value pick for DFS and is a live longshot play at +8000 on the DraftKings Sportsbook.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.