The PGA TOUR returns to America this week after two weeks in Hawaii for the American Express. This event will take place in La Quinta, California and consists of three courses, the PGA West Stadium Course (par 72, 7,113 yards, Bermuda greens), the Nicklaus Tournament Course (par 72, 7,159 yards, Bermuda greens) and at La Quinta Country Club (par 72, 7,060 yards, POA greens). Each golfer of this 156-player field will play a round on each course and then there will be a top-65 and ties cut, with those golfers who advance playing their final round on the Stadium Course. This Pete Dye design is the only course of the three used for the American Express to produce SG data and with two of the four rounds taking place on the Stadium Course, this is the track we should focusing on for research this week.
Like most Dye creations, being long is not necessary at the Stadium Course and most of the field should club down to improve their accuracy at the venue, making OTT stats rather irrelevant this week. Conversely, we need to be putting a large weight on APP stats. The Bermuda greens at the Stadium Course are on the smaller side and four of the past five winners of the American Express have finished the tournament top-10 in SG APP. Another key ingredient for success at the Stadium Course is being efficient on the par 5s. All four of these holes present elite birdie or better chances and over the last five years, we have seen four of the American Express champions rank top-five in par-5 efficiency during their victories, notably with two of these golfers leading their fields in the metric.
Headlined by Jon Rahm - who won the 2018 American Express and is the current betting favorite for this week on the DraftKings Sportsbook – 11 of the top-25 ranked players in the world will be competing in La Quinta this week.
Below, I break down four of my favorite DraftKings value plays for the American Express that all cost less than $7.5K.
Brendan Steele ($7,400) – Steele grew up about only an hour away from La Quinta and loves competing in this multiple-course event every season. The 39-year-old owns a 10-for-12 record in terms of made cuts at the American Express, including four top-25 finishes. Steele comes into this week making four straight cuts, thanks to some impressive ball striking. Over his last 24 rounds, Steele ranks 14th in SGT2G and 16th in SG APP.
Combine this encouraging form with his stellar resume at the American Express, and Steele needs to be included in your player pool this week.
David Lipsky ($7,300) – Lipsky had an excellent American Express debut last season, finishing T14 and now returns to La Quinta on the heels of a T4 at the Sony Open last weekend. At Waialae CC, the 34-year-old ranked third in birdies and produced over five strokes from T2G and on APP. Excluding his first-round WD from the RSM Classic, Lipsky has now carded three straight top-25 finishes and has advanced to the weekend in seven of his past 10 starts. Impressively, Lipsky has moved himself up 57 spots in the world golf rankings since the beginning of October.
At +9000 on the DraftKings Sportsbook, Lipsky carries the best odds to win this weekend of all the players priced under $7.5K and is without a doubt one of the best values on the board.
Ben Griffin ($7,200) – Griffin is playing the best golf of his career and has to be attacked at this low salary, regardless of this being his first appearance at an American Express. After recording a T12 at the Sony Open last week, Griffin has made eight of his past nine cuts. Of these finishes, six have been top-30 results, one of which came at the RSM Classic, which like the American Express, is a tournament that features multiple courses.
Over this nine-start span, Griffin has vaulted up a whopping 160 spots in the world golf rankings to a career-best 101st in the world. The 26-year-old ranks 11th in SG APP and BOB% across his last 24 rounds, and has the potential for a top-25 finish this weekend.
Greyson Sigg ($7,100) – Sigg continues to be criminally underpriced and is a no-brainer at this cheap salary. Coming off a T48 at the Sony Open last week, the Georgia graduate has made eight consecutive cuts. During this timeframe, Sigg has posted three top-15 finishes and has shot even par or better in 26 of his 32 rounds.
Sigg supplied a T25 finish in his American Express debut last season and brings similar upside this weekend.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Hunta512) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.