The inaugural Grant Thornton Invitational will be held in Naples, Florida this week, at the Gold Course (par 72, 7,382 yards, Bermuda greens) of Tiburon Golf Club. This brand-new event will span from Friday to Sunday and will feature 16 teams of two, with each squad featuring one PGA TOUR player and one LPGA TOUR player. There will be no cut for the Grant Thornton and each round of the tournament will consist of a different format.
First, the players will compete in a scramble format Friday, meaning both players of each team will tee off and then they will choose which shot of the two to use. They will then go up to that ball they chose, and both hit from that spot, and this process will continue until the hole is completed. So, with each professional getting two attempts at every shot, it's safe to expect some extremely low numbers Friday. Next, the teams will play on alternate shot Saturday and then conclude the Grant Thornton in a modified version of four-ball Sunday.
For this format of four-ball, both players from every team will tee off and then those players will switch balls and finish the rest of the hole playing from their teammate's second shot. Like traditional four-ball, whichever teammate finishes with the best score on each hole, that score will be used for the team. For fantasy purposes, the Grant Thornton will feature the standard DraftKings golf scoring system and each golfer will accrue the same amount of DKFP as their teammate for the entirety of the tournament, so there is no advantage to rostering one teammate over the other.
As for the Gold Course, this track was designed by Greg Norman. While this par 72 has never hosted a PGA TOUR event, the Gold Course has hosted the PGA TOUR Champion’s Chubb Classic since 2021 and the LPGA TOUR’s CME Group Tour Championship since 2013, with the latest edition of the latter event taking place just three weeks ago. Of the LPGA golfers competing this week, Lydia Ko has won the CME Group Tour Championship twice at the Gold Course, and both Lexi Thompson and Charley Hull have won this tournament once.
With massive greens, wide fairways, and zero rough, the Gold Course shouldn’t be challenging at all for these professionals, and we should see some very low scoring for this team-formatted event. As always, putting an emphasis on ball striking stats is most important and we should also be targeting great par five players, with the Gold Course being a par 72 that is home to four very scorable par fives.
Below, I have featured two of my favorite DraftKings value plays for the Grant Thornton Invitational, which both cost less than $8K.
Nick Taylor/Ruoning Yin ($7,700) – Taylor and Yin both enter this week in compelling form. After making it to his first-ever TOUR Championship this past summer, Taylor looked great in the fall, finishing T13 at the Shriner Open and then T21st at the Zozo Championship. The Canadian currently ranks 51st in the world after ranking 257th at the end of the 2022 season and ranks fourth in DKFP when we compare the last 50 rounds of the men competing this week.
As for Yin, the rising star is the second highest-ranked woman golfer in the world, after winning twice since April. Plus, the 21-year-old just competed at the Gold Course for the CME Group Tour Championship three weeks ago and shined in her first attempt at the Norman design, carding a T6 finish, while only recording one bogey. With both Taylor and Yin playing excellent golf right now, this duo is a threat to take home the top prize this weekend.
Joel Dahmen/Lillia Vu ($7,000) – At this affordable price, it's hard not to love this pairing. No woman in the world is playing better golf than Vu right now. After winning four times in 2023, including two major championships, Vu was named the Rolex Player of the Year last month. She ranks ninth in GIR and second in putts per round on the LPGA TOUR, and was in the mix for a win at the Gold Course for the CME Group Championship three weeks ago finishing T4th — including a six-under 66 on Sunday, which marked the lowest score of the final round.
While not the top-ranked male golfer in the world, Dahmen is also in solid form, with two top-13 finishes in his last three starts. The veteran has flashed great upside in Florida in the past – he finished T5th at the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational and T12th at the 2019 PLAYERS Championship – and should excel at the Gold Course.
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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 skills 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.