His PGA articles have been featured here on RotoCurve for the past year. Ryan is a former PGA professional, so his golf course and player insights are second to none. Ryan is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, but now resides in South Florida with his wife and son.
Latest posts by Ryan Baroff (see all)
- Fantasy Golf Picks: Genesis Open PGA DFS “Sleepers” - February 13, 2018
- Fantasy Golf Picks: AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am PGA DFS “Sleepers” - February 6, 2018
- Fantasy Golf Picks: Waste Management Phoenix Open PGA DFS “Sleepers” - January 30, 2018
Golf is back! This is our first full-field event of 2018, and it’s one of my favorites. We have a few studs in the field (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Marc Leishman, and Kevin Kisner) who played at the Tournament of Champions last week, so they should be main targets this week. And hopefully, they’re motivated after Dustin Johnson demolished the field. That was one of the most impressive ball-striking and driving performances we’ve ever seen.
Waialae Country Club has been the long-time host of the Sony Open, and although it’s undergone changes in recent years, the course has stood the test of time. It’s a ball-striker’s paradise, where anybody in the field can compete. We’ve seen bombers like Justin Thomas and Jimmy Walker win here, but also plodders like Zach Johnson, Jerry Kelly, Paul Goydos, Fabian Gomez, and Johnson Wagner. Last year, Justin Thomas broke every scoring record at the event, beginning with a 59 in the first round.
The course is a par-70 that plays just over 7,00 yards, very short by PGA Tour standards. That means there is are only two par-5s, another reason why bombers aren’t my main targets this week. Par-3 scoring and Par-4 scoring with be emphasized more than usual, and elite ball-strikers should excel. The bermuda greens are fairly flat and slow, and will be much easier to putt than the ones we saw last week at the Tournament of Champions. That again will bring everyone into the mix, because even below average putters (Gary Woodland, Tony Finau, Emiliano Grillo, Hudson Swafford, etc.) should have some success on the surfaces.
Beyond basic ball-striking metrics, mostly strokes gained approach, I’m going to continue to target fantasy scorers. Justin Thomas won here by shooting 27-under last year, so scores will be very low. We should see a handful of 63s, 64s, and 65s, and potentially one or two rounds even lower than that. Birdies and birdie bonuses will be abundant this week at Waialae. Other factors to consider are players who excel on bermuda greens, players who play well in the wind, and players who have had success on the Hawaiian Islands. Russell Henley, anyone?
Now, onto my sleeper picks of the week for the Sony Open.
DraftKings High-End Sleepers
Jordan Spieth ($12,000 – Based on expected ownership)
Not a sleeper, per se, but I think Spieth’s price will keep him lower-owned than he should be. I expect him to dominate this week, and he could match the margin of victory we saw from Dustin Johnson last week. Spieth finished 3rd here a season ago, and is coming off one of the worst putting weeks of his career at Kapalua. He’ll fix that, and I expect great things from Spieth this week.