This article is part of our PrizePicks Golf series.
PrizePicks offers a unique twist on DFS play in the form of Over/Under picks for individual players in almost every sport imaginable. You have the opportunity to pick two, three or four players per entry, and the goal is to predict whether the individual player will end up over or under the projected total PrizePicks provides. For PGA play, you are required to pick at least one Over and one Under play. The legend for scoring in this format is as follows:
|Double Eagle or Better||13|
|Double Bogey or Worse||-1|
Unlike your usual PGA DFS platforms, PrizePicks offers PGA gameplay on a per-round basis, not for an entire tournament. So, the projected totals you see today are for the individual rounds on Thursday, and once Thursday's round commences, you will see updated numbers for Friday, and so on.
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SPECIAL NOTE!!! For regular Prize Picks players, you'll notice a new feature! The site is now offering a 'Flex Play' option. Unlike the 'Power Play' option, you can still make a good bit of money if you get one player wrong. The payouts will be less, but you can still make a mistake and earn more cash.
Today we'll be focusing on the opening round of the Northern Trust in New Jersey. Let's get right to it!
Liberty National Golf Club – Par 71, 7,370 yards
Jersey City, NJ
The FedEx Cup playoffs lumber on as we head to a familiar track for most players on Tour. It's also a familiar course for yours truly. As a former NYC resident, I played this layout a number of times (it's a less difficult tee time than Bethpage Black), so I have a bit of personal experience with regards to analyzing this layout. While it's a beautiful course, Liberty National is a forgiving course overall. You could land a jet on some of these fairways, and you wouldn't clip many trees in the process. Driving accuracy isn't going to be a big deal this weekend – you'd have to hit some shots dead left or right to get in any sort of trouble. The greens and some landing areas are well-protected with bunkers, but nothing that should hinder this field. I'd say that the Bentgrass greens probably present the biggest challenge this weekend, as they are small in comparison to other layouts and will be difficult to hold. Since this course sits right on the coast, wind will also be a factor.
EXAMINING THE FIELD
At the time of this writing there are 121 golfers in the field for the weekend, and once again the Top 70 make the cut. If the field wants to play in the BMW Championship next week, they need to make the cut. It's been a while since we've seen action on this course, but I'd expect a winning score somewhere in the 13-to 15-under par. The PrizePicks field is surprisingly a bit more forgiving with Over/Under lines this week, with numbers ranging from 20.5 (roughly 5-under) and 17.0 (roughly 3-under par). I think we have a good chance to identify some overs on the low end of this field.
As previously stated, wind will always be a factor on this course. Their impact is unpredictable enough that we can't give any Thursday tee time an advantage. There will be some precipitation coming into the area on Wednesday, so these tiny greens might be easier to stick, especially for the early tee times. Those who tee off in the morning include Patrick Cantlay and Brooks Koepka.
Matt Kuchar – 17.0
Kooch continues to be one of the best Tour players out of the box on Thursdays, and I like this low line for him on a course that largely favors his skill set. He ranks 8th on Tour in GIR, an impressive 9th in SG: Approach and 22nd in approaches from 175-200 yards. I'd like to see a better Par 4 Birdie or Better average (75th) but he averages 3.97 strokes on Par 4's which is good enough for 6th place on Tour. He's a go for me on the Over.
Brooks Koepka – 18.5
Koepka makes my Over list for a second straight week, and I think he checks too many boxes to ignore with this forgiving line. For starters, he's boosted his Round 1 Scoring Average to 69.5 (13th on Tour), so I feel a bit more confident in giving him weekly consideration. He also is the Tour leader in approaches from 175-200 yards and his 70.6 % GIR average (9th) is no surprise. The cherry on top is his #1 rank in Par 4 Scoring Average. Need I say more?
Jon Rahm – 20.0
It's hard to beat the 62 he shot in the opening round of the St. Jude. Rahm is one of the best openers on Tour and while I think this line is a little high, I keep finding reasons to put faith in him with every number I check. The only stat I don't like is his GIR (67th), but his Par 4 numbers are excellent and he's an above-average putter. This is a pick that is more based on recent performance than hard numbers, but he's a hungry competitor who's currently 10th in the FedEx Cup rankings and is ready to make a push.
Tiger Woods – 17.0
Why do I want to fire up Tiger this week? If there's any course that's going to forgive his penchant for errant spray drives, it's Liberty National. It's also a ball-striker's course, and you'd be hard pressed to find a better iron player in this field. I think a 68 out of Tiger is definitely a possibility, but he would have to be my biggest variance pick in this category.
While I could certainly pick more, this is a week where I can only enforce one solid under. This field definitely favors the Overs this week, and it's a spot where I'll favor one Under and 2-3 Overs instead of loading up on underperforming numbers. The fact is this course can yield some low numbers, which is why I'm staying cautious on Unders.
Dustin Johnson – 20.5
Johnson's up-and-down season is well-documented, and even though some of his metrics favor this track, I think this threshold is entirely too high for him on a Thursday. Johnson is merely so-so in GIR (53rd on Tour) and is a pitiful 108th in approaches from 175-200 yards. No one is denying his distance and the course will forgive his accuracy deficiencies, but I don't see him shooting a 66 in the opening round.