This article is part of our DraftKings PGA series.
THE SCOTTSDALE AZ OPEN
Winner's Share: $20,000
Location: Scottsdale, Ariz.
Course: Talking Stick Golf Club (O'odham Course)
It was on March 12 that the most recent stroke on the PGA Tour was struck. The first round of the PLAYERS Championship ended on that date, and so did the top level of professional golf. Now, exactly two months later, we will see the closest thing to a PGA Tour event since sports came to a halt. No spectators will be there to witness, but numerous PGA Tour pros will tee it up at the Scottsdale AZ Open, which begins on Tuesday. Joel Dahmen, Kevin Streelman, Nate Lashley, Alex Cejka, J.J. Spaun, Brandon Harkins and Colt Knost, plus Champions Tour player Kirk Triplett, headline a whopping 162-man field. Heck, even Brian Urlacher and Johnny Manziel are taking part in Monday's pro-am. As has been the case of late, DraftKings will offer Showdown contests for all three days of the 54-hole event.
The Scottsdale Open is not affiliated with the Outlaw or Golden State Tours, which have grown in prominence of late. Instead, it is a stand-alone event now in it's fourth year – Dahmen won the inaugural edition back in 2017. With a purse of $125,000, this surely is no Mini-Tour event. The purse is not all that dissimilar to a Mackenzie or Latinoamerica Tour event, as those Tours average offer average purses of $200,000 and $175,000, respectively. The field was extended to 162 from 156 – and there were also alternates listed on the tournament's website. The lack of top-level golf surely has a lot to do with that. The top 50 and ties will make the 36-hole cut.
The famed architecture tandem of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw designed the two tracks at Talking Stick. From the club's website, "Talking Stick Golf Club's O'odham Course (formerly North Course), with its broad, angular holes, rewards thoughtful play through the rise of its many options according to one's level of skill. Its low profile, slightly crowned greens and close-cropped approaches encourage running as well as aerial assaults." The other course is named Piipaash. They take their names from Native American tribes intrinsic to Arizona.
For the record, the course yardage listed in the opener is taken from the Talking Stick website; nothing is listed on the tournament website. O'odham has only two par-5s along with four par-3s. That's where a pre-PGA Tour Dahmen won in 2017, shooting 68-64-68 for a 10-under-par 200 to take home the $20,000 winner's share. As the tournament's website detailed, "Dahmen was solid all three days at Talking Stick, notching 11 birdies, one eagle and just three bogeys through 54 holes, and he was a collective 9-under on the par-4's and par-5's." That means that Dahmen played the par-3s in only 1-under. One of the par-3s tops out at an unreal 261 yards – not far from some drivable par-4s. There's also yardages of 223, 194 and 153. The last two years the winning scores were 9-under and 10-under, so birdies have not come in bunches. Former Sonoma State golfer Eric Ash won in a playoff at 9-under in 2018. Brady Calkins, a native of Washington state, won in a playoff at 10-under in 2019. Ash (68-64-69) had 14 birdies and an eagle, Calkins (66-67-67) had 14 birdies. Ash played the par-3s at an even par, Calkins in 2-under. So all three winners have won in fairly similar fashion.
Okay, so what to do with the PGA Tour players in your lineups? Interestingly, they are not all at the top of the DraftKings board. Dahmen-Streelman-Cejka head the list, but next in line are Mini-Tour star Matt Picanso – who won a GST event last week – and Korn Ferry standout Dylan Wu. You've got to look a little lower to find Harkins and Lashley, lower still to find Spaun, Triplett and Knost. Interestingly, Kirk Triplett is not even the top-priced Triplett. His son, Sam, costs $300 more. So you could roster two or three or maybe even four PGA Tour players. Keep in mind that these are Showdown contests, and some of the Mini-Tour golfers are good enough to beat a touring pro over the course of a single round. That's especially true since the Mini-Tour crew has been playing competitively for weeks.
Weather-wise, it actually will be far cooler in the Phoenix area this week than last. Cooler is perhaps not the best word, since temperatures will be in the low-90s. But they were in the 100s last week. Otherwise, there will be no rain and moderate wind.
Key Stats to Winning at O'odham
• Total birdies
• Par breakers
• Top 10s
While most of the PGA Tour pros have not played competitively in a while, it's hard to envision one of them not winning. Dahmen is the headliner in the field, followed by Streelman. Cejka and Harkins won on the Outlaw Tour earlier this season. Picanso has won three times in 2020. Wu has been coming close. Really, it's just a question of how rusty the PGA Tour players are, and assuming they are playing on their own time, they're probably not overly out of form.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
Only Showdown contests will be offered for this tournament, so the picks below apply to each round.
Tier 1 Values
Joel Dahmen - Winning odds at golfodds.com: 6-1
Dahmen was playing very well when the PGA Tour shut down, finishing fifth in both The Genesis and Arnold Palmer Invitationals – results that bumped him up to 70th in the OWGR. Apparently, he's still going strong, as he Tweeted last week that he shot a 14-under 58 to set the course record at nearby Mesa Country Club, a score that would set the record at most courses.
Matt Picanso - 14-1
Whenever Picanso plays, he wins. That's an exaggeration of course, but only slightly, as his win last week gave him three wins in his past three Golden State Tour starts. He finished only solo sixth and T2 in two earlier GST events. The American was a regular on the Mackenzie Tour in 2017-18, but outside of one week in 2017 when he tied for third, he had little success.
Dylan Wu - 18-1
Wu finished T10 last week on the GST, on top of a tie for fifth and a tie for sixth in Mini-Tour events the two previous weeks. He's eyeing up the winner's circle but has been unable to jump in it. Wu has two runners-up on the Korn Ferry Tour over the past two seasons, including one in January.
Calum Hill - 20-1
The up-and-coming European Tour player won an Outlaw Tour event just about six weeks ago. Hill also has three Challenge Tour wins in Europe. He tied for third at the Scottsdale Open in 2018 and is currently ranked 136th in the OWGR, just a few slots below his high-water mark of 110th.
Tier 2 Values
Nate Lashley - 18-1
Lashley's DraftKings price is a bit lower than expected because of the unknown. He was struggling on Tour due to a wrist injury. If he's healed, he's a bargain. You may want to wait a round to see, but then again his price could go up. Lashley is ranked 81st in the world, second in the field, only behind Dahmen.
Brandon Harkins - 20-1
Harkins has made two Outlaw Tour starts, winning one of the bigger tournaments – the Papago Winter Classic – back in December and finishing fourth his other time out. The former PGA Tour player is playing on the Korn Ferry Tour this season, and he had a runner-up back in January. As we saw in the Dahmen tweet, Harkins has been busy, although as far as we know he has not shot a 58 recently.
Jeremy Paul - 20-1
All this guy does is finish in the top 10. He did in again last week, giving him 11 top-10s in 11 Mini-Tour appearances this season. Thanks to his time on the Mackenzie Tour Paul is ranked 1,349th in the OWGR, one of the better rankings in the field.
Jimmy Gunn - 40-1
Hill's fellow countryman was a Korn Ferry Tour regular from 2015-2019. He had a runner-up in 2017 among a half-dozen or so top-10s. His big golf moment may have been playing in the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay and stunningly tying for 27th, along with Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Henrik Stenson and Francesco Molinari. That ain't too shabby. Gunn, who is ranked 1,278th in OWGR with a best of 387th, tied for fourth two weeks ago on the GST Tour and notched a pair of top-15s on the Outlaw Tour earlier in April.
Tier 3 Values
Riley Wheeldon - 50-1
Heading toward the Outlaw Tour's money title, the Canadian slipped a bit the past two weeks on the GST Tour with ties for 14th and 32nd. But he has fared well in this event, tying for ninth in 2018.
Colton Yates - 60-1
Yates finished solo fifth a year ago in Scottsdale. He appeared in three of the past five events in Arizona and finished top-10 in all of them. Yates is a former team captain at Colorado State.
Andrew Yun - 60-1
The Mackenize Tour regular has made four starts in the desert and has recorded three top-15s, one of which was a runner-up in January. Yun tied for 28th last week. The American owned a PGA Tour card in 2017-18 but woefully missed 19 cuts in 22 starts. He's ranked 1,135th in the world but was once as high as No. 304.
Steve Allan - 80-1
Allan is a 46-year-old Aussie ranked 960th in the world. He was playing on the Australasia Tour earlier this year. Allan finished runner-up to Brady Calkins in this event a year ago.
Andrew Funk - 100-1
Funk has been busy in Arizona this season, making nine starts. He has four top-10s and four more top-25s, including a T14 in last week's GST event. If you're wondering, he is not the son of Fred Funk, at least according to Wikipedia.
Daniel Hudson - 125-1
The American notched a pair of top-10s and two more top-20s over the past six weeks in Arizona. He played a number of times in Canada the past two years.
Ryan Porch - 150-1
Porch has made 10 starts on the Mini Tours this season and has finished top-25 in nine of them. The American played semi-regularly on the Mackenzie Tour last year but made only one cut in 10 starts.
Eric Ash - 150-1
Ash was the winner here in 2018. He shot 77-68 last year and missed the cut, but that's four excellent rounds out of five. He doesn't appear to have made a Mini Tour start this year, but way down here, we'll take a flyer.