This article is part of our DraftKings PGA series.
LONE TREE CLASSIC
Location: Chandler, Ariz.
Course: Lone Tree Golf Club
This was supposed to be it. The end of the Outlaw Tour season. But with word last week that the Mackenzie Tour is canceled for 2020, the Outlaw Tour tweeted Saturday night that it is looking to "fill the void." Quite a few Canadians have been playing on the Arizona Mini Tours, so this makes sense. But as of right now, there are no more Outlaw events scheduled. Not so coincidentally, we're a week-plus away from the resumption of the PGA Tour schedule. The Outlaw Tour has been a welcome diversion to golf fans and DFS players, but it just doesn't match the top level. For those of you who can't get enough of the Arizona Mini Tours, the affiliated Golden State Tour still has two confirmed events remaining, but those are three weeks away in late June. It's hard to imagine many people paying attention, including DraftKings, but to each his own.
If this is the 2020 Outlaw Tour finale, it is not ending with a bang, but a whimper. The fields have been weakening for weeks and that trend continues. The three-day, 54-hole Lone Tree Classic beginning Monday has more holes than golfers. The field contains only 48 golfers, and most of the big names, at least by Mini-Tour standards, are taking a pass. DraftKings is still offering Showdown contests, though, and thus we are providing insight and picks.
The "big" name this week might very well be a newcomer. Sahith Theegala of Pepperdine just won the Haskins Award – the same award Matthew Wolff won in 2019 – as the nation's top D1 college golfer. It's a bit odd that he is going this route, even for one week. Theegala's season was cut short because of the coronavirus, so it's unknown how active he has been. The 22-year-old played in two PGA Tour events in 2017 as an amateur, missing the cut at the U.S. Open but tying for 49th at Riviera. Not too shabby.
Other names of note are New Zealander Steve Alker, who at age 48 is the top-ranked guy in the field, at No. 651, and who last held a PGA Tour card in 2017. Next up is Sam Gillis, an American playing primarily on the Asian Development Tour who is ranked 862nd in the OWGR. Additionally, we have Mark Baldwin, a Korn Ferry Tour golfer ranked 1,201st; Michael McGowan, who split time last year between the Korn Ferry and Latinoamerica Tours and is ranked 1,891st; and mini-tour regulars Brady Calkins, Nicolo Galletti and Neil Johnson. Barry Enright, the former big-league pitcher who stunned the Mini-Tour circuit by winning in his first appearance a few weeks ago, is also in the field.
As for the course, Lone Tree Golf Club is short, at barely 7,000 yards. The par-4s average only 416 yards. The four par-3s are all under 200. The three par-5s aren't necessarily short but are all under 600 yards. The Outlaw Tour played a 36-hole event – the Lone Tree Shootout – here back in February, so definitely consider that in your planning.
Weather-wise, the golfers are looking at continued excessive heat with high temperatures between 105 and 110 all three days. As usual, no rain, little wind, drink plenty of water.
A fun Pepperdine factoid discovered while researching Theegala: A teammate this past season was freshman Tristan Gretzky, son of Wayne and Janet Gretzky. Probably gets to play with Dustin Johnson, too.
Key Stats to Winning at Lone Tree
• Scoring average (beware guys who have played very few rounds)
• Total birdies
• Top 10s
This continues to be a bit of a dart throw, this week perhaps more than most with many of the "bigger" names not entered. The cream of the field is mentioned above. The best course of action is to take as many of those guys as possible and hope to get lucky with the rest of your six.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
Only Showdown contests will be offered for this tournament, so the picks below apply to each round.
Tier 1 Values
Sahith Theegala - 10-1
The 22-year-old Theegala may be the best golfer in the field based on pedigree. But there's bound to be some nerves, and likely some rustiness, seeing as Pepperdine's season ended in early March. Interestingly, when Theegala played two rounds in the U.S. Open at Erin Hills and four rounds at the Genesis Open in 2017, he gained nearly two-thirds of a stroke with his putter. That's pretty dang good, especially for a 19-year-old amateur playing in huge, talented fields.
Mark Baldwin - 12-1
Baldwin has been idle for months. He played three events in Arizona in October, November and December with great success, notching two top-5s and a top-10. Baldwin played six Korn Ferry Tour events over the first nine weeks of 2020; his best result was in his final event, when he tied for seventh. Normally we'd shy away from a guy who has not played in a while, but this field is so small and weak we feel better turning to Baldwin.
Tier 2 Values
Neil Johnson 16-1
Johnson has finished top-10 three of the past four weeks, including T8 last week. He has shot 70 or better in the first round of every Outlaw or Golden State Tour event he's played this season.
Andrew Funk - 20-1
Funk has been busy of late. He didn't have a good finish last week, but he tied for fifth the week before on the Outlaw Tour. In that event, he started slowly before shooting much better in the second and third rounds. Earlier in May, he had a top-15 on the Golden State Tour with three rounds in the 60s. And at this same course at a 36-hole event in February, Funk tied for third, shooting twin 66s.
Tier 3 Values
Matthew Snyder - 30-1
Snyder played a half-dozen events on the Golden State Tour earlier this year, but made his Outlaw debut just last week and tied for 11th. He also played a few weeks back at the Scottsdale AZ Open and tied for 27th. One caveat: His worst round in both events was the first round. So maybe wait a day on Snyder.
Mitchel Carlsen - 80-1
Carlsen has played four Outlaw Tour events, all since March. He finished top-25 in three of them and just missed a fourth with a tie for 26th in his 2020 debut. In each of the four tournaments, he opened with a round in the 60s, so he seems especially attractive for Monday's action.
Jack McDevitt - 200-1
McDevitt was a junior champion growing up in Arizona. He has played only two Mini-Tour events all season, but one of them was the February tournament held at this same Lone Tree course, and he tied for 14th.
Zachary Gaugert - 200-1
Gaugert is another guy who played the Lone Tree event track back in February. He tied for 20th. As he did in all five Outlaw Tour events he has appeared in this season, Gaugert shot better that week in the second round than the first.