Last week’s Bombs & Values article for the Charles Schwab Challenge profiled Vincent Whaley at near minimum price and Ian Poulter as a 100/1 longshot. Whaley went on to finish T20 and found his way into winning GPP lineups. Ian Poulter finished T3, good enough for a place in Each Way markets. As we shift focus to Muirfield Village for the Memorial, I’m looking to target players who are strong on Approach, ARG, and Bent putting, with a bonus of Par 5 Scoring, Birdies or Better, and Driving Distance wherever possible. Course History is a bit murky this week given the significant renovations since last year, so I’m willing to jump on players with lackluster past results, or even players that just never seemed to be able to putt well on the old greens. With all that in mind, here’s a look at the DFS values and longshot bombs I’m looking to get exposure to this week.
Pricing from Draft Kings
Matt Wallace ($7,400)
Matt Wallace is the only “Non-Elite” player to sneak his way into the Top 10 of my model this week, and that’s a credit to him ranking Top 50 in this field in each and every category that matters at Muirfield Village. That list includes SG: APP (13), BoB Gained (20), SG: BS (18), SG: ARG (43), Par 5 Scoring (12), Bent Putting (14), SG: T2G at Memorial (20), Par 4: 450-500 (34), Driving Distance (50), and Jack Nicklaus Designed Course History (26).
Wallace has been a model of consistency over the last 2 months with no MCs and 3 T20s over 6 events in that span. He’s gaining strokes across all major SG categories over the course of his last 5, 10, and 20 events played, which is the type of well-rounded game needed to compete on a difficult-scoring track like Muirfield Village. Wallace ranks #14 in the field in SG: TOT in Difficult Scoring Conditions as further proof that he can grind it out with the best of them on Tour.
Wallace shined in his debut at the Memorial last year with a T4 finish, despite uncharacteristically losing strokes on Approach. This year he rides in with hotter form across all SG categories coming in, so he makes for an appealing high floor, high ceiling, low cost DFS play.
Byeong Hun An ($6,400)
If you could pick one category to be elite in, Around the Green would be everyone’s last choice. But, that is where An ranks #1 over the last 50 rounds, and by a pretty wide margin. He’s been terrible across the board everywhere else of late, but the shining light has been his performance on Jack Nicklaus designed courses, where he ranks #6 in this field. And on this Jack Nicklaus designed course, he ranks #15 T2G, with 4 T25s over his last 5 trips to the Memorial.
When considering that most Nicklaus-designed courses mitigate the importance of driving accuracy in favor of distance and demand a quality short game with low GIR percentages, it makes sense that An would have success on these types of layouts. In addition to his top marks in SG: ARG, he’s also a very solid 35th in Driving Distance, which should in theory set up for some up-and-down Birdies on the reachable Par 5s this week. Ultimately if the greens play as firm and fast as they did last year, that’s going to result in many good iron players still missing the greens, and if the playing field is leveled on Approach, An will thrive with his wedges around the green.
An has lost strokes putting in 11 straight events, and that weakness has been consistent in his game throughout his career. But for whatever reason, it’s never seemed to matter at Muirfield Village, where he’s gained strokes putting in 4 out of 5 career appearances. If he can tap into that putting magic again this week, he has a path to continue his prominence at the Memorial once again at a discounted price.
Brandon Hagy ($6,200)
I’ll probably be on Brandon Hagy island this week, but he excels in a couple of very specific key categories, which make him an appealing value flyer at the Memorial.
Like An, Hagy is a Jack Nicklaus Course killer, ranking #8 SG: TOT on Nicklaus tracks L36 rounds. That comes thanks in large part to his T2 finish this March at the Honda Classic at PGA National, and his opening round 8-under 64 at TheAmEx on the Nicklaus course before playing out the remainder of the event on Pete Dye’s Stadium Course.
Similar to An, Hagy benefits from the forgiveness of these courses off the tee, as he’s a bomber who sacrifices accuracy (111th) for Distance (7th). Hagy is also very solid around the greens where he ranks 23rd L36 rounds. This will be his debut at the Memorial, but Hagy has the raw talent to make it through the weekend on a course that should feed into his strengths.
Kyle Stanley ($6,100)
Vincent Whaley felt too obvious to pass up at the Charles Schwab Challenge at his $6,200 price, riding in with 7 consecutive T40s, so naturally I passed up on him in my Single Entry lineup in favor of Denny McCarthy for $100 more, and missed out on the Whaley T20. Kyle Stanley is this week’s Vincent Whaley. He was a late entry into the field on a Sponsor’s Exemption, which apparently flabbergasted the good people at Draft Kings enough to slap a $6,100 price tag on him.
Stanley comes in hot off of a T8 at last week’s Charles Schwab Challenge, where he gained 10 strokes T2G to mask the 3 strokes he lost on the greens, and now has 4 Top 40s over his last 5 events. The display at Colonial has been the story overall with Kyle Stanley. He’s a great Ball Striker (#28 SG: BS L36) and a terrible putter (#116 in this field of 120). Just think of him as a mirror image of Aaron Wise, who ranks #30 SG: BS and #110 SG: P over the same span, you’re just getting a $900 discount off of Wise with Stanley.
If you’re looking for a better reason to play Stanley over Wise, or really any other player in the sub-$7K range, look no further than Course History. Within his last 5 trips to the Memorial, Stanley has finishes of T2, T6, and T3. Remarkably despite who he is as person on the greens, Stanley managed to gain 3+ strokes putting in each of those finishes. Sure, with the mass renovations, it’s hard to put too much emphasis on Course History, but three T6 finishes from a $6,100 player in a top-heavy field with pretty tight pricing is very difficult to ignore.
Russell Henley (+8000)
You guys know what time it is. All the polos have hung up in my closet for too long since I last hopped on board the Russ Bus at the Honda Classic for his T3 finish, but the time has come again to strip it all down and trade those collars for quarter buttons: it’s a Henley Week!
The last time Henley played on a Nicklaus Course was the aforementioned Honda Classic at PGA National where he finished 3rd and gained over 8 strokes putting. The last time he played on Bent greens was back at the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek, where he finished 3rd and gained 9 strokes putting. A lot of that is coincidental, but the common through-line is that I backed him for both, which means he’s guaranteed to gain another 8+ strokes putting and finish in the Top 3 in this fused Bent grass/Nicklaus Course/Tout-backed scenario we now have going at the Memorial.
We’re all aware Hustle Henley is known best for his iron play, and even after an adventurous couple rounds at the Ocean Course, he still ranks 16th in the field SG: APP. Jack Nicklaus noted that with the redesign of the greens this time around, he’ll be able to tuck pin locations into even tighter angles, and if that’s the case, will give the elite iron players in the field a chance to get aggressive and go at pins for birdie opportunities while the rest of the field plays more conservatively for pars. The last time we saw Henley on these grounds, he gained 11 strokes T2G at the 2020 Workday en route to a T7 finish, so if he can follow that up with another solid T2G performance this time around to pair with that trending hot putter, Henley has the chance to go very low at Muirfield Village.
Marc Leishman (+8500)
Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith have effectively molded into mirror images of the same Australian player ever since they joined forces to take down the Zurich Classic together. Both have above-average driving distance with below-average accuracy, are strong putters, and excel at both Par 3 and Par 5 Scoring. The key difference between the two Aussies is that Leishman has been stronger on Approach (37th), while giving back strokes to the field Around The Green (95th). When considering outrights though, we can dismiss the ARG shortcomings and bank on a scenario where Leishman just brings his A game with the irons and hits a high GIR percentage. Before an inclement week at the PGA Championship, Leishman came in riding a T5 at The Masters, Win at the Zurich, and T21 at the Byron Nelson in the 3 events prior.
To me, I don’t see a significant gap between Cameron Smith and Marc Leishman’s games right now, so to see Smith at half these odds on most books, I’m jumping on the value for Leish. In terms of Course History, Leishman’s also had a decorated past here with 4 finishes of T15 or better over his last 6 appearances, including two T5s over that span, and 6 consecutive appearances where he’s gained 1.5+ strokes putting. I don’t think there’s an Aussie on the board this week that I’d talk anyone out of, but from a pure value standpoint, Leishman at +8500 is one of the best deals out there.
Adam Scott (+8500)
The overall theme of this week is me going back to every single player who ruined my lineups at the PGA Championship. I’m very high on JT and Xander at the top of the board, Leishman did me no favors there, the guy we’ll get to next was his worst self at Kiawah, and Adam Scott kicked off the festivities with a dramatic Triple-Bogey to start en route to a MC with the rest of them. It’s really all pure coincidence that I find myself back interested in all of them again this week, but ultimately it all boils down to me not putting much stock behind performance at an event in the PGA Championship that was so influenced by the weather, as we come to Muirfield Village where conditions should be completely calm.
So as I turn the page from holding any grudges against Adam Scott, the future for him looks bright at the Memorial to bounce back. While it could never pass the eye test, the stats say Adam Scott is #5 in the field SG: P on Bent Grass; Masters aside, this will be his first measured event back on Bent grass since he gained 3.2 strokes putting at Winged Foot for the 2020 US Open.
Scott also has excellent history at the Memorial, where he ranks #3 T2G with two T5 finishes and no MCs in 6 appearances dating back to 2012. More broadly speaking, Scott fits the profile of the long-hitting, great ball-striking, and solid short game needed to have success on Nicklaus Courses, so his rank of 16th SG: TOT on Nicklaus tracks should come as little surprise. More recently, Scott has also thrived on Par 4s: 450-500 (16th) where the highest concentration of holes will funnel to this week.
Scott has been an above average player for most of 2021, but a return to Muirfield Village at a course that suits his game’s profile well may just be the kickstart he needs to contend for another win.
Charl Schwartzel (+17500)
The last stop of the PGA Championship heartbreak redemption tour ends with Charl Schwartzel. I am very willing to throw out a bad performance at a Major, particularly one played in the longest, windiest, and most difficult conditions we’ve seen in a very long time, when looking at a player’s recent form going into a non-Major. If we choose to ignore Charl’s MC at the PGA Championship, then he rides in with finishes of T3, T14, T21, T2, and T26 in his 5 prior events. His Ball Striking has been incredible over that stretch, gaining 9 strokes Ball Striking at both the Wells Fargo and Byron Nelson.
A cold putter has prevented him from staying in serious contention in recent weeks, but a return to Bent greens where he ranks a respectable 52nd in the field SG: P and gained 2.7 strokes putting on most recently at the Byron Nelson, should be the perfect bounce back opportunity for the revitalized South African veteran.
In terms of course history, Schwartzel ranks #5 in the field SG: T2G at Muirfield Village, which is all you can ask for of a player coming in, knowing how significant the changes to the greens are going to be this time around. Since 2012, Schwartzel has 4 finishes inside the Top 20, so an outright flyer and/or Top 20 placement bet are very much in play for Schwartzel this week.