Butterfield Bermuda Championship & Nedbank Golf Challenge
By: Jake Friedman
Hi everyone, I wanted to quickly introduce myself, my name is Jake Friedman and I am proud to announce that I will be joining the We Know Fantasy network as an official PGA/DP World Tour contributor. I will be sharing an article weekly on the site and I will also be joining Nate weekly on the Out of the Rough podcast.
I started playing golf when I was about 10 years old. My uncle used to take me to the driving range once a week which we capped off with a Coke Slurpee, a favorite to this day. Fast forward a few years, I played on the high school golf team and continue to play recreationally to this day.
My golf gambling started back in the 2017 season when my college roommate asked me to join a Masters pool and split a few outright picks. Unfortunately, we didn’t nail Sergio Garcia that year but once we hit Justin Thomas at the PGA Championship, I was hooked.
Please give me a follow on X/Twitter @THEJakeFriedman, I tweet/retweet a lot of golf content I find helpful each week. Additionally, I post a all of my in-tournament plays such as matchup bets and live lines.
Butterfield Bermuda Championship:
Let me start with saying that I think you can definitely construct a winning lineup skipping over this range in its entirety. This is a course and field of players where the door is wide open for a winner. I don’t give a significant edge to finding a winner in the 10k-9k range (25/1 or worse odds) compared to the 8k or 7k range (25/1 or better odds). I think the most popular play, by far, in this 10k range will be Akshay Bhatia ($10,000).
The clear talent of the field, Adam Scott ($10,700) comes into this tournament without a win in the previous PGA Tour season. He had a handful of Top-10 but the win eluded Scott this past year. An above average player when it comes to distance off the tee, approach, around the green and putting, this can be a spot for Scott to flourish and find that win that eluded him this past season. His main issue is accuracy off the tee, but at a course where less than driver is seen more frequently, this doesn’t phase me. One of the sweetest swings on tour, if he can get the putter going this week I like his chances to find that win that eluded him last season.
Another potential DFS play this week is Thomas Detry ($10,500). I talked him up last week on the podcast as being a player who is known to feast on these weaker fields. Although that didn’t come to fruition last week, that provides an opportunity to invest in him this week at a discounted ownership percentage. Although this tournament has only been hosted at this course 3 times, Detry has a T-22 in 2022 and solo 2 in 2023 falling 1 stroke shy of Seamus Power who took this tournament down last year. Above average in driving distance, around the green, and putting, if Detry can get the irons going I like him to have a great finish this week at a low ownership.
Ben Griffin ($9,300) is a player who is known to feast on these shorter courses and weaker field events, Griffin had a T-3 at this tournament last year shooting a 72 (+1) on Sunday. An above average player with the irons, around the green and with the flat stick, this course is built for Griffin to be successful. An up and down swing season makes Griffin a tough case to crack with a T-2 at the Sanderson, a MC at the Shriner’s, a T-64 at the Zozo and then a T-23 last week at the WWT. I’m hoping to catch Griffin on the upswing and redeem himself from last year at this tournament when he should’ve come through with the victory.
Boom or bust, the type of player we are looking for in DFS, I’m going with Taylor Pendrith ($9,100). When you picture your ideal golfer for this tournament it is not Pendrith. A course where less than driver off the tee is commonly seen does not suit a player like Pendrith well who’s primary weapon is the driver. That being said, following 4 straight missed cuts, Pendrith comes into this week in great form with a T-3 at the Shriner’s and a T-15 last week at the WWT. In his solo appearance in this tournament last year he placed T-5 shooting a Sunday round 76 (+5). A round of even par or even +1 gets Pendrith the trophy last year and hoping he can ride that hot streak for redemption this year I love the value on him here.
Sometimes in DFS there is a high owned player that you simply need to plug into your lineup because how you feel about a player is more important than game theory. For me, this is Alex Smalley ($8,900). Whoever made the pricing this week got Smalley completely wrong. Last week I said El Cardonal was made for Sahith Theegala’s game and he missed the cut, but, I’m going to say the same about Port Royal for Alex Smalley. He is an elite ball striker who is long and accurate off the tee and about average around the greens. This week will come down to the putter, as it will for many players this week. T-12 here in 2022 and T-11 in 2023, I think this is a great spot for Smalley to come through with his first PGA Tour victory.
Generally speaking, I weigh recent form a decent amount because it is very difficult to win on the PGA Tour at all, let along with no form coming into a tournament. In DFS, you can shoot your shot with a player like Mark Hubbard ($8,800). Long term statistics from this year suggest that Mark Hubbard should have a field day at this event. A very well rounded golfer above average in driving accuracy, approach, around the green, and putting, his lack of distance at a short course like this is not important whatsoever. That being said, he has a T-41 here in 2020, a T-22 in 2022, and a missed cut here last year on the number. After a T-17 at the Fortinent and a T-6 at the Sanderson, it looked like Hubbard was going to win a tournament during the swing season. Unfortunately for him, he followed that up with a MC at the Shriners, a T-31 at the Zozo, and a MC last week at the WWT on the number. I’m just going to trust the numbers we’ve seen from Hubbard all season and hope he can come through with a solid finish this week.
This is where it starts to get fun in these lower-end field events. These are the players you generally expect to be in the 6k range, but here we are. First, let’s talk about Justin Lower ($7,600). An average player when it comes to driving accuracy, approach, and putting, if he can hit the greens and avoid around the green play he can have a great finish here. The course history is there with a T-17 in 2022 and a T-8 last year, I’m hoping Lower can ride the little bit of form he’s in finishing T-23 last week to have a solid tournament this week.
It wouldn’t be a week of research without giving a shoutout to a player with no strokes gained statistics. He popped in my model and from the 1 statistic I can see, it’s for good reason. Nick Dunlap ($7,100) in 2023 gained, on average in 58 measured rounds, 2.3 strokes per round. Yes, you read that correctly. That means on average for a tournament he made the cut, he gained 9.2 total strokes. He’s currently ranked 3 in the world amateur golf rankings, at the low price of $7,100 this week I love him to come to the big stage and show this weak field what he’s made of.
If you are dipping into the 6k range in a tournament like this you better have very good reasoning to do so because these players are very bad. My first play in this range is going to be the very reason that proves that literally anybody with a pulse in this field can win and that’s Brian Gay ($6,700). When you look at Gay’s numbers for this year he is an average around the green player and above average putter. He is very short off the tee which doesn’t matter at all here, but he is also one of the worst approach players on tour. Yet, in 4 consecutive appearances at this tournament starting in 2020, Gay has a T-3, win, T-12, and T-11. It’s hard to ignore that course history and at $6,700, I guess if you have to dip into this range he is an option.
My next play in this range has a similar skillset to Brian Gay and that is Martin Trainer ($6,600). Slightly above average in distance off the tee and putting, dead average in around the green, and bad in accuracy off the tee and approach is what you’re working with if you pick him. A T-15 at the WWT last week, maybe he can ride the form he found last week and have a similar result this week.
Keeping the card small pre-tournament since the course is very susceptible to wind. This leaves the door open for wave advantages that can impact the result of this tournament. I'm also leaving some room to live line if this is the case as well.
Akshay Bhatia 22/1 - His form at these weak field, tropical birdie fests is something that simply can’t be ignored. This was my first click Monday morning when the odds came out, hoping he can continue his run of form at these courses and come through with another win.
Alex Smalley 25/1 - I talked him up in the DFS section saying that this course is a great place for Smalley to get his first PGA Tour victory. Going to be a popular bet in the golf community this week but happy to join the party.
Ben Griffin 25/1 - Another player I wrote up in the DFS section, he has the skillset to win at this course as well as some course history coming in with a T-3 here last year. Hopefully he can come through with a victory this year and avenge his Sunday round from last year.
As always, good luck in all your PGA Tour action this week and please bet responsibly!
Nedbank Golf Challenge:
Aaron Rai 22/1 - Coming into this tournament in great form following a T-28 at the Shriners, T-21 at the Zozo, and a T-9 at the Qatar Masters, it’ll come down to the putter. Rai makes up for his lack of distance off the tee with his accuracy. He is also is above average in approach and around the green play. His last 2 appearances at this tournament were a T-8 in 2018 and a T-13 in 2019. He is a much improved golfer from those years and with how his current game is trending I think Rai can get the job done this week.
Rasmus Hojgaard 35/1 - Rasmus has been busy this swing season. A 4th at the Cazoo Open de France, T-25 at the Alfred Dunhill Links, T-26 at the Andalucia Masters, and a T-16 at the Qatar Masters shows he’s in decent form. Last year was his only appearance at this tournament and he placed T-8. Rasmus is very long off the tee and can get hot with the putter. His driving accuracy and approach is where he struggles. That being said, his last 4 starts with shot link data he was above average in accuracy off the tee and in his last start he gained on approach. That’s enough for me to take a shot on him this week.
Nicolai Hojgaard 35/1 - With similar game to his brother who I just wrote up, Nicolai is widely regarded as the more talented golfer. He is also long off the tee and can get hot with the putter. The differentiator is he is more inaccurate off the tee but he is above average when it comes to the irons. There’s no recent form to speak of and no course history to write home about, solo 55 in 2022, but with a similar game play to his brother I think 35/1 is a big number. It also helps when I roll over in the middle of the night to check the leaderboard I don’t need to put on my glasses to see if it’s R. Hojgaard or N. Hojgaard at the top of the leaderboard.
Robert MacIntyre 40/1 - Another active golfer during the swing season and coming in with some form, I really like the value with this play. T-25 at the Alfred Dunhill Links, T-26 at the Andalucia Masters, and a T-6 at the Qatar Masters. MacIntyre is long off the tee, can get hot with the flat stick, and is average around the green and with the irons. If he can keep the ball in the fairway off the tee I love his chances this week. He also had a T-9 here in 2019 and a T-32 in 2022. I’ll take what I’m seeing here and play a 40/1 without a doubt.
Ryo Hisatsune 55/1 - Playing some amazing golf during the swing season, including a win at the Cazoo Open de France, this feels like a spot Hisatsune can thrive. Accurate off the tee and can get hot with the putter, if he can get the irons working he is live to win here.
Good luck in all your DPWT action this week and please bet responsibly!