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DraftKings Strategy

DraftKings Preview: Punta Cana roster recs

by Will Gray
Updated On: September 23, 2020, 2:04 pm ET

After a grueling major in New York, the PGA Tour is heading south.

The Dominican Republic plays host to this week's Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship, which will be played for the third straight year as a PGA Tour event. Originally scheduled for March, the event was first canceled and then rescheduled for this week in the wake of the U.S. Open.

Defending champ Graeme McDowell is back, and former Open winner Henrik Stenson is making his debut as the highest-ranked player in the field. The tournament boasts a $4 million purse, with the winner earning spots in the Masters, Players and PGA Championship next year.

From the up-and-coming betting favorite to a couple of veterans worth watching, here are players you should consider before locking in your DraftKings lineups for Punta Cana:

Favorites

Will Zalatoris ($10,900 on DraftKings): He's the highest-salaried player, and for good reason. Zalatoris had been crushing it on the Korn Ferry circuit, posting 11 straight top-20 finishes including eight top-10s, before leading the U.S. Open field in approach play en route to a T-6 finish at Winged Foot. He's a PGA Tour stud in the making, and while it may be a tall task for him to go straight to the winner's circle against this type of competition, his play over the last four months suggests he'll likely factor on the final leaderboard.

Thomas Detry ($9,400): Don't let the final-round 81 at Winged Foot scare you off. Detry has been playing some solid golf of late, with a pair of runner-up finishes on the European Tour this summer, and he was on the fringe of contention at the U.S. Open before a disastrous final round. That dropped him to a T-49 finish, but the Belgian should be able to recover nicely this week on a more forgiving layout. Detry has logged seven top-10 finishes around the world since December and should stand up well to the relative level of competition this week.


Value Plays

Pat Perez ($9,100): Perez has fallen a bit off the radar since reaching the top 20 in the world rankings in 2017, but this is the type of course that could bring out the best in him. The veteran has won twice before on this specialized type of grass (seashore paspalum), capturing the Mayakoba title in 2016 and the CIMB in Malaysia the following year. Perez has previously spoken about the fact that his putting seems to improve on these types of oceanside layouts, and he should have an easier time with the driver this week on especially wide fairways. Perez has three top-25 finishes in his last five starts, including a T-9 finish two weeks ago in Napa in his most recent start.

Keith Mitchell ($7,600): Mitchell tends to be spotty, but he also makes the most of his big weeks. Among that trend was the veteran's performance at this event two years ago, when he finished runner-up despite a third-round 75. Mitchell is from the southeast and has plenty of experience playing in windy, oceanside conditions the likes of which he may encounter this week. While he hasn't made much noise since the break, Mitchell is one of the longer hitters on Tour (21st last season in SG: Off-the-Tee) and could be positioned for further success on a course he knows well in his first start in more than a month.


Sleeper Picks

Aaron Baddeley ($6,600): Like Perez, Baddeley is a veteran who tends to out-perform expectations on paspalum grass. The Aussie finished T-7 at this event a year ago and has also had similar success in Mayakoba, while he was a runner-up last year at the Puerto Rico Open on another oceanside layout. Baddeley is one of the game's best putters who struggles with consistency in other areas of the game, and while he has missed three straight cuts his scores two weeks ago in Napa (72-68) indicate he's not far off. Factor in a familiar venue and a field strength similar to the 2016 Barbasol, which Baddeley won, and he becomes an attractive option in this price range.

Kelly Kraft ($6,400): Kraft missed the entire 2019-20 season because of hip surgery, but this marks his third start since returning to competition and it's one where the former U.S. Amateur champ has had plenty of success. Kraft finished third at this event in 2018 and T-5 last year, shooting six of eight rounds in the 60s. Kraft is the type of player who will miss more than his fair share of cuts but will parlay his good weeks into high finishes, and heading back to a course where he has played well in the past you could do far worse when looking for a player to round out a lineup.

Will Gray

Will Gray joined Golf Channel in 2007 and currently serves as a staff writer for GolfChannel.com. Gray has been covering fantasy golf since 2012 and is a regular contributor to the Golf Central blog and covers several PGA Tour events each year. He's also a regular contributor to several digital properties on GolfChannel.com, including Stat Man, On the Clock, Fantasy Central, Grill Room and the Monday Scramble podcast.