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DFS Dish: DP World Tour’s season-opening Joburg Open


The DP World Tour is wasting no time getting their new season started just days after putting the finishing touches on the 2022-23 campaign at the DP World Tour Championship.

Not only are they starting right back up, they are doing so with a dual-event week. There is a strong field assembled at Royal Queensland for the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship while others are choosing Johannesburg for the Joburg Open at Houghton Golf Club.

DraftKings has chosen the Joburg Open, so let’s dive into that event to see if we can find a few value options to help build out a competitive DFS roster.

Short Course Stars

The host course this week is Houghton Golf Club. It was a regular host for the Alfred Dunhill Championship before Leopard Creek took over in 2005. Since then, we’ve seen Jack Nicklaus roll into town and complete a course renovation.

When he showed up for the grand opening he had this to say about the track, “It’s very difficult to challenge good golfers with length these days. You have to challenge them on the greens. The greens are supposed to be part of the challenge of a course.”

For this week’s event the course will stretch out to 7,241 yards as a par-71 layout. Add in Johannesburg altitude and it’s easy to see why the length of this course is not intimidating by any means.

Here are the top performers in adjusted strokes gained per round when playing on short courses, over the last two years:

  • Dean Burmester
  • Adrian Otaegui
  • Daniel Brown
  • Christiaan Bezuidenhout
  • Adrien Saddier
  • Branden Grace
  • Thriston Lawrence
  • Gavin Green
  • Matthew Southgate
  • Darius Van Driel
  • Scott Jamieson
  • Romain Langasque
  • Joakim Lagergren
  • Hennie Du Plessis
  • Louis De Jager

We can also look at performance versus baseline to see who shows the largest increase in performance compared to their typical scores:

  • Joakim Lagergren
  • Darius Van Driel
  • Adrien Saddier
  • Renato Paratore
  • Thomas Aiken
  • Oliver Wilson
  • David Ravetto
  • Sebastian Garcia Rodriguez
  • Pedro Figueiredo
  • Darren Fichardt
  • Chase Hanna
  • James Morrison
  • Andy Sullivan
  • Jc Ritchie
  • Santiago Tarrio

Overlap List: Names that show up on both lists include Joakim Lagergren, Darius Van Driel, and Adrien Saddier.

Lagergren’s baseline stats put him far off the radar but he leaps off the page when it comes to performance on short courses. Which side of that stat pendulum will win out this week?

Saddier to shine with the short game

Saddier shows up on the overlap list above when it comes to performance on short courses. He’s not a short hitter but does sport a very strong short game. He ranked 20th in bogey rate last season, strong evidence that his course management is tidy. Where he really excelled was with the flat stick as he ranked 11th in strokes gained putting this past season. With Jack Nicklaus looking to challenge players on the tricky greens, I like Saddier’s chances to rise to the occasion. At $8,300 on DraftKings, he can fit into balanced or top-heavy builds.

Pay up for Otaegui

While Adrien Saddier grades out well in the mid-range, it’s another Adrian who brings a strong mix of consistency and upside to the table. The Spaniard has made the cut in 11 of his last 12 starts. From there, he’s turned six of those into top-33 finishes or better. He’s been more accurate than the field in 24 of his last 25 events so this kind of short, treelined track should suit his game. He checks in at $9,400 on DraftKings this week so he’s not cheap but still one of my preferred options when looking to spend up this week at Houghton GC.