PGA DFS: Top Cash Game Picks for the US Open

PGA DFS Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each listing week, using FantasyLabs tools and metrics to highlight top golfers.

The tour heads to Massachusetts this week as the country club at Brookline Golf hosts the US Open. The course equals 70, measuring 7,264 yards with Poa annua greens.

I’m going to highlight the best cash games/single-entry plays on the DraftKings main menu, but these players are often great choices in any competition.

My analysis will frequently indicate Strokes gaineda set of proprietary metrics generated by the PGA TOUR using millions of data points to calculate the number of shots, on average, a player needs to get the ball into the hole from every distance and position.

Strokes Gained is now available on FantasyLabs PGA Models.

There are a variety of scales related to acquired strokes, but the six main categories you need to know include:

  • Strokes gained: off the tee (SG: Off-the-Tee)
  • Acquisition of strokes: the approach (SG: approach)
  • Gaining Strokes: Around the Green (SG: Around-the-Green)
  • Acquisition of strokes: mode (SG: mode)
  • Hit earned: hit the ball (SG: Ball-Striking), which is SG: Off-the-Tee + SG: Approach
  • Strokes gained: from the tee to the green (SG: Tee-to-Green), which is SG: Ball-Striking + SG: Around-the-Green

Also, the new ideal ratio scale is a great data point to use in building your list.

If you missed it, we’ve added two new metrics in our models – Perfect% and SimLeverage. You can find an explanation of these metrics here.

The cliff Notes version is that you can use SimLeverage to quickly find the leverage in spins, while Perfect% is great for finding the best rated games for cash games.

And don’t forget to use our various PGA DFS tools like Lineup Lineup Optimizer, Lineup Builder, PGA Correlation Dashboard and our Trends tool.

The following players listed are based on DraftKings points and prices.

PGA DFS Basic Options

Rory McIlroy ($10,500)

This should be fairly obvious.

McIlroy is the hottest golfer on the planet right now, after his assured victory last week at the RBC Canadian Open. He fired the Final 62 clashing with both Tony Finau and Justin Thomas and claimed his 21st PGA Tour title. The win was third among McElroy’s top five across his past five starts. In this extension, the Northern Irish are classified. #1 in the field in SG: Tee-to-Green, #1 in SG: Ball-Striking, and #1 in total hits earned.

It’s hard to believe McIlroy hasn’t won a major in eight years, but I fully expect that to change sooner rather than later. He’s shooting all cylinders right now, and his wedge game looks as pure as it has ever been last week, which has been his foe lately. McIlroy has gone to T7, T8 and T9 in each of his last three US games, and he’s playing at peak levels right now.

He is on the winning shortlist this week and is a favorite in betting odds among the sports books.

Will Xalatores ($9,300)

Willy Z, in his short stint in the PGA TOUR so far, has absolutely crushed major tournaments. In his six career starts, when you don’t count his withdrawals at the 2021 Open, he’s posted a pair of T2, a pair of T6s, and a T8. silly.

He’s one of the best ball strikers on the planet, ranking third in this division over his past 48 runs in the field, which includes 49 of the world’s top 50. This week the junior Greens will ease some of his playing issues, which are basically his only drawback at the moment.

It’s super cheap at around $500 given its history in the majors and is one of the safest cash games on the board.

Patrick Cantlay ($9,200)

Cantlay has been disappointed in the majors lately, but sports books never seem to care because he always ranks among the best value plays in the $9,000 and up range. This week is no different, with most books making him the 5th shortest player in the field to this week’s top 20 despite being the 12th most expensive player on the list. This is the kind of thing that winning DFS players look at.

In four starts at the US Open, he hasn’t missed a single chance yet and boasts a pair of top 20 places. His lack of success in the majors is truly a mystery because Cantlay is one of the most talented golfers on the planet and has absolutely no weaknesses in his game. He’s good in and around the greens to keep up with elite hits for the ball, which is pretty rare. He ranks fourth in the field in the Total Strokes he has achieved over the past 48 runs.

Cantlay does some of his best on short working runs, best illustrated by his success at Sherwood, TPC Summerlin and Harbortown. This week we got 7200 yards equal to 70, and I expect big things from the fourth player in the world. He must also be very comfortable with these green plants, being a native of California.

This could be the week that Cantlay picks up the first major of his career.

Matt Fitzpatrick ($8,500)

Fitz at the same time feels like one of the most overrated golfers on TOUR, which is a very difficult feat. He’s very talented and he races constantly week after week but has yet to win in the States. I’m not someone who puts too much stock in the ridiculous narratives that some men “can’t be closed” because no one has ever won an event until they win. The seal will eventually break.

This is a sweet spot for Fitzpatrick when he’s in the middle of the $8000 range in the toughest fields. He has missed a couple of cuts (not including players) since the start of 2022, but in the other eight starts as he made it to the weekend his worst result was a T14 (Augusta). He has seven top-10 players in this stretch, including three first-class players, and ranks ninth in the field in total strokes earned.

For whatever it’s worth, Fitz also won the U.S. Amateur Championship on this particular course as an 18-year-old in 2013. That was obviously nine years ago and it was pretty hard to use as a comparison, but you’ll hear a ton about him this week, and from It sure doesn’t hurt to be familiar with the course.

It fits any design and makes an elite game of all time.

Sam Burns ($8,300)

Burns is one of the best players in the world (9th in OWGR), and feels the audience hasn’t caught up to the concept yet. He’s already won three times this season, matching Scotty Scheffler as the only golfer on earth to have achieved such a feat. He’s published five of the top 10 additional rosters, including last week’s T4 in Canada, where he got a ridiculous 9.4 hit on the close.

Burns is fifth on the field in total strokes gained over his past 48 rounds – just ahead of JT, Rory, Rahm and Cantlay – in case you need more evidence of just how good this guy is in golf. The best part about all of this is that it only costs $8,300 at DraftKings this week, which is a gross misunderstanding. He has the seventh shortest odds in the field to the top 20 this week and is ranked 21st on the list of most expensive golfers in the list.

I can assure you that he will be one of the most challenging high-risk cashouts of the week and it is absolutely a must.

Tony Finno ($8,200)

Finau has been strong lately, most recently last week at the Canadian Open, where he finished second to Rory McIlroy. This was his third fifth-place finish in his past five starts, and in this stretch he’s ranked 10th in the field in SG: Tee-to-Green, 11th in SG: Putting, and 5th in Total Strokes Gained.

We know he’s had a lot of success in the majors in his career, especially the US Open, where he’s had a pair of top-eight spots in his past four starts. Quick anecdote: If I had just played Finau for Matt Kuchar (matching salaries) at the 2018 US Open in Shinnecock, I would have shipped Milly Maker on DraftKings with two other guys and paid $333K, but no one is here because of my bad stories. However, it still haunts me to this day.

Finau’s $8,200 is pretty cheap for the way he’s been playing lately, and I expect it to be chalky this week as well. We also know he does his best at Poa, which is just the cherry on top.

At the very least, a must spend weekend at this place, which is enough for me at its price.

PGA DFS value choices

Cory Conners ($7,900 royalty)

Connors, far from his lost cut in the PGA Championship, has been incredibly consistent lately, finishing 35th in the first eight of his past nine starts. He posted five of the top 13 spots in this stretch, including a pair of T6s at the Masters and most recently in Canada last week. Conners’ long-range numbers look great, ranking eighth on the field in SG: Ball-Striking over the past 48 and 17 times in total hits as well.

He’s incredibly cheap for his level of talent this week, which is obviously par for the course (pun intended) when we have deep fields like this. Based on my model, he emerged as the 7th highest exposed player in 150 sims combination. His lack of distance won’t hold him back too much this week with it being a 7,200-yard track, and his meticulously defined gameplay will come in handy on Brookline’s small greens.

Any way you cut it, Conners is a great play.

Sungjae Im ($7,600)

This one is self-explanatory and does not require much explanation. Im the lowest priced player in this field by far and should in theory be 100% in cash games, so we know we know that won’t be the case. He has missed the cut in only two of the last 15 TOUR record-breaking events in the past two stroke game and has a win and six additional 11th place finishes in that stretch.

In most sports books, he has the eighth shortest odds in the field to finish in the top 20 this week, but he is scandalously ranked 30th on the DraftKings’ most expensive player list.

If you care about making money and take yourself seriously as a DFS player, you will be playing Sungjae Im in cash games this week; Simply.

Russell Henley ($7,300)

The bottom of the $7,000 range is pretty barren this week, but Henley stands out a bit at $7,300. He’s done 14 of 15 cuts previously and has been #1 in the field in the SG: Approach over the past 48 runs. It’s very hard to think that Russell Freaking Henley is the best player in the business, but the numbers don’t lie.

Some other good news: Henley has a pretty solid US Open history in his career, having made each of the past three cuts dating back to 2017, finishing T27 or better in each.

Many will flock to Davis Riley’s new shiny game for the same price, which I certainly don’t have a problem with, but I would much rather go with the grizzly veteran at places like this.

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