This article is part of our DraftKings PGA series.
SOUTHERN DUNES CLASSIC
Location: Maricopa, Ariz.
Course: Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club
The Arizona Mini-Tour circuit is winding down as the scheduled reopening of the PGA Tour season approaches. This week, the Outlaw Tour hosts the Southern Dunes Classic, with a field of 75 players. DraftKings will offer Showdown contests for the three-day, 54-hole event that begins Tuesday, and there will be a cut after two rounds are played. The DK entry fees run the gamut from free all the way to more than $10,000. After this week, there's an amateurs-only event next week and then both amateur and pro events the following week as the Outlaw season concludes. The affiliated Golden State Tour has two more events in late June, but it's unlikely many will be paying close attention by then, and it remains to be seen if DraftKings will even offer contests. So if you have been a fan of the Mini-Tour contests, get your fill while you can.
Last week's field took a dip after a few weeks bigger names played the week before in the Scottsdale AZ Open, and this week it dips even further. There are a couple new names of some consequence in Korn Ferry members John Oda and Charlie Saxon. Oda has played a dozen events on the PGA Tour, including two on the 2019-20 fall season. Outside of that, though, this week's field is pretty weak, even by Outlaw Tour standards.
Some of the core group of Outlaw players entered this week are leading money winner Riley Wheeldon; Sam Triplett, who's No. 2 on the Money List and was last week's co-runner-up; Nicolo Galletti, a winner last month; plus Brady Calkins, Colton Yates and Brady Schnell, who called out Vijay Singh for taking a spot in the Korn Ferry's return event. These guys are all near the top of the list of available options, so you will have to fill out your lineups with lesser guys. We'll offer some suggestions below. Luckily, the Outlaw Tour website has a stats page – located in the Money List section – that will help you determine who is playing well.
The course this week is not what we have become accustomed to on the Outlaw Tour. It is significantly longer, like, PGA-Tour long. And it's a public course, built in 2002. The Fred Couples design is situated on federally-recognized Native American lands. The course website says it annually plays host to U.S. Open qualifiers and in 2016 was ranked 84th by Golf Magazine among the Best Courses You Can Play in the United States. As for the length, all four par-4s are 575 yards or longer, there's a par-3 topping out at a whopping 248 yards, and there are six par-4s of at least 450 yards. That is some serious length, indeed. Interestingly, the official scorecard says the pace of play should be 4 hours 29 minutes, so it's long in other ways, too.
Weather-wise, the golfers are in for some real heat this week. The expected high for Tuesday's opening round is 104, and the temperature will only go up from there, to a searing 110 on Thursday. There won't be much in terms of wind to offer some cooling, and unsurprisingly, no rain is expected, either.
Key Stats to Winning at Southern Dunes
• Scoring average (beware guys who have played very few rounds)
• Total birdies
• Par-5 birdie leaders
• Top 10s
Nobody knows much about the golfers, much less the course. But as we mentioned above, there are some guys who stand out from the field. It would not be a bad plan to include as many of them as possible in your lineups. Chances are good one of them will win. As we've mentioned before, seeing as only Showdown contests are offered, picking the winner is far less important than it usually is.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
Only Showdown contests will be offered for this tournament, so the picks below apply to each round.
Tier 1 Values
Brady Calkins - Winning odds at golfodds.com: 8-1
Calkins is the No. 2 option on both the DraftKings board and golfodds.com, behind only John Oda. We like Calkins, since he has been playing and playing well. Oda and Saxon play on a more prominent Tour, but they have not been tournament-tested in some time. Calkins finished third two weeks ago at the Scottsdale AZ Open in the strongest Arizona field of the year. He also won a Golden State Tour event in December and has three other top-10s on that Tour.
Nicolo Galletti - 12-1
Galletti missed the cut last week, but he had three podium finishes in April, including a win late in the month at the Legacy Shootout. He has two other top-25s. Galletti is ranked 1,181st in the world after playing on the Latinoamerica Tour the past two years.
Colton Yates - 12-1
Yates has played six times in Arizona and has three Outlaw Tour top-10s, including a tie for fifth last week. The week before, he made the cut in Scottsdale.
Tier 2 Values
Riley Wheeldon - 16-1
Wheeldon has been among the busiest guys in the desert, teeing it up a total of 20 times. That's not the only reason he's leading the Outlaw Tour Money List – he won an event and finished second twice earlier this season. After a few so-so finishes, the Mackenzie Tour veteran tied for 12th last week.
Sam Triplett - 18-1
Triplett almost matched his highly successful father Kirk Triplett last week. Instead, he fell to Barry Enright in a playoff that went six holes. Triplett sits second on the Outlaw Tour's Money List, and notched both a win and a runner-up earlier this season.
Brady Schnell - 20-1
As mentioned above, Schnell was the guy who called out Vijay Singh a few weeks back. Then, with a bull's-eye on his back, he went out at tied for 38th at the Scottsdale Open in his first tournament in months. He handled the pressure. Schnell, 35, plays on the Korn Ferry Tour, but has had a poor season to date, missing the cut five times in six 2020 starts. He's ranked 913th in the world but was as high as 291st after winning a Korn Ferry event in 2018.
Tier 3 Values
Eric Hallberg - 40-1
Hallberg tied for 25th last week in his first Arizona action in some time. It was his third top-25 in three starts. Hallberg has played one Latinoamerica Tour event in 2020 and missed the cut.
John Greco - 60-1
Greco, who has one career start on both the Korn Ferry and Mackenzie Tours, impressively tied for 20th two weeks ago in Scottsdale. The American also tied for 30th last week and had a couple top-10s in Outlaw Tour events earlier this season.
Jake Staiano - 80-1
Staiano won an Outlaw Tour event in early March. He also has four other top-10s, including a runner-up. He missed the cut two weeks ago in Scottsdale in his most recent start. Staiano is 14th on the Outlaw Tour's Money List.
Thomas Lehman - 150-1
If the name sounds familiar that's because, yes, he is Tom Lehman's 24-year-old son. The younger Lehman has made 11 starts in Arizona this season and his best finish came last time he teed it up –- a tie for seventh on the Golden State Tour. He opened with a 66 and closed with a 63. That finish matched an earlier GST T7.
Brandon Lee - 200-1
Lee has made seven Outlaw Tour starts and five Golden State Tour starts. His best Outlaw-Tour finish is a solo fourth, and he also has seven other top-25s across the two Tours.
Benjamin Shur - 250-1
We're not sure what the difference is between the Outlaw and Golden State Tours, but Shur has missed five cuts in five GST starts and has finished T26 or better in all three Outlaw Tour starts. One was even a top-20. Of his nine Outlaw Tour rounds, two were 66s, one was a 67 and two were 68s. He seems like a quality dart throw in single-round formats.