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Tokyo Olympics men’s golf DraftKings picks

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60 golfers will be making the trip to Tokyo this week for the men’s Olympic golf competition. Kasumigaseki Country Club sits 35 miles outside of Tokyo and plays as a par 71, tipping out to 7,447 yards on the scorecard.

The Charles Allison design features bent-grass greens and zoysia fairways, and it received a total facelift from famed architect Tom Fazio in 2016. From all of the course flyovers and information we have at our disposal, Kasumigaseki features similar elements to other Fazio designs/redesigns such as Firestone Country Club, Quail Hollow, and Shadow Creek.

On-ground reports have mentioned that the course is playing on the softer side, which conjures memories of how Augusta National played for the November Masters.

Premier ball-strikers, specifically those with expertise with their long irons and wedges, and those comfortable navigating large and undulating greens seem to be the safest bets.

You can check out my betting tips and selections here. Let’s dig into the DraftKings slate!

2021 Tokyo Olympics men’s golf DraftKings picks

$10,000 range 

Xander Schauffele, $10,700 (Projected ownership: 13.3%)

Xander Schauffele is often the highest-owned golfer on the DraftKings slate, but it appears that fantasy managers feel more comfortable paying up for Collin Morikawa or Justin Thomas this week. I’ll side with Schauffele, the number one bent-grass putter in this field, who has won and finished runner-up the WGC-HSBC Championship in China, finished runner-up at Shadow Creek, and has an unbelievable track record at Augusta National and East Lake, one of the only courses on Tour that features zoysia fairways.

$9,000 range 

Shane Lowry, $9,600 (Projected ownership: 10.6%)

I’ve already shared my love for Lowry in my betting tips article, yet the idea that he is coming in at only 10.6 perccent projected ownership makes him an intriguing DraftKings option as well. Sandwiched in between Viktor Hovland and Paul Casey, fantasy managers are passing on the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone winner at Firestone, and I can’t quite understand why. Lowry is currently playing some of the best golf of his career. The Irish representative has gained over 1.3 strokes on approach in every measured start since March.

$8,000 range 

Cameron Smith, $8,900 (Projected ownership: 14.7%)

Cameron Smith is a player who just missed the cut for my betting card, yet I will gladly take the plunge in DraftKings. The Australian finished 11th at Shadow Creek, fourth at Sherwood, and runner-up at the November Masters. While Smith is by no means low-owned, Abraham Ancer, Joaquin Niemann, Sungjae Im, and Corey Conners all project to garner more ownership than the recent Zurich Classic winner. I’ll side with Smith, a top-five bunker player and birdie maker in this field.

$7,000 range 

Sebastian Munoz, $7,700 (Projected ownership: 14.9%)

I’ll take the plunge with Sebastian Munoz this week, who has recorded an eighth-place finish on zoysia fairways at East Lake, a ninth-place finish at Shadow Creek, and a 14th-place finish at the November Masters. The former Sanderson Farms Championship winner has been awesome on bent-grass greens, with recent finishes of third at Colonial and fourth at TPC Deere Run.

$6,000 range 

Sepp Straka, $6,400 (Projected ownership: 14.9%)

This is where things get tricky. I almost wrote up Henrik Norlander, but 21 percent projected ownership is a tough pill to swallow. I will gladly pivot to Sepp Straka, who is by no means flying under the radar, but is essentially the same player as Norlander at $400 dollars cheaper and less ownership. The University of Georgia product is coming off a start where he gained 4.2 strokes on approach at the 3M Open. That’s good enough for me at this price point, as this is a barren range.

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Ryder Cup Rundown: Day One Afternoon Fourballs

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Team Europe needs to bow its collective heads and figure out how to win a partner match. The side has one outright victory in eight matches, and at this point, halves won’t get the job done. Give the home squad four more points today, and the Cup that Samuel Ryder himself offered up might as well be inscribed with the Red White and Blue as champion for 2021.

Always good at second-guessing the decisions of the wise, we’re fine with getting everyone on the course on day one, but some pairings should not be disassembled. For Europe, why break up García and Rahm? For the USA, pick either one of Johnson/Morikawa and Cantlay/Schauffele. Well, at least those break-ups give us something about which to write.

One pair that won’t be matched at all this year, gave us the greatest excitement in 2018, the last time these matches were played. Remember Moliwood? We sure do. Read on for more about Friday afternoon’s four-ball matches.

Match 5: Wiesberger/Casey vs. Johnson/Schauffele

When Dustin Johnson is the elder statesman on Team USA, you know that a generational shift has happened. Johnson seems to have become, at least for 2021, what the Americans needed: a horse to send out first, to which to hitch the wagon, and let all the other explorers follow with great confidence. Johnson won his second match of the day, with a different partner, by a 2 & 1 margin that never seemed that close, throughout the round. When Johnson is on, he is the most impressive driver of the golf ball we have ever seen. Longer and straighter than anyone, he puts himself in position to attack any hole location. With Olympic champion Xander Schauffele as his running mate on Friday afternoon, Johnson was at his best, and Team RWB grabbed its fourth point of the day, ensuring at least a half of the opening slate.

Match 6: Rahm/Hatton vs. DeChambeau/Scheffler

If the next match hadn’t already been determined by the time Tyrrell Hatton pulled out some last-hole heroics, how the tide might have turned! Scottie Scheffler partnered fellow Texan Bryson DeChambeau as if both had multiple international caps between them, only to have their outright victory snatched by the Englishman’s late magic. The 18th at the Straits course is beguiling and muscular, but Hatton stared it down and earned the visiting team its first credits for the afternoon slate. Alas …

Match 7: McIlroy/Lowry vs. Finau/English

4 & 3 for Team USA, from Tony Finau (who learned to win again) and Harris English (who debuted this afternoon in Ryder Cup play.) For the extremely-amateur psychologists among us, this match was a delight. The fellow who should be leading Europe at this juncture (McIlroy) seems uninspired and uninspiring. Harrington’s second Captain’s pick (Lowry) lost just as his third one (Poulter) did in the morning round. If I were Harrington, I’d pair Poults and Lowry on Saturday and say Boys, get the job done. There’s not much else to try.

Finau and English absolutely owned the middle of the golf course. They made birdies at 6, 8, 9 and 10 to wrestle away Europe’s trifling, one-hole lead (earned at the fifth with a McIlroy eagle.) They added one more at the 13th to make victory seem inevitable, then road the par train for two more stops. For Finau, Fall 2021 has to have been the most satisfying and relieving stretch of his career. For the European side, more questions than answers.

Match 8: Cantlay/Thomas vs. Hovland/Fleetwood

Successful Ryder Cup pairings captivate us in a way that can partly never be explained. Seve and Xema (José María Olazábal) were the finest ever, and no matter which side you cheered on, you knew something special would ensue. The same happened in 2019, when Tommy Fleetwood partnered Francesco Molinari to four victories in France. Sadly, Molinari is not on the European side this year so it was up to Viktor Hovland to spark the bearded Englishman on to victory. For a time, the magic was there. The Euros won four holes on the outward half, to seize a three-up lead and give hope for an entire point. In the end, they gave all of them back and the unshakable Patrick Cantlay found a way to get Justin Thomas on the scoreboard. From the ninth hole on, the visitors managed just one birdie between them, and that won’t get any job done, especially one on the world stage. Time to get those putters working.

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Ryder Cup Rundown: Day One Morning Foursomes

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The world still feels topsy-turvy, with Team USA winning the morning foursomes by 3 matches to 1. Foursomes has been Europe’s specialty over the years, and has often led to a fast start in recent matches. If it weren’t for the dashing Spaniards, Europe would have found itself in a 0-4 hole. Not quite as big a hole as this one, but still a hole. Let’s have a look at the four morning matches.

Match One: Rahm/García vs. Thomas/Spieth

Thomas and Spieth have been lobbying to play together since before Spieth’s resurgence. Well, Spieth took care of the resurgence, but Rahm and García had other ideas for this match. The Basque and the Valencian won seven holes on the day, including 15 and 17, to dispatch the USA power couple. It seemed that each time the Americans won a hole, the Euros won a pair. That type of trade-off is never a good one, and in the end, it was 3 & 1 in favor of the Iberian Peninsula.

Match Two: Casey/Hovland vs. Johnson/Morikawa

Nearly the inverse of match one, the USA side stopped the European momentum in its tracks with a 3 & 2 victory. The long-hitting South Carolinian and the straight-driving Californian made an impressive partnership, winning six holes on the day. Casey and Ryder rookie Hovland had two birdies in the first four holes, which earned them the lead. The pair next won a hole at the 13th, which served only to delay the inevitable. Team USA cashed one final birdie on the 16th, and put the first red-side point on the board.

Match Three: Westwood/Fitzpatrick vs. Koepka/Berger

Berger is such an underrated player, and his collegiate history with Koepka made this pairing a near shoo-in for victory over the English duo. Padraig Harrington took a chance on placing two serious veterans on his team this year, in Westwood and Poulter, and neither one delivered a point Friday morning. The Euros had a decent front side, with a trio of birdie keeping them square after the American’s hot start. No birdies on the inward half usually means a loss, and that was the fate of the English patients, as birdies at 10 and 11 for the Florida State duo were enough to front them a 2-hole lead, which ended at a 2 & 1 advantage.

Match Four: McIlroy/Poulter vs. Cantlay/Schauffele

If any match was supposed to be a gimme for the Euros, it should have been this one … in July. Then, Schauffele won a gold medal. Then, Cantlay dominated the FedEx Cup. This California pair looked to be unstoppable, and they were. They opened birdie-par-birdie-par-birdie … and assumed a five-up lead after a quintet of holes. Mac and Poulty played the front side in three-over par, and were fortunate to be just five-down after nine. They rallied a bit on the inward half, but the American sawed them off with birdies at 12 and 13, preserving a three-up advantage. Two more birdies for the RWB at 14 and 15 ended the day early for both sides. Five-under for 15 holes, including birdies at the last four. Now that’s a statement.

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Harry Potter actor suffers medical emergency during Ryder Cup celebrity match

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During Thursday’s celebrity match at Whistling Straits, British actor Tom Felton suffered a medical issue and fell to the ground.

Best known for his role as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter series, Felton was a part of the European team for the Ryder Cup’s Thursday celebrity showcase.

Other European team members included Alessandro Del Piero, Toni Kukoc, Teemu Selanne, Stephanie Szostak, and Sasha Vujacic. The American team featured Mike Eurzione, A.J. Hawks, Dan Jansen, Kelly Slater, Mandy Rose, and Rob Riggle.

Felton was tended to while on the ground until a cart arrived, which assisted him off the course. No official word has been given on his current condition.

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