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Fantasy Advice

Zurich Classic DFS picks 2024: Why Will Zalatoris and Sahith Theegala will have a big week

April 23, 2024
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 11: Will Zalatoris does a ball wave after putting on the first green during the first round of Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 11, 2024 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images)

The PGA Tour heads to New Orleans for the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the lone team event on the PGA Tour. There is certainly a bit of a different vibe this week for this uniquely singular tournament, yet still an opportunity for DFS golf players to turn a profit.

In terms of the format, the field consists of 80 two-man teams who will play best ball on Thursday and Saturday, and alternate shot on Friday and Sunday. The top-33 teams plus ties will advance to the weekend. In terms of DFS pricing, each pairing will have the same price and the same score. For example, fantasy players can select Patrick Cantlay or Xander Schauffele at $11,200 and receive the same score, regardless of which players shoot the best individual scores in best ball.

The host venue this week is the Pete Dye-designed TPC Louisiana, which draws a stark contrast from other short, positional Dye designs such as Harbour Town and TPC Sawgrass that we’ve seen over the past month. TPC Louisiana is far more of a driver-heavy course, as it features benign Bermuda rough and one of the lowest missed fairway penalties on tour. Back when the Zurich Classic was an individual stroke-play event in the mid 2010s, TPC Louisiana annually ranked as one of the 10 easiest courses on tour. This is a golf course that rewards incredibly aggressive play, power off the tee, and particularly in a team event with a high greens in regulation percentage, elite putting is certainly required.

Best and Worst Value Bets for the 2024 Zurich Classic

Though this is the ultimate “go with your gut” week, we can still provide some data driven analysis to identify which teams possess the best specific collective skill-set for the this golf course. Let’s dive into the slate.

Here are my favorite plays and fades in each price range for the 2024 Zurich Classic.

$10,000 range

Play: Sahith Theegala/Will Zalatoris, $10,300:

I spent some time watching Sahith Theegala and Will Zalatoris up close in a practice round at the Masters, and this is an incredibly comfortable pairing. The duo appeared to have great banter and camaraderie, and I got a chance this morning to speak to Joel Stock (Will Zalatoris’ caddie), who confirmed what I was seeing and hearing at Augusta. From an on-the-course standpoint, Zalatoris and Theegala are both playing some rock-solid golf at the moment and possess complementary skill-sets. Zalatoris is coming off a top-10 finish at the Masters and remains one of the best long-iron players in the world, while Theegala just finished runner-up at the Heritage and adds a tremendous amount of putting upside to the duo.

Fade: Rory McIlroy/Shane Lowry, $10,700:

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Andrew Redington

While this Irish duo will be one of my favorite pairings to watch this week, I still have major concerns about the state of both players’ games. McIlroy and Lowry both failed to finish in the top 20 at the Masters and RBC Heritage, two smaller-field events where they have had a lot of success at in the past. Maybe they bring out the best in each other this week, but I have a difficult time paying this price tag when there are more experienced duos in this range in better recent form.

$9,000 range

Play: Nick Taylor/Adam Hadwin, $9,200:

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Ben Jared

Coming off a runner-up finish at this event last year, I expect this all Canadian duo to be a threat once again in the Bayou. Both players significantly raise their baseline in easier scoring conditions and on over-seeded Bermuda greens. Outside of their success at TPC Louisiana, Taylor has already won this year on TPC style architecture with similar agronomy in Scottsdale, and Hadwin remains the No. 1 player in this field at PGA West, a driver-heavy Pete Dye course that also features over-seeded Bermuda greens. Hadwin and Taylor should be more than comfortable once again in New Orleans.

Fade: Matt Fitzpatrick/Alex Fitzpatrick, $9,700:

I understand that this partnership will be sure to draw some popularity due to the Netflix 'Full Swing’ bump, yet I still have some concerns about the state of both players’ games. Matt Fitzpatrick is not exactly lighting the world on fire with his play, and a ceiling performance from the older brother is what this team will need to overcome Alex’s inconsistent ball-striking. The duo finished 19th last year, struggling immensely in alternate shot due to Alex’s limitations, and I’m just not sure that Matt is playing well enough at the moment to carry that much of the load.

$8,000 range

Play: Davis Thompson/Andrew Novak, $8,100:

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Bryan M. Bennett

From a complementary skill-set and recent-form standpoint, I’m incredibly intrigued with what Davis Thompson and Andrew Novak bring to the table. Both players have been hitting the ball incredibly well this season and similarly raise their baseline in easier scoring conditions. Novak has gained over 3.5 strokes on approach in four out of his past seven starts, and Thompson is certainly capable of picking up the slack off the tee and around the greens.

Fade: Andrew Putnam/Joe Highsmith, $8,000:

I’m not quite sure I understand the price tag on a pairing making their debut appearance at the Zurich Classic. While Andrew Putnam can certainly catch fire on the greens, he remains a liability with his driver, losing strokes off the tee in eight straight starts. Highsmith, on the other hand, is coming off a missed cut in Punta Cana and is tough to trust from a ball-striking standpoint.

$7,000 range

Play: Taylor Moore/Matthew NeSmith, $7,700:

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Chris Graythen

This is an easy course history selection, as Taylor Moore and Matthew NeSmith finished fourth at this event last year. I would argue that Moore has become an even better player since then, and NeSmith remains rock solid on approach. Given the amount of new pairings that have never proven their meddle in this event before, I’m surprised we are getting such a reliable tandem at this generous of a price.

Fade: Matt Wallace/Thorbjorn Olesen, $7,900:

Thorbjorn Olesen and Matt Wallace is a new pairing that just feels a bit too expensive. Olesen has been incredibly hit or miss this year on the PGA Tour, missing three of six cuts with zero top-10 finishes. Wallace has been even less reliable, missing five of nine cuts with zero top-10 finishes. I’m just not sure how to justify this price tag.

Flier: Chandler Phillips/Jacob Bridgeman, $7,400:

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Julio Aguilar

This is a pure numbers play, as my model seems to love the correlation in skill-sets of Chandler Phillips and Jacob Bridgeman. Phillips has shown some real flashes this year with a third-place at the Valspar Championship and two other top-25 finishes. Bridgeman, on the other hand, was a standout on the Korn Ferry Tour last year and is coming off a 23rd at Corales, his fourth top-30 finish in his past six starts.

$6,000 range

Play: Rico Hoey/Justin Suh, $6,900:

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Julio Aguilar

This is another numbers play, as my model suggests that Hoey’s rock solid ball-striking and Suh’s elite putting should complement each other well. Hoey has gained strokes off the tee in every start this year, and he should be able to dominate this golf course with his power. Short game and putting has been his biggest struggle, yet that is an area where Justin Suh excels.

Andy Lack is a PGA Tour writer and podcaster from New York City who now resides in Los Angeles. He hosts Inside Golf, a twice weekly podcast focused on the PGA Tour, betting, daily fantasy, golf course architecture, and interviews, as part of the BlueWire podcast network. As well as contributing to Golf Digest, Andy is also a data analyst and writer for Run Pure Sports, where he covers PGA Tour betting and daily fantasy. He came to Golf Digest’s betting panel after previously writing for RickRunGood.com, the Score and GolfWRX. In his free time, Andy can likely be found on a golf course. Follow him on Twitter: @adplacksports