AT&T Byron Nelson

The Course

  • Trinity Forest Golf Club
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Par 71
  • 7,380 yards
    • Designed by Bill Coore & Ben Crenshaw (opened for play in 2016)
    • This is the 2nd year hosting the Byron Nelson
    • Links style course
    • Champion Bermuda greens (large greens)
    • Zoysia fairways – no real rough but there is long grass areas throughout the course if you spray it too much
    • A lot of bunkers but no trees or water
    • Wind is this course’s only defensive
    • If conditions are wet the scoring could go very low again (-23 was the winner last year)

Key Stats

  • SG: tee-to-green
    • SG: off-the-tee
  • Birdie or better
  • Bogey avoidance
  • GIR
  • Driving Distance

The Field

The field this week is set at 156 golfers and is depleted with The PGA Championship coming up next week. Koepka, Matsuyama, Spieth, Stenson, Leishman, and Reed are the headliners along with returning champ — Aaron Wise… and at the very bottom of the board is none other than Tony Romo.

Strategy

With the lack of depth in this event I see most people grabbing; two Big Dogs, one Value play, and the rest Sleepers. My gut feeling is that from $7,700 – $8,300 there will be lower ownership than there usually is but there are still a few guys within that category that might end up being somewhat highly owned. $7,300 – $7,600 looks like it could end up being the discount “chalk alley” this week but with decent names underneath that through the upper $6,000’s, I don’t think ownership will be too much of an issue this week.

With ownership being not quite as important here, you can construct your lineups whichever way you feel is best this week. However, if you do end up grabbing some guys that appear to be very chalky you might want to go with some low ownership guys in those lineups as well just to gain some leverage against the field (especially in GPP’s).

Big Dogs ($9,100 and up on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Brooks Koepka ($11,400 DK – $12,600 FD) – Brooks is more than twice as likely to win than anyone else in the field according to his odds and my model also has him as the clear favorite. He’s one of the longest off of the tee in this field and at a course that’s wide open and favors the long and accurate hitter, he will have a definite advantage. I’m assuming that many people will start building their lineups with Brooks (or Matsuyama) as their first pick by default so he could go rather highly owned.
    • Sungjae Im ($9,600 DK – $10,600 FD) – Sungjae is top 30 in both SG: off-the-tee and SG: tee-to-green this season, his worst SG statistic is putting but even there he still slightly gains strokes. Out of his last 24 rounds he has only shot worse than +1 once and that was his 2nd round at the Heritage where he was even through 16 and triple bogeyed 17. He’s been very consistent lately and he could also be a very good GPP play.
    • Aaron Wise ($9,400 DK – $10,900 FD) – Wise seems to be turning it around after a slow start to the season and has carded back to back top 20’s with a 17th at The Masters and 18th at the Wells Fargo last week. He is the defending champ and 11th in birdie or better and 3rd in par 3 scoring (which rates out surprisingly high here) so I could see Wise continuing to roll… as well as end up on a lot of lineups.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Jordan Spieth ($10,800 DK – $11,200 FD) – this might be the first time I’ve written about Spieth this year, but because of his name, his DFS price tag and odds on the books are inflated so I typically don’t see value there. His bad driving has plagued him for a while now and it shows up on his scorecard with one or two bad rounds per tournament. The scoring is still there at times and he’s 38th in first round scoring and 3rd in second round scoring so it’s only a matter of time before he puts together four good rounds. Also, with an open course this could help his driving inaccuracy/give him confidence on the tee box.
    • Marc Leishman ($10,000 DK – $10,800 FD) – Leishman was the runner up here last year finishing -20 but in his last 5 tournaments hes only placed better than 49th once. I’m hoping his recent troubles have people going down to take Patrick Reed and Aaron Wise instead because Marc is still a great fit for this course, possibly even better than he was last year, so it would be nice to get him at lower ownership.
    • Keith Mitchell ($9,100 DK – $10,200 FD) – after Keith got his first win at the Honda Classic he has since gone 6th, 47th, 43rd, 90th, and 8th last week at the Wells Fargo. Last year at Trinity Forest he finished T3 so if his ownership is too high coming off of a top 10 in his last event and his last time at the Byron Nelson then I might think about fading him. But if people don’t want to pay over $9,000 on Keith Mitchell then he could be an interesting GPP play being great off of the tee and in the best form he has been in on Tour.

Value ($7,400$9,000 on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • Ryan Moore ($8,800 DK – $10,300 FD) &
    • Rafa Cabrera Bello ($8,600 DK – $10,500 FD) &
    • Charles Howell III ($8,500 DK – $10,400 FD) &
    • Scott Piercy ($8,400 DK – $9,800 FD) – with roster construction this week I can see people starting up high with their first pick and then taking one or two of these guys depending on who their top dog is. This means that at least one of these golfers has a good chance of being highly owned this week; my guess would be Rafa and then Piercy are the two most popular… but it could be any of them. I like how all of these guys match up with the course and how they are all playing lately so for Cash games you can take any or all of them, but GPP’s will depend on where the ownership falls for me.
    • Russell Knox ($8,000 DK – $9,200 FD) – when most people think of links course golfers, Russell Knox comes to mind. Outside of his 90th place missed cut at the Heritage he made 10 straight cuts only finishing outside of 51st place once (but his best finish was only 10th). With his consistent recent form, course narrative, and finishing T16 here last year I could imagine he’ll be fairly chalky at this price tag so I would tend to use him more in Cash lineups.
    • Abraham Ancer ($7,600 DK – $9,600 FD) – Ancer is one of the most consistent drivers on Tour ranking 14th in SG: off-the-tee, 18th in driving accuracy, and averages 296.3 yards per drive. He’s also 58th in SG: tee-to-green too so he should be a great fit for this course, but being favorably priced I could see him becoming a very popular pick this week.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Ryan Palmer ($8,000 DK – $9,700 FD) – Palmer is 11th on Tour in GIR, 4th in par 4 scoring, and 12th in birdie or better percentage. He finished 108th here last year so I am hoping that will keep people away from him but I have Palmer as a much better fit for this course this year, where he ranks 6th in this field in my model, so I expect him to bounce back this time around.
    • Trey Mullinax ($7,600 DK – $9,200 FD) – Mullinax has made 11 of his last 13 cuts but he has only finished better than 50th once in his last 7 events. He’s one of the longest in this field (18th in driving distance overall) so that may grab some attention but ultimately his lack of high finishes in recent tournaments should keep his ownership low. He’s 205th in driving accuracy on Tour so if he can dial in with the long ball then he could sneak his way into the top 25.
    • Dylan Frittelli ($7,500 DK – $8,800 FD) – Frittelli has four straight made cuts heading into the Byron Nelson and his worst finish in that time has been a 42nd at the Valero Texas Open. He can struggle a little bit with his accuracy off of the tee and with his putting but is solid pretty much everywhere else, which is one of the recipes for a golfer that might be on the verge of going low.

Sleepers ($7,300 and under on DK)

  • Solid (Cash)
    • J.T. Poston ($7,300 DK – $8,900 FD) – Poston is coming off of a missed cut at the Wells Fargo Championship but before that he finished 6th at The Heritage. Last year he finished 26th at Trinity Forest where he shot -3, -2, -3, and -2 to reach -10 for the tournament. I don’t see a crazy amount of upside with this pick but for $7,300 he’s definitely a guy that can make the cut for you and flirt with a top 25.
    • Troy Merritt ($7,100 DK – $8,200 FD) – Merritt hasn’t golfed much on Tour this year (had to have a rib removed back in January due to thoracic outlet syndrome) which would typically have me concerned but just three weeks ago he looked fine at The Heritage finishing T10. He’s been known for the long ball but averaged just 289.8 yards per drive at The Heritage which might scare some but that isn’t a driver course. His longest drive there was 334 yards so it’s safe to say he can still reach back and get it. If people are aware of his surgery and don’t want to play him… that could make him a good GPP play as well.
    • Adam Schenk ($7,000 DK – $8,500 FD) – Schenk has been playing some good golf lately and isn’t getting much love for it from DK. Last week at the Wells Fargo he finished 13th and his last time golfing in Texas (five weeks ago) he finished 7th at the Valero. Before that he had a stretch of four out of five tournaments finishing 33rd or better as well. His scoring numbers have been solid and the only hole in his game (SG: around-the-green) might be neutralized this week with the large greens.
  • Risky (GPP)
    • Michael Thompson ($7,200 DK – $8,600 FD) – I was high on Michael Thompson going into The Heritage and it paid off when he finished 10th. He turned around two weeks later at the Wells Fargo and betrayed me, along with many others I assume, and missed the cut finishing 108th. That and the fact that he only finished T59 here last year might have people unenthused with picking Thompson but he’s still one of the most likely Sleepers to end up in the top 10 so I will continue to roll the dice with him.
    • Denny McCarthy ($7,100 DK – $8,600 FD) – in his last 20 rounds, McCarthy has only shot worse than +1 in two rounds (second round +3 at the Valspar and fourth round +2 at the Heritage). He’s been somewhat inconsistent with his irons but very steady with his driver and short game which has allowed him to score at a decent clip. Trinity Forest is mostly a first shot course from the data so far, it’s a young course that could change at some point, but I like Denny’s chances here.
    • D.J. Trahan ($6,900 DK – $7,700 FD) – I’ve talked about Trahan a decent amount before but his SG statistics are the most bang for the buck outside of maybe Hank Lebioda this week. Those stats could be due in part to the weaker fields that he has played in but his birdie or better, bogey avoidance, par 5 scoring, and par 4 scoring are all in the top 30 so that tells me that his stats will translate to a stronger field (which this isn’t even a stronger field).

Dark Horses

  • Risky (GPP)
    • Beau Hossler ($7,100 DK – $8,400 FD) – Hossler was a better fit for this course last year than he is this year but that goes without saying because his 2019 season has been considerably worse than the year before. The good thing for him is that he has one glaring hole in his game and once that is fixed he will more than likely get back to where he was. He’s 195th in SG: approaching-the-green and 212th in proximity and these struggles have plagued him for much of his short career. I’m trying to get ahead of the crowd on this one and predict that Hossler will rebound in the near future.
    • Hank Lebioda ($6,700 DK – $8,100 FD) – Lebioda has now made six straight cuts and his last time in Texas was the Valero where he finished -10, which was good enough for 17th place. His putting has hurt him but his tee to green game has been solid which allows for plenty of birdie chances… which is what you will need to compete on this track.
    • Nate Lashley ($6,300 DK – $7,800 FD) – Lashley was fairly highly owned last week for being as cheap as he was and it could be the same at the Byron Nelson this week but I’m not 100% sure he will be with his lack of distance. Either way, he’s such a good ball striker that $6,300 is an absolute steal; especially considering he shot a -4 in the first round here last year and -7 in the fourth round.
Mark Lee

Written by 

Detroit sports fan, also sufferer of seasonal depression (the two might be related). Avid golfer and former college baseball player. Would've been in the league if it weren't for my lack of ability. Accountant by day, fantasy sports guru by night.