The AT&T Byron Nelson is named after its inaugural champion, Byron Nelson (famous for winning 11 straight PGA Tour events). The tournament was officially named the Byron Nelson in 1968.
Since 1944, the tournament has been hosted around the Dallas/ Mckinney area, with the tournament moving from Trinity Forest to Craig Ranch in 2021.
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Built in 2004, Craig Ranch is considered somewhat standard, albeit not an especially memorable course. It features Zoysia grass fairways, which offer a relatively easy surface by which to strike your second shot off the tee. Based on the relatively friendly conditions, the winning score is expected to be around 20-under par (barring any crazy wind).
Last week, which we termed “V-Week”, was indeed a Victorious week for us. On the week, we netted a +500 return, cashing on Viktor Hovland T-5 (+400) and Vincent Whaley T-30 (+400). It was a major victory for us and one to give us some serious breathing room on the season at +8.52 units. We very nearly cashed on Bryson T-5, as he ended up finishing 9th.
This week’s Featured Groups @ATTByronNelson:
⛳ Jordan Spieth
⛳ Scottie Scheffler
⛳ Will Zalatoris
🏌️ Hideki Matsuyama
🏌️ Jon Rahm
🏌️ Sung Kang
⛳ Brooks Koepka
⛳ Sergio Garcia
⛳ Cameron Champ
🏌️ Sam Burns
🏌️ Marc Leishman
🏌️ Bryson DeChambeau pic.twitter.com/mZ8o68SGKd
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) May 11, 2021
This week, we are going with a fairly conservative pick roster. No “winner” picks this week, but another pick spread similar to last week’s Wells Fargo picks. This is the first non-Korn Ferry PGA tour event at this course, so many of these players have yet to have even play this course before.
With that in mind, all the “past success at this course” criteria have been removed and instead re-directed towards the guys who know this course best. This week will ultimately come down to the guys who know this course well versus the guys whose metrics align well for the course, and there’s not a lot of overlap between the two. Here’s this week’s criteria:
- Good form of late
- Texas Golfers or course members (or both)
- Shot-Gained approach to the Green
- Best Birdie Averages
Good luck this week!
All of the odds mentioned in this post come from the DraftKings Online Sportsbook.
Middle of the Fairway – Two players to finish in the top 40
Sung Kang +350
Not many may know this, but Sung Kang is a member at TPC Craig Ranch. He has never played a professional tournament here, nor has done well of late. Kang is ranked 184th in the FedEx Cup standings and really needs a strong finish at his “home” course. Kang has only two top-40 finishes this season, and he’s failed to make his last three cuts.
However, we all know the guys who know certain courses well tend to perform well in tournaments there. For Kang, this is his best opportunity to put together a top-25 finish in 2021.
James Hahn +225
James Hahn is one of the limited number of players this week who has played this course in a professional tournament. In 2012, Hahn finished second, shooting a 270 (-14). Who knows if he’s going to repeat that performance, but it’s one of the only prior performance scores we can use for this, and 14 under par is outstanding.
Hahn is just 77th in the FedEx Cup standings and has failed to make the cut in his last three tournaments, but this is the kind of tournament that could give him the edge he needs to finish in the top-40.
Edge of the Green – One player to finish in the top 10
Sam Burns +300
Now that we’re past the “this guy knows this course better than other guys” portion of the picks, it’s time for the metrics criteria to really be applied. Sam Burns is coming into this tournament on fire. He opted out of playing the Wells Fargo last week to prepare for the Byron Nelson.
Burns is fresh off a 4th place finish at the Zurich Classic, followed by a victory at the Valspar Championship. We picked him at Valspar and then decided not to at the Valspar, and we’re not making the mistake again.
Burns is 17th in Shots Gained: Approach to the Green. Burns is also 7th in Birdie average. With all the talk this week about the lack of player experience for players at Craig Ranch, Burns has the important metrics on his side.
Eagle Opportunity – Three Players to finish in the top five
Jordan Spieth +250
Spieth has traditionally never done well at this tournament, but it’s at a new course this week, so none of that really matters. What does matter is the combination of Spieth being a local, his favorable metrics, and his recent form.
Though he’s been absent since The Masters, Spieth is coming off a 3rd place finish there and a victory at the Valero Open. Like the Valero Open, this course does have some nice wind-friendly elements off the tee.
Jordan was able to take advantage of that in San Antonio, so it’s noteworthy for this course as well. Spieth is 11th in Birdie average and 21st in Shots Gained: Approach to the Green. You have to believe the hometown kid can get it rolling this week outside Dallas.
Daniel Berger +350
Berger is relatively hot coming into Dallas (close enough) this week. He’s finished 18th or better in three of his last four tournaments, including 13th in his last, the RBC Heritage. At his last Texas tournament, Berger finished 18th at the WGC Dell Match Play event in Austin.
He’s 23rd in Shots Gained: Approach to the Green and 5th in Birdie average. Given the metrics and the time to prepare for this tournament, I expect Berger will be in the chase going into the final round.
Scottie Scheffler +400
Scheffler likely as much experience here as Sung Kang, but who really knows. I’m paying less attention to the metrics here, but it’s not like his metrics are particularly bad.
On the one side, his Shots Gained: Approach to the Green is particularly bad (129th). On the other hand, his Birdie average is 14th.
The combination of a party-like atmosphere and home-field advantage should help him get the monkey off his back and into the win column (in theory).