The Tune-Up for the PGA Tour Championship is in Texas this Week
Course Review (TPC Craig Ranch – McKinney, TX)
TPC Craig Ranch is in just the second year hosting this event. The course itself reflects the state in which it’s located. It’s a large course, friendly to the big drivers and Birdie specialists. Last season, Lee Kyoung-hoon fired a 25 under par, winning the title by three strokes over Sam Burns.
Ideally, this course will favor the kinds of players who can crush it off the tee and putt relatively well. There are plenty of metrics out there to focus-on, but driving, putting, and Birdie percentages are at the top.
Wells Fargo Championship Review & AT&T Byron Nelson Preview
Last week was a solid win (+6 units) if you bet every player on the card. Alas, it was also a lucky week, because we didn’t properly evaluate the course. We expected it to be more of a bomber course with tighter fairways, but a course many long drivers would experience success. Despite some long holes, it was overall not a very long course and played even more narrow than we expected.
As far as our picks went, we had yet another week of all but one pick surviving the cut. The issue that has plagued us all year (missing a solid cash by a single stroke or two) continues to haunt us. Armour (25th) missed the +600 cash for T-20, while Vegas (15th) missed a T-10 at +500 by a single stroke. Our two hits were big. Cameron Young and Keegan Bradley (both finished 2nd) to T-5 paid +600 each.
The AT&T Byron Nelson is the tune-up before this season’s PGA Tour Championship. As such, we are seeing a field this week unlike any we’ve seen the last three weeks. As the best make their way to Dallas this week, we should be in for a scoring barrage we haven’t witnessed to this point in the season.
Metrics to track this week
Birdie Percentage, Driving Distance, Putting, and Strokes Gained Off the Tee will be the primary focuses of the week. We are going with a more aggressive approach this week, given the strength of the field and metrics required to be successful here. Over the past two events, we have finished 15 for 17 on surviving cuts.
- Birdie Percentage
- Strokes Gained: Off the Tee
- Driving Distance
- Recent Form
- Strokes Gained: Putting
Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook
Middle of the Fairway – Three Players to finish in the Top 20
Sebastian Munoz +270
Sebastian Munoz, the pride of Colombia, is 29 years old and ranked 51st in the FedEx Cup standings. He’s got two Top 5 finishes (Zozo Championship and the RSM Classic) on the year and nine finishes inside the Top 39. Though his finishes are volatile, Munoz has finished T-40 or better in each of his last seven events. We are banking-on Munoz to continue riding the hot streak.
Munoz is on our card this week because he’s both strong off the tee and in the Top 50 in both Eagles per hole and Birdie Percentage. Sebastian is 49th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 56th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, 48th in Birdie percentage, 37th in Eagles (holes per).
Jhonattan Vegas +210
Last week, we shot for the moon with Jhonattan Vegas and hit the International Space Station instead. Vegas was just one stroke from a +500 cash last week, finishing 15th at the Wells Fargo Championship. This week, we are going with Vegas again, based-on metric strengths and current form. Jhonattan has three Top 20 finishes in his last three events. It’s also worth noting he finished 9th here last season in his only appearance at TPC Craig Nelson.
Vegas is 21st in Scoring Average, 55th in Birdie Average, 16th in Eagles per hole, 39th in GIRP, 10th in Driving Distance, 37th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 21st in Strokes Gained: Approach, 35th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 37th in Strokes Gained: Total. The reason we’re going with Vegas as a T-20 play this week and not T-10 is strictly due to the quality of this week’s field and the fact Vegas played well last week and still finished 15th.
Aaron Wise +230
Aaron Wise is another youngster on the rise. He’s only 25 years old but 54th in the FedEx Cup standings. Wise got off to a hot start this season, cooled, and has now begun to heat-up again (finishing 21st at RBC Heritage and 6th at the Mexico Open). Wise has just one career victory (four seasons ago) and finished 55th here a season ago. After an opening round 64, Wise only managed two under par the final three rounds.
Wise is 26th in Scoring Average, 42nd in Birdie Average, 61st in Eagles (holes per), 18th in GIRP, 42nd in Driving Distance, 31st in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 31st in Strokes Gained: Approach, 65th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 22nd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 36th in Strokes Gained: Total.
Edge of the Green – Three Players to finish in the Top 10
Davis Riley +550
Davis Riley is 36th in the FedEx Cup this season. He’s just 25 years old and in good form as of late. In his last five events, Davis Riley has finished inside the Top 5 three times (2nd at Valspar, 4th at the Zurich Classic, and 5th at the Mexico Open). Riley has yet to play this course but he has finished his last two events a combined 38 under par.
Davis Riley is 57th in Scoring Average, 15th in Birdie Average, 40th in Driving Distance, 57th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, and 58th in Strokes Gained: Putting. The trends for Davis are positive, and he’s one of the hottest players on tour at the moment.
Cameron Champ +550
Cameron Champ was so close to a T-5 for us two weeks ago at the Mexico Open at Vidanta. Despite being 148th in the FedEx Cup standings, Champ finished 10th (The Masters) and 6th (Mexico Open at Vidanta) in his last two events. Champ is just 26 years old, but many are aware of his presence on tour simply by his elite Driving power. Strangely enough, Champ finished 55th here last season, along with two of our other picks on this week’s card.
Cameron Champ is 1st in Driving Distance and 9th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee. Every other one of his metrics don’t look good, because he played so poorly to start the season. A real assessment of Champ is probably somewhere between his early season struggles and his last two events. For our sake, we hope he stays hot this week.
Jason Day +550
Jason Day is a few years beyond the Jason Day we once knew. Despite his fall from the ranks of the elite, Day has played well as of late. Day finished inside the Top 15 in his most recent two events (Zurich Classic and Wells Fargo Championship). He missed the cut last season at this course, but it’s really too small of a sample for us to fret about.
Day is 33rd in Eagles (holes per), 37th in Birdie Average, and 62nd in Strokes Gained: Around the Green. Much like Cameron Champ, Day has been hot recently, following a terrible start to the season.
Short Putt – Two Players to finish in the Top 5
Will Zalatoris +350
Will Zalatoris is one of our favorite players on tour, but it appears Vegas is catching-on, finally. Over his last three events, Zalatoris has finished 5th (WGC Dell Match Play), 6th (The Masters), and 4th (Zurich Classic). Now, he’s well-rested, coming into an event close to his Dallas home, where he finished 17th a season ago. As we say every time Will plays, “If the putting is going well, he’s an easy T-5.”
Zalatoris is 30th in Scoring Average, 28th in Birdie Average, 11th in GIRP, 18th in Driving Distance, 11th in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee, 2nd in Strokes Gained: Approach, 2nd in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 11th in Strokes Gained: Total.
Sam Burns +500
Sam Burns is still quietly flying under the radar in some ways this season. Despite being the 2nd ranked player in the FedEx Cup standings, Burns has 5:1 odds this week. Burns has victories this season at Sanderson Farms and the Valspar Championship. He has two T-2 finishes in his last three events and finished 2nd at AT&T Byron Nelson just a season ago.
Burns is 22nd in Scoring Average, 7th in Birdie Average, 10th in GIRP, 11th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 34th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 18th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 10th in Strokes Gained: Total. Given his performance here a year ago, his current form, and his Putting Ability, we should feel confident in Sam Burns this week at TPC Craig Ranch.
Hole in One – One Player to Win
Scottie Scheffler +700
Scottie Scheffler is on a heater unlike anything we’ve seen since prime Tiger Woods. At 7:1, the odds are terrible for 99% of the golfers out there. For Scottie Scheffler in the middle of a heater, it’s a bit of a bargain. Scheffler has four wins in his last seven events. He’s also a graduate of the University of Texas and claims to really enjoy playing this course.
Scheffler is 5th in Scoring Average, 3rd in Birdie Average, 4th in GIRP, 25th in Driving Distance, 27th in Strokes Gained: Approach, 26th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green, 20th in Strokes Gained: Putting, 30th in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green, and 9th in Strokes Gained: Total.