We’re just one week away from the next PGA Tour major, but we’ve got a pretty good event to whet our appetites this week. The AT&T Byron Nelson moved from TPC Four Seasons to Trinity Forest last year and that course just outside of Dallas will be the site for this year’s tournament as well. That means that we don’t have a whole lot of course form data, but we still have a lot to consider for this week’s last chance to get into the PGA Championship for those on the outside looking in.
Odds are on the right-hand side for desktop viewers and below the comment box for mobile viewers as we take a look at this year’s AT&T Byron Nelson.
A Texas Tune-Up
The revamped PGA Tour schedule has condensed the majors a little bit and that means that we are just about ready for the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. Before we get there, we’ve got this stop in the Lone Star State. We only have one tournament worth of data at Trinity Forest, which is one of the longer par 71s on tour with nearly 7,400 yards worth of holes.
Even though the course is called Trinity Forest, there are exactly zero trees on the course. With nothing to slow down the winds, that can be a factor for players. This course may actually be a pretty decent tune-up for The Open Championship because the course basically has rolling meadows and some deep bunkers carved into the landscape.
The par 3s are longer than most and there are three par 4s over five bills. This is definitely a ball strikers course with length a huge attribute.
To Play or Not To Play?
Brooks Koepka is an overwhelming favorite this week at +620. No other player is below +1400 at time of writing. That’s because Koepka is the biggest name in this thing. Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau, Francesco Molinari, and Justin Rose are just some of the names missing from this field.
The condensed schedule has pushed some players to the brink with the Masters just a little over a month ago. Stealing some rest whenever possible is important and a lot of players did not make the trip from North Carolina to Texas.
That being said, a lot of players did, including some guys that do need to get in “game shape”. Jordan Spieth hasn’t won in a while and he’s one of two players at +1400. The other is Hideki Matsuyama, who has one win in the last 27 months. Henrik Stenson and reigning champ Aaron Wise are +2200. Stenson could use another tune-up for sure.
Last year’s runner-up Marc Leishman and Trinity Forest first-timer Patrick Reed are the only other players under +3300. A lot of inconsistent players are priced in the 40/1 to 50/1 range this week because of the lighter field.
One guy that is playing is Tony Romo, who is in on a sponsor exemption. He’s listed at +100000.
Par Won’t Cut It
In the first year at Trinity Forest, 14 players shot under 70 in all four rounds and there were some very low scores throughout the tournament. Wise did win by three shots at 23-under, but still. This was a scorer’s course. Rain really softened things up and there were some delays throughout the week.
There’s a chance of rain every day this week and throughout the tournament, so we’ll probably see some low numbers again. That has to be factored into your handicap. Some guys are great at hanging around par and contending at tough courses. This is a course where you better be shooting 67 or less. That changes the way that you should approach a tournament.
The steady as she goes guys like Pat Perez and Russell Knox are tougher to take in events like that. You need guys that can really get hot and go on runs like Alex Noren at 50/1 or Keith Mitchell at 33/1. The guys that can rattle off a bunch of birds in a row and avoid the bogeys and doubles. Par golf ain’t good enough here either.
Mitchell ranks second in this field in strokes gained off the tee plus strokes gained on approach. He ranks 29th in birdie or better. He’s 16th in par 5 scoring, which should hopefully help on the long par 4s. He’s also a crusher off the tee, ranking 40th in driving distance and 11th in strokes gained off the tee. He has a fairly similar profile to Matsuyama at double the price. Mitchell was third here last year.
Ryan Palmer is another guy to follow this week at +5500. Palmer is fourth in par 4 scoring this year and 12th in birdie or better. Perhaps most importantly, he’s top 50 in bogey avoidance. Somebody like Scott Piercy may make even more sense, as he ranks 19th in bogey avoidance and 27th in birdie or better. Piercy is also 13th in par 4 scoring. He’s +4000 this week, so Palmer has a better price tag, but Piercy also makes a lot of sense. Palmer was part of the winning team at the Zurich Classic and he is a Texas guy. Both of these gentlemen are worth a look.
For a real long shot Hail Mary, let’s look at DJ Trahan. Trahan is +25000 this week. Trahan isn’t that long off the tee, which may hurt him here, but he’s 25th in par 4 scoring, 24th in par 5 scoring, 44th in strokes gained tee to green, and 16th in strokes gained off the tee. If he made just a few more putts, he’d be right there. For a wide-open tournament like this with a lot of different motivations, +25000 is a great value.
Throw some darts with this one, as this isn’t a strong field and some guys are playing with one eye on next week’s major.