Trinity Forest Key Fantasy Stats

AT&T Byron Nelson

May 9th – 12th, 2019

Trinity Forest Golf Club

Dallas, TX

Par: 71 / Yardage: 7,554

Purse: $7.9 million

with $1,422,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Aaron Wise

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:

Last year was the first year that Trinity Forest was used and it wasn’t shocking that only 5 of the top-50 in the world showed up. The AT&T Byron Nelson has drastically gone downhill since it’s namesake Byron Nelson died in 2006. The big reason was the course, players just didn’t like TPC Las Colinas resort and that was a big reason the event had gone downhill in the player’s mind. So with all of that, officials of the Salesmanship Club of Dallas which runs the Nelson made the tough decision to move it across town to a brand new course, Trinity Forest. Many players took a wait and see attitude to playing in the event and with players mostly raving about the course, and the way it looked on television some decided to play this year. One of those that decided to play was Brooks Koepka who told Nelson tournament director Jon Drago that he liked what he saw on TV and decided to play. Now the good news, last year 5 top-50 players were in the field, this year it’s risen up to 14 but it could be a bit deceiving. Since it’s the week before the PGA Championship, it tends to get more top players wanting to get their games in shape for a major, so maybe that is the case especially in the number of Europeans that will play. Still, things aren’t as rosy as some would make you think. According to the Dallas Morning News, Matt Kuchar who has played in the Nelson 11 of the last 12 years and liked TPC Las Colinas wasn’t very happy with the course and is not back this year.
So we are still in a wait and see mode on this event. The course was designed to play like a links course, with dry, fast conditions being tested in windy conditions. But rains the week before the event softened the course and eliminated the links feel of things. On top of that the wind never really blew so the course wasn’t what everyone wanted it to be. The par 71 course played to a 69.42 average, a shot and a half below par as he was ranked the 45th hardest hole, being it was the 7th easiest course on the PGA Tour in 2018.
Now looking at the long-range forecast the news isn’t good. After a nice Monday, weather moves in Tuesday with afternoon thunderstorms but things get worst on Wednesday as strong storms move in with 100% chance of rain. The rest of the week does get a bit better but each day except for Sunday has at least a 40% chance of rain. Sunday is the only nice day with temperatures in the mid-70s. Now the only good thing, each day of the tournament it will be no higher than 70 so this will help prevent those wicked thunderstorms that will hit on Tuesday and Wednesday

Now in looking at the leaderboard from last year’s Nelson, it had a smatter of journeyman pros among the it was no surprise that rookie Aaron Wise won, that happens on a lot when a tournament changes venues. So with the combination of poor weather and a course that half the field hasn’t played it probably means the same as last year, pros that don’t have much of a track record in contention. So this week’s information is based on the most important stats from last year, which is not a terribly good mark, but since the weather will be about the same we will go with this. Data comes from last years Byron Nelson and uses data from all the players in the field with stats from 2019.
In looking at the stats from last year the one thing that does pop up is that of the top-11 players, six of them were in the top-12 in greens hit. Tournament winner Aaron Wise led the field hitting 66 of 72 fairways which is an incredible number when you think of the PGA Tour dating back to 1997 only one player his 68 of 72 green in regulation (Bob Estes, 2003 Sentry T of C) and four players hit 67 greens. Now 17 others hit 66 greens over 72 holes, but this is still a very high number. Of those that played 72 holes, 16 hit 60 or more greens so we can see how only one course on the PGA Tour in 2018 (Aronimink – 77.41%) saw more greens hit than the 76.82 greens hit at Trinity Forest.
Our second stat is fairways hit, last year the course ranked the easiest fairways to hit on the PGA Tour as 79.50% of them were hit. As for winner Wise, he hit 50 of the 56 fairways and his 89.29% was T-6th best. Show you how easy the fairways were to hit last year, C.T. Pan led the field as he was the first player since we have stats going back to 1997 that hit 54 of 56 fairways. For his effort, Pan finished T-32nd
So we have painted a very different type of stat look, the only real course that has had so many people hit fairways and greens is the Plantation Course at Kapalua. Now if fairways are that wide, you would think then that this is a bombers course but it isn’t since of the top-11 players in the field, only two are in the top-ten in driving distance and if you look at the list of long hitters on the PGA Tour yes Aaron Wise finished 35th last year in driving distance and presently is 4th in driving distance. But runner-up Marc Leishman was 48th in driving distance last year, 3rd place finisher Branden Grace was 37th, Keith Mitchell was 13th and J.J. Spaun was 92nd.

Our third category for Trinity Forest is putting inside 10 feet, last year the course ranked 2nd (with 85.61% made, Shinnecock Hills was the best) so putting on the Trinity Forest greens was trying for the players. Tournament winner Aaron Wise was T-3rd making 63 of 68 putts inside of 10 feet. So it only makes sense that if you have to hit a lot of greens, you can miss a lot of fairways and it’s a bit hard to putt that making eagles and birdies on this course is a premium and it is. Last year 1,916 birdies were made making it the second most prolific course in birdies behind Glen Abbey (RBC Canadian Open) 2,021 birdies made. As for eagles made, 54 were made as four courses saw more eagles made last year. So our fourth stat is ParBreakers as Trinity Forest had a 23.79% eagle/birdie total as only Glen Abbey was the only full-field event that saw more eagles and birdies made. And it only made sense that tournament winner Aaron Wise was the best in ParBreakers as he was T-2nd with 25 birdies made and T-8th with one eagle made.

So I can see another winner that is a long shot, someone that hits it long, is able to hit a lot of greens, makes his share of putts inside 10 feet and of course makes lots of birdies and eagles. Gosh if we are looking at that, about half the players in the field have a great chance of winning this week.

*Greens in Regulation: Hitting greens is important, last year ranked 50th in greens hit and the one that had more was Aronimink and only 7 players were in the field. If you are able to hit a lot of greens this week it will give you a big advantage.

*Driving Accuracy: This stat isn’t important because the fairways are wide open at Trinity Forest so that means a wild driver could win, something that we can’t say in most weeks on the PGA Tour. Last year Trinity Forest was the easiest fairways to hit on the PGA Tour

*Putts inside 10 feet: It only makes sense, this being a links course the greens will be big. They average 13,500 square feet probably the biggest on the PGA Tour so you will be left with a lot of putts inside 10 feet. The greens played tough last year as only Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open saw putts inside ten feet harder to make than Trinity Forest. Wise last year ranked 3rd in this stat making 63 of 68.

*ParBreakers: A total of 1,916 birdies were made with 54 eagles as only one full-field event (RBC Canadian) saw more made than Trinity Forest. So it only made sense that Aaron Wise would win since he was T-1st in ParBreakers

Here are the 125 of 156 players from this year’s field with stats from 2019

Click any column title in the table header to sort columns.

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