Welcome to GOLFstats.com! You are currently viewing one of our Preview and Picks post that we publish each week. We also publish special Performance Charts for the tournaments, analyzing results over the past 8 years, a special DraftKings Picks Post, analyzing what picks are the best this week for the DraftKings games, and we do a weekly Key Fantasy Stats Post detailing what stats are most important for this weeks tournament and course, and which players excel in those stats. Very useful!
Our data is updated daily. To access all this info, and so much more, just CLICK HERE to SIGN UP for GOLFstats!

BlogAT&T Byron Nelson Preview and Picks

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:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

The field includes 29 of the top 100 and 14 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings, with one player from the top-ten; #3 Brooks Koepka. The other top 50 players are  #19 Patrick Reed, #22 Marc Leishman, #29 Hideki Matsuyama, #31 Rafael Cabrera-Bello, #32 Alex Noren, #39 Jordan Spieth, #40 Henrik Stenson, #42 Lucas Bjerregaard, #43 Kiradech Aphibarnrat, #45 Justin Harding, #46 Branden Grace, #49 Charles Howell III and #50 Kevin Na.

Last year there were 5 top-50 players in the field

The field includes six players in the top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2019.  #8 Brooks Koepka, #10 Charles Howell III, #13 Marc Leishman, #19 Ryan Palmer, #21 Keith Mitchell and #23 Sungjae Im.

The field includes five past champions: Aaron Wise (2018), Brendon Todd (2014), Sangmoon Bae (2013), Rory Sabbatini (2009) and Ernie Els (1995).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the AT&T Byron Nelson field is our performance chart listed by the average finish.  Another way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at the AT&T Byron Nelson in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the AT&T Byron Nelson.  For our fantasy golf players looking to pick six players, check out our GOLFstats IQ section for the Byron Nelson, it will help you make those Draft Kings picks.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the AT&T Byron Nelson

Player Wells Fargo Zurich Classic RBC Heritage Masters Valero Texas WGC Dell Match Play Corales Puntacan Valspar Champ. The Players Arnold Palmer Honda Classic WGC Mexico Puerto Rico
Brooks Koepka
(202.83 pts)
DNP T22
(28)
DNP T2
(133.33)
DNP T56
(0)
DNP DNP T56
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
T2
(33.33)
T27
(11.5)
DNP
Rory Sabbatini
(201.5 pts)
T18
(32)
T3
(90)
T10
(40)
DNP T36
(9.33)
DNP T39
(7.33)
T18
(10.67)
T35
(7.5)
DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP DNP
Ryan Palmer
(169 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
T28
(22)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
DNP T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP
Seamus Power
(165.17 pts)
T13
(37)
T5
(70)
T6
(60)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T44
(4)
CUT
(-3.33)
T35
(7.5)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Kyoung-Hoon Lee
(153.67 pts)
T60
(0)
T3
(90)
T48
(2)
DNP T14
(24)
DNP T26
(16)
WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
DNP T35
(5)
Lucas Bjerregaard
(134.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T21
(38.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
4
(80)
DNP DNP T30
(10)
DNP T12
(12.67)
69
(0)
DNP
Henrik Stenson
(132.33 pts)
T28
(22)
T18
(32)
DNP T36
(18.67)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP T24
(8.67)
CUT
(-5)
T17
(11)
DNP T54
(0)
DNP
Sungjae Im
(130.33 pts)
T31
(19)
T37
(13)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T20
(20)
DNP T7
(36.67)
T4
(26.67)
CUT
(-5)
T3
(30)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(125.83 pts)
DNP DNP T16
(34)
T36
(18.67)
DNP T24
(26)
DNP T30
(6.67)
CUT
(-5)
T3
(30)
DNP T19
(15.5)
DNP
Keith Mitchell
(124.83 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T43
(9.33)
DNP T40
(10)
DNP DNP T47
(1.5)
T6
(20)
Win
(44)
DNP DNP
Brian Stuard
(124.33 pts)
DNP T22
(28)
T16
(34)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
T18
(10.67)
CUT
(-5)
DNP T20
(10)
DNP DNP
Scott Piercy
(123.67 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T56
(0)
T54
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Kevin Na
(119 pts)
DNP DNP T10
(40)
T46
(5.33)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP 78
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T36
(7)
DNP
Hideki Matsuyama
(115.17 pts)
T31
(19)
DNP DNP T32
(24)
DNP T24
(26)
DNP DNP T8
(25)
T33
(5.67)
DNP T19
(15.5)
DNP
C.T. Pan
(111.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
Win
(132)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T42
(2.67)
T72
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Aaron Wise
(99.83 pts)
T18
(32)
DNP DNP 17
(44)
DNP T40
(10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
T40
(3.33)
DNP T19
(15.5)
DNP
Brian Gay
(98 pts)
DNP T3
(90)
T54
(0)
DNP T77
(0)
DNP DNP T46
(1.33)
T56
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
T20
(10)
DNP DNP
J.T. Poston
(93.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T22
(28)
T6
(60)
DNP T67
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T22
(14)
T66
(0)
T36
(4.67)
DNP DNP
Peter Malnati
(91.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T9
(45)
T16
(34)
DNP T23
(18)
DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP DNP
Matt Jones
(91.67 pts)
T38
(12)
T22
(28)
DNP DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP T18
(21.33)
T13
(12.33)
DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP T55
(0)
Cameron Tringale
(91.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP T52
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T36
(4.67)
DNP T25
(8.33)
Hank Lebioda
(91 pts)
T50
(1)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP T17
(22)
DNP T61
(0)
T46
(1.33)
DNP DNP 70
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Mackenzie Hughes
(91 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T30
(20)
T63
(0)
DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP T2
(66.67)
T13
(12.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Jim Knous
(89.33 pts)
T13
(37)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP T22
(18.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T78
(0)
DNP T55
(0)
Adam Schenk
(86.67 pts)
T13
(37)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP T33
(11.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T29
(7)
T30
(6.67)
DNP T16
(11.33)
Ryan Moore
(86.33 pts)
DNP DNP T41
(9)
DNP 3
(60)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T20
(15)
T33
(5.67)
DNP DNP DNP
David Hearn
(86.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T25
(8.33)
Justin Harding
(85 pts)
DNP T32
(18)
CUT
(-10)
T12
(50.67)
CUT
(-6.67)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Matt Every
(81.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T16
(11.33)
Sam Burns
(80 pts)
WD
(-5)
CUT
(-10)
9
(45)
DNP T23
(18)
DNP T12
(25.33)
T30
(6.67)
DNP T54
(0)
T73
(0)
DNP DNP
Aaron Baddeley
(79.33 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T30
(13.33)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP CUT
(-5)
T17
(11)
DNP DNP T2
(33.33)
Shawn Stefani
(77.67 pts)
T13
(37)
T30
(20)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T44
(4)
T30
(6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T6
(20)
Nick Taylor
(77.33 pts)
T54
(0)
T9
(45)
T58
(0)
DNP T52
(0)
DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
T16
(17)
DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP DNP
Curtis Luck
(77.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
T5
(70)
DNP DNP 80
(0)
DNP T52
(0)
T13
(12.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T25
(8.33)
Patrick Reed
(73.17 pts)
T28
(22)
CUT
(-10)
DNP T36
(18.67)
DNP T24
(26)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T47
(1.5)
T50
(0.33)
DNP T14
(18)
DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the AT&T Byron Nelson

Player Wells Fargo Zurich Classic RBC Heritage Masters Valero Texas WGC Dell Match Play Corales Puntacan Valspar Champ. The Players Arnold Palmer Honda Classic WGC Mexico Puerto Rico
Rod Pampling
(-46.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Michael Kim
(-45 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP
Tyler Duncan
(-40 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T59
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
T74
(0)
DNP T71
(0)
DNP T62
(0)
Kyle Jones
(-36.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T52
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Jim Herman
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T61
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Anders Albertson
(-33.33 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T77
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Josh Teater
(-30 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Adam Svensson
(-28 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Nicholas Lindheim
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Sangmoon Bae
(-26.67 pts)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T59
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Not many times in which non-marquee players either win or finish runner-up and you feel good about them.  Wells Fargo winner Max Homa and runner-up Joel Dahmen both had great stories attached to them and made everyone feel good about there great finishes. For Max, if you ever have a  chance to check out his Twitter feed he is one of the wittiest and honest pros playing the game.  Example of this is what he put up on Monday morning: “I just realized I missed Game of Thrones tonight. Plz don’t ruin it for me, but if u do I honestly don’t care cuz I just won and life couldn’t be better ”  Homa had a great amateur career, win the 2013 NCAA Men’s Individual Championship, getting to play on the Walker Cup team and making it to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Amateur.  When he turned pro in 2013 he was considered one of those stars of the future.  But things didn’t work out very good for him as bounced back and forth between the Web.Com Tour and the PGA Tour.  One of his biggest problems was his driver, he was considered “George of the Jungle” because most of the time he didn’t think he could keep a drive on this planet, let alone a fairway.  Even with a win at the Wells Fargo he still ranks 188th in driving accuracy for the year.  Things were so bad in 2017 on the PGA Tour that in 17 starts he only made the cut twice, his best finish was 71st in the Barbasol Championship.  In his last start of the year at the Wyndham Championship, he missed the cut by 15 shots.  He played the Web.Com Tour in 2018 and again things weren’t that great.  In the WinCo Foods Portland Open, the last event before the Web.Com Tour playoffs Homa had a tattoo put on his right arm that had the word “relentless.”  He needed that because he had to birdie his final four holes in the second round in Portland to just make the cut.  If he hadn’t, he would have failed to reach the Web.com Finals and had to go to Web.Com Q-school to earn back his Web.com status.  In the four finals event he was T-21st at the Nationwide Children’s, then T-6th at the DAP Championship and 7th at the Albertsons Boise Open.  He missed the cut at the Web.Com Tour Championship but it didn’t matter, he would finish 15th on the Web.Com Tour Finals money list and was 26th in the final priority ranking giving him his PGA Tour card for 2019.  So he got a third chance should we say on the PGA Tour shall we say and coming into the Wells Fargo things weren’t that great.  Homa was 138th in the FedExCup race and 417th in the Official World Golf Rankings and that was a serious rise after beginning the year 840th in the rankings.  Despite that, he opened with a 69-63 to be a shot out of the lead and playing with Rory McIlroy in the second to last group of Saturday.  Homa shot a 70-67 over the weekend to cruise to a 3 shot win over Joel Dahmen and 8 over McIlroy.  With the victory, Homa shot to 35th in the FedExCup rankings and 102nd in the World Rankings and with the win will play in the PGA Championship, along with the Masters and the Sentry T of C in 2020 but more importantly gets a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour.  Going into the Wells Fargo Homa had $967,555 in official PGA Tour earnings in his 68 PGA Tour starts.  Homa won $1,422,000 at the Wells Fargo, his check for the week was for $454,445 more than his PGA Tour career earnings.

Hopefully, this will spur Max on to greater things on the PGA Tour in the future

Joel Dahmen

Joel didn’t have the same opportunities that Max had as a junior.  He was a talented junior golfer but a sad thing hit him in his junior year in High School.  His mother died of pancreatic cancer. Shortly thereafter, his brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer.  In February 2011, Dahmen got a diagnosis of his own: he had testicular cancer, too. He underwent surgery and chemotherapy. He overcame cancer and gained perspective, though that hardly meant golf got easy.  Dahmen played on PGA Tour Canada from 2010 to 2013 without much success.  At the start of 2014, he was totally depressed, he missed out in the second stage of Q-School and was ready to give up.  He didn’t play golf for almost two months, bought a black lab he called Murphy and tried to think of something else to do.  His wife to be gave him $200 and told him to get a lesson and in a way, it kicked started things.  In his first PGA Tour Canadian event in the summer of 2014, he won the PC Financial Open.  Three weeks later he won again at The Syncrude Boreal, starting with a first round 63 and he never looked back.  He won by 5 shots. He finished the season on top of the order of Merit with $80,992 which got him a full card on the Web.Com Tour for 2015.  He spent two years on the Web.Com Tour before earning his way onto the PGA Tour in 2017.  He didn’t play very well that year but was able to retain his card for 2018 thanks to playing well in the Web.Com Tour playoffs.  He played well in 2018, a runner-up finish at the John Deere Classic helped him and he was able to play the first two FedExCup playoff events. This got him in a good frame of mind for 2019 and he was T-9th at the Farmers Insurance Open.  At the Players Championship finished T-12th and with it a very good paycheck just over a quarter of a million dollars.  Earned another runner-up finish at the Wells Fargo Championship, he was 3 shots back of winner Max Homa and Dahmen earned his biggest paycheck yet with $853,200.  With his move to 80th in the Official World Golf Rankings, he earned an invite to play in the PGA Championship and his first major start.  Unfortunately, he decided not to play this week in Dallas, even though he played well at Trinity Forest last year finishing T-16th.

Justin Thomas

Did anybody notice that Justin Thomas didn’t play at the Wells Fargo?  Of course, it was very strange considering the great memories Thomas has from winning the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in 2017.  Seems that he was going to play but withdrew earlier in the week.  He has been struggling with his game, T-30th at the Honda, T-35th at the Players, T-24th at the Dell Match Play and T-12th at the Masters (guess that’s not struggling).  Seems that in the first round of the Honda Classic he tried to make a miracle shot on the 10th hole.  In hitting down he encountered a tree stump that sent a shock up his arm and he’s been showing the signs of the injury ever since.  Ye,s his finish at the Masters was encouraging but sometimes these injuries are more harmful than they seem at first and drag on for months.  As of the weekend, Ron Green Jr. of the Global Golf Post reported that Thomas is shooting to be back for the PGA Championship.

Nelson event still struggles to get marquee players:

The Byron Nelson is a very complicated event.  Of all the tournaments on the PGA Tour, it’s always the top in giving money away, the Salesmanship Club which runs things does a first class job.  Every year it raises more money than any other tournament, in 2018 it raised $4.8 million as the tournament saw 200,000 attend. Since the Salesmanship Club’s inception, more than $160 million has gone to charities.  With its sponsor AT&T, they have donated millions of dollars in technology to the Momentous Institute as part of its new partnership, so the event will keep its spot as giving away more money to their charity than any other events on the PGA Tour. Another plus, the tournament has been embraced by the local Dallas community and is always well attended.

But the dirty little secret on the tournament, despite the perfect location of TPC Four Seasons Resort and the ability to give a lot of folks good vantage points to all of the actions the players didn’t like the course.  So last year they moved to Trinity Forest in which the players found better, but attendance was down about 80,000 which meant that the raised $2 million less than in 2017.

Hopefully, they have fewer expenses this year and more people will show up, but the Salesmanship Club is all in with Trinity Forest and maybe one day the event will be one of the top events on tour.

Things you need to know about the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic:

This will be the 66th edition of the AT&T Byron Nelson Classic, which was formerly called the Dallas Open. The TPC at Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas had been the primary site of the tournament since 1986.

The inaugural Dallas Open in 1944 was won by Byron Nelson by a whopping 12 strokes.  Three annual tournaments were staged with Nelson winning the first, then Snead winning the next followed by Hogan winning in 1946.  After that, the city couldn’t find a sponsor for the tournament, and after a lapse of 10 years, James Ling sponsored the event beginning in 1956.  The tournament has been played every year since then except for 1963 when the PGA Championship was played in Dallas and 1965 when the tournament was switched from September to the spring.  In 1967 the Salesmanship club took over sponsorship and the following year the tournament was renamed after Byron Nelson, who was born just outside of Dallas and had a 630-acre ranch in Roanoke, Texas.  The tournament is the 9th oldest active event on the PGA Tour and along with the Arnold Palmer Invitational is the only event named after former players.

So this is a drastic change for fans of this event, they enjoyed everything about TPC Four Seasons, and they had one of the most prominent party pavilions on tour.  But tournament organizers have done a great job to make sure that Trinity Forest will be even bigger and better for the fans and they look forward to 2018 being even bigger than last year.

 

Course information:
  • Trinity Forest Golf Club
  • Dallas, Texas
  • 7,371 yards     Par 36-35–71
  • The AT&T Byron Nelson changed to it’s new course last year and the players thought it was ok, but for the fans it will be a bit before they understand Trinity Forest.  First of all the course is on the other side of Dallas from TPC Four Seasons.  The course may have “forest” in its name, but the course isn’t in a forest, in fact, there is not many trees on the whole course.  The course was built by the Coore & Crenshaw design firm and is on an old landfill along Loop 12, east of Interstate 45.  The golf course deal was conceived by top AT&T officials in conjunction with Southern Methodist University and the First Tee of Dallas. SMU has built a facility at the course for its golf teams, and First Tee will have the use of a small nine-hole course on the north end of the site.  The city of Dallas is mandating that 25 percent of rounds at the course be available for public play. But most of these will be through charitable tournaments or similarly organized events instead of individual daily-fee tee times.
  • Many last year saw a course looking like British Open links or courses that held the U.S. Open Erin Hills and Chambers Bay.  The course will be susceptible to the elements and wind as it looks like it’s on dunes with prairie grass around it.  As TPC Four Seasons was a course that players flew irons into the greens, players will need to bump and run shots into the greens, the course has undulating turf and is fast.
  • The greens are gigantic, one green that holes 3 and 11 are on is 35,000 square feet which is the size of a football field and is the most massive green in the United States, probably even North America.  Many at first will think the course is like Erin Hills and Chamber Bay, but course designer Ben Crenshaw feels that it’s got the same characteristics as Pinehurst #4 which held the 2014 U.S. Open.
  • The one thing that many agree on is that the winner will have to use a lot of imagination to get around the course.  The course is a par 71 and will play at 7,371.  There is four par 3s, three par 5s and of the 11 par 4s, only 4 are over 450 yards, and one, the 5th which is 315 yards are under 400 yards.  Three of the four par 3s are over 200 yards and of the three par 5s, two are reachable, but the 14th at 630 yards is not reachable.

Let’s take a look at the vital stats that are important for playing Trinity Forest

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 leaders.so 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.

Here is a link to the other 115 players with stats from this year’s AT&T Byron Nelson

DraftKings Picks

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:

  • Brooks Koepka – $11,400
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $9,900
  • Jordan Spieth – $10,800
  • Henrik Stenson – $10,300
  • Marc Leishman – $10,000
  • Patrick Reed – $9,800
  • Sungjae Im – $9,600
  • Aaron Wise – $9,400
  • Brandon Grace – $9,200
  • Keith Mitchell – $9,100
  • Rory Sabbatini – $9,000

 

Sorry but this is a real dog of an event to pick some winners.  The first thing for you to know, of the 11 players $9,000 or over I can only see a few I like.  The first is Brooks Koepka at $11,400.  This course is a lot like Erin Hills and Kapalua, courses he has done well on.  In his last start at the Masters came close but you that was Tiger’s to win.  Think that Brooks will be perfect for this week, he watched it on TV last year and knew he should of been playing.  So yes Brooks is expensive but worth the money.  I would normally like Hideki Matsuyama a lot but at $9,900 I am very careful.  He should do ok, but he still isn’t playing at 100% so I will take a pass on him.  Jordan Spieth could surprise us but at $10,800 I won’t be waiting to get surprised.  If he can putt this course is perfect for him, so that is the big question, will the hot putter show up this week?  I say no.  Henrik Stenson is not playing the way he uses to and at $10,300 is probably not a good choice this week.  Now I do like Marc Leishman at $10,000, yes it’s high but I can see Leishman repeating his performance from last year.  Now we reach a stretch of players that I think is a joke.  First is Patrick Reed at $9,800, are you kidding?  He’s making cuts but that’s about it. Then how did SungJae Im become a player worth $9,600.  Again he is making cuts but he isn’t really contending.  Aaron Wise at $9,400 is another joke, yes he is the defending champion but he hasn’t had a finish inside the top-ten since finishing T-10th at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.  Then we have Branden Grace at $9,200.  He was runner-up at the Waste Management Phoenix Open but has done very little in the last year so he is a no in my book.  Now Keith Mitchell at $9,100 I can grasp.  He has been great since his win at the Honda and he loves Bermuda greens, you can see it by his T-8th finish at the Wells Fargo that has Bermuda greens.  Now the biggest joke of all is how they came up for Rory Sabbatini a value of $9,000?  He could be at $6,000 and I wouldn’t pick him.

 

*Players in that $7,600 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

First I will not be playing DraftKings this week, think it’s too hard with the way the money is distributed and not enough knowledge on the course.  But if I was to play this week, this price range is the most important one to find players out of.  I like both Kevin Na at $8,900 and Ryan Moore at $8,800.  First Na played well last year and he was good at Heritage,  Moore didn’t play last year but like his 3rd place finish at the Texas Open, so both of these players are sound choices.  Rafael Cabrera Bello at $8,600 is another solid choice, he is playing this week for the first time in the Nelson.  Charles Howell III at $8,500 is ok, he was T-9th last year at Trinity.  Scott Piercy at $8,400 is another good choice, he was T-3rd in his last start at the Heritage and was ok at Trinity Forest last year.  Ryan Palmer at $8,000 is soundly based on his winning at Zurich two weeks ago with Jon Rahm, yes he missed the cut at Trinity but look for a big improvement.  Russell Knox at $8,000 is also ok pick.  C.T. Pan at $7,900 is also ok, was T-32nd last year in this event.  Pat Perez showed a lot of spunk last week in Charlotte at $7,700 is a good gamble.

 

Are there any bargains out there?

I like Matt Jones at $7,500, has played solid this year and was T-13th last year.  Daniel Berger is also $7,500 and worth the gamble based on his play this year.  Brian Gay at $7,300 is my favorite “Cheap Bargain,” he has played well this year and should do well this week.  Sam Burns at 7,200 is also worth the price, played solid and he also plays or coaches that way.  I also like Troy Merritt at $7,100, again scrappy player that should do ok on this course.  One last player, Luke Donald at $7,000 is worth the price, has played well of late.

 

So what will it take to play well at Trinity Forest?

Weather, that will be the key.

Last year the weather wasn’t that great, it was wet and the wind didn’t blow, probably the reason for such low scoring.  This year it’s going to rain Wednesday through Saturday with Sunday being the only nice day with temperatures in the mid-70s.  Another bad thing, there will be no wind for the links style course.

So what does the weather mean?

That this could be a bombers paradise.  Unfortunately, the fairways are soft, and even though they are pretty wide, I don’t know if you call this course a “bombers paradise”.  I see long hitters having a significant advantage.  One thing that I can’t believe is that Dustin Johnson isn’t here, this place sounds perfect for him.  He plays well at Kapalua, which is a bit like this course other than the elevation change.  If you are going to pick courses that are like this, go to the U.S. Open results from 2017 (Erin Hills), 2015 (Chamber Bays), 2014 Pinehurst #4 (2014) and also the Sentry Tournament of Champions.  That is the reason that Brooks Koepka decided to play, in watching it on TV last year he realized he can do very well so that will make him the favorite.

 

Who to watch for at the AT&T Byron Nelson

Best Bets:

Brooks Koepka

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T50 2 T16 CUT

He is one of the best players in the world and this course really suits him well, he will contend on Sunday.

Keith Mitchell

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T3

One of the new stars on the PGA Tour, he plays his best on Bermuda greens, if he putts well he can win. Did well last year at Trinity Forest when nobody knew who he was.

Marc Leishman

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
2 T13 CUT CUT T3 T12 T3 CUT T12 T8

Played well on this course last year, has played well in 2019.

Best of the rest:

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

Yes he is playing for the first time, but think his game is well suited for Trinity Forest.

Hideki Matsuyama

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T16

Having problems with his driver and putter, but he is the type of player who could win on a links course.

Scott Piercy

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T32 T20 CUT WD T5 T15 26 CUT

He is the type of guy that will surprise you, hits lot’s of greens, hits lot’s of fairways and makes a lot of birdies.

Pat Perez

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T75 T9 T32 CUT T67

Playing great right now, putting great and making lots of birdies.

Troy Merritt

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T53 CUT CUT

great from tee to green, he putts well and makes a lot of birdies.

Solid contenders

Jimmy Walker

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T6 T24 T2 T37 T27 T29 CUT T53 T23 T35

Played well last year finishing T-6th, has played solid of late making lot’s of cuts, still hasn’t had a finish in the top-25 but could be close.

Charles Howell III

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T9 T4 CUT T3 T17 T41 T20 T45 CUT

He is always a steady pick, will make the cut and could give you a top-ten.

Kevin Na

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T6 CUT T50

Played well last year and he was good at Heritage.

C.T. Pan

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T32 CUT

Playing well right now.

Ryan Palmer

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
CUT T27 CUT T10 T22 T33 T9 2 CUT CUT CUT CUT

Got back into the winners circle two weeks ago in New Orleans, course is good for him

Jordan Spieth

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T21 CUT T18 T30 T37 T68 T32 T16

Good test for him, is wild off the tee but does make a lot of birdies.

Long shots that could come through:

Brian Gay

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
12 T50 CUT T57 CUT T56 T14 T2 CUT T7 CUT

If you are ever looking for that long shot that could come through, look no further than Gay, he is always a perfect pick.

Abraham Ancer

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T42 T49

Always hits it straight, is a good putter that makes lot’s of birdies, someone not many will think of.

Matt Jones

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T13 CUT CUT T64 CUT CUT CUT

Has played solidly this year, was T-13th last year at Trinity Forest.

Speak Your Mind

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.