DraftKings Fantasy Golf Picks & Plays for AT&T Bryon Nelson
Welcome back for another week of PGA DFS at DraftKings, FanDuel, and FantasyDraft. We’re here to give you the full report on picks at The AT&T Byron Nelson at a brand new course this year Trinity Forest Golf Club.
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There’s not the normal bevy of stats and course history this week. No comparable competitive rounds have ever been played on the course. That’s right: Trinity Forest is a brand new course for the tour. It was built with the sole purpose of attracting a PGA Tour event. Normally a 7,450-yard Par 72, this week it will play as a 7,380-yard Par 71. If you want the video run down version, check it out here.
Trinity Forest is going to be different than anything most of these golfers are used to seeing this side of the pond. It is a full-links-style course set right in the middle of the Dallas suburbs. Built on top of an old land fill, the “natural” mounding is plentiful throughout and allows for lots of misfortune.
Now, the fairways are 100 yards wide in some cases and should be hit by everyone in the field with ease regardless of the club. There is also basically no rough; you either have a tight firm lie or are in the native area. The same holds true for around the greens. The difficulty around here is the approach and strategy of each hole.
With so much mounding, the designers (Geoff Ogilvy included) did an amazing job of directing the bounces based on how a player decided to approach a hole. The slopes will force what appears to be a great shot right at the pin, off to one side or another through green side and in green mounding. On a firm green, a slightly errant approach can feed 30+ yards away from the hole — or worse, off the back of these domed greens. Expect plenty of confused looks from players if the conditions are as firm as the Tour wants them.
And don’t forget the Texas wind and heat. Pay attention to weather this week. The conditions at Trinity are more weather dependent than most on tour. Completely exposed and designed to use very little water, the custom Trinity Zoysia grass is meant to play firm and fast all the time. Similarly, the Championship Bermuda on the greens is one of the firmer grasses out there.
Anyone who manages to miss the fairways around here will be greeted with some 40 varieties of unmaintained native grasslands. The grasses are patchy, and it will be a total crap shoot whether golfers draw a playable lie.
A Closing Note on the Course
What immediately came to mind for me this week when looking at all the run-offs was Todd Hamilton and his Open-winning performance. He “chipped” his way to victory in 2004 with his hybrid and lots of imagination.
That’s just it: imagination and feel are imperative here. There are a lot of deceptive looks around here. What you see is not what you will always get once the mounds and slopes take their toll on a given shot.
I also feel scrambling will be important this week if it is firm. Players will need to adjust to the feel of these mounds and greens during the first couple of days.
Finally, as I think more about similar courses, the Gil Hans course used for the Olympics in Rio comes to mind. It was very modern and efficient, with lots of un-maintained native grass areas and wide fairways with springing, firm grass. It might be worth having a look at that leaderboard and see if we notice any familiar names playing this week. Come to think of it, didn’t Matt Kuchar walk away with a bronze at that Olympics?
1. Strokes Gained Approach
2. Birdies Gained/Birdie or Better
4. Prox 150-175
5. Driving Distance
PGA DFS Players:
Top Tier: $11.9K – $9.1K
Jordan Spieth ($11.9K)
Jordan Spieth is leading the charge this week as the field favorite in his home town. He comes off a stellar Saturday at The Players and is likely one of the few to have played this course before. All signs point to Spieth being the guy this week and likely having one of the highest ownership percentages we have seen all year on top-priced player in the field. He ranks first in my combined models. This course fits Spieth on paper; he has also played links courses well during his career. Fire Spieth up this week.
Matt Kuchar ($10.7K)
Matt Kuchar has an extremely high price tag this week, and that might be the only reason some people shy away. Otherwise, “Kuch” sets up very well for a track like this. He has played well in the Scottish Open before, another wide open links layout with roughly the same distance and wind conditions. He will need to put up a top 5 to pay off his price. But that’s very much in the range of outcomes for Kuchar, who is rounding back into his top 10 per tournament form.
Jimmy Walker ($9.5K)
Jimmy Walker is clearly over the Lyme disease and back to his big-game-hunting ways. He would have notched a Players win if not for Webb Simpson playing out of his mind. A consummate ball striker with a better-than-average putter, Walker looks to keep his hot form rolling in Texas.
Brendan Grace ($9.5K)
While he might not get too hyped for a small-potatoes event like the Byron Nelson, Brendan Grace sets up very well on paper. He’s a low-ball player who excels on windy, open tracks like this. I like him even more with the projected slow greens. Grace has the world-class game to close out a weak field on an unknown course. This week should remind him plenty of playing back in his native South Africa. What’s more, Grace had a kid recently. We could be looking at the #BabySwag play here.
Marc Leishman ($9.1K)
Marc Leishman may be my favorite play in this range. An exceptional wind player, he’s been really solid since his big year in 2017. “Leish” is a world-class player who knows how to get around a links track. With his roots in Australia, he should be plenty used to this type of wind-swept, firm layout. Flashing a nice round Saturday at the Players, Leishman always plays better after a week or two into a stretch. This sets up really well for Leishman to once again post a strong showing.
Interesting Note: Adam Scott went back to an old driver and putter last week, and it sure seemed to help him find something on the greens, finishing 26th in SG. Now, take that with a grain of salt on those fast greens that tend to equalize putting. But it’s interesting to note that if a player is more confident in the change, then it can certainly carry over to the next week.
Other to consider: Hideki Matsuyama, Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, and Billy Horschel (the defending champ) can all be played in GPPs. They have the game type you want as well here.
Mid Tier: $9K – $7.5K
Beau Hossler ($9K)
Beau Hossler is heading back to his kind of course. Having played college golf in Texas, Hossler may be one of the few with any experience around this track. He’s a strong but streaky player who can theoretically bomb it around. Still, I would go GPP only here, as you are certainly paying for the local ties with his price tag.
Pete Uihlein ($8.5K)
Pete Uihlein is coming in hot this week after posting a top 5 his last time out at the Wells Fargo. Unfortunately, most of those strokes came via the putter. Still, Uihlein might have an edge this week: fresh off the Euro tour, he wields far more links experience than the rest of the eager young guys looking for their first win here. This is a first-win kind of tournament, after all. Uihlein is a talented guy, who can score well and should have enough imagination to keep pace this week.
J.B. Holmes ($8.3K)
J.B. Holmes is not playing exceptionally well. Nor does he really pop in any of the models. But he has been great at what I consider comp courses to this place: Castle Stuart and the British Open. Holmes played very well in both over the years and has the ability to bomb it anywhere he wants. He knows how to play in the wind and is sneaky enough to go under the radar a bit this week with no recent form or stats to further support the play.
Scott Piercy ($8.4K)
Scott Piercy is coming in fresh off his Duos victory and sets up well for a track like this. He’s a skilled ball striker who makes his bones by course management but lacks a reliable putter. The slower greens should help Piercy bounce back from his -5.6 SG:P last week. It’s a GPP only for me here, but there’s lots of upside for Piercy this week.
Martin Laird ($7.9K)
Martin Laird has found some consistency in his finishes lately, though not in the method. Going back four weeks, it was a balanced game that got him a 26th at the API. Then, his around-the-green game carried him to a 32nd at the RBC. Next, he had his driver to thank for an 11th at the Valero. Last week, his putting helped him hang around at TPC Sawgrass. This week, I am looking for him to put it all together. A Scot who knows how to play links golf, Laird will have some chalk to his name.
Others to consider: Grayson Murray, Ryan Palmer, Harris English, Keith Mitchell, Joaquin Niemann, Troy Merritt, Aaron Baddeley
Value Tier: $8.5K and Lower
Stephen Jaeger ($7.3K)
Stephen Jaeger is coming off a solid win at the Knoxville Open, courtesy of a chip in. I look for the very talented Jaeger to play well this week. He knows how to win at multiple levels of competitive golf; look at the multiple Web.com victories. I’ll take a few GPP shares of a very talented scorer, who I expect to make the cut in this weak field.
Kevin Tway ($7.2K)
If you listen to me and Matt on the #BogeyFree podcast, we have touched on Kevin Tway a bit recently. This is as good a place as any for Tway to pop. He’s a bomber who can score in bunches. If the course is soft at all, expect him to take full advantage. He’s gained strokes through approach recently, and his MC last week should keep some off him. But don’t expect Tway to struggle off the tee too much this week. There are no trees to keep his power contained around here.
David Hearn ($6.8K)
Boasting a good Bermuda putter and coming off his best finish in a while at the Valero (16th), David Hearn did that mainly through his approach and putter. Never going to compete for a long drive contest, Hearn can better utilize his strengths around Trinity Forest.
Bronson Burgoon ($6.7K)
Bronson Burgoon is a Texas guy who showed well last time out in his home state. He got my attention, however, because of his missed cut at the Wells Fargo — 4.3 strokes on the field through approach. I know that’s a bit skewed, but it’s still impressive. If he is hitting his irons, I would like to think the rest of his game can quickly fall in line. Burgoon is worth a GPP flier for me this week if I build a stars-and-scrubs lineup or two.
Others to consider: Seamus Power, Martin Flores, Colt Knost
That does it for The AT&T Byron Nelson breakdown. Good luck this week, and I’ll see you next for The Fort Worth Open at Colonial CC.