A 152-player field takes on Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas this week for the AT&T Byron Nelson as the final tune-up before next week’s PGA Championship. The PGA Tour’s rescheduling of the 2019 campaign has brought out several more big names than this event has seen in the past: 14 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking are present to make their final preparations for the year’s second Major, including World No. 3 Brooks Koepka.
This is only the second year for Trinity Forest hosting the Byron Nelson. Last year’s winner Aaron Wise and runner-up Marc Leishman are both in attendance again, as are the rest of the players from 2018’s top six and ties.
Designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, Trinity Forest Golf Club is a par-71, 7,371-yard, links-style course with rolling fairways and expansive Bermudagrass greens. Wind can be a major factor with no trees to offer any sort of protection.
There’s no water or rough on the course, but bunkers litter the fairways and do their best to guard the greens. Native areas penalize those who send their tee shots wayward.
Three of four par 3s measure in excess of 200 yards, with the other coming in just under 140. The par-5 14th hole measures 630 yards and plays as the sixth-most difficult on the course. Each nine ends with a par 4 longer than 500 yards, with the ninth and 18th playing as the No. 1 and 2 most difficult holes on the course, respectively.
Key stats to consider for the 2019 Byron Nelson
The tournament relocated to Trinity Forest last year, giving us only four rounds of data to draw from. The final round of the 2018 event involved rain, which softened the typically firm course and allowed Wise to reach 23-under par. Four other players shot -19 or better.
The key stats for last year’s tournament leaders were Strokes Gained: Total, SG: Approach, SG: Tee-to-Green, Birdies Gained, Proximity 150-175 Yards, and Par 4 Efficiency: 400-450 Yards, according to data from Fantasy National.
Give extra credit to golfers who typically play well in windy conditions. My model for this week looks at the last 24 rounds for every player in the field in “moderate” wind.
2019 Byron Nelson: Sleepers and value bets
Born in Amarillo, Texas, Palmer now lives in nearby Colleyville, which is less than an hour’s drive from Trinity Forest. The 42-year-old Texan is fresh off a win at the Zurich Classic with partner Jon Rahm.
Palmer stands at 12th in my model with a top statistical rank of fourth in the field in Birdies Gained. He was cut here last year, but he’s made the weekend in eight of his 12 events this season and has four top 10 finishes, including his shared Zurich Classic victory.
Ancer is second overall in the model while boasting strengths of SG: Total and SG: Tee-to-Green. He’s made 11 of 15 cuts in solo events this season, including two top 5s last fall. He finished T42 in last year’s debut at Trinity Forest.
Ancer ranks No. 64 in the OWGR but remains without a PGA Tour or international victory. He’s 13th on tour this year in Par 4 Scoring Average, and he’s fourth in the field in our selected distance range of 400-450 yards. He leads the tour in Late Scoring Average, so keep an eye on Thursday’s tee times and expect him to get off to a strong start if slotted into the afternoon wave.
He’s already locked into next week’s PGA Championship for what will be the 28-year-old’s second Major appearance after missing the cut at The Open in 2018.
Munoz made just his eighth cut last week in 15 solo events this season, as he finished T38 at the Wells Fargo Championship. Ranked 292nd in the world, Munoz leads this field in Birdies Gained. While he’s an extreme longshot to come out of Dallas with the victory, Max Homa won last week’s event after entering the week ranked 413th in the OWGR as many of the top players in the field are prepping for Bethpage instead of focusing on the present week. Wise was ranked 96th before his victory last year.
The Colombian is a strong play in daily fantasy this week with a price of just $6,300 on DraftKings and $7,400 on FanDuel while ranking fourth overall in the statistical model over his last 24 rounds played in moderate wind.
2019 Byron Nelson: The winner
Henrik Stenson +2500 (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Always a good wind player, Stenson leads the field in all three of the key Strokes Gained statistics over his last 24 rounds. Once as highly ranked as No. 2 in the world, Stenson has slipped almost weekly this year and now ranks 40th.
It’s a good time to pounce on the six-time PGA Tour winner with odds too high for his pedigree in a weaker field. Three golfers at DraftKings Sportsbook and four at FanDuel Sportsbook have lower odds than the former Open champion. He’s twice finished third at the PGA Championship and will be gearing up for another Major run.