The PGA TOUR heads to McKinney, Texas, for the AT&T Byron Nelson, the last tournament before the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. After just two years at Trinity Forest and following the 2020 edition being canceled due to COVID-19, the tournament will move to TPC Craig Ranch for the next five years. The course will play as a par 72, measuring 7,468 yards and will be putt on bentgrass greens. The field features 156 players at press time and the top 65 and ties will make the cut. Three of the top four ranked golfers in the world are in the field as of writing. Historically played in August, this will be the second year that the AT&T Byron Nelson is taking place in May, right before the PGA Championship.
TPC Craig Ranch hosted the Korn Ferry Tour Championship in 2008 and 2012, but this is the first year it’ll be on the PGA TOUR schedule. The winning scores for those two years were 16- and 17-under, respectively. The course features rolling hills, zoysia grass fairways and the Rowlett Creek, which meanders through the course 14 times. Six par 4s play over 450 yards, with the par 4, 13th hole measuring 512 yards. There are two par 4s measuring under 400 yards and three par 3s measuring over 216 yards. The rough is essentially non-existent, but with a wide array of hole types, 83 bunkers throughout the course and four water hazards that come into play on 13 holes, precision iron play is essential. TPC Craig Ranch is a wide-open layout, which makes the course susceptible to windy conditions. It’s an American Links design, which should provide plenty of extra distance off the tee for those who don’t rank inside the top 25 in driving distance.
Targeting golfers who have Texas ties should be considered this week, especially on a new course. Jordan Spieth (+900, $10,700), Scottie Scheffler (+2000, $9,400), Will Zalatoris (+2800, $9,700) and Ryan Palmer (+4000, $9,100) are some names who have ties to the Lonestar State.
Scottie Scheffler (+2000 to Win, $9,400 on DraftKings)
Scheffler should have an advantage this week with his experience playing Texas golf growing up and at the University of Texas. He’s made the cut in each of his appearances at the Valero Texas Open (TPC San Antonio) and the AT&T Byron Nelson and just finished runner up at the Dell Technologies Match Play this season at Austin Country Club. Scottie is hitting it well, ranking 15th in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee and 20th in approach over the previous 24 rounds.
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Jason Day (+6000 to Win, $8,900 on DraftKings)
Australian-born golfers playing well in Texas is also a trend we’ve seen play out over the past few years. Matt Jones (not in the field), Marc Leishman (+2800, $9,200), Aaron Baddeley (+35000, $6,300) and Day all have high finishes in their careers during the Texas Swing, and Day is someone to consider this week. His experience in Texas features a win at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play and a runner-up at the 2017 AT&T Byron Nelson at The Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas. Even though he missed the cut last week at Quail Hollow, it looks like his irons are coming back into form with back-to-back positive strokes gained in approach over his previous two tournaments. Day also ranks 13th in Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green.
Doug Ghim (+7000 to Win, $7,500 on DraftKings)
Ghim’s ball-striking has been tremendous over his previous six tournaments, ranking third in approach and top 25 in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee over his past 24 rounds. Even though he ranks fourth in Tee-to-Green during the same timeframe, his putting has been atrocious, losing an average of four strokes on the greens over his previous five tournaments. Bentgrass greens are his preferred surface, and if he can keep the putter steady, he could outperform his price this week. Ghim should also have a slight advantage over his peers in this price range playing his college golf at the University of Texas. Also, take a look at the defending champion of this tournament, Sung Kang (+45000, $6,500), a member here at TPC Craig Ranch. The Irving, Texas, resident has a propensity to play well in Texas. His only win on TOUR came at this tournament at Trinity Forest back in 2019, and he had a runner-up finish at the Shell Houston Open back in 2017.
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