The PGA TOUR heads to McKinney, Texas, for the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch, the last tournament before the PGA Championship at Southern Hills. The course will play as a par 72, measuring 7,468 yards, and be putt on bentgrass greens. The field is 156 at press time, and the top 65 and ties will make the cut. Seven of the top 15 golfers in the world are teeing it up this week, including Texas-native and No. 1 golfer Scottie Scheffler.
TPC Craig Ranch hosted the Korn Ferry Tour Championship (KFT) in 2008 and 2012. The winning scores for both years were 16 and 17-under, respectively, on the KFT, and KH Lee won last season with a winning score of 25-under. The course features rolling hills, zoysia grass fairways and Rowlett Creek, which meanders through the course. 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 precision iron play is essential with a wide array of hole types, a ton of bunkers throughout the course, and a handful of water hazards that come into play on over half the holes. Still, TPC Craig Ranch is a scoreable, wide-open layout that these guys can go low on. It’s an American-Links design, which should provide plenty of extra distance off the tee for those who don’t hit it far. Still, last season came down to approach and putting. Five out of the top-6 in DraftKings scoring finished inside the top-7 in approach, and four finished inside the top-25 in putting.
Targeting golfers who have Texas ties could also be an angle to use when setting your Daily Fantasy Golf lineups, especially on fairly a new course. Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler, Will Zalatoris and Ryan Palmer are some names who have ties to the Lonestar State.
Justin Thomas ($10,600)
It’s been over a year since one of the game’s top players recorded a victory. Thomas has seven top-10s this year and is hitting the ball exceptionally well, ranking third in tee to green and second in approach over the previous 12 rounds. He’s recorded two tournaments gaining over seven strokes with his irons (Valspar Championship, WM Phoenix Open) and was +4.2 through approach at the RBC Heritage after finishing eighth at the Masters. He seems to have found a working putting stroke, gaining in three of his previous four measured tournaments and is one of the best in birdies or better gained in tournaments with easy scoring conditions, ranking second over the last 12 rounds.
Adam Hadwin ($8,000)
Other than his missed cut at The Genesis Invitational, Hadwin hasn’t finished outside the top-26 dating back to The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February. Only the No. 1 golfer in the world ranks higher than him in birdies gained over the previous 12 rounds. Hadwin has been highly consistent with his irons, gaining an average of 3.8 stokes in his last four tournaments. Hadwin can also roll it well on bentgrass greens, ranking 10th over the previous 12 rounds.
Erik van Rooyen
Like Hadwin, van Rooyen has been great on bentgrass greens, ranking seventh over the same timeframe. Although his putting is impressive, he has been stellar with his irons, gaining 11.3 strokes at THE PLAYERS and 4.2 at the Sony Open earlier this season. 14th at the Valero Texas Open (2021) and a 20th at the Houston Open (2020) are also good signs he’s navigated Texas tracks well in the past. Birdies will need to be flying this week, and van Rooyen can score, ranking 28th in greens in regulation and 24th in birdies gained over the last dozen rounds.
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