Out of the Rough: AT&T Byron Nelson
Last week I was on a much needed vacation and I made the executive decision to forgo the Out of the Rough article for last week’s Wells Fargo Championship. Therefore I do not have results from last week to go off of and I have yet to review our outcomes from the Mexico Open at Vidanta. We did have Jon Rahm in one of our lineup who ultimately went on to win the event. We had many missed cuts at the Mexico Open, which was in part of the event and course being brand new to the PGA Tour. Trey Mullinax was also a bright spot for us, who was in the top five heading into the weekend at just $6,800. He ultimately finished T24th at minus-nine. We now enter the final event leading into the second major of the year, The PGA Championship. Let’s see what the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch has in store.
Mexico Open at Vidanta Results
Jon Rahm (-17) - 1st
Gary Woodland (-9) - T24th
Charles Howell III (-7) - T33rd
Joseph Bramlett (-1) - MC
Scott Gutschewski (E) - MC
Abraham Ancer (-6) - T42nd
Chris Kirk (E) - MC
C.T. Pan (-8) - T29th
Austin Smotherman (E) - T67th
Trey Mullinax (-9) - T24th
With the PGA Championship on the horizon, we get the final tune-up event before the second major of the season.
The AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch will see a bigger field than normal in terms of the world’s best taking to the Dallas, Texas course.
The field is headlined by current World #1 Scottie Scheffler who will be making just his second appearance since winning The Masters in early April. Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Will Zalatoris and Jordan Speith will be joining Scheffler as some of the world’s best to be on display.
This is the second consecutive year that the event will be held at TPC Craig Ranch, so course history is limited.
The Tom Weiskopf designed course plays as a traditional par-72. Like other Weiskopf designed courses, TPC Craig Ranch offers a balanced combination of tougher stretches and scoring holes.
The four par-5’s at TPC Craig Ranch offer a lot of birdie opportunities and actually line up as four-of-the-five easiest holes on the tour in 2021.
Although the course has favorable par 5’s, it features six par 4’s that measure over 450 yards. This is where the event can be won or lost.
TPC Craig Ranch features very few doglegs, offering a pretty straight forward approach. On top of that, water only comes into play on a few holes.
Weather could be ideal this week as temperatures are projected to be in the low 90’s. There is little to no chance of rain in the forecast. We’ll see some fluctuating winds across the four days, as wind often changes in that area of Texas.
Important statistics to pay attention to this week include Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (SG: TTG,) Strokes Gained: Approach (SG: APP,) Strokes Gained: Putting (SG: PUTT,) Greens in Regulations Percentage (GIR%,) and Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 yards.
Trends to follow include that the last nine winners of the event have already placed T8th on the PGA Tour in the same year of the event and since 2012 the highest a Byron Nelson winner has placed at The Players before winnings was T33rd.
In this price range we only have four options this week. We’ll lead off with Justin Thomas ($10,600.) Thomas is currently third and fourth on tour in SG: TTG and SG: APP respectively. On top of that he’s ninth on tour in Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 Yards. He’s also 32nd on tour in GIR%. Thomas has yet to miss a cut this season. He has five top-eight finishes on the season. If you want to take a look at those two trends listed above as well, he obviously has a T8th or better finish this year, but also placed T33rd at The Players. He’s in line for a good week and this is an event he could very well win. Also consider World #1 Scottie Scheffler ($10,900.) Of course the world’s top golfer is the highest priced golfer on DraftKings. He’s top 30 on tour in every statistic taken into consideration for the tournament; headlined by a fourth in GIR%. Of course Scheffler has a T8th or better on the season as the winner of The Masters. He’s also won the WM Phoenix Open, Arnold Palmer Invitational and WGC Dell Technologies Match Play. On top of that, he finished T55th at The Players. Both Thomas and Scheffler should be two of the most owned golfers this week and that’s for obvious reasons.
Sam Burns ($9,500) is my first pick of this price range. I really like Burns a lot this week and he currently sits at +1900 to win. You best believe I’ll have a few dollars riding on him there. He’s 10th on tour in GIR%, 11th in SG: APP and 18th in SG: TTG. He’s also 34th in SG: PUTT and 51st in Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 Yards. Burns won the Valspar Championship in late March and took second at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. He also placed T9th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in early March. Now he did place T26th at The Players, but let’s not get too worried about that. Also consider Xander Schauffele ($9,700.) Schauffele ranks top 38th in every statistic taken into consideration except SG: PUTT where he currently ranks 63rd. He’s fresh off a win two weeks ago at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and dating back to the WM Phoenix Open in early February, has four top 15’s. He has missed two cuts in that time span as well including one at The Payers.
Entering the price ranges of a much wider choice of variety, we’ll lead off here with Talor Gooch ($8,600.) Gooch is currently 19th on tour in both SG: APP and GIR%. He’s 25th in SG: TTG and 37th in Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 Yards. Gooch has four top 10’s this season, most recently a T7th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March. He did miss the cut at The Players as well, keeping him in line with both of the trends we’ve been following. Gooch is a very well rounded golfer that I think can ride his game to success this week. Also consider Aaron Wise ($8,100.) Wise also has a special place in my heart for the money he made me at The Masters in 2019. Anyhow, this week he checks all of the boxes as well. Two weeks ago he placed T6th at The Mexico Open and has missed just two cuts dating back to the Genesis Open in February. One of those missed cuts happened at The Players, again, having him check every box we have for him. I’m excited that I can finally put Wise into one of these articles!
We’re into the good stuff now. There are several golfers in this price range that I like this week. I’ll start off with Mito Pereira ($7,600.) According to my formula, Pereira is in the top ten of my favorites this week. He’s sixth on tour in Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 Yards and eighth in GIR%. On top of that he’s 18th in SG: APP and 24th in SG: TTG. He’s missed just one cut across his last six events. That one cut? You guessed it, The Players. Now he doesn’t have a T8th this year, but has six top 30’s, playing in the top 30 in every tournament he made the cut in. Also consider Marc Leishman ($7,800.) Lesihman is very well rounded when it comes to this event. He’s top 53rd on tour in every statistical category we have talked about in this article. He doesn’t have a T8th this year but does have a T10th back in January at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He’s made the cut in eight-out-of-ten tournaments he’s played this year, including a missed cut at The Players.
During our last article at the Mexico Open, we had Trey Mullinax in this price range who was in contention heading into the weekend and ultimately finished T24th. Not bad for a guy with a price tag of $6,800. We’ll begin our search for our bargain golfer with Ryan Armour ($6,700.) What makes Armour interesting is that he is currently tops on tour when it comes to Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 Yards. That’s right, he’s the best on the entire PGA Tour in that very important category. On top of that he’s 56th in SG: TTG and 72nd in GIR%. Armour also has made three-of-four cuts dating back to Corales Puntacana Championship in March. Also consider Martin Laird ($6,900.) Laird is currently 32nd on tour in SG: TTG, 38th in SG: APP, 47th in SG: PUTT and top 80 in Par 4 Efficiency 450-500 Yards. He has also made two-of-his-past-three cuts and has a T14th in early February at the WM Phoenix Open.
Strokes Gained: Proximity to Course
Strokes gained: Proximity to Course (SG: PTC) is the patented statistic developed by Lenny of the Out of the Rough Podcast. Each week, we will pick a golfer local to the course to be his SG: PTC choice. Last go around Lenny went with Carlos Ortiz who finished T51st at the Mexico Open.
This week Lenny is going with Harry Higgs. Higgs played his college golf at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He also currently lives in Dallas as well.
SG: PTC Past Results
The Honda Classic - Chase Seiffert (+1) - T25th
The Arnold Palmer Invitational - John Pak (+8) - T52nd
The Players - Billy Horschel (WD)
The Valspar Championship - Sam Ryder (-1) - MC
WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play - MC
The Valero Texas Open - Adam Long (-5) - T35th
The Masters - Patrick Reed (+6) - T35th
The RBC Heritage - Brian Harman (-6) - T35th
The Zurich Classic - Jay and Billy Haas (E) - T59th
The Mexico Open - Carlos Ortiz (-5) - T51st
One and Done
*Rules: A golfer can only be played once all season unless the chosen golfer wins the respective tournament. If the chosen golfer wins, he can be used again. We will keep track of success via monetary earnings to add value to bigger tournaments. We will track my choices for the rest of the season below.
This week I’m going to double down and go with Sam Burns. I like how he measures up to this event and course, statistically speaking.
The Masters - Shane Lowry ($870,000)
The RBC Heritage - Adam Hadwin ($54,844)
The Zurich Classic - Marc Lesihman ($24,111.50)
The Mexico Open - Gary Woodland ($60,955)