Fantasy Golf Cheat Sheet: Byron Nelson Breakdown

WATCH: Course Preview: AT&T Byron Nelson at Trinity Forest Golf Club


The Cheat Sheet provides fantasy golf players with course information, player history and the most noteworthy trends of the week to help them with their roster selections.

The Field

The field here is a lot thinner than last week. In fact, it’s probably one of the weakest fields we’ll see all season for a regular PGA Tour event. There are several reasons for this, but a new course and this event being scheduled right after THE PLAYERS are the main ones. Some big names still will be in attendance, though, as local Jordan Spieth, former winner Sergio Garcia and Marc Leishman all will be playing. The bottom of the field will look worse than normal, however, and you really will have to adjust how you view players and their DraftKings salaries this week, as many lower-ranked players have gone way up in price. This event has a regular cut after Friday (top 70 and ties) and is a full 150-man field.


The Course

Trinity Forest Golf Course — Dallas, Texas
Par 72, 7,450 yards

This will be the first time Trinity Forest is used for this event (first time ever on the tour) and by all accounts, the course will be one of the most unique venues we see all season. This is a relatively new course that was built in 2014 and designed by Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore, two venerable architects who also helped redesign both Pinehurst and Shinnecock Hills. Here’s a quote from the course website on how the venue might play:

“Trinity forest is going to make us use our brains a little bit. … You have to work out where your best angles are. … One side of the fairway is easy, the other side is going to be difficult. … Your mistakes are magnified, but your good stuff is magnified as well.” — Geoff Ogilvy on playing Trinity Forest

At its core, Trinity Forest is an open, basically treeless venue that could pass for an Open Championship course. It’s sprawling and has an endless supply of undulations, mounds and bumps, which are sure to give players fits throughout the week. This will look and play differently than pretty much every venue we have seen to this point in the season, and players will need to come in with fresh and positive perspectives to thrive.

The course scorecard is traditional in the sense that it will play as a par 72, with four par 5s and four par 3s, but how these holes will play remains a mystery. Two of the par 5s come in at around 550 yards or less, but the other two are longer, including the 14th, which comes in at 630 yards. Three of the par 3s will play long at well over 200 yards. Big hitters likely will have an advantage given some of the openness off the tee, but the real scoring will come from those who can adjust to the undulations on and around the greens. Expect to see a few around-the-green “blowups” this week as players miss short putts or chip it off the green.

2018 Outlook: It’s Texas, so expect some wind. Gusts are expected to reach 10-15 mph in spots here, and right now Friday afternoon looks like it might be the windiest portion of the first two days. The weather this week looks like it will be hot, too, with highs well into the 90s, so the course could get firm and fast quick.


Past five winners

2017—Billy Horschel -12 (over Jason Day playoff)
2016—Sergio Garcia -15 (over Brooks Koepka playoff)
2015—Steven Bowditch -18 (over Charley Hoffman -14)
2014—Brendon Todd -14 (over Mike Weir -12)
2013—Sang-Moon Bae -13 (over Keegan Bradley -11)


Winning Trends

– The past six winners here had recorded a T8 or better on the tour in the same year of their victory and prior to winning at the Byron Nelson.
– Since 2012, the best a player has finished at THE PLAYERS before winning the AT&T Byron Nelson is T33 (Sang-Moon Bae 2013).


Statistics

Birdie or Better Percentage
Strokes Gained: Approach/Proximity
Par 5 Scoring

The course this week is being used in competition for the first time, so we don’t have historical stats to rely on. With that in mind, targeting some of the key stats this week makes sense.

Trinity Forest has large greens, but hitting it to certain levels/plateaus seems key, as missing will lead to balls running off or through the green in spots. Ball striking and Strokes Gained: Approach seems like important factors this week in that regard.

Additionally, there are four par 5s on this venue and it seems, given the layout, like these holes will be the players’ best chances at birdies or better. Emphasizing strong Par 5 Scoring and strong recent form in this stat seems like a smart move as well.


Finding Values

Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their odds of winning this week.

PlayerOddsDK PriceComparables
Martin Laird50-1$7,900Russell Knox $8,000 and 70-1
Maverick McNealy $8,200 and 90-1
JB Holmes $8,300 and 80-1
Bill Haas80-1$7,500Matt Jones $7,600 and 150-1
Tom Lovelady $7,600 and 150-1
Patrick Rodgers $7,700 and 125-1


Recent Form

1. Jimmy Walker: Walker backed up his T4 at the Valero Texas Open with a T2 last week at THE PLAYERS. He was eighth in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green last week and his game is trending nicely right now.

2. Billy Horschel: Horschel has made his past four cuts on tour. He won the team event with Scott Piercy and has T5 and T11 finishes over the past month. He’s trending nicely for a defense of his 2017 win of this event.

3. Jordan Spieth: Spieth had a rough Sunday at TPC Sawgrass but still has finished T3 or better in two of his past three starts. He’ll look to claim his first Byron Nelson title — a hometown event for him — this week.

4. Beau Hossler: Hossler has been sneaky consistent of late and has made six cuts in a row on tour, a run that includes a playoff loss at the Houston Open. He finished a solid T46 last week at his first PLAYERS.

5. Stephen Jaeger: Jaeger has been a disappointment this year after a strong Web.com run last season. He has missed 8/16 cuts on the PGA but played the Web.com event in Knoxville last week and won going away. He’ll be coming in with some added confidence as a result.

Top Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (last week)

1. Xander Schauffele
2. Ryan Moore
3. Beau Hossler

Top Strokes Gained: Putting (last week)

1. Webb Simpson
2. Jason Dufner
3. Chez Reavie


DFS STRATEGY

Cash Games: Given that Spieth is so short in odds this week and is in relatively good-to-great form, I think starting with him here as an anchor makes sense. Going with Spieth would mean you’d have to use one or two players lower in salary, but Kevin Na, Richy Werenski and Andrew Putnum could all be considered as salary savers. Further up in price I also like targeting Jimmy Walker, Beau Hossler, Martin Laird and Keith Mitchell in this format.

Tournaments: With Spieth likely to be popular this week some other high-priced players could go low-owned in GPPs. Walker, Marc Leishman, Brandt Snedeker and Peter Uihlein are all some of my favorite targets for the week in terms of larger tournaments. Lower down, Ben Crane, JJ Spaun, Putnum and Daniel Summerhays also all make for interesting boom-or-bust targets here.


MY PICK: Peter Uihlein ($8,500)

Uihlein had last week off (didn’t qualify for PLAYERS) but is coming in off his best performance of the season at the Wells Fargo. The American was T5 in Charlotte and put together a magical round of 62 before falling just short Sunday. Uihlein is a player who has seen numerous links-style venues over his career on the European Tour and even came close to winning the Alfred Dunhill Links one year over at St. Andrews. The big hitter should benefit from the firm greens here and has an underrated short game, which was very on point his last time out. This course has a ton of unknowns around it, and if the winds stay down this week we could see a lot of birdies, which would make Uihlein a potentially great DFS asset. He’s my pick in what is shaping up to be an unpredictable event.


MY SLEEPER: Daniel Summerhays ($7,000)

Summerhays lost his tour card last fall but has gained entrance into this week’s event. The veteran has played solid of late, putting up a top-10 finish at the team event with Tony Finau and also was in contention late on the Web.com event last week. His recent run of good form shouldn’t be shrugged off either, as this field is essentially the same as the one Summerhays faced last week. He also has played very well in Texas over his career and nearly won the Valero event on a couple of occasions. He’s a strong putter coming off a couple of solid ball striking weeks and easily could factor into this event, where the field is facing a ton of unknowns on a course that looks like it will require a lot of patience and touch on and around the greens.


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.