Jeff’s Hardcore Core- AT&T Byron Nelson

Jeff Bergerson
By Jeff Bergerson May 9, 2022 23:24

Jeff’s Hardcore Core- AT&T Byron Nelson

The AT&T Byron Nelson is upon us this week and we get a much stronger field than I anticipated with the PGA Championship on the horizon next week.  I think part of that has to do with the last two weeks being such undesirable events/locations that guys would rather play back to back weeks.  Plus, the proximity of this weeks Byron Nelson is pretty close to next weeks PGA Championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The course this week is TPC Craig Ranch and this will be the second time we see it as last year was it’s first hosting of it.  Look for the Draftkings pricing to come out for next week’s major about Wednesday or Thursday this week, but first let’s win some cash this week.  Best of luck my friends!

Jeff’s Strategy & Core- AT&T Byron Nelson

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We have a couple of results we can analyze for TPC Craig Ranch.  First is obviously last year’s event, which will be included on our Tournament History Page.  You can also look back at a couple of Korn Ferry Tour events (2008 and 2012) if you really want to dive deep.  A couple of names pop out from those events.

TPC Craig Ranch’s golf course was designed by Tom Weiskopf.  It is a par-72 and is 7,438 yards.  It has lush Zoysia fairways and Bentgrass greens. Rowlett Creek crosses the course 14 times, so there is some trouble throughout.  It is a flat course with wide fairways, and large greens.

For using our course comp tool, I will be using the following inputs- (all green speeds, wide fairway width, short/medium rough length, and easy/average scoring.

TPC Summerlin (Shriners)

The Old White TPC (Greenbrier)

Trinity Forest (ATT Byron Nelson)

Sheshan (WGG-HSBC)

Liberty National (Northern Trust)

Keene Trace (Barbasol)

Muirfield (Memorial)

Although Trinity Forest had bermuda greens, it was located close by in Dallas, had Zoysia fairways, wide open fairways, almost identical length, and had very similar scoring to this course last year.  It hosted this event in 2018 and 2019 and I think it is worth a look at the leaderboards those two years.

My FGI Model will look like this- 50% Current Form, 30% Key Stats, 15% Vegas, and 5% Course History. Current Form- 10% Last 52 weeks, 50% Last 13 weeks, 25% Last 2 weeks, and 15% Last 1 week.  For Stats- 20% SG:T2G, 8% SG:OTT, 12% SG:APP, 20% SG:P, 5% DD, 8% PROX, 5% Par 5, 15% BOB%, and 7% SCRAM.

As you can see I am putting more emphasis on driving distance this week and especially strokes gained off the tee.

I am going back to my guy Justin Thomas this week, mostly because of the style of course we have.  JT is going to be able to bomb away on these open fairways and then take advantage of his very accurate approach game on these large greens.  On the tighter courses that he has played this year (Harbourtown, TPC Sawgrass) have come his worst results.  His tee to green game is so deadly (4th in SG:T2G, 17th in SG:OTT, and 5th in SG:APP over his last 16 rounds). Even his putter, which has been his kryptonite this year has not been the worst lately ranking 30th in SG:P. 35-38% should put me close to 2X the field.

I have to admit I have been slightly baffled by Xander Schauffele this season.  I was overweight him and Cantlay when they won at Zurich and had a large stake in his T3 in Phoenix, but he stung me at both The Masters and at The Players with missed cuts.  His stats look fine, with exception of his putter (6th in SG:T2G, 21st in SG:APP, and 62nd in SG:P).  Throughout his career he has been an exceptional putter, so when that returns, he is going to be in contention every week and in majors like I predicted at the start of the year in my Crystal Ball Article.  He is slightly better on bentgrass (.057) and I like him better than Hideki, Spieth, and DJ who are all priced above him.  I am going to keep loading up on Xander in most every event because I think he is so massively talented.  34-36%.

Pardon me if I sound like a broken record, but Will Zalatoris is going to win this week.  It’s not like he has been far off this year, as he has a T6 at AMEX, runner-up at Farmers, and T6 at Augusta.  This is another wide open course and his precision irons are going to help separate him from the field.  Over his last 24 rounds he ranks 1st in SG:T2G, 2nd in SG:OTT, and 1st in SG:APP.  He is locked in right now and he saw this course last year when he finished T17.  I would be absolutely shocked if he does not win this year, and this week seems like a really good opportunity.  40-42%

Having just a spectacular year, Joaquin Niemann has is now up to #16 in the world.  Big finishes of T5 at Mayakoba, T6 at Farmers, T8 in Saudi Arabia, a win at Riviera, and even in his last event played a T12 at Harbourtown.  Over his last 24 rounds he ranks 2nd in SG:T2G, 14th in SG:OTT,  and 11th in SG:APP.  I really like this course fit for Niemann this week and the price is reasonable.   He will no doubt have plenty of owners, so this is not a contrarian play, but I can be contrarian elsewhere, 35-37%.

The highest ranked $8k guy in my FGI Model this week is Talor Gooch (7th).  So far in 2022 Gooch has five Top 20 finishes in 10 events played with best finish of T7 at Bay Hill.  He won the RSM in the fall and over his last 24 rounds played he ranks 31st in SG:T2G and 35th in SG:APP.  He has not been great with the putter (85th), but we know that is not the strength of his game, so if he gains even a slight amount of strokes on the field with the flat stick he will be ok.  He finished T39 here last year.  He should be owned in the low teens, so I will own 26-28% to be 2X the field.

I really like the form for Aaron Wise recently so sign me up for some shares.  T17 at Bay Hill, T21 at Harbourtown, and T7 at the Mexico Open over the past month and a half.  Now he gets a wide open course and he has had success on wide open courses in his career, including Trinity Forest where he won this event in 2018.  His tee to green stats have been spot on ranking 7th in SG:T2G, 8th in SG:OTT, and 8th in SG:APP over his last 24 rounds.  He played here last year and finished T55, but was not in nearly as good of form as he is right now.  I put an outright on him as well this week, because I like him quite a bit.  28-30%

Adam Hadwin has caught fire, made six out of his last seven cuts, with no worse finish than T26, and three Top 10s (T9 at The Players, T7 at Valspar, and T4 at Valero).  Over his last 16 rounds he ranks 5th in SG:T2G, 3rd in SG:APP, 15th in SG:ATG, and 33rd in SG:P. Playing terrific all around golf, Hadwin who is usually a better putter than he has been lately is even better on bentgrass gaining .422 strokes on the field.  This is a really great value play at $8k.  32-34%

A disappointing result at Harbourtown (T42) for Alex Noren, who I liked in that event.  It was still another made cut, which made 8 in a row for him.  He has recorded four Top 20 finishes and two Top 10s this year (T7 in Phoenix and T5 at Honda).  He is been a complete player this year and over his last 24 rounds ranks 17th in SG:T2G, 7th in SG:APP, and 11th in SG:P.  I really like his form and he finished a respectable T21 here at TPC Craig Ranch last year.  28-30%

It pains me a little bit to have him in my core, because he has rarely been good to me, but too many things point toward Marc Leishman this week.  He finished T21 here last year and runner-up at comp course Trinity Forest in 2018.  He missed the cut last week in the weather debacle, but finished a respectable albeit not amazing T30 at Augusta.  He has had some success on other comp courses throughout his career as well.  This price seems a little light as well, so I will own 22-24%.

I am always trying to be early on guys who are starting to trend, before they attract too much attention and I think Lanto Griffin might be a decent candidate this week.  Over his last eight rounds he has gained strokes from tee to green in all eight rounds.  He has also gained strokes off the tee and in the approach game in seven of those eight rounds.  In those two events he has finished T15 and T6.  Griffin has actually been a good putter over his career, but that has been the worst part of his game most recently, which is interesting.  If that bounces back and he does putt better on bentgrass, then he could contend.  25-28%

Sepp Straka missed the cut last week at Wells Fargo, but it was only by one stroke and he shot a couple respectable rounds (70 and 71) on a challenging course in tough conditions.  He has strung together four in a row and 10 out of 11 before last week’s mc.  He has a win at Honda, a T9 at The Players, and T3 at Harbourtown in 2022.  He ranks 28th in SG:T2G, 22nd in SG:OTT, and 7th in SG:P over his last 24 rounds.  He finished T26 here last year and his form easily gets him into my core this week.  24-26%

Consistent Top 30 golf from Sebastian Munoz over the past couple of months.  Although a Top 30 is not what we are striving for to win GPPs, I do not think he is far off from a Top 10, which is what we need.  Over his last 16 rounds he ranks 12th in SG:T2G, 6th in SG:OTT< and 39th in SG:APP.  He has struggled with the putter a bit, which is a concern, although he has gained strokes on the field on the greens in five of his last seven rounds, so it might be coming around.  He finished T55 on this course last year and did T10 at Trinity Forest in 2019.  I am going to have a lot of exposure in this mid to high $7k range.  26-28% Munoz.

Keith Mitchell fell to pieces in his 2nd round last week at TPC Potomac as the conditions were brutal.  He had finished Top 15 in four of his previous five stroke play events before that, so I am going to give him a pass.  Over his last 24 rounds he ranks 8th in SG:T2G, 1st in SG:OTT, and even 37th in SG:P, which is not normally a strength of his game.  There is always talk about how much better he is on bemuda greens, but the data says he is only slightly better (.054)  I like Keith on a wide open golf course where he can take advantage of his distance off the tee.  He finished T26 here last year.  28-32%

Four straight made cuts for Wyndham Clark who strings together made cuts and also missed cuts in bunches.  He finished T39 here last year.  The strength of Clark;s game recently has been in the approach where he has gained strokes on the field in seven of his last eight rounds played.  He is a bomber off the tee, but also a good putter, which is a really good combination at this course.  Clark is also a much better putter on bentgrass than other grass (.536 vs .234). Decent option in the $6k range.  14-16%

For a deep dive a cap saver, one of my favorites is Adam Schenk.  Although he has made only two cuts in his last seven events those two cuts have resulted in a T7 and a T9 finish.  He finished T34 here last year and he putts .38 strokes better on bentgrass.  Worth 12%

 

Thomas $10.600

Schauffele $9,700

Zalatoris $9,400

Niemann $9,300

Gooch $8,600

Wise $8,100

Hadwin $8,000

Noren $7,900

Leishman $7,800

Griffin $7,700

Straka $7,600

Munoz $7,600

Mitchell $7,500

W Clark $6,900

Schenk $6,500

 

A few low owned/low priced guys I will own at 10% or less:

Norris $7,200. A couple of wins on obscure tours (Japan and Africa, but also some nice finishes on the DP Tour over the past year.  Nobody will own him, so worth 8-10%.

Wolff $7,200.  Massively talented, it is always just a matter of his mental state in a given week and even round to round.  Last week he managed a T25 finish in large part to a spectacular first round 65.  I doubt he will garner much ownership so I am willing to part with 8%.

Theegala $7,100.  On tighter fairway courses like Harbourtown or Copperhead, I will take a hard pass on Theegala who usually has accuracy issues off the tee.  On courses that are more forgiving, he comes back into play for me. I will own 10% this week.

Jaeger $6,900. Really good in his last two events T15 and T6) and has been killing it from tee to green (5th in SG:T2G).

Lebioda $6,700

Jeff Bergerson
By Jeff Bergerson May 9, 2022 23:24

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