The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Byron Nelson Championship

Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte May 8, 2019 02:24

The Daily Spin – DraftKings Daily Fantasy Golf Preview – Byron Nelson Championship

Quail Hollow wore me out last week. Each day, it seemed like somebody new gave up, kicked it in and left the tournament in an ugly manner. Thursday morning is always the most excruciating portion of each tournament for me. My goal is to check in with my players on the PGA Tour app early in the afternoon with the hope that a key member of my teams is not DOA. It’s shocking when I do not have at least one important player in early trouble, but last week was lower than usual. After scrolling up and down the leaderboard a couple of times, I realized that I could not locate Sam Burns anywhere. After the second time scrolling through, I knew what I needed to do and began to scroll past all of the players that had yet to tee off and of course, what did I see there at the bottom of the board, but a big, ugly WD next to S. Burns.

It felt appropriate that Burns collapsed in that spot. It’s rare that I use someone like him in a cash game lineup, but in a week like last, my strategy was to use four players that I thought were really solid and had no chance of missing the cut and then to pair them with two players in the low $7k range, Matt Jones and Sam Burns. I figured Jones or Burns would make it through at a minimum and that I should have five players getting to the weekend at an event that I expected plenty of carnage from over the course of four rounds. While I did get Jones through the cut the plan for the other four failed in miserable fashion with both Phil Mickelson and the usually dependable Charles Howell III missing the cut badly on Friday and torpedoing any hopes that I had of limping to the cash line for the week.

However, I thought to myself, why let the weekend end on a sour note. Why not build a weekend lineup and see if we can stem the blood loss a bit and get back into feeling good going into the Byron Nelson Championship? Some weekends, it is just best to let things go and move on to the next tournament. I used Gary Woodland for my weekend roster and got to enjoy the rare weekend withdrawal from one of the better players in the field, striking that team dead before we even made it to Sunday. In all, JB Holmes, Sam Burns, Gary Woodland and Byeong Hun An all withdrew from the field during the tournament making it one of the more landmine heavy fields of the season so far. With fields that are on the softer side, this is not something that is too surprising and one of the reasons why it is important to have a plan that you can execute before simply playing the same amount of your bankroll every week. I bring this up as it is a great lead in to our tournament this week, the Byron Nelson Championship.

There are a number of items worth noting before we get too deep into strategy for the week. First, the PGA Championship is next week. What that means is that the players in the top salary tier are going to be in Dallas, but it is likely that at least a few of them will have their minds on next week and use this week to get their game tuned up. Now, if one of these players happens to find their way into contention come the weekend, the $1 mil plus 1st place prize should be enough to keep their interest, but we do tend to see some of the bigger names use events like this to simply stay warm for the coming week. On the other hand, if there is a major out there that players would be a little less fired up for than the others, the PGA Championship certainly sits at the bottom of the four majors. I have yet to ever meet a player or golf fan that listed the PGA Championship as their favorite major. If you ever happen to meet such a person, let them know that they are a miserable human being. All humor aside, this year is a little different with the event being played at Bethpage Black and Tiger entering it as the favorite coming off of his win at Augusta. It is also as deep of a field as we will see all year so while this is typically a major that feels like a little bit of a letdown, given all of the factors in place this season, I am much more excited for it than normal.

Before we get to Bethpage, we do have to get some work done at Trinity Forest in Dallas this week. This will mark the second year that the tour has stopped here and last year, we learned very quickly how the course would play compared to other links style courses that have popped up over the years on tour. Whenever I think of links style courses, my first thought is to always ask, is this an American links style course or the more traditional European style that we see each year for The Open Championship. We have seen plenty of links style courses in the US over the last few years, particularly at the US Open with Chambers Bay, Erin Hills and Shinnecock Hills all playing host recently. The American courses are long, with wide open, rolling fairways that can play firm, unless rain is a factor, which it will be this week. There is little rough, but missing the fairways at these types of courses means that you are hitting out of thick, long grass which means those misses can be penal. Typically, the winds are the biggest defense for these types of courses. When it is not a factor, like at Erin Hills in 2017, you can expect a lot of scoring, but it conditions are bad, it does not take more than a few errant tee shots to destroy a round.

The course this week is a Par 71 and plays at around 7,400 yards. Last year, drier conditions led to firmer fairways which allowed for the shorter hitters off the tee to make up some of the ground normally lost to the bombers. That should not be the case this week as it has been a very rainy spring and even this week that has continued and could continue into the tournament. The softer fairways should allow for the bombers to have a bigger advantage than they had a year ago and the winds, while looking moderate for the week, should not be so bad that it affects scoring to a large degree. Approach play will be key this week as everyone will be in the fairways. If you are looking at the bombers, make sure their short iron play is ready to go. If you are looking at the shorter hitters, be sure their mid range iron play is a strong suit. The greens here are large and have a great deal of undulation. They are Bermuda grass, but play very slow in comparison to what we’ve seen in recent weeks. Poor putters should see their game elevated and last year, those folks who struggle with the flat stick did not have a lot of problems scoring so long as their tee to green game was sharp. I will be looking for a good mix of both short and long hitters off the tee this week, but mostly just sticking with the basics this week in terms of solid tee to green play, golfers that have been strong on similar links style courses in the past and a mix of local golfers with Texas connections as well as our favorite South African and Australian players who tend to play consistently strong golf on Texas courses.

Key Stats

Strokes Gained Tee to Green: 30%
Strokes Gained Putting: 25%
Birdie or Better Percentage: 15%
Scrambling: 15%
Par 5 Scoring: 10%
Driving Distance: 5%

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Zachary Turcotte
By Zachary Turcotte May 8, 2019 02:24

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