The First Tee – AT&T Byron Nelson by Adam Daly

Fantasy Golf Insider Staff
By Fantasy Golf Insider Staff May 15, 2017 23:28

The First Tee – AT&T Byron Nelson by Adam Daly

After the predictable Si Woo Kim win, it’s time to leave the majesty (and boredom) of the PLAYERS to roll into the course that 14% of PGA Tour players think is the worst course on Tour (per Golf.com’s anonymous player poll).  That course is TPC Four Seasons, for the AT&T Byron Nelson.

This Week

The Course

The AT&T Byron Nelson is played at the aforementioned TPC Four Seasons, and is another pretty standard stop during the lull between majors (this week put the nail in the coffin of the PLAYERS as a “fifth major”).  The event is played in Dallas/Fort Worth, and is thankfully the last time this event will be played here – 2018 will see the event moved to Trinity Forest Golf Club in Dallas.

The Jay Morrish-designed course (renovated in 2008 by Weibring and Wolford) is a short one, listed at only 7,166 yards as a par-70, with two easy par-5s and four relatively easy par-3s. In 2016, there were 24 eagles made on the two par-5s (31 eagles in total), so look for golfers to take advantage there; that year there were only 69 nice bogeys or worse made on the par-5s, but with only two of them on the course it won’t make sense to focus on par-5 scoring.

The par-3s range from 174 yards to 221 yards, two of which are typically played below par – the 221 yard 2nd and 198 yard 17th have both played slightly above.

Off the tee, players are looking at fairly narrow fairways, especially on the front nine where the average width is just 26.6 yards across – historically, only 54% of fairways are hit here. It’s actually a fairly tough course to navigate off the tee, even looking beyond the fairway width; there are a handful of holes at TPC Four Seasons that have the fairways tighten up quickly, which will definitely take driver out of the hands even for a shorter course. The par-4 4th (7th hardest hole) is a good example of why controlling distance off the tee will be important – 30 yards wide at 250 yards, it quickly narrows down to just 18 yards wide for golfers driving it over 300.

After the first shot is where success will be found here, as this course is so much about second shots. Ball-strikers that can find the greens in regulation are typically the winners here (Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner as examples), and with a lower than average GIR % on this course it’s a good place to start course research. Another reason why getting on the green with two opportunities to sink a putt is that the slower (11 on the stimp) bentgrass greens can be extra tricky – they’re undulating, and sloped to not let the ball hold. The weather before the cut is expected to be dry but windy, which means the greens should stay firm, but they’ll soften with all the expected wind on the weekend.

A small note on weather: it’s typically windy or rainy here, and in 2015 that caused the par-4 14th to be played as a par-3. Check twitter and the weekly FGI email if there are any AM/PM splits to worry about.

Stats

LARGEST CORRELATIONS
Bogey Avoidance 61.70%
Birdie or Better % 61.41%
SG : Tee to Green 60.66%
Scrambling % 47.35%
Greens in Regulation % 45.54%
SG : Putting 44.87%
SG : Approach 42.88%
SG : Off the Tee 33.78%

 

The Strokes Gained stats to focus on in order (not including Tee to Green):

  • Approach
  • Putting
  • Off-The-Tee
  • Around the Green

Counting stats to focus on in order:

  • Bogey Avoidance
  • Birdie or Better %
  • Scrambling %
  • Greens in Regulation %
  • Par-4 Scoring
  • Approaches from 125 – 175 Yards

The Golfers

The Core

Dustin Johnson ($12500): Priced fairly reasonably at $12500 – although a full $1500 more than the next guy – Dustin Johnson is clearly the best player in this field and it’s not close. He was only owned at 15% last week and didn’t come close to paying off his price tag (although a Sunday surge gave him a respectable finish), and with Sergio and a trending-up Brooks Koepka priced at five figures, DJ may see lower ownership than he should have. It’s easy to eat his salary this week with the players below, so here’s how DJ fares in the crucial categories:

  • Bogey Avoidance – 3rd
  • Birdie or Better % – 6th
  • SG: Tee to Green – 1st
  • Par-4 Scoring – 2nd

Johnson has also finished no worse than T12 in his last three years here, and has never missed a cut at TPC Four Seasons.

Zac Blair ($6600): The second-best scrambler on Tour (and best in the field), Blair also sits in an elite group in the Bogey Avoidance category (9th). He’s only played this track twice, missing the cut once, but he finished T16 in his debut here in 2015. Blair is one of the better putters on Tour (30th), and is nails from the key 150-175 yard approach that’s prevalent here, ranking 25th with a 25’6” average proximity. Although his Strokes Gained numbers are uglier than expected, a large part of that comes from the fact that Blair just doesn’t drive the ball far – he’s averaging 271 yards off the tee this season. As a shorter hitter both with the driver and his irons, Blair can’t seem to catch up on the field at longer courses, which on paper makes him look atrocious – but he is deadly accurate, so it’s not all bad. In fact, Blair currently sits 13th in Par-4 Scoring (3.98 average), which is the bread and butter of the week.

The Utah native is entering the week off of a MC at the PLAYERS, but in the last two months he’s also finished T12 at the Wells Fargo and T8 in Houston. He makes great salary relief for DJ, and could find himself with a top-25 this week.

John Huh ($6500): Another cheap option that could find some success and a top-25 finish, John Huh makes an excellent option for those looking for salary relief. He’s built much the same way as Zac Blair, in that he’s excellent and scrambling (4th), and avoiding bogeys (12th), but lacks distance off the tee (average of 287.8 yards). Again like Blair, John Huh is also very accurate off the tee, and this is a course where a lack of distance won’t hurt and it’s a key to put the ball at the right yardage. He doesn’t make as many birdies as one would like for DK scoring, but on a course where there aren’t that many birdies to go around, he’s a fine play – he also checks off the Par-4 Scoring box, with an average of 3.99 (22nd). Huh also missed the cut last week, but had fine finishes at Valero (T22) and Valspar (T9). He’s had an 8th and 16th place finish here (2013 and 2014 respectively), but missed the cut last year.

You can follow me on Twitter @adalyfrey, and if there’s something you’d like to see change in this column my DMs are open! Good luck this week

Fantasy Golf Insider Staff
By Fantasy Golf Insider Staff May 15, 2017 23:28

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