Daily Fantasy Golf Course Primer: AT&T Byron Nelson
After a week at one of the PGA Tour's signature non-majors, we head to Texas this week for one that is...not exactly that. The overmatched Trinity Forest has been put out to pasture in favor of TPC Craig Ranch, a 7,468-yard par 72 located just outside Dallas, Texas.
With the PGA Championship on deck, we have an extremely top-heavy field to break down. A handful of elite players are in the field for a tune-up before Kiawah Island, though we can't rule out a high-profile withdrawal later this week if one of them arrives on-site and feels like it isn't their kind of course. One man who will definitely be sticking around is Dallas resident Bryson DeChambeau, who was so eager to get back to his home state that he left Charlotte expecting to have missed the cut, only to make it on the number and end up finishing T9.
Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm make it three of the top four golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking teeing it up this week. In all, 12 of the top 30 are in the field, including Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama in his first start since winning the green jacket.
TPC Craig Ranch was designed by Arnold Palmer and has been the site of two Korn Ferry Tour Championships, in 2008 and 2012. Rowlett Creek snakes through the course, crossing 14 times. Golfers will face a variety of looks off the tee, with some holes heavily tree-lined along the fairway and others more open but with native grasses that can swallow up wayward tee shots.
Some rain in the early part of the week should soften things up a bit, and if that holds, we may see early-Thursday tee times take advantage of the friendly conditions before things dry up. The weather is always likely to change, but if eyeing first-round leader or single-round DFS contests, the early lean is to look to early tee times on Thursday.
Let's dig into the course and see what stats we can use to build our daily fantasy lineups this week.
Course and Tournament Info
Course: TPC Craig Ranch
Distance: 7,468 yards
Fairways/Rough: Zoysiagrass fairways, bermudagrass in rough
The scorecard lists with all four par 5s as measuring less than 570 yards, making them ripe for birdies this week. Two other scoring chances will be the short par 4s, the 361-yard 6th, and the 330-yard 14th. The remaining par 4s are an unremarkable mix, with four on each side of 475 yards. The three par 3s are over 215 yards, with the 147-yard 17th the lone exception.
Both the front and back nines close with a reachable par 5 that brings Rowlett Creek into play, which should make for an exciting cut sweat and, hopefully, Sunday finish. Scoring got kind of silly at Trinity Forest, but we can still expect the winner to pile up loads of birdies and approach the 18-under to 20-under par final score.
Comparisons are hard to come by with no history, but we can't help but eye Texas venues like GC of Houston (old Houston Open venue) and TPC San Antonio - AT&T Oaks (Valero Texas Open). Thinking outside the box, a variety of looks off the tee and a creek running through the course calls to mind Muirfield Village Golf Club (the Memorial).
With a five-year commitment and a less-than-ideal slot on the calendar right before a major, TPC Craig Ranch faces a lot of pressure to put on a good event. The rain tormented Trinity Forest, but a more traditional layout will hopefully give this event a facelift.
These stats have proven vital to success in the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch.
|Key Stats for the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch
|Strokes Gained: Tee to Green
|Strokes Gained: Approach
|Birdies or Better Gained
|Strokes Gained: Par 5s
|Strokes Gained: Putting (Bentgrass)
With no history to go off, we have to stick to a fairly vanilla formula this week and isolate the most consistent performers and look for the best values in DFS and betting. Strokes gained: tee to green with added weight to approach is always a good starting point to find golfers who are consistently beating the field in the repeatable parts of the game.
Once they get on the green, making birdies is the name of the game, and often enough that comes down to putting. After a few weeks on bermuda greens in Texas and Florida, the field will see bentgrass for the first time since The Masters, and we'll bet those greens aren't exactly a carbon copy for TPC Craig Ranch.
Par 5 scoring on par 72 courses is almost an automatic add, and unlike last week, there are no 600-yard behemoths to contend with. If you aren't scoring on these holes, the opportunities are few and far between.
Course History Studs
As mentioned above, the only two professional events held at this course were the 2008 and 2012 Korn Ferry Tour Championships. While we can't gain much from one tournament about a decade ago, notable players who participated in those events and are in this week's field include Marc Leishman in 2008 and James Hahn, Luke List, Ben Martin, Brice Garnett, Cameron Percy, Robert Streb, Rob Oppenheim, Joseph Bramlett, Fabian Gomez, Tim Wilkinson, Hudson Swafford, Brian Stuard, and Shawn Stefani.
Mike Rodden is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Mike Rodden also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mike_rodden. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.