This article is part of our FanDuel PGA series.
AT&T Byron Nelson
Course: TPC Craig Ranch (7,468 yards, par 72)
Winner: $1,458,000 and 500 FedExCup points
After years of the AT&T Byron Nelson struggling to attract the top players in the world, the move to TPC Craig Ranch in 2021 has resulted in a very strong field. It is led by top-five players Jon Rahm and Bryson DeChambeau. Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama will be making his first appearance since winning the green jacket a month ago. Four-time major winner Brooks Koepka will also be making his first start since Augusta alongside three-time major winner and default tournament host Jordan Spieth. Masters runner-up and Dallas native Will Zalatoris will be looking for his first PGA Tour win, while nearby University of Texas standouts Cole Hammer and Pierceson Coody will be in the field via sponsor exemptions. For over 20 years the host course was the TPC Four Seasons for the Byron Nelson, but the PGA Tour decided to take a chance in 2018 and move the event to Trinity Forest Golf Club. It's wide open and linksy-style was interesting to many golf architect enthusiasts, but the fields in 2018 and 2019 ended up being some of the weakest for any event on Tour and the golf course got absolutely eaten up by the players that did tee it up. TPC Craig Ranch is a little more similar looking to typical PGA Tour venues. It has hosted Korn Ferry Tour events in the past along with the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying School. It was announced after the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled last year's tournament, that the AT&T Byron Nelson would be contested for the next five years at TPC Craig Ranch starting in 2021. This will be the players' last tune up before the PGA Championship is contested at Kiawah Island next week, which breaks up the Texas two-step at Colonial the following week. After some expected showers early in the week, weather should be ideal for the first three rounds with very little threat of rain. Storms may impact the final round, however. Winds should be very light on Thursday and Friday, while the weekend should see the breezes kick up to 20 miles per hour.
2020 - None
2019 – Sung Kang (-23)
2018 – Aaron Wise (-23)
2017 – Billy Horschel (-12)
2016 – Sergio Garcia (-15)
2015 – Steven Bowditch (-18)
2014 – Brendon Todd (-14)
2013 – Sangmoon Bae (-13)
2012 – Jason Dufner (-11)
2011 – Keegan Bradley (-3)
Key Stats to Victory
- SG: Approach
- GIR Percentage
- SG: Putting
- Birdie Average
The rain early in the week should soften the course up and it should be prime to welcome a birdie barrage. It is pretty wide open course from the tee, so players should be able to let it rip for the most part. The rough shouldn't be too penal, as it is only expected to be let grow to two inches. Much like Colonial in two weeks time, TPC Craig Ranch features bermudagrass rough and bentgrass greens. Due to the nature of the traditional Texas winds, the greens will only be prepped to run about 11.5 on the Stimpmeter. That should lead to a lot of aggressive putting and a lot of birdies. When this course was held as a Korn Ferry Tour event in the past it was played as a par-71. Now as a stock par-72, it shouldn't be surprising if we see 20+ under-par be the winning score this week. There isn't much course history to go off of obviously, but players who are hitting their irons well and rank high in some of the conversion categories are going to be the type of player who will prevail this week.
FanDuel Value Picks
Bryson DeChambeau ($12,300)
This course kind of has Bryson's name written all over it. The tee shots are not that demanding and he should be able to just wail away for the most part. Dechambeau's iron play is coming around and his putting is very strong for how far he hits it. The 27-year-old ranks 15th in SG: Putting and 1st in SG: Tee-to-green. He's also first in eagle average and ninth in birdie average.
Jordan Spieth ($11,800)
Spieth's T16 as a 16-year-old is still his highest career finish at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Now that they have moved away from TPC Four Seasons and Trinity Forest, Spieth will hope that TPC Craig Ranch gives him a better chance to contend for his second win in Texas this season. Not many have been better ball-striking wise since the start of the year and we know how well he can fill it up with the putter on greens like this. Spieth will be going for his eighth top-15 in his last nine starts.
Daniel Berger ($11,600)
Berger won on greens very similar to these in the first even of the return to play from the COVID-19 break last summer at Colonial. His game should line up very nicely to TPC Craig Ranch, as he ranks 23rd in SG: Approach, 18th in SG: Putting, 16th in GIR percentage, and fifth in birdie average. Berger has finished top-20 in three of his last four starts and has a win earlier this season at Pebble Beach in the other AT&T sponsored tournament.
Scottie Scheffler ($11,200)
The Texan will be excited to play in front of his home fans as his looks for his fifth top-10 and 10th top-25 of the season. Scheffler is one of the best drivers out there, as he is currently leading the Tour in Total Driving. He also ranks 14th in birdie average, 33rd in GIR percentage, and 40th in SG: Around-the-Green. Scheffler is so close to getting that first PGA Tour victory, and there's a decent chance it might happen this week.
Longer Shots with Value
Thomas Pieters ($9,500)
Pieters has been on a roll as of late, going top-15 in each of his last four starts worldwide. Much like DeChambeau, Pieters has a very nice blend of power and putting that I think should lend itself to quite a few birdies this week at TPC Craig Ranch. The Belgian played in the Byron Nelson the last time it was held in 2019 and finished top-25 as well. There's quite a bit of upside with this 29-year-old and this is a bargain price.
Keith Mitchell ($9,300)
Mitchell has really turned it on after a poor start to the season and he still sits at a decent price this week. He has two top-five's over his last three starts and a T17 the last time the Tour was in Texas. Mitchell was the 54-hole leader last week at the Wells Fargo Championship and ranked second in SG: Off-the-tee, 11th in SG: Approach, and 20th in SG: Putting. Ride the Georgia product while he has everything working.
Scott Piercy ($9,000)
Piercy picked up his best finish of the season last week at Quail Hollow with a T11, which was his fourth top-20 of the campaign. Piercy led the field at the Wells Fargo Championship with 21 birdies while also ranking fourth in SG: Tee-to-green and sixth in putts per GIR. The 42-year-old has historically played very well in Texas and has four top-20's in this event alone, including a runner-up last time it was played in 2019 at Trinity Forest.
Patton Kizzire ($8,500)
Kizzire lands at a very nice price this week given the depth of this field. He ranks 23rd in SG: Putting, 12th in putts per GIR, 42nd in GIR percentage, and 46th in birdie average this season. Kizzire is about as reliable as they come in this range to give you four rounds, as he is 15-for-18 with three top-10's and five top-25's this season. He was also T9 the last time the Tour stopped in Texas.
Strategy Tips This Week
Based on a Standard $60K Salary Cap
The top of the heap this week is absolutely stacked. There are quite a few who are playing well right now and have games that should match up well with this new challenge in TPC Craig Ranch. That being said, it feels like the good options fall off a cliff after you start getting under $10,500. I think when you're looking at players to round out your roster with you should be targeting players with a couple strong finishes in their last five starts, since there's not much course history to base things off of. I'd also tend to favor players who can really get it out there, as the tee shots aren't too demanding according to some of the players who have teed it up here before. Lastly, when looking for more bargain picks, I'd look at players who excel with either their irons or putter, as that should lead to quite a few birdies.