AT&T Byron Nelson Bombs & Values

2021 AT&T Byron Nelson Bombs & Values: The 3 Best Value Plays For Your DFS Lineups and Betting Cards

We are back for another edition of Bombs & Values for the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson! This article has bred the 36-hole leader in consecutive weeks with Max Homa (75/1) at the Valspar and Patrick Rodgers (250/1) at Wells Fargo. That doesn’t really mean anything because Homa dwindled out of contention on Sunday and Rodgers catapulted himself to the very bottom of the leaderboard with two Saturday Triple Bogeys. But the point is, there has been plenty of hope and promise to come out of the longshot research lately and I’m hoping we get another sweat from the bottom of the board this time again at TPC Craig Ranch.

Any piece of content you read this week should be prefaced with, “We’re really making our best guess, but…”. TPC Craig Ranch hasn’t hosted an event since the 2012 Web.com Tour Championship and there is absolutely no SG data to go off of. Early reports from the course are suggesting more of a premium on Driving Distance and less on Driving Accuracy. There’s also been growing discussion that this may end up being another Byron Nelson Birdie Fest, so if Greens In Regulation are reachable for the wider field, I expect this will come down to a putting contest. With the amount of uncertainty, I’ve reduced this article from the usual 5 Bombs & Values down to 3 each, but based on value alone, these guys should make a viable case to be in your lineups and cards.

DFS Values

Rory Sabbatini switches allegiance to... Slovakia? - Golf365

Pricing from Draft Kings

Patton Kizzire ($7,300)

Quail Hollow and TPC Craig Ranch in many ways are complete opposites. The latter features large fairways and forgiveness off the tee to go along with very approachable greens, presumably leading to some very low scores. Quail Hollow has annually proven to be one of the most challenging courses to score at on the PGA Tour, and features a myriad of hazardous elements. One thing they do have in common however, is an emphasis on approach from 175-200 and 200+ yards, as both courses are 7,400+ yards long. Long iron approach is what Kizzire does best, joining Bryson DeChambeau as the only two players in this field to rank T10 in proximity from both ranges.

Kizzire ranks #21 SG: P in this field, so if this becomes a birdie fest, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to convert. The weakness in his game has been SG: OTT, having lost strokes OTT in 9 consecutive events. But Kizzire is above average with his driving distance, so the strokes he’s losing OTT are coming primarily from his lack of accuracy, which ranks 128th. Even still, he’s proven he can hit greens in regulation at a high clip (25th in the field), so a track with extraordinarily wide fairways should play to Kizzire’s advantage and level the playing field off the tee. If he continues to reach greens in regulation, he’ll put himself in position to go low for four days at TPC Craig Ranch.

Truthfully, I don’t feel the need to go any lower than Kizzire with my DFS lineup construction this week, as I’m eying a balanced build. I think his combination of long distance proximity and putting prowess present a relatively high floor and high ceiling for this week.

Rory Sabbatini ($6,800)

Rory’s are so hot right now, what would be more appropriate than to back up a Rory McIlroy win with another victory from Rory Sabbatini? I’d love to get back to the point where you need to specify who exactly you’re talking about when you talk up “Rory”.

Sabbatini, the former Dallas-Fort Worth resident, has a stellar track record at Texas events over the last 5 years, good for 6th in the field in my patented SG: Texas model (SG: TOT at any event contested in Texas). To me, players who have familiarity with a particular region and consistent success there year over year seem to be pretty safe and repeatable to go to if you’re just looking for a cut-maker floor. His latest finishes in the state of Texas include a T30 at the 2021 Valero Texas Open, T14 at the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge, T6 at the 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge, and T5 at the previous AT&T Byron Nelson in 2019. You’d have to go back to the 2017 Fort Worth Invitational to find the last time Sabbatini did not make it through the cut in Texas.

I also found it encouraging that, although Rory missed the cut at the WMPO this year, he shot the second lowest round of the day on Friday with a 7-under 64, proving that he can go low on a Tom Weiskopf designed course. While his SG stats don’t jump off the page, I love that he has the ability to get a hot, streaky putter, recently gaining 7.6 strokes on the greens his last trip to Texas for the Valero Texas Open.

Sabbatini’s game profiles well for a FRL flyer, and if the consistent Texas form continues, he’s worth the gamble in DFS for salary relief.

Kramer Hickok ($6,700)

“Kramer Hickok makes a lot of sense this week” is a phrase I uttered to myself today for assuredly the first time ever. He’s a local Texas guy, was born in Austin, and played for the University of Texas. He’s strung together back to back strong T2G weeks at the Wells Fargo and Valspar, but a cold putter has stalled him from converting those outings into strong finishes. Considering he gained 2.3 strokes putting at Valero and 4.8 strokes putting at THE PLAYERS, I’m optimistic he piece those two elements of T2G and Putting together this week.

Hickock has above average distance off the tee (73rd) and precise accuracy with the driver (6th), which is good for 38th in this field SG: OTT. He’s built up a streak of 7 straight events losing strokes on Approach from The AmEx through Valero, however has since gained strokes on Approach in 6 of his last 8 individual rounds. If the Approach play continues to trend up to go along with his strong OTT game and ability to get a streaky putter, Hickock could present sneaky value this week in the $6K range.

Kramer? Texas?

Betting Bombs

Carlos Ortiz holds off Dustin Johnson to win Houston Open

Thomas Pieters (+7000)

Pieters was the odds on pre-tournament favorite to win the Corales Championship in March, which happens to be his most recent PGA Tour start. He went on to finish T13 that week, so it’s a bit surprising to see him dip down into the bombs range for the AT&T Byron Nelson this week. I know, I know, the strength of field at the Corales Championship pales in comparison to this Byron Nelson field which includes 16 of the top 50 OWGR ranked players in the world. But Pieters has proven he can compete regardless of the field he’s up against, with 9 T30 finishes in his last 11 PGA Tour starts dating back to July 2018.

Pieters showed the ability to go low on a long course last we saw him at Winged Foot with an impressive opening round 66 at the 2020 US Open, and he went on to finish a respectable T23. TPC Craig Ranch may prove to play the opposite of Winged Foot, as it is looking like a birdie fest with very playable rough, but it’s reassuring to see how Pieters held his own the last time he was in a formidable field. And if you’re looking for history at birdie fests, his two most recent PGA Tour outings include a T15 at the Puerto Rico Open to go along with the aforementioned T13 at Corales.

Pieters has had a rock solid 2021 season split between the PGA and Euro Tours so far, with 0 missed cuts and 6 T30s in his first 7 starts of the year. He’s also riding in with 4 consecutive T15-or-better finishes between the two Tours. He has a well balanced game, gaining strokes on average across all categories (OTT, APP, ARG, P) for the season, and has the Driving Distance (#30 in the field) to take advantage of the gettable Par 5s this week. From a pure talent perspective, Pieters’ game is far more complete than the other players in this 70/1 range like Aaron Wise, Alex Noren, and Luke List, so I love the upside for his price in this spot.

Carlos Ortiz (+8000)

I’ve already talked about UNT stud, Sebastian Munoz in the Tournament Preview as my spotlight player of the week, but many of the things I love about Munoz ring true for Carlos Ortiz as well. Ortiz’s lone PGA Tour victory came down the road at the 2020 Houston Open last November, and over the last 5 years, he ranks 7th in SG: Texas (SG: TOT at events played in Texas).

Ortiz was my, and many others’, conviction play at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera, and while he did disappointingly miss the cut, we could easily chalk that up to an uncharacteristically poor putting performance. Unfortunately however, that seemed to start a downward spiral, as he missed cuts in 3 of his next 4 events leading into the Wells Fargo. Even though the T65 finish last week doesn’t look sexy, it’s important to note he was towards the top of the leaderboard at -2 heading into Sunday before shooting a field-worst 8-over 79 on Sunday. I’m willing to overlook one bad round of golf, especially at Quail Hollow, and focus on the positives.

Ortiz’s strengths are in his Distance (#16 Driving Distance) and Putting (#8 SG: P), which are pivotal for success at TPC Craig Ranch based on everything we know so far. That distance advantage also has helped him capitalize on long Par 5s, ranking 8th in P5: 550-600 Scoring, a key distance to gain strokes on the field in this week.

The last time Ortiz played a Tom Weiskopf course (TPC Scottsdale), he finished T4, and the last time he played a Stroke Play event in Texas (Houston Open), he won. The collision of those two factors at this week’s tournament would seem to bode well for the North Texas alum.

Sung Kang (+35000)

First things first, Sung Kang is presently a terrible golfer any way you slice it. This is by no means a bet on recent form. If it was though, I would remind you that Kang was towards the top of the leaderboard at the RBC Heritage through 36 holes at -6 before doing his usual Sung Kang thing and ejecting over the weekend for a final T65 finish at +5.

This is a flyer on course history for the AT&T Byron Nelson defending champion, who despite winning this event at a different course (Trinity Forest), is better suited to play TPC Craig Ranch than anyone else in the field this week. That’s because Kang is a McKinney, Texas resident and the only player in the field who is a member at this course. For an event where the course is a complete unknown to the majority of the field, the membership experience should, in theory, give a huge leg up to Kang.

Despite this scene…

…Sung Kang’s putter is the only thing in his bag that’s been kind to him in 2021. He’s gained strokes putting in 3 of his last 4 starts, highlighted by 5 strokes gained last time he saw Texas greens at the Valero Texas Open. If there’s one thing a course member should undoubtedly have an advantage in, it’s reading the greens.

If the speculation of this becoming a birdie-fest, putting contest is true, and most of the field regardless of form are able to hit the greens in regulation, then I’m siding with the TPC Craig Ranch member and whichever putter he hasn’t yet dropkicked into oblivion.