It’s been a week wrapped in mystery for the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch, but while I still don’t have the confidence to back up this card with substantial units, I have to say I feel a lot better about the profile for this course today than when the week started. All reports from players with experience here indicate that the fairways are wide and hard to miss, the rough is not penal, and the field is going to pound these greens in regulation, so it should come down to a birdie fest putting contest. One factor to keep an eye out for however is the rain, as if the conditions get wetter, that’s going to put an even heavier emphasis on Driving Carry Distance, assuming these fairways offer little to no roll out.
Much like what I expect from the top players in the field this week, I am treating this card as a little tune up for the PGA Championship, so units are fairly low and the DFS lineups will be minimal. That said, there’s still plenty to sweat this week from the bomb range guys, so let’s dive into the card recap!
- Will Zalatoris +3000
- Charl Schwartzel +7000
- Thomas Pieters +7000
- Carlos Ortiz +8000
- Sebastian Munoz +12000
As if this card were hand selected by Mr. Worldwide himself, we’ve got some International Love all over the map this week.
I don’t want to put a ton of units into this week, but I’m still very interested to follow along, so I picked one guy at the top of the board I expect to win (Zalatoris) and spread some lower units across the 70/1+ range if things get wild to keep it interesting. Pieters, Ortiz, and Munoz are all players I wrote about in Bombs & Values and the Tournament Preview. Schwartzel is a player who grew on me over the course of the week the more I looked into Bent grass putting specialists, as I do really feel as though the player who can gain the most strokes APP + P this week is going to win. Schwartzel has gained over 11 strokes on Approach in his last two outings, so he profiles to stay hot and make another run at the Byron Nelson this week.
- Thomas Pieters +320
- Patton Kizzire +420
- Sung Kang (T20) +900
I’m going to have a lot of exposure to Thomas Pieters this week between outrights, placements, and DFS. For a player who we rarely get to see on the PGA Tour, he sure does feel safe this week with 5 consecutive T15 finishes if you count his most recent start at the Zurich Classic team play event with Tom Lewis. Kizzire is a player that just missed my outright card, but I just love his combination of above-average distance, good approach, and elite putting. He’s lost strokes OTT in 9 consecutive events due to his lack of accuracy, but if the fairways here as as wide as they’re reported to be, it should neutralize the field OTT and allow him to shine from fairway to green.
It’s a home game for Sung Kang and I don’t think these T20 odds are accurately reflecting that for the reigning AT&T Byron Nelson champion, McKinney, Texas resident, and TPC Craig Ranch member. Everything is trending in Kang’s favor in that regard, with the exception of…his all around recent form. Sometimes the comfortability of a familiar course is all a player needs to snap back into form, and at these odds, I think it’s worth the gamble.
First Round Leader
- Sam Burns +5000
- Sebastian Munoz +8000
- Patton Kizzire +9000
- Wyndham Clark +10000
- Rory Sabbatini +10000
I’ve made a living in the 60/1+ FRL range practically all year, but 50/1 on Sam Burns who returns to a course he once torched in Q School with the PGA victory monkey finally off his back is too juicy to pass up. I continue to never know when is and is not the right time to play Burns in DFS or on my card, so a little FRL action seems to be a nice consolation to get exposure to him, if he does continue to stay hot.
Normally I would gloss over the Munoz auto-bet, but this week there is actually some strategy to back it up. The last time we saw Sebastian Munoz on a pure birdie fest TPC course, he birdied the first 7 holes (!) at TPC Boston in the 2020 Northern Trust. Few players on Tour can string together birdie streaks like Munoz, and when you throw the Mean Green alumnus into the University of North Texas’ backyard at TPC Craig Ranch, I expect fireworks. Kizzire, Clark, and Sabbatini also each fit the profile of players who have gone low on comp courses and can string together birdie or better streaks.
One And Done
- Daniel Berger
Daniel Berger is #1 in my model this week, he profiles perfectly here as a long-hitting, premium ball striker who specializes on Bent greens, and he won at the Charles Schwab Challenge in his last trip to play on Texas Bent greens. I don’t expect to see Berger sub-20/1 for the rest of the season, and he happens to already be the second most used player in the Mayo Cup at 54%, so I think this will be a good leverage spot. Unlike the rest of the top names, I think Berger came to win this week and prove himself as a top-tier player on the PGA Tour.
- Thomas Pieters ($8,600)
- Carlos Ortiz ($7,800)
- Sebastian Munoz ($7,600)
Why not throw a little correlation in your lineups this week? I have a strong hunch with Munoz given his birdie making ability, proven recent success at Texas courses, and familiarity with TPC Craig Ranch through his collegiate career down the road at University of North Texas. While I may have slightly more conviction in Munoz this week, his UNT teammate has the same three factors going for him too, and profiles as a bomber, birdie maker who can putt. At the last Byron Nelson contest in 2019, these two finished T10 and T12, so I’m going right back to the Mean Green correlation stack in 2021 once again. With Thomas Pieters, we’re getting a bomber who’s gaining strokes across all major categories and rides in with 5 consecutive T15 finishes if you count his most recent start at the Zurich Classic. At $8,600, that sounds like a chalk play, but given the lack of substantial SG data on him between Tours, I think he goes overlooked at this price, in-between other popular plays in the $9K and $8K range.