Fantasy Golf Picks, Odds, and Predictions for The AT&T Byron Nelson
2018 AT&T Byron Nelson Fantasy Preview
What a difference a hot putter can make….
Webb Simpson, a US Open champion and three-time PGA TOUR winner, has long been viewed as one of the most talented players around, but the anchored putting ban that came into force in 2016 hampered him more than most. Since then, he hadn’t won a sausage.
Until last week, that is. TPC Sawgrass suits his straight hitting game, and the fact that he has improved a million-fold with a traditional putting stroke this season has put the icing on the cake.
Ranking first for Strokes Gained: Putting, Simpson also put on a short game masterclass at the famous venue, and he became a red-hot favorite as early as the 36-hole mark at THE PLAYERS Championship after he opened up a commanding five-shot lead over the field. Just 24 hours later and that lead became a practically unassailable seven shots.
The 32-year-old would eventually close out a four-shot win – his first since October 2013 – and confirmed what we already knew: if this guy could putt, he would go a long way in the game. Make no mistake, Webb is now a live contender for the US Open in a matter of weeks’ time.
This week the Tour heads back to Texas for the AT&T Byron Nelson, which itself is on the move. After setting up residence at the TPC layout since the 1980s, this year the tournament heads to Trinity Forest GC for the first time.
And what an unusual test the players can expect: this is a full throttle Links course, which will be a PGA TOUR first for quite some time, that has been described as a ‘thinking player’s layout.’ How will that impact upon the action this week?
Jordan Spieth of the United States in action during the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
Last Week’s Fantasy Results
For DFS players, last week’s winning combo was Webb Simpson – Xander Schauffele – Brooks Koepka – Tiger Woods.
Brooks hasn’t played a tournament in 4 months due to a wrist injury. Tiger looked lost the week before at Quail Hollow, and Webb? Well, as mentioned earlier Webb hasn’t won on Tour in a very long time. In fact, this week he came in with a sleeper-style price tag of $7,300. So THE PLAYERS brought plenty of surprises all around.
Webb Simpson of the United States celebrates with the winner’s trophy after the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 13, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach,… Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
As for the European Tour, there we saw some more predictable results with five of our six picks saw the weekend including a top 3 and top 6 finish.
The AT&T Byron Nelson 2018 Field
It’s a strangely low-key affair this week, with Texan Jordan Spieth the headline act on his return home.
He will be joined by Sergio Garcia, who showed glimpses of his best form early on at Sawgrass, Matt Kuchar and former AT&T Byron Nelson winner Adam Scott.
Billy Horschel will defend his title in rather different conditions to those in which he won it at TPC Four Seasons, and he will be joined by his Zurich Classic teammate Scott Piercy.
Kelly Kraft and Colt Knost, who came to prominence last week when his joint course record at TPC Sawgrass was equaled by Simpson and Brooks Koepka, will return to home soil having studied at Southern Methodist University.
Sergio Garcia of Spain lines up a putt on the second green during the third round of THE PLAYERS Championship on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on May 12, 2018 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
This Week’s Course Preview
It really is unusual that a golf course with ‘Forest’ in its name is rather lacking in trees!
In fairness, Trinity Forest GC is surrounded by trees but the actually playing surface is almost wholly devoid of them; leaving the layout rather exposed to the traditional Texan winds.
The course only opened in 2016, and is yet to host a professional event of any kind, but from the pictures alone we can see that the layout has been modeled on the famous Links courses in Scotland and England – a fact confirmed by the designers Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw.
The fairways, which have been laid using the Zoysia grass commonly found in Asia and Australia, are undulating and rather winding – their main difference to traditional Links, and these are peppered with deep bunkers that resemble the ‘pot’ hazards found at St Andrews et al. The native grasses that make up the rough have been left to grow rather wild too.
The greens are Bermuda and a number of these are elevated, adding to the complexity of the challenge, and protected by hazards. At least the water is less of a problem this week than it was at Sawgrass.
If you head to the Trinity Forest GC website there is a whole bunch of information to read, including a walk-through with former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy.
Arguably the key takeaway point from the Australian is this: “….Trinity Forest is going to make us use our brains a little bit…you have to work out where your best angles are; one side of the fairway is easy, the other side is going to be difficult…your mistakes are magnified, but your good stuff is magnified as well…sometimes here at Trinity, the pin isn’t necessarily the target…it will be severe with the wrong shot, but very friendly with the right shot…you’ll have fun all day if you hit the right shot.”
This week we’re expecting the course to play as a Par 71, with three Par 5s, at around the 7,380 yard mark.
Weather Forecast for Dallas, TX
It is going to be seriously hot in Dallas this week, and largely free of typically strong Texan winds.
The mercury could hit a decidedly sweltering 98 degrres on Friday, before a bit of extra cloud cover rolls in on Sunday to thankfully cool things down somewhat.
The action kicks off on a calm and warm Thursday, where the wind speeds are unlikely to be any stronger than 8 mph. Friday is likely to be even hotter and bring with it slightly faster winds, with the late starters expected to finish in a 13 mph breeze.
Saturday could be windier still – 16 mph has been forecasted, before a sense of calm sets in on Sunday, with slightly cooler temperatures and a softer breeze aiding what will hopefully be a titanic finish.
Last Year’s Results from The AT&T Byron Nelson
Billy Horschel prospered in a playoff against Jason Day 12 months ago to win his fourth PGA TOUR title.
Billy Ho was never far from the mix, and indeed from the 36-hole mark he ever dropped lower than T2 on the leaderboard. However, it was a case of what might have been for Jason Kokrak, who led by five at the halfway stage before falling out of contention with 72-70.
Horschel and Day were nearly joined in their playoff by James Hahn, who needed to eagle the last to stay in the mix. His approach spun agonizingly close to the hole before lipping out; leaving him a tap-in to secure solo third.
Day missed a four-footer to level the first playoff hole – a real let-off considered how well he has clutch putted in 2018, to hand Horschel his first Tour win since his incredible finale to the 2014 campaign, where he triumphed in a pair of FedExCup events to take the spoils.
Where to Play Fantasy Golf for The AT&T Byron Nelson this Week
A leap into the unknown is a fearful time for DFS gamers, but savvy players will take on board the myriad of resources available to them this week and look to cash some handsome prizes. Here’s a couple of contests to try:
- PGA $450k Dogleg: It’s a fairly run-of-the-mill week for gamers, and so top spot goes to this $33 buy-in contest with a top prize of a cool $100k for the winner.
- PGA $30k Scramble: With only 1764 players in the contest, there’s a decent chance of finishing high up the leaderboard in this $20 affair, with the first 20 home winning a minimum of $150 and the winner trousering $3k.
This Week’s Fantasy Notes for The AT&T Byron Nelson
With the tournament moving to Trinity Forest we have fewer parameters to work with than normal ahead of our draft.
However, we’re not completely disregarding previous results in this event at TPC Four Seasons, and indeed any form shown in the unique conditions that Texas provides is welcome.
This is described as a Links-style layout and a comprehensive look at the images from the course confirms as much; this really does not look like a traditional American layout! As such, form in the British Open and other Links events, and indeed results at exposed layouts on US soil, should also be considered.
Another pointer as far as correlations go could well be Pinehurst No. 2, which Bill Coore himself has confirmed was something of a barometer during the design of his own layout. Pinehurst hosted the 2014 US Open (as well as countless other big events prior to that).
The native areas really are long and wild, so ideally we’re looking for a straight hitter off the tee or at least somebody who knows where they can miss and where they do so at their peril.
As mentioned, these greens are quite small and a number are elevated, so we’re expecting that a bit of short game magic may be required.
And there will be some mischief in these Bermuda surfaces too, no doubt: co-designer Ben Crenshaw’s finest moments came at Augusta remember – he is a two-time Masters winner – and it is likely that he has taken inspiration from that famous layout.
A tip that is relevant all weeks but particularly so this: keep your eyes peeled for social media updates from the players, which will also help to inform about this new and exciting course.
Our Top 5 (and Top 2 Sleeper) Fantasy Picks and Odds to Win The AT&T Byron Nelson
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Fantasy Golf Predictions This Season (2017-2018)
Total Top 3s
Total Top 10s
Total Top 25s
Total Winners Picked
Total Runners-Up Picked
Total Made Cuts (Includes Sleepers)
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