2019 Byron Nelson Classic DFS Preview

It certainly was an interesting week on the PGA Tour last week from both a viewing and DFS standpoint at the Wells Fargo Championship. We saw Max Homa hold off Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy to secure his first career win. Rory’s Sunday struggles retuned after taking a brief hiatus at The Players Championship. We also saw a flurry of high W/Ds from some high profile DFS darlings as Sam Burns, Gary Woodland, and Ben An succumbed to injury or illness at high ownership. That can be the nature of the game at times so we will move on the Bryson Nelson Classic held at Trinity Forest Golf Club in the Dallas area.

Trinity Forest Golf Club: Par 71, 7,470 yards. This is one of the newest courses/venues played on the PGA Tour as the Coore/Crenshaw design enters its second year as host to the Byron Nelson Classic. The course was constructed on a landfill and is billed as an “American Style links course” as it runs over undulating terrain and is completely void of trees with the exception of the course property boundaries. In an attempt to have the course run fast, zoysia grass was installed on the fairways, however, the climate and soil of the area, along with the Bermuda greens, prevent the course from playing like any of the traditional links style courses we would see in Scotland for example. Last year the course played as the 45th easiest on the PGA Tour so we can expect to see some low scores this week as evidenced by five separate holes seeing birdie or better rates of 40% or higher. The fairways at Trinity Forest are among the widest on Tour but players still need to place it off the tee to have the best approach angle to position themselves for the many birdies they will need to accumulate in order to win this week. Average approach shot distribution has clustered in the 175+ yard range. The greens are also some of the largest players will see this year so this, along with the heavy undulations leads to one of the highest rates of three putts on Tour. For those players who miss the greens, getting up and down will be more difficult than the average venue. Heavy rain is in the forecast for Wednesday so we can expect damp conditions this year along with some moderate winds on Thursday and Friday.

In terms of stats, because of how easy the course played last year and the damp conditions scoring will be key this week. Because of that, I’m heavily weighting opportunities gained and birdie or better percentage to try and identify golfers who are putting themselves in position and converting birdies in bunches. Also, because of the length of the course and the soft conditions, strokes gained off the tee and driving distance will likely be a key to success. Lastly, with the large undulating greens I will be taking a look at three putt avoidance as in a scoring fest, three putting for bogey or for par after reaching a par five in two, will be easy ways to prevent players from keeping up with the field.

Here are our top stats to consider this week:

  • Opportunities Gained
  • Birdie or Better Percentage
  • Strokes Gained off the Tee
  • Three Putt Avoidance

With the PGA Championship next week, this may be one of the weakest fields we see all year as Trinity Forest with its wide-open layout has little in common with strong test players will see next week at Bethpage Black. Because of this, many of the top golfers in the world have chosen to complete their final preparations for the year’s second major either in the Long Island area or at home. Brooks Koepka and Hideki Matsuyama will be headlining the field this week along with Trinity Forest member Jordan Spieth before we see a steep drop off in avg OWGR. In a field lacking star power, it will be interesting to see what the featured groups will be as those of us tuning in to PGA Tour Live on Thursday and Friday will likely get to follow some players that normally do not get that much coverage. Even though many in the golf world are looking ahead to next week, the DFS sites have put up some nice prize pools so it is definitely worth taking the time to dig into some research and put together a roster. Here are three targets for your cash game / single entry tournament (GPP) lineups on DraftKings:

Upper Mid-Range – Sungjae Im – $9,600

On a week with some question marks in the high price range, starting your lineups with Sungjae Im provides some stability. He profiles well statistically as he is long off the tee with a strong approach game and ranks sixth in the field in birdie or better rate. In terms of course design, I do see some similarities between Trinity Forest and the Corales course where Sungjae recorded a top ten finish in March.

Upper Mid-Range – Keith Mitchell – $9,100

Keith Mitchell has been riding some great form ever since the Tour left the West Coast that included a win at the Honda Classic. On a course with wide open fairways and Bermuda greens where aggressive play is needed, Keith Mitchell profiles as a great building block for lineups this week. Last week at Wells Fargo as gained 9.2 strokes off the tee and on approaches on his way to an 8th place finish and, if not for a bad second round, would have been right there on Sunday. Also, he is still not in the field for the US Open so he does have some added motivation turn in some good finishes over the next few weeks to get in to the OWGR top 60.  

Value – Trey Mullinax– $7,600

Although he did not play here last year, Trinity Forest profiles out as a great fit for the course and if the conditions are damp he will gain a nice advantage off the tee as he ranks first in the field in carry distance. Trey also comes into the week in outstanding form with his iron game as he has gained 13.6 strokes on approaches over the past two weeks.

How we did last week:

Cash/Single Entry Article Plays:

Gary Woodland – Made Cut / WD

Tony Finau – T60

Byeong Hun An – Made Cut / WD

Optimal Sports Subscribers Core Plays:

Gary Woodland – Made Cut / WD

Tony Finau – T60

Byeong Hun An – Made Cut / WD

Adam Schenk – T13

Jason Kokrak – 69

Keegan Bradley – MC

Last Week’s DraftKings Double Up Contest Result: Loss

2018-2019 Season Double Up Record: 15-10

Record in Double Ups Since 1/1/18: 40-20

Brought to you by Optimal Sports DFS

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