The AT&T Byron Nelson is a full-field event that will feature 150+ golfers in attendance. It’s the final warmup start on the schedule before the PGA Championship and features a much stronger field than we’ve seen in years past. The defending champion is KH Lee, who stormed to 25-under score last year on his way to his first-ever PGA TOUR win. The course (TPC Craig Ranch) will be the host for just the second year in a row, so we don’t have a ton of course history notes or data to go off of. The field features 19 of the world’s top 50 golfers in the OWGR and seven of the top-15.
The event is headlined by the World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who is making his second start since winning the Masters in April. We will also be seeing players like
Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas for the first time in competition in over three weeks. Matthew Wolff and Jason Day, two players who have been in prolonged slumps (but showed well in spurts last week) are also playing. Texas-born players like Ryan Palmer (the supposed course record holder here), Jordan Spieth, Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris all are playing and have experience playing the venue.
The cut (top-65 and ties) will take place in its usual spot after Friday.
TPC Craig Ranch—McKinney, Texas
Par 72, 7,438; Green: Bentgrass
TPC Craig Ranch was built back in 2004 by Tom Weiskopf and has signed on as host for the Byron Nelson for five years — and will enter its second year as part of that deal in 2022. The venue has seen some action hosting other professional Tours, and acted as the stage for the Korn Ferry Tour Championship back in 2012, an event that saw a winning score of 16-under par. Last year the rain helped soften the course and allowed the pros to go low, with a winning score of 25-under par.
The venue sets up as a traditional par 72, and like many Weiskopf designs, it has a nice blend of tougher stretches and scoring holes. Weiskopf also designed TPC Scottsdale, which plays around the same length as TPC Craig Ranch but is only a par 71. The four par 5s at TPC Craig Ranch all present decent birdie chances as only one measures in at over 560 yards. They played as four of the five easiest holes in 2021.
While there are shorter par 5s in play, there are also six par 4s that measure in at over 450 yards. Looking at players with good efficiency stats between 450-500 yards then is certainly worth your while as most of the field will be having an easier time of it on the par 5s. Last year’s runner-up Sam Burns led the field in par 5 efficiency but winner KH Lee was second in overall par 4 efficiency.
The routing of the course isn’t overly complex as there aren’t many doglegs in play and the venue does appear to have plenty of space just off the fairways in many spots. Water only comes into play on a few holes, although it could factor in heavily down the stretch. We don’t have a ton of data to work off but last year saw players able to set themselves up for big weeks on approach — even with just sub-par work off the tee. Luke Donald and Patton Kizzire both gained over +6.5 strokes on Approach while losing strokes off the tee, and winner KH Lee gained +7.0 strokes more on Approach than off the tee last year.
While you’ll need some timely putting, look mainly for players trending well in approach stats who will be able to set themselves up for success on the many scoring opportunities that await at Craig Ranch.
2022 Outlook: After last week’s suffer-fest in Maryland, this week will likely be a welcome reprieve for the pros. Highs are expected to be in the low 90F range all week with little to no chance of rain. The wind will fluctuate a bit, as it does in Texas, and as of writing, it does look like Thursday might be the day to watch. Winds rise steadily on Thursday and max out with gusts in the 20 mph range in the p.m. It’s possible early Thursday starters get a bit of a reprieve and will be better targets — both for classic daily fantasy golf formats and showdowns on DraftKings. Wind on the remaining three days isn’t set to be overly difficult, although it is Texas, so that could change. Either way, expect greens to run slightly faster this year than last and potentially make scoring slightly tougher as well.
Last 5 Winners
2021—KH Lee -25 (over Sam Burns -23)
*2019—Sung Kang -23 (over Scott Piercy -21)
*2018—Aaron Wise -23 (over Marc Leishman -20)
*2017—Billy Horschel -12 (over Jason Day playoff)
*2016—Sergio Garcia -15 (over Brooks Koepka playoff)
*Note: Tournaments played between ‘16 to ‘19 were played at different venues than TPC Craig Ranch.
- The last nine winners of the Byron Nelson had already recorded a T8 or better on the PGA TOUR in the same year of their victory—prior to winning at the Byron Nelson.
- Since 2012, the best a player has finished at THE PLAYERS before winning the AT&T Byron Nelson is T33 (Sang Moon Bae in 2013).
Winners Stats and Course Overview
KH Lee—2021 (25-under-par at TPC Craig Ranch)
2021 lead-in form (T58-T29-T56-T23-MC)
SG: OTT — +1.5
SG: APP — +8.3
SG: TTG — +10.8
SG: ATG — +1.0
SG: PUTT — +4.5
- KH Lee didn’t come in with sparkling form last year, but he was starting to show signs of breakout with better iron play — and had already recorded a top-five finish on the season.
- Lee gained his most strokes on the field through his Approach game and also excelled on the par 4s at TPC Craig Ranch where he was ranked second in efficiency for the week (TPC Craig Ranch has six par 4s over 450 yards).
- Par 4 scoring was actually more important overall than par 5 scoring with seven of the top-10 finishing inside the top-10 in par 4 efficiency stats.
- Lee wasn’t anywhere near the top in fairways gained or strokes gained off the tee stats, but he was near the lead in GIR%. Lee also led the field in proximity from 150-175 yards and was top-5 from 175-200 yards as well.
Finding Values (DraftKings Sportsbook)
Odds to win are one factor to think about when picking players (but not the only thing, so be careful putting too much weight on them). This section is going to detail a few of the players who have the best fantasy value compared to their DraftKings Sportsbook odds of winning this week.
Will Zalatoris +1400 and $9,400
- Sam Burns +2200 and $9,500
- Hideki Matsuyama +3500 and $9,900
- Xander Schauffele +1800 and $9,700
Seamus Power +3500 and $9,500
- Aaron Wise +5500 and $8,100
- Jason Day +5500 and $8,200
- Cameron Champ +6500 and $8,000
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
1. Jhonattan Vegas ($8,400; T15-T18-T4): Vegas has been striking the ball well of late and gained an impressive +10.1 strokes on approach at TPC Potomac last week. The veteran has now made seven of his last eight cuts and should be a popular target for daily fantasy golf purposes — given his recent run of making a lot of cuts and high-upside ball-striking.
2. Aaron Wise ($8,100; T11-T4): Wise is another player who should get plenty of heat this week in PGA TOUR DFS circles. The 2018 winner of the Byron Nelson at Trinity Forest gained +7.1 strokes on Approach in Mexico his last time out and has three top-25 finishes in his last five starts now.
3. C.T. Pan ($7,300; T18-T21): Pan put in yet another solid start last week, landing a T15 at the Wells Fargo and making the cut for the seventh time in eight starts. Pan has now gained over +1.5 strokes on approach in each of his last five starts on the PGA TOUR and looks like a player who could be in contention down the stretch soon.
4. Matt Kuchar ($7,700; T49-T3): Kuchar predictably cooled off last week with the putter, losing just over a stroke on the greens. He still made the cut though (his fourth in a row) and gained over a stroke on his approaches. A better showing wouldn't be shocking from him this week.
5. Lanto Griffin ($7,700; T6-T15): Griffin is a player to keep an eye on. He has already won once in Texas on the PGA TOUR, at the Houston Open from 2019, and comes into this week off of two great performances, where he gained over +3.0 strokes with his approaches against the field. At just under $8K, he looks like a solid upside value to target with whichever studs you decide to anchor lineups around.
DRAFTKINGS DFS STRATEGY
Cash Games: Start with Scottie
Scottie Scheffler ($10,900) is less than $11K in this field for some reason and that’s enough reason just to roll with the 2022 Masters champion this week. He’s a Texas native who has plenty of experience playing TPC Craig Ranch, but more importantly, he’s the best player in the world who will undoubtedly want to put up another marker kind of week at the Byron Nelson before heading into the second major of the year. Scheffler being under $11K means we can use him with names in the high $7K-range quite easily and players like Lanto Griffin ($7,700), Si Woo Kim ($7,800) and Maverick McNealy ($7,800) all look like terrific pairings for Scheffler. Other potential cash targets this week include C.T. Pan ($7,300) and Patton Kizzire ($7,100).
Tournaments: Go with Brooks for the Weiskopf connection
Editor’s note: Brooks Koepka has withdrawn from the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Much like last year’s winner, KH Lee,
Brooks Koepka ($9,200) has a very solid record on the other prevalent Tom Weiskopf design on TOUR, TPC Scottsdale. Lee finished second at TPC Scottsdale in 2021 before winning at Craig Ranch, while Brooks is a two-time winner at Scottsdale already. Koepka is coming off a missed cut at Augusta but does have three finishes of T16 or better on the year. Matthew Wolff ($7,200 - see below) is another high-end ball-striker to consider this week, as is Bubba Watson ($7,500), who played well with teammate Harold Varner III in the match-play event a couple of weeks ago. Watson also has solid course history at TPC Scottsdale (T14 there this year) and is a player I wouldn’t be shocked to see pop for a good week — and should come with lower ownership in GPPs.
MY PICK: Mito Pereira ($7,600)
This price seems almost disrespectful to the Chilean-born Pereira, who is returning to action after a couple of weeks off. Pereira had to withdraw from the team event (citing a back issue) but had previously looked in solid form before that, grabbing top-30 finishes in three straight starts, including a T13 at the last event played in Texas (Valero). Pereira was a prolific winner on the Korn Ferry Tour, winning three times (and losing in a playoff once) in his last season on the minor league Tour, and has already shown he’s got what it takes to get in contention on the PGA TOUR (three top-six finishes in the last nine months).
The fit this week also looks solid for Pereira, who won all three of his Korn Ferry Tour events with a score of 20-under par or better, and likely won’t mind if the course plays easier again. Pereira also has strong par 4 scoring stats (much like last year’s winner KH Lee) and ranks first in par 4 efficiency from 450-500 yards, a metric KH Lee finished second in at this event last season. With an approach game that has gained him over +3.0 strokes against the field in two of his last three starts, he stands out as an amazing upside value for GPPs and solid betting target at +6500 on DraftKings Sportsbook.
MY SLEEPER: Matthew Wolff ($7,200)
I also don’t mind dialing up the variance this week with another good young ball-striker in Matthew Wolff. Wolff has had his consistency issues over the last two seasons, but it was only eight starts ago that he put together finishes of 2nd-T5-T11 in the Fall swing. Wolff finally broke out of a prolonged slump last week, landing a T25 finish at the Wells Fargo, an event where he featured inside the top-10 for much of the week.
The prolific college winner struggled off the tee at times on TPC Potomac’s tighter and less forgiving setup, but gained strokes on Approach for the first time in six starts and looked solid on and around the greens as well. Wolff is also great on longer par 4s and ranks 11th in efficiency between 450-500 yards (there are six par 4s that fall in that range at Craig Ranch). The upside with Wolff remains phenomenal for fantasy purposes and if there’s any follow-through from last week, Craig Ranch’s more forgiving off the tee setup could lead to even better results. The bust factor remains high, but getting on Wolff now looks like a better play this week than last, especially at a price that is barely over $7K.
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