The Tour heads back to Texas this week for a two-week visit that begins with the Byron Nelson. The tourney has taken place at TPC Four Seasons for over 30 years, although this will be the last year it’s used as the venue. There were some renovations done at the course in 2009 so for course history purposes, it’s probably best not to go past that year. The weather this week doesn’t look too bad at first glance although some possible storms are in the forecast this could also soften up the course a bit too. The winner here has been anywhere between -19 and -3 so weather can play a huge role, but unless it gets crazy look for something in the realm of what we saw last year when two players reached -15 for the week.
Par 4 Scoring: TPC Four Seasons is a par 70 course, meaning it has 12-Par 4’s and only two par 5’s. The course is somewhat unique on tour as well given that all of the par 4’s play at over 400 yards. This means that for research purposes it’s a little easier to pin point efficiency scoring. Either way, players will have to play these holes better than the field this week fi they want to win or top ten, and last season both Garcia and Koepka (the top two finishers) were ranked inside the top ten for the week in efficiency from 450-500 yards in par 4 scoring.
Players Fatigue/Momentum: Last week’s event was interesting to say the least with the course playing progressively harder and several top players having rounds to forget on the weekend. Even though this week’s venue will present far less of a challenge it’s worth remembering that TPC Sawgrass might still be weighing heavily on some of the players. On the flip side, certain players who somehow found their game last week in that carnage might bring some momentum to TPC Four Seasons as well. Last year both Colt Knost and Matt Kuchar finished inside the top five at both events proving that golfers who played well last week may indeed be able to duplicate that feat here.
Jordan Spieth ($10,800): Spieth obviously did not do the job for us last week but there’s no reason to panic here. He went on record afterwards stating that the greens at Sawgrass gave him big issues and that he was already looking forward to the bentgrass greens they use at the Byron Nelson. Spieth is a local who played this event as a teenager/amateur and has never missed the cut here in six appearances. Even though his record doesn’t yet have a top five on it, he was in the final group here last season. With this being the last year this event is at Four Seasons, the motivation to get a win here should be high, I’m in for one more week.
Tony Finau ($9,200): Finau can be hard to trust because of his tendency to find trouble with one very wayward shot, but you have to respect his tee to green numbers on the year and his course history at this venue too. In two starts, Finau has finished 10th and 12th at this event and shouldn’t be penalised too heavily for missing the cut last week given the course. He’s got top-five finishes in two of his four starts prior to last week and also ranks seventh in par 4 scoring and 17th in birdie or better percentage. He’s slightly pricey, but I do prefer him over the players in the high 8k range.
Russell Henley ($8,300): Henley should set up great for this week’s course. The now three-time PGA Tour winner has obviously been playing great all season and ranks inside the top ten in par 4 efficiency from both 400-450 yards and 450-500 yards. Even though he missed the cut here last season a T22 debut should be a good sign that he can do well here, and his current form (no missed cuts in eight starts) makes him great value in my view at $8,300. From a points per dollar perspective he might be the best play in my eyes here.
Byeong Hun-An ($8,000): One thing we should take notice of in DFS is players who are making a ton of cuts (regardless of their overall finish). An has now made 10/10 cuts on the year now and is starting to rise to the top of several statistical categories of note as well. He now ranks 21st in SG: Tee to Green and also ranks out well in efficiency from 450-500 yards on par 4’s. In his last start he grinded out his second top ten of the season, while ranking 7th for the week in Tee to Green stats. An definitely has the game to win and this venue looks like might suit him just fine. I’m rewarding his consistency with a roster/bet here regardless.
Others: Sergio Garcia, Jason Dufner
Kevin Tway ($7,700): It’s hard to take some players seriously off just one or two nice finishes, but Kevin Tway has now legitimately finished inside the top five at each of his last three tour stops. The big hitter has always been hyped as having the talent to do great things so I don’t actually think we should be that surprised at his recent run. At $7,700 here I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a player who is 7th on tour in driving distance (a stat which does matter this week) and who ranked 16th in SG: Putting and 1st in birdies made, in his last start.
Graham DeLaet ($7,600): DeLaet seems to set up great for this venue and his past results have shown that idea to bear some fruit. The Canadian, who is still seeking his first win, finished 10th-7th and 22nd here between 2013-2015 and has been close a couple times to making this his maiden win. He’s 45th in par 4 scoring and 15th in par 4 birdies or better for the year and coming off a great week at the RBC a month or so ago on a course that also featured some longer/tougher par 4’s. I really do like him for DFS this week even if the chances of him winning outright aren’t so great
Sung Kang ($7,400): Kang has been doing almost everything well of late, and his improved play has led to some great results. The South Korean has made the cut in all five of his last five solo starts on tour and is actually coming off a solid week too from the Players where he shot 1 under par on the weekend when half the field was ejecting themselves form the tournament. Kang also has some local roots this week as he plays out of Texas now and has finished 2nd and 6th in his last two starts in the state. He’s great value this week and a player I would not want to fade.
Nick Taylor ($6,900): Taylor might be the most under the radar play of this article, although that may change the week progresses. After a slow start to the year he’s now made four cuts in a row (outside of NOLA) and has finished inside the top 25 in each of his last three solo starts. Not having played the venue this week might actually be helpful too as many first timers have done well here. He was fifth for the week in SG: Tee to Green at Wells Fargo and had a T8 finish, there; he’s great value at under 7k in this weaker field.
Others: Ollie Schniederjans, Zac Blair
High-upside GPP Picks
Louis Oosthuizen ($9,700): Oosthuizen is pricey this week, especially for a player who may be fatigued from grinding at the top of the leaderboard all weekend at THE PLAYERS. That being said two players from last years Byron Nelson top five’d both weeks last year (Kuchar and Knost) and I doubt Oosthuizen would be in the field off such a big cash if he didn’t like his chances here too. Of note is the fact that Oosthy actually led this event in 2014 after 54 holes. Don’t think he wouldn’t like some revenge here and to get that first US win too, all in one swoop.
DA Points ($7,500): I used Points last week as a gpp play and it didn’t work out. Luckily for readers of this article I didn’t include him here, but I am this week. Points is far from a consistent player but he has improved his approach game a ton in 2017 and can still get hot around and on the greens. Of note is the fact he’s played TPC Four Seasons every year since 2009 and has four finishes of 19th or better. Points also plays well in Texas in general as he has a win at the Shell Houston Open. I really like him as a low-owned play in gpps, but he’s the very definition of boom or bust, so use at your own risk.
Xander Schauffele ($6,600): This might actually be my favorite play of the week. Schauffele is a young player in his first year on tour who is starting to show some consistency of late. He was T24 at the Wells Fargo event where he ended the week with a bogey free 68. Schauffele can bomb it off the tee (29th in Driving Distance) and also ranks very highly in par 4 scoring, including ranking second in efficiency on holes from 450-500 yards. I think his recent play and the set-up at this venue could lead to a monster week and I really like him at only $6,600 for play in big tournaments on DraftKings.
Other: Charl Schwartzel
Players to Consider (in no order)
– Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Russell Henley, Jason Dufner, Tony Finau, Byeong Hun-An, Louis Oosthuzien, Kevin Tway
– Sung Kang, Xander Schauffele, DA Points, Charl Schwartzel, Nick Taylor, Ollie Schniederjans, Zac Blair
Louis Oosthuizen 33-1
Byeong Hun An 67-1 ew
Sung Kang 70-1 ew
Xander Schauffele 140-1 ew