This week the PGA Tour heads back to Texas for the AT&T Byron Nelson, hosted for the second straight year at TPC Craig Ranch. To put it bluntly, this is going to be a birdie fest as calm winds are expected on a soft golf course that features four reachable par-5s. With longer par-3s and those four reachable par-5s, we will see an abundance of approach shots from 200+ yards (34.5% compared to 22.9% in a normal week). So if you’re looking for areas of focus for your players this week, drill down on approach play (especially 200+ yards), driving distance, and putting. Other metrics will not be as important this week. Let’s take a look at a few players to target for this birdie fest:
Hideki Matsuyama $9,900
Matsuyama makes for an interesting option this week. Many people will avoid him because he has been injured and they forget that he has won twice in his last nine starts. But he appears to be back to full health now. So we have a chance to get him at a reduced price and possibly lower ownership. Matsuyama is an elite iron player who ranks second from 200+ yards and fifth in birdies.
Sam Burns $9,500
Burns was runner-up here in 2021 and was also medalist in 2017 at Q-School hosted at TPC Craig Ranch. He ranks second overall in my data model because he ranks seventh in approach, 10th in birdies, and top 30 in every other major metric. Burns continues to be underpriced considering he has finished ninth or better in eight of his last 17 events, including two wins.
Keith Mitchell $7,500
Mitchell ranks fifth overall in my data model, including first off the tee, 10th from 200+ yards, and top 25 in putting, birdies, and driving distance. He has quietly made 11 of his last 13 cuts, including six top 13 finishes. There is a very good chance he improves on his 26th place finish here in 2021.