The Confidence Factor: AT&T Byron Nelson

New week and a new course creates a new set of challenges for gamers.

Quick note that Adam Scott, T11 at THE PLAYERS, should be included in the chart below. I screwed up and left him off (Thanks @TheDoughMeister) the list. Thanks to my man Ryan at PGATOUR.COM for fixing me up!

Trinity Forest will play Par-71 and 7,380 yards and will be a brand-new venue to just about everyone who doesn’t live in the Metroplex.

Edited 4: 30 pm to reflect the addition of Beau Hossler as I left him out originally. 

 

 

AT&T Byron Nelson

Trinity Forest Golf Club

Dallas

 

Trinity Forest Golf Club Cheat Sheet

Yards (per official scorecard) 7,380
Par 71 (36-35)
Greens Champion Bermuda
Stimpmeter No more than 11 feet
Rough Trinity Zoysia less than an inch
Bunkers 88
Water Hazard 0
Architects Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (2016)
Purse $7.7 million/$1,386,000 winner; 500 FedExCup points
Defending Champion (event) Billy Horschel (TPC Four Seasons)
Defending Champion (course) Inaugural event

 

Notes:

  • Please read The Confidence Factor below for course details.
  • There are no trees on the course.
  • Jordan Spieth and Hunter Mahan are members.
  • 156 players will be cut to the top 70 and ties after 36 holes.

 

2017-18 Winners

*First-time winner

**First-time winner AND rookie winner

Event Winner
Safeway Open Brendan Steele
CIMB Classic Pat Perez
WGC-HSBC Champions Justin Rose
Sanderson Farms Ryan Armour*
Shriners Hospitals for Children Patrick Cantlay*
OHL Mayakoba Patton Kizzire*
The RSM Classic Austin Cook**
Sentry TOC Dustin Johnson
Sony Open Patton Kizzire (2)
CB Challenge Jon Rahm
Farmers Insurance Open Jason Day
WMPO Gary Woodland
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Ted Potter, Jr.
Genesis Open Bubba Watson
Honda Classic Justin Thomas
WGC-Mexico Championship Phil Mickelson
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
Arnold Palmer Invitational Rory McIlroy
WGC-Match Play Bubba Watson (2)
Corales Puntacana Resorts Brice Garnett*
Houston Open Ian Poulter
Masters Patrick Reed
RBC Heritage Satoshi Kodaira*
Valero Texas Open Andrew Landry*
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Billy Horschel & Scott Piercy
Wells Fargo Championship Jason Day (2)
THE PLAYERS Championship Webb Simpson

 

The Confidence Factor is the weekly column I write for PGATOUR.COM and contains plenty of angles on the track and those who have aced this exam. Take a look here: 

Previous Champions

*- playoff

I’m leaving this blank to catch your eye to remind you that ANY PAST HISTORY at this event is irrelevant this week. This is a brand-new course in construction and in its place on TOUR.

     

 

Facts and Figures:

We’ll fill in these blanks Sunday night for next year!

Tournament Record:
Course Record:
Defending Champion(s):
Multiple Winners:
First TOUR Win:
First Win in First Appearance:
Low Round Last Year:
Rookies of Note Last Year:
International Winners:
Youngest:
Oldest:
Won the Week Before:
Won the Lot: (Major, WGC, PLAYERS)
Odd Fact: Trinity Forest is built on a landfill.

 

Experience Required?

I’d check the winners on “new” tracks last year and in recent years to help find clues for this week.

Dustin Johnson won at the WGC-Mexico Championship. He was No. 1 in the world.

Brian Harman won at Eagle Point Golf Club, the replacement venue for Quail Hollow Club last year. Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm were hot on his heels on Sunday. He was also second behind Brooks Koepka at Erin Hills.

Kyle Stanley won The National at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farms. He’s never won a putting contest.

Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar dueled at Royal Birkdale for The Open Championship eventually won by Spieth. Both are the field this week.

Johnson also won at Glen Oaks Club to open the FedExCup Playoffs.

 

The Field

Selections, in order, for THIS WEEK only.

 

Jordan Spieth: I used to fade him annually in this event (along with THE PLAYERS) as this seemed to me as his “working break” in his schedule. Of course he’s going to play in THE PLAYERS and of course he’s going to play in his hometown event. His best finish ever at TPC Four Seasons at Las Colinas was T16 when he was in high school. He’s a member at Trinity Forest, so is Hunter Mahan, and those two should have a few more rounds under their belts than the guys that showed up Monday morning. He knows how to get it around there and more importantly, what NOT to do. Oh, and he’s really good.

Jimmy Walker: His recent form (T20, 4th and T2 on his own ball) would put him near the top regardless of course this week. Like Spieth, being from Texas and understanding how to play the wind doesn’t hurt either. He’s a great putter and will help on the massive greens this week. He’s under par in 11 of his last 12 on his own ball.

Billy Horschel: He’s never played as well as he would like at his hometown event, THE PLAYERS, but his form has been great so I expect another top finish this week. If THE PLAYERS isn’t hard enough, he also participated in a birdies-eagles donation program for the week to help the needy. That’s too much pressure and too many things going on. It’s back to just golf this week as the defending champion isn’t even the star of the show. That would be Trinity Forest and their premium member Spieth. I wouldn’t be surprised if Horschel contends or wins again.

Adam Scott: I’m completely overrating him this week because of the depth of the field and his fantastic record in the state of Texas. He’s the only player to win all four TOUR events during his career (Houston, Valero, AT&T Byron Nelson and Fort Worth Invitational). It doesn’t hurt that his confidence should be booming after a season-best T11 with a closing 68 at TPC Sawgrass last week. I’m looking for a proven winner with value and have found it.

Matt Kuchar: The gaming angle this week is going to be interesting because the top-ranked talent this week isn’t firing. At all. Sure, Kuchar hasn’t MC in 14 tries this season but he’s also gone five events without a top 10 and nothing better than T17. Spieth said this place reminds him a bit of Royal Birkdale so that should help Kuchar as well. If he’s second again this week to Spieth, most gamers will be more than happy.

Sergio Garcia: He was seven-under after 36 holes last week after 68-69. He finished the week 75-76 in 70th place. Dallas holds a special place as his victory at this event in 2016 was his first on TOUR in four years and second at the event. He’s also won across town at Colonial so he should be comfortable in these here parts. He tends to handle links-style tracks with aplomb as well.

Ryan Palmer: He played the weekend 69-69 (nice, nice) after Friday’s 67 at THE PLAYERS to finish T23. It’s a hometown game for Palmer this week before a true home game next week as he’s a member at Colonial.  He should use last week as a momentum boost for these two big weeks.

Peter Uihlein: Anybody who shoots 62 at Quail Hollow Club will merit attention from me. That’s exactly what he did last time out to cash T5 money. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy should have the chops to handle the heat and breeze that comes with this part of the country. He’s 199th in fairways but there’s no rough or trees this week. He’s 53rd GIR despite the former.

Scott Piercy: His bounce-back 69 at THE PLAYERS wasn’t enough to offset his 77 on Thursday so he left early with MC. He’s tasted victory with Horschel at the Zurich and his ball-striking is fantastic. He won’t be at a disadvantage on these greens either as everyone will be starting from scratch.

Charles Howell III: He’s played 17 events and cashed in 15 of them including his best-ever payday T17. He’s painted the top 25 in five of his last six including two in the state of Texas. ATM.

Martin Laird: Plenty of veterans on the list this week as there should be. New courses require patience and discipline and that’s what the “old” guys are great at controlling. The past Valero champ and Scotsman suggest a bit of breeze isn’t going to be of any bother. His worst round on his own ball in his last 16 is 73 twice. Here’s how easy TPC Sawgrass played this year: Laird posted four-under and collected for T57. He’s in the top 45 in scoring and SG: tee to green.

Branden Grace: He continues to grind out results without missing cuts. If Royal Birkdale is a comparison, as Spieth suggests, he fired 62 there to become the only person ever to post that number in a major. How many trees were there on Chambers Bay? He didn’t fare too poorly there either. His streak of weekends is currently extends back to his last MC at THE NORTHERN TRUST.

Rory Sabbatini: The Dallas resident has rattled off 13 of 14 weekends in calendar 2018 and rolls back into town off T23, MC, T27 and T30 last week. He opened with 64 at Harbour Town, closed with 68 at QHC and opened with 67 last week. There’s something brewing.

Beau Hossler:  He’s also a member at Trinity Forest and has been nothing short of solid the last two months. He was robbed by Poulter in Houston but rallied to reel of four consecutive cuts after that disappointment. Similarly with Spieth, he’ll have a head start on how to play this week and that should be good for a few shots here and there. It’s hard to ignore anyone who sits in the top 50 in both SG putting and GIR.

Marc Leishman: He’s only had one bad round recently and is a class wind player. His volatility over the recent months is the problem but his ability to put it all together makes it well worth the gamble.

Grayson Murray: He’s collected T30 or better in four of his last six including T16 in Houston at T14 in San Antonio. He played the final three rounds at TPC Sawgrass in eight-under to T30 last week. He hits it a ton and is in the top 60 in SG: tee to green.

 

Just Missed

Andrew Putnam: I don’t care what your name is but if you’re not playing well, you’re not in this column. Putnam enters the week on a five-event heater with a pair of top 10’s to show for his effort. I’m not playing guys who have missed nine cuts in 12 starts because they’re good at Twitter or won 19 years ago.

Aaron Wise: He won’t find a more suitable, level playing field. He showed his chops last time out with T2 at Quail Hollow Club and that finish all but secured his card for next year. It’s time to freewheel and go for the throat. He’s inside the top 80 in both tee to green and total and is 39th in scoring average.

Johnson Wagner: T13 at WFC was his best of a run that saw him cash in five of his last six. If his lack of length off the tee didn’t bother him at QHC, I doubt it will this week either.

Richy Werenski: He’ll be encouraged by his T23 at Sawgrass just as much as I am by his T11 at VTO.

Daniel Summerhays: He gave it a sniff with Tony Finau in New Orleans before falling just short. He backed that up last week with T8 on the WEB.COM event in Knoxville.

Troy Merritt: I’d point out that he won the inaugural event at the Robert Trent Jones Club a couple of years ago but you already knew that. He’s cashed in eight of his last nine.

Keith Mitchell: He’s rattled of 10 of 12 and it will be interesting to see how he navigates it here. The rookie faces a new track each week so this won’t bother him one bit.

Graeme McDowell: The next step is getting it inside the top 20. He cashed in six of his last seven but nothing better than T22. He’s 47th SG: total and should be able to adapt quickly on the greens.

Sam Saunders: I’ll play the hotter hand as he was T9 at WFC last time out. Last time he posted a top 10, he took a week off and followed with T26. The pool of talent shrinks quite quickly this week so the dots to connect are further apart.

Kevin Tway: Another Cowboy who hits it a ton and hits GIR in spite of his, ahem, inaccuracy off the tee. He’s in decent nick making six of his last seven but his best check is just T28.

Aaron Baddeley: This could be a big week for the guys who don’t hit fairways. They rarely, if ever, get to play places where they can smash it without tragic consequences. Baddeley’s short game is nasty and he’s also 58th in SG: tee to green. Last time he was in Texas he posted T16 at VTO.

 

Long Shots, Red Herrings, Etc.

Sam Ryder: Fantastic numbers in his ball-striking profile are backed by solo fifth in Houston and T36 in San Antonio.

David Hearn: Started it with T16 at VTO and followed it with T10 at Zurich. He’ll be one to look at next week as well.

Brian Stuard: Fairways for fun and that’s a good place to start on a new track.

J.J. Spaun: Lovely metrics this week and a T26 at VTO make for a stretch.

Greg Chalmers: He’ll make all of the putts and should benefit from being from Dallas. His T10 at Zurich and T21 WFC suggests he’s in decent form.

Cody Gribble: The team game broke him out of a massive funk. His four rounds at par-or-better at TPC Sawgrass (T30) forces me in quicker than I would have thought. Do not look at his stats. Don’t.

Nate Lashley: He’s collected T30 or better in three of his last five.

Stephan Jaeger: Last week’s winner in Knoxville will try and pull a ridiculous double. This field suggests that’s not impossible.

Joel Dahmen: His T16 at WFC was his sixth payday in a row.

Talor Gooch: Stuck rounds of 66-71 to collect T13 at WFC. The Oklahoma native will feel right at home with the conditions.

J.J. Henry: Play him this week (or not at all) but not at Colonial where he’s MC the last three years.

Bronson Burgoon: The Texan is solid enough tee to green to surprise in his native state.

Hunter Mahan: The member has made three cuts on the bounce. This qualifies as news here.

Joaquin Niemann: He’ll be alright this week because the field is thin and nobody will have a head start on him in the course knowledge department.

 

Fades

Hideki Matsuyama: I’m not throwing bad advice after bad advice after I thought last week would snap him out of his funk. He had been VERY solid on TPC Sawgrass before taking a big shit last week in Round 1. I’m out until the Memorial where he’s won before.

Brandt Snedeker: He should be perfect for this course but he hit it all over NE Florida last week. Part of me thinks the fresh course will help. The other part of me thinks I’m nuts. I’m out.

 

Questions?

Email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com. GOOD LUCK!

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