The Confidence Factor: Horses for Courses AT&T Byron Nelson

There’s only one winner at this event and he’s back to defend this week.

Oh, give me land, lots of land, with starry skies above; don’t fence me in!

Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw’s Trinity Forest Golf Club outside of Dallas will serve as host for the second year running.

The sprawling property, considered “American Links-style” golf, doesn’t have any trees or water, but it does have edge-to-edge Trinity Zoysia grass surrounding all 18 holes of Champion Bermudagrass.

Everything is bigger in Texas, including the wind, so the designers made sure this was taken into account. With over 100 acres of fairway and greens, on AVERAGE, of 13,000 square feet, there will be plenty of ways to get from tee-to-green regardless of the conditions. If you miss either target there won’t be much sympathy. Native grasses constitute the rough and will penalize mishit tee shots and the run-off areas will test the decisions made around the greens.

The undulating, tiered greens won’t run hot because of the prospect of wind and the course, in general, has been soaked throughout the fall and in recent days and weeks. Superintendent Kasey Kauff tweeted: “We will not be brown.”

The main defense on this wide-open property is the wind, plain and simple. It didn’t blow much last year and scores reflected its absence.

Aaron Wise won here as a rookie and returns to defend his title as the field of 156 will navigate 7,371 yards (Par-71) for their chance at 500 FedExCup points and $1.422 million from a purse of $7.9 million.

Need more Course Info? Check Rob Bolton’s Power RankingsThe First Look and Course Preview.

2018 FIRST-YEAR RECAP: WINNER

Aaron Wise (-23): The 21-year old former Oregon Duck and NCAA champ bounced from his T2 the week before in Charlotte to claim his first TOUR title as he defeated noted wind play Marc Leishman by three shots. The final scores were interesting because there was only one day of windy conditions (Round 3, Saturday) and a birdie-fest broke out.

Notables: He finished in the TOP NINE of every major category outside of scrambling and Par-3 scoring. When power meets accuracy and the putter shows up, that’s how 23-under happens. Circling 25 birdies (T2) didn’t hurt either.

KEY STAT LEADERS

Golfers around the top 25 in each statistic on the 2018-19 PGA TOUR are listed only if they are scheduled to compete this week. This is the 29th event of the season.

* – In the field last year (results; if not, keep reading!)

Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green

3  *Hideki Matsuyama

23 Sungjae Im

25 *Keith Mitchell

32 Ryan Moore

33 Russell Knox (T16)

34 Henrik Stenson

36 Tom Lovelady (T70)

37 *Charles Howell III

40 Hank Lebioda

43 Rafa Cabrera Bello

44 D.J. Trahan

46 Dylan Frittelli

47 *Matt Jones (T13)

48 *Marc Leishman

49 Bud Cauley

50 Brooks Koepka

Strokes Gained: Putting

1  *Dominic Bozzelli (T59)

2  *Denny McCarthy (T42)

4  *Vaughn Taylor (T59)

6  Pat Perez

9  *Brian Gay

13 *Peter Malnati (T59)

15 Wyndham Clark

17 *Michael Thompson (T59)

18 Chase Wright

19 *Brandt Snedeker

20 Julian Etulain

21 *Martin Piller (T21)

24 *Ryan Palmer

26 *Charles Howell III

27 *Adam Schenk (T59)

28 *Ben Crane (T53)

29 Sam Burns

30 Ryan Moore

Proximity

2  *Russell Knox

8  Brady Schnell

9  Alex Prugh

9  Josh Teater

15 *Vaughn Taylor

16 *Brian Stuard (T42)

18 *Abraham Ancer (T42)

21 Roberto Castro

21 Whee Kim

23 Ryan Moore

25 *Troy Merritt (T53)

26 *Tyler Duncan (T26)

Par-4 Scoring:

2  *Charles Howell III

4  *Ryan Palmer

13 *Abraham Ancer

13 *Jonathan Byrd (T42)

13 Rafa Cabrera Bello

13 *Scott Piercy (T32)

25 *Dominic Bozzelli

25 Nate Lashley

25 D.J. Trahan

30 Sungjae Im

30 Brooks Koepka

LEVELS OF CONFIDENCE

Marc Leishman (-20): After opening with 61 and setting the course record, the Aussie led after 36 and was tied with Wise (-17) after 54 holes before falling on Sunday.

Notables: Led the field in Strokes-Gained: Putting and double-circled three eagles on the week to co-lead the field.

Branden Grace (-19): Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Grace fired a final round 62 on a links-style course to barge onto the podium. His 62 at Royal Birkdale set the record at a major championship and that was on a links track. I’ll also point out he was the leader on Hole No. 16 at Chambers Bay on Sunday, another “American Links-style” track, before knocking one OB. Notables:Led the field in Strokes-Gained: Around-the-Green and birdie-or-better putting percentage.

Keith Mitchell (-19): Opening with 65 and closing with 63, the “other” rookie only made three bogeys for the week to claim his share of third.

Notables: Led field in proximity, Strokes-Gained: Off-the-Tee and was second GIR.

J.J. Spaun (-19): His first round 64 was tied with Jimmy Walker for second behind Leishman. Like Mitchell his final round was 63 and bogey-free.

Notables: Finished T2 in Par-3 scoring and T3 in Par-4 scoring and was second in fairways hit.

Ryan Blaum (T6): Led the field in birdies with 26.

Charles Howell III (T9): Only player to post a bogey-free round (65) during the gusts of Round 3.

Brian Gay (T12): He’s the opposite of long off of the tee but found a way to post 62 in Round 2.

Hideki Matsuyama (T16): There were FOUR rounds above par posted by the top 25 his opening round of 72 set him back. There’s not much margin for error when birdies are flying in from everywhere!

Jordan Spieth (T21): He’s a member here but I read last year that he usually plays the course with headphones on and on a golf board so there you go. His local knowledge on the greens didn’t help either as he was ranked 72 (of 75) in total putts.

Ryan Palmer (MC): The Texan will take another crack after missing by three.

Brandt Snedeker (MC): Back for more after 67-72.

 

2018 Results
(all players entered for 2019)
01 Aaron Wise
02 Marc Leishman
03 Branden Grace
03 Keith Mitchell
03 JJ Spaun
06 Ryan Blaum
06 Kevin Na
06 Jimmy Walker
09 Kevin Tway
12 Brian Gay
13 Rory Sabbatini
13 Matt Jones
16 Derek Fathauer
16 Russell Knox
16 Hideki Matsuyama
21 Martin Piller
21 Jordan Spieth
21 Peter Uihlein
26 Tyler Dunca
26 Anirban Lahiri
26 JT Poston
26 Shawn Stefani
32 Fabian Gomez
32 Cody Gribble
32 Beau Hossler
32 Nate Lashley
32 Nick Lindheim
32 CT Pan
32 Scot Piercy
32 Nick Taylor
32 Johnson Wagner
42 Abraham Ancer
42 Jonathan Byrd
42 Sung Kang
42 Denny McCarthy
42 Brian Stuard
53 Ben Crane
53 Troy Merritt
53 Robert Streb
59 Dominic Bozzelli
59 Peter Malnati
59 Adam Schenk
59 Hudson Swafford
59 Michael Thompson
59 Vaugn Taylor
66 Roberto Diaz
69 Sangmoon Bae
70 Tom Lovelady
70 Rod Pampling
MC
Matt Every
Bill Haas
Paddy Harrington
JJ Henry
Sam Saunders
Brandt Snedeker
Chad Campbell
Harris English
Stephan Jaeger
Kelly Kraft
David Lingmerth
Seamus Power
Ben Silverman
Aaron Baddeley
Ernie Els
Michael Kim
Ryan Palmer
DJ Trahan
Cameron Tringale
Richy Werenski
David Hearn
Smylie Kaufman
Tyrone van Aswegen
Martin Laird
Brendon Todd
Ricky Barnes (DQ)
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