The Confidence Factor: AT&T Byron Nelson Preview 2019

There’s Horses for Courses.

There’s the preview.

You can get to both from here.

This is the superintendent at Trinty Forest Golf Club.

Make good choices this week!

AT&T Byron Nelson

Trinity Forest Golf Club

Dallas, Texas

Yards (per official scorecard): 7,380
Par: 71 (36-35)
Greens: 13,000 square feet; Champion Bermuda.
Stimpmeter: 11′
Rough:  Native prairie grasses; Trinity Zoysia grass on every surface minus greens.
Bunkers: 85
Water Hazards: 0
Trees: 0
Architect(s): Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw (2016).
Purse: $7.9 million; $1.422 winner plus 500 FedExCup Points.
Defending Champion: Aaron Wise (-23).
Notes: Field of 156, stroke play, top 70 and ties play the weekend.

Previous Winners:

Year Winner   Comment
       
2018 Aaron Wise -23 Rookie defeated Marc Leishman by three shots after sharing the 54-hole lead with him.

2018-19 Winners

Event Winner
   
Safeway Open Kevin Tway**
CIMB Classic Marc Leishman
CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES Brooks Koepka
Sanderson Farms Championship Cameron Champ**
WGC-HSBC Champions Xander Schauffele
Shriners Hospitals for Children Bryson DeChambeau
Mayakoba Golf Classic Matt Kuchar
The RSM Classic Charles Howell III
Hero World Challenge* Jon Rahm
Sentry TOC Xander Schauffele (2)
Sony Open in Hawaii Matt Kuchar (2)
60th Desert Classic Adam Long**
Farmers Insurance Open Justin Rose
Waste Management Rickie Fowler
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am Phil Mickelson
Genesis Open J.B. Holmes
WGC-Mexico Championship Dustin Johnson
The Honda Classic Keith Mitchell**
Arnold Palmer Invitational Francesco Molinari
THE PLAYERS Rory McIlroy
Valspar Championship Paul Casey
WGC-Match Play Kevin Kisner
Corales Punta Cana Graeme McDowell
Valero Texas Open Corey Conners**
83rd Masters Tournament Tiger Woods
RBC Heritage C.T. Pan**
Zurich Classic of New Orleans Ryan Palmer & Jon Rahm (2)
Wells Fargo Championship Max Homa**

(* unofficial event; **First-time winner)

Facts and Figures:

Last year was the first edition of this event at Trinity Forest. It is the ninth-longest running event on TOUR in the same city. The first one was in 1944.

Tournament Record: 261 (-23); Wise, 2018.
Course Record: 61; Leishman, Round 1, 2018.
Defending Champions since 2000: N/A.
Multiple Winners (entered) N/A.
First TOUR win (recent): Wise
First Appearance: Wise
Second Appearance: N/A
Margin of Victory: 3 shots; Wise
Low Rounds 2018: 61; Leishman. 62; Brian Gay, Round 2; Branden Grace Round 4.
Odd Fact: Built on a landfill and has exactly zero trees in play.
Odd Fact II: Trinity Zoysia grass was developed exclusively for this track.
Odd Fact III: Past performance in this event prior to 2018 will not be helpful when relating to course history.

 The Confidence Factor was the weekly column I wrote for PGATOUR.COM. It has evolved into Horses for Courses. I’ve included the link here for you.

Trend or Not a Trend?

Stats 2018 Runner-Up T3 T3 T3
  Aaron Wise M. Leishman Branden Grace K. Mitchell J.J. Spaun
Score 261 264 265 265 265
           
All Drives 9 34 T15 6 T23
Accuracy T6 T8 T23 T10 2
GIR 1 T8 T29 2 T21
Ball-Striking          
Proximity 3 T14 24 1 11
Putting: Birdie or Better % 7 17 1 32 6
SG: Off-the-Tee 2 10 29 1 9
SG: Approach-the-Green 1 25 33 3 20
SG: Around-the-Green 34 48 1 35 5
SG: Putting 7 1 18 30 19
SG: Tee-to-Green 2 19 5 3 4
Scrambling T18 T27 T35 17 T24
Bogey Avoidance          
Par-3 Scoring T24 T7 T2 T16 T2
Par-4 Scoring 1 T8 T17 T3 T3
Par-5 Scoring T6 T6 T2 T20 T44

Horses for Courses

Each week I’ll put the major players in here. There are always exceptions to rules and “new” players every year so use this as a guide or tiebreaker.

2018 Results
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
T V A
Martin Laird
Brendon Todd
Ricky Barnes (DQ)

Thoughts

It’s year two at Trinity Forest so that should give those who played last year a slight advantage but not much. As Rob Bolton pointed out, the course will play slightly shorter this year but they have also added some new tee boxes. The guys from last year will have the greens mapped and the routes figured out but that might not matter as much because of Mother Nature.

The wind isn’t going to blow from the same direction as last year.

The temperature is going to be 20 degrees or so cooler.

Dallas has taken on historic rain since last fall and is getting pounded on Wednesday.

This should level the playing field for the newbies, which are 80+ strong, and should open up some doors.

Last year the track was firm-ish and fast-ish and 31 players were 10-under or better. The wind blew exactly one day, Saturday, and that helped, but not much.

Of the players in the top 25, there were FOUR rounds above par so there’s not much time for making bogeys and others this week.

The wet conditions will widen already the widest fairways on TOUR so it SHOULD be a second-shot course.

Except the greens are HUMONGOUS and that suggests more folks will hit them = putting contest.

Couple of schools of thought this week but I’m going to have guys who make birdies and can putt break my ties.

You do you.

The Chalk

Brooks Koepka: Bombs away! The last time he played a new venue, THE CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES (yes, ALL CAPS is how they do it over there), he won and shot 21-under. Top 25 in both birdies and scoring works for me.

Marc Leishman: Wind player, links player and almost wired it last year. Let’s try again!

Keith Mitchell: He’s won and cashed two other top-10 paychecks in his last seven starts including last week. Pound it.

Scott Piercy: The last time we saw him on his own ball we saw him cash his fifth top-10 check of the season at Harbour Town. That ties his best haul for a season and it’s the first week of May! Saddle up!

Hideki Matsuyama: Use a broom. Use a rake. Try left-handed. Hit it closer.

Ryan Palmer: Winner last time out, Texan, wind player, birdie machine, etc.

Rory Sabbatini: The bubble will burst sometime but the former Dallas resident has rattled off eight straight on TOUR.

Kevin Na: Broken finger is well behind him as we saw with QF appearance at Match Play and T10 at RBC.

Rafa Cabrera Bello: T36 or better in all of his start on TOUR in 2019 provides a steady, if unspectacular, option this week. I’m just happy his name was shorted to Rafa and the hyphens were dropped!

Patrick Reed: Saw flashes last week (67-69) at Quail Hollow but couldn’t finish out the weekend. Without any trees to hit into, I hope he can concentrate! IF this place reminds him of Maui (big targets, work that putter), look out!

Branden Grace: Chambers Bay. 62 last year. No trees = no problems even with no form. I’m not splitting too many hairs in a field this short.

Sungjae Im: Knock. Knock. Knock. Every week is a new adventure on courses he’s never seen in competition. He’s 26th in birds, 25th in scoring and was T3 last week at a difficult QHC in birdies with 18. This could be the week as not many will have a leg up on him course-wise. I’m using him everywhere.

Ryan Moore: Younger Brian Gay checks in 16th SG: Total, 32nd TTG and 30th putting.

Charles Howell III: Showed off last year on Saturday with bogey-free 65 in the gusting wind. Awesome metrics but quiet form is chilly. Last time he could swing driver T15 at Bay Hill.

Scottie Scheffler: Yeah. Everybody SHOULD BE on him this week. Dallas native has made eight cuts on the Web.com and SIX have gone for top-10 results. If that’s not enough, the last four events he’s played have also checked that box. T20 at Valero shows it doesn’t matter. We’re all getting paid or bombing out together, haha. I know which one happens more frequently, sadly…

Seamus Power: T13 or better in his last three on TOUR.

Henrik Stenson: Do I think Seamus Power is a better value this week than Stenson? Of course. The general public always flock to the big names but I enjoy heat more than most. The Swede bounced back nicely for T28 last week at WFC after playing the final three rounds six under.

Next Tier

Brian Gay: The wet creeps me out a bit but his putter relieves most concerns.

Matt Jones: Anybody who racks up nine straight goes in here.

Russell Knox: T16 last year and has cashed in 12 of 14 this season.

Adam Schenk: Prison tool or bad golf shot? YOU DECIDE! Handled a long, strong TPC San Antonio (T7) and another big course last week (T13).

Trey Mullinax: Six straight paydays should have the confidence rolling. Bomb it, find it and wedge it close so that balky putter gets some relief!

Pat Perez: Oh, hey, T8 last week with 74 in the final round. Don’t want to be late to the party!

Lucas Bjerregaard: Last time we saw him he was T21 at the Masters. He also MC at Valero after knocking out Tiger Woods in Match Play.

Justin Harding: Cashing T12 at Augusta confirmed he can putt any greens anywhere. Carding a million with Branden Grace at Zurich in the final round means he can also hit it anywhere. Plenty of room this week for the less-than-accurate!

Brian Stuard: Won in a playoff in a rain-soaked Zurich Classic a few years back over a couple of big hitters. T4 at Valero and T16 at RBC in his last two are more than enough evidence for me. Move him up.

J.T. Poston: Big ballpark wasn’t conducive last week even though it was a semi-home game. I’m right back on him in this field as he’s 44th in scoring and has made 14 of 18 cuts.

Thomas Pieters: He’s made 29 of his last 33 worldwide. Nice counterpunch this week for contrarians.

I Have No Idea

Jordan Spieth: I never liked him in this event when it was at TPC Four Seasons but I thought last year might clean the slate. Nope. He should hang around based on the bottom-heavy field but I haven’t seen anything that suggests win or top five this week. In fantasy land, he’s worthless if he’s not in that conversation.

Form/Long Shots/Course Horse/DFS

Nick Taylor: 9 in a row and is an excellent putter.

J.J. Spaun: Walked in last year in dire form and threw up T3. He’s T28 and T22 after dealing with a back deal thingy.

Sebastian Munoz: Broke his streak of 5 straight MC at difficult Quail Hollow Club. Sometimes you gotta take a chance.

Roberto Diaz: 5 in a row.

Ryan Blaum: Led the field with 26 birdies last year. T17 at API is his best recent.

Wyndham Clark: Hits it a mile and can putt. More decent weeks than bad ones and should enjoy the open-ness.

Dominic Bozzelli: Tends to feast on easier tracks and is 16th in birdie average.

Hammerin’ Hank Lebioda: 6 in a row.

Jimmy “Hard K” Knous. 4 straight and 6 of 7. GIR machine could surprise.

K.H. Lee: Struggled with the putter but top 50 in both fairways and GIR. Speed of greens should help this week.

Peter Malnati: Had a run of 6 straight snapped on a big-boy track last week. Trending spectacularly before that and is a lights-out putter.

Alex Prugh: 9th in proximity and made 3 of 4. THESE ARE LONG SHOTS OK?

Troy Merritt: Last time he won was on a new track to him at Barbasol. Before that was a new track at RTJ Club. Needed plenty of birdies for both.

Vaughn Taylor: Blasted out 68-64 last year before fading. Played very solidly at Quail Hollow and can putt.

Shawn Stefani: Racked up 7 of 9 cuts and closed 65-70-67 last week after opening 76. Native Texan.

Colt Knost: Dallas Party Aunt balled out annually in this event before he got hurt and they moved it.

Brian Harman: One top 25 does not make a season but it was his first event with three rounds in the 60s since Scottsdale.

Beau Hossler: Anybody that fires 76-80 on the weekend has to bounce back the following week, right?

Kevin Tway: Anybody who breaks a streak of 6 straight by MAKING the cut at Augusta National deserves props.

Julian Etulain: Played at TCU and has made 9 of 11 because he’s a great putter.

Bud Cauley Section:

Time to see if his streak (T38 followed by T24) continues as his ball-striking should be useful this week. He’s 50th in birds and 38th in scoring. WHAT COULD GO WRONG!

Brendon Todd: Everyone else is on him as a past champion at this event and signs of life. Insider’s dream again this week. And next. And the week after that.

Fades

Aaron Wise: Sorry man! We talked about superstitions last week and one of mine is first-time defending champs. I tried my theory out on Jon Rahm last year AFTER HE WON and it blew up in my face. That doesn’t mean a very warm Wise won’t perform this week; it means I won’t be on board to worry.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat: Last time he made news he was WD while defending in Brunei. This is his first event back so I’m out until he gets the kinks out.

 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out on Twitter (@MikeGlasscott) or email me mikeglasscott@gmail.com.

 

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