This week's AT&T Byron Nelson brings us a brand-new course, Trinity Forest Golf Club.
The unknown of a new layout has left TOUR pros on the fence which has given us a rather weak field this week. The hope is that Trinity Forest will receive rave reviews in year one and future editions will see the return of some big names.
Weak field or not, there are plenty of DFS contests on the docket so let's break down the event.
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Thursday (R1): Sunny with a high of 93 degrees. Winds at 5 to 10 MPH.
Friday (R2): Sunny with a high near 93 degrees. Winds at 5 to 15 MPH with gusts up to 20 MPH.
Weekend: Saturday could be the most fun day to watch with winds at 10 to 15 MPH with gusts as high as 25 MPH. Sunday will bring more heat with winds around 10 MPH.
With temperatures nearing 100 degrees all week, this could be a week where we see some Friday WDs if golfers get off to a rough start and don't want to battle with dehydration to the finishline.
Looking for potential tee-time advatanges, the current forecast calls for gusts reaching 20 MPH on Friday afternoon but nothing major before that. If I had to make a stand for one tee-time wave, I would target the LATE/early wave, meaning golfers that start their week on Thursday afternoon. Just remember that a slight change in the forecast could drastically alter that. Keep your eyes glued to the forecast tonight.
The best part about season-long leagues is the draft. You don't get that same rush with normal DFS contests but there is hope still. DRAFT has come along to fill that void and I'm having a lot of fun playing in their weekly golf drafts.
The first place to start is to build your pre-draft rankings for the week. I will point out a few golfers I think are overvalued in the raw rankings and a few that are undervalued in the raw rankings.
James Hahn (57.5 Projected Pts): Having one of his better seasons from a consistency standpoint but that's trending in the wrong direction. More recently, he's missed three straight cuts, losing 9.1 strokes tee-to-green along the way. His irons have gone cold, so it's safe to leave him off your target list until he shows a return to form.
Vaughn Taylor (55.2 Projected Pts): Had a string of pre-tournament WDs due to a wrist injury, earlier this year. Since returning he is 2-for-4 but he's lost 7.8 strokes from tee-to-green in those four starts. He's a fringe play when fully healthy but when you add in the injury concerns and lack of form since returning from injury, he deserves to be moved down the pre-rankings.
Beau Hossler (37 Projected Pts): The talented youngster ranks 3rd in total adjusted strokes gained during the 2018 calendar year (of all the golfers in this week's field). That alone deserves a big boost up the pre-draft rankings. Then we add in the fact he practices here at Trinity Forest and we have an easy decision. Don't let the Texas Longhorn slip through the cracks this week.
Joaquin Niemann (30.8 Projected Pts): He was the World No. 1 Amateur before recently turning pro. He's already picked up a top 10 on the PGA TOUR and that happened to also come in the Lone Star State. He's brings more top-10 upside than anyone else in this range of projected golfers. He's still a bit raw, so we can't pencil him in for an automatic top 25 but he definitely deserves a boost up the draft board.
This week presents a unique challenge on the course-fit front. We have a links-style course but the turf features zoysia fairways and bermudagrass greens. Most links layouts overseas are going to have fescue/bentgrass turf. Most Open Championships are played in cool weather while this week we have temps approaching 100 degrees for all four days.
I think it's great to look at Open Championship performances as a pointer this week but we also want golfers that prefer bermuda on the greens.
Looking at performance on bermudagrass since the start of 2014, the top 15 performers on a per-round basis looks like this:
Charles Howell III
Gooch is a very interesting name there. He went to Oky State so he should be comfortable on firm turf. Could be a nice sleeper.
Recommendation: A few names that pop on both lists are Grayson Murray and Billy Horschel.
Scott Piercy: With HEAT in the forecast, a Vegas resident like Piercy pops to the forefront. Piercy said this a few years ago while playing the CIMB Classic, "I love the heat. I grew up in Vegas, so I’m used to the heat. Maybe not the humidity like this, but some guys aren’t accustomed to it. I love it. So, it’s player to player, really." That's great but what really grabs my attention is his season-long form. The missed-cut numbers aren't elite but his approach play is. Piercy has gained strokes approaching-the-green in all but one start this season. He's gained 3+ strokes on approach in seven of those starts. With Trinity Forest having turtleback greens that will repel errant approach shots, someone like Piercy can pick up a few shots just by landing his approach shots in the right landing zones.
Best of luck in all your contests this week!