With the next major championship just one week away, all eyes are about to be on the PGA Tour once again. Last week, Rory McIlroy picked up his first victory in nearly two years as everyone is getting primed up for another primetime event.
Before everyone arrives in Charleston, S.C., at Kiawah Island for the PGA Championship, the professionals are making a stop in Texas. The AT&T Byron Nelson will take place this weekend in the suburbs of Dallas as this tournament will be played at a brand new course.
After a couple of consecutive donuts for KSR Golf, we look to get back on the scoreboard this week. Let’s find the best plays on the card.
TPC Craig Ranch twice served as a stop on the Korn Ferry Tour — think the Triple A baseball of golf — and big numbers were posted. The winner hit at least 16-under par in each tournament. With a sunny forecast for most of the weekend, some big numbers could be put up this weekend but wind over 15 mph on both Saturday and Sunday could provide some late carnage.
This is a Par 72 course that covers 7,468 yards with some very long holes. There are six Par 4s that go over 450 yards with the 13th hole reaching over 500 yards. Even the Par 3s are very long with most stretching over 200 yards easily. There is not much rough as this is a pretty open course, but sand bunkers are all over the place with occasional water hazards.
When looking for winners, this weekend is likely going to be all about ball striking. Players must be able to get off the tee but iron play will be essential with approach shots into the green.
Advanced Stat of the Week
Well, you can never really go wrong with strokes gained tee-to-green when trying to find a winner, and that is something worth heavily considering this week. However, due to the openness and length of the course, the strokes gained approach is where the most value is to be found.
Golfers need to be locked in with their second shots to give themselves a chance at scoring birdies on all of the Par 4s. That is how the winner will bring home the trophy in this tournament. With some heavy-hitters in the field, there are plenty of quality players to choose from.
Will Zalatoris sits at No. 4 overall in strokes gained approach, and the rookie phenom is the top player in this metric participating in the event this weekend. The 24-year-old had the runner-up finish at the Masters Tournament to go along with a couple more top-fives this season. However, Zalatoris missed the cut last week in Charlotte after going T-42 at the RBC Heritage. The Wake Forest product is worth consideration at 22/1 to win over at Draft Kings but tread lightly.
Jon Rahm sits at No. 3 overall in the World Golf Rankings, but the 26-year-old missed the cut last week at the Wells Fargo Championship. Despite that, Rahm had four consecutive top-10 finishes coming into that tournament. Rahmbo has yet to win this year and is due as he’s the third-best player in the field in the strokes gained approach metric. He’s the co-favorite with Bryson DeChambeau at 8/1 but is worth consideration.
Daniel Berger missed some time due to injury, but before that the 28-year-old was playing some very good golf. The Florida State product recorded a couple of top-10 finishes in January before picking up a win in February at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. He then followed it up with a top-10 finish at The Players. Now he is back and is off of a respectable top-15 finish at RBC Heritage. In a light field, he is one of the best golfers out this weekend in addition to being in the top 25 in strokes gained approach. We’re taking him at 17/1 as our winner.
Jordan Spieth sits a No. 22 in strokes gained approach and is always someone that needs to be considered on a Texas course. After recording a win in the Lonestar State earlier in the year, one of the biggest names in golf should once again be in the hunt this weekend. Lock Spieth in for a top-five finish at +250.
Jordan Spieth wins the Valero Texas Open for his first victory since 2017!
Friendly reminder that the Masters starts on Thursday ? pic.twitter.com/BIGoBqjLoW
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 4, 2021
Doug Ghim is in the 200s in the World Golf Rankings, but the 25-year-old is in the top-10 in strokes gained approach. The young golfer had a top-five back in January and has made his fair share of cuts this season. He can score a surprise top-10 finish at +550 this weekend. Lock him in.
Brooks Koepka has missed four cuts in his last six events, and no one is really sure just how healthy that knee is following surgery. Playing this weekend, there is again some value on a missed cut play at +225. Lock it in until we can see Koepka return to true form.