As I’m writing this, I’m still riding the high of a Rory McIlroy win, but after looking at the field for this week, I’m pretty excited to be back in Texas. That, and the fact the year’s second major is just a week away.
The Byron Nelson struggles to find a permanent home. And no, not on the schedule, but the golf course. They change the venue a lot, and that goes for this year as well. Before we get into that, let’s take a look at the field.
The Texas kid is back in his home-state. Jordan Spieth, who we haven’t seen since the Masters, is in really good form. Since missing the cut at the Farmers, Jordan’s made 7 stroke play event starts: T4, T3, T15 T4, T48 (PLAYERS), 1st (Valero Texas Open), and T3 (Masters). He’s one of the favorites for Kiawah.
Other big names in the field include: Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Brooks Koepka, Daniel Berger, Masters Champ Hideki Matsuyama, and Will Zalatoris.
TPC Craig Ranch
Tom Weiskopf design
Small greens, a lot of bunkers, and a creek running through most of the property.
This golf course plays a lot like TPC Scottsdale, home of the WMPO, another Tom Weiskopf design. With that in mind, players who are able to hit a lot of fairways, while driving it a long way, will have a large advantage around this place.
This is the first time this course has been featured on the PGA Tour, so there are a lot of mysteries coming into the week.
Data Golf Information
Like I said, first time this course is on the Tour circuit, so DG doesn’t have close course comparisons (although I do like TPC Scottsdale as a big one).
Trending (of the players in the field): 1. Jordan Spieth (Last 3 starts: T9, 1, T3), 2. Bryson DeChambeau (T17, T46, T9), 3. Daniel Berger (T17, MC, T13).
% Chance to Win: 1. Jon Rahm (13.5%), 2. Bryson DeChambeau (7.9%), 3. Daniel Berger (6.3%)
Twilight 9 Card, Best Bets
Starting with the Englishman, Matthew Fitzpatrick.
Since the start of 2021, Matty has made 6 stroke-play event starts: 2 Top 5s, 4 Top 10s, T11 at Concession, and a T34 at the Masters.
For the season, he’s 18th in SG: OTT, 11th SG: P, and in his last 24 rounds, he’s 5th SG: P. He’s not long off the tee by any means, but he is 15th on Tour is driving accuracy, hitting 68.53% of fairways.
Matthew Fitzpatrick, Top 10 (+190)
He lost us some money for the first time I think ever, but in his home state of Texas, Will Zalatoris is a great bet this week.
He’s coming off his first MC of 2021 – Will couldn’t get it going off the tee at Quail Hollow.
His tee to green game for the season is great, ranking 10th on Tour, while his approach game continues to be ridiculous, ranking 4th on Tour.
Will Zalatoris, Top 10 (+210)
Let’s talk about another Texas kid, Mr. Scottie Scheffler.
When the Tour is in his home state, he plays well: T32 at the Houston Open (2020), T28 Houston Open (2019), T20 at the Valero Texas Open (2019), T35 at the AT&T Byron Nelson (2019), and most recently a runner-up at the Match Play just over a month ago.
He’s due, the kid is still looking for his first PGA Tour win.
He’s also a great combination of distance and accuracy. He’s 32nd in driving distance (305.2), while hitting 67.14% of fairways (26th).
And at my favorite course comparison, TPC Scottsdale, he finished T7 a few months ago.
Scottie Scheffler, Top 10 (+190)
Doug Ghim is going to be a guy to watch this week if his putter gets hot.
Of the players in this field, Doug ranks 3rd in SG: APP and 4th: T2G in his last 24 rounds. He’s also 1st in this field when it comes to proximity from 175-200, that’s going to be an important range this week.
He’s shown that he can play well in strong fields, finishing inside the Top 30 at the Players and playing in the same group as the Champion, Justin Thomas.
Doug Ghim, Top 30 (+200)
2018 Champ Aaron Wise is going on the card.
In his last 24 rounds, he’s inside the Top 55 on Tour in SG: APP, OTT, BS, and T2G.
He’s also been in decent form over the last few months, with a T13 at the Honda, and a Top 10 finish just last week at the Wells Fargo.
In a low scoring event, Wise can keep up, the kid makes a lot of birdies thanks to his ball-striking. When he won this event a few years ago, he shot -23.
Aaron Wise Top 30, (+175)
Scottie Scheffler (+1600, FD)
Will Zalatoris (+2800, DK)