2022 AT&T Byron Nelson Picks: Will Zalatoris, Sam Burns Among 5 OAD Targets
Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Will Zalatoris.
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2022 AT&T Byron Nelson OAD Picks
Will Zalatoris (+1400)
In many OAD contests, poolsters make their selections the week of the tournament, which essentially cuts down on any potential DNS results. I’m in one, however, where all picks must be made prior to the beginning of the year and another where we have three checkpoints, essentially submitting one-third of the picks on three different occasions.
For each of these two, I already locked in Zalatoris long ago for this one, in hopes that his flatstick is up for rolling in 25-30 birdie opportunities.
That said, if you’re taking this play and applying it to the betting markets, I hate the number. Listed at third on the initial board — ahead of DJ, Schauffele and Spieth — is way too short for a player with world-class ball-striking skills, but one who’s still seeking his first career victory.
Again, if you want to play him in OADs, I’m all-in on the game theory behind that selection. Betting him at 14-1, though, feels like a massive stretch.
Sam Burns (+2200)
Personally, I’ve got no issue saving Burns in OADs for one of the next two majors or a FedEx Cup playoff event. He’s proven himself to be one of the world’s best players and even though that’s been a rapid ascension, there’s no reason to believe he can’t perform on the biggest stages.
That said, if you’ve still got him left on your list, his win equity might not be better for the rest of the summer than it is this week. With a runner-up last year at Craig Ranch, he’s at least shown a liking for this track. With little else to go off, he’s a solid play if you have him left and don’t need to save him for elsewhere.
Sebastian Munoz (+7500)
We are getting very close to Colombian Charles Howell III territory here – and as I’ve written in the past, that’s not an insult at all.
Munoz has finished between 21st and 39th in each of his last seven starts, cashing some solid paychecks without ever once seriously contending for a title. If the CH3 comparison doesn’t do this justice, he’s basically in a group with the likes of Russell Henley, Maverick McNealy and Brian Harman as guys who continue to grind out solid performances without much to show for it in the way of points or money or big-time results.
Even so, I still think good things are on the horizon for all of the players I’ve mentioned here. I’ll admit Munoz might hold more value if you’re near the top of your OAD standings instead of the bottom — that’s due to his potential low-ceiling and continually high-floor — but really, I like him in all formats at this one.
Jhonattan Vegas (+5500)
There are a few things I say about Vegas on a fairly regular basis — well, whenever I’m saying something about Vegas, that is.
The first is that if you just landed on this planet and could somehow analyze golf talent without knowing who the best players are, chances are you’d watch Jhonny for a few minutes and think he’s somewhere inside the world’s top-25 or so. He’s a big dude, hits it a long way, has nice control with his irons and good hands around the greens; there really isn’t anything not to like about his game.
The second thing I’ve often said about him is that he’s one of those momentum-type players. There are some guys who offer no signal when they’re about to climb a leaderboard. James Hahn, who hadn’t finished inside the top 60 of an event since last November and contended at the Wells Fargo this past weekend, might be the most extreme example.
These players are obviously the toughest to pin down from a prognostication standpoint. Many others, though, leave a trail of breadcrumbs behind, so that we can play detective while following the clues.
Vegas is among those near the top of this list. Essentially, when he’s not playing well, we stay away, but when he starts trending in the right direction, we should take note.
Following finishes of 15th-18th-4th-27th in his last four starts, all indications are that he’s once again dropping those breadcrumbs. It would be wise to follow ‘em.
Davis Riley (+6500)
Quick: Guess which player currently ranks 15th on the PGA TOUR in birdie average this season. If you guessed Riley, well, that makes a whole lot of sense, since his name is right above these sentences.
Anyway… in his rookie season, Riley has posted 233 total birdies, showing he isn’t afraid to aim at some flagsticks and play a bit aggressively. When last we saw him, he was busy finishing solo fifth in Mexico, posting four under-par rounds.
There’s some reason to believe, based on recent results, that Riley is most comfortable when the winning total is well below par, suggesting that this could be another strong week for him.