AT&T Byron Nelson Final Round Buys and Fades: Sam Burns’ Playing Partners Have Value at TPC Craig Ranch

AT&T Byron Nelson Final Round Buys and Fades: Sam Burns’ Playing Partners Have Value at TPC Craig Ranch article feature image
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Matthew Stockman/Getty Images. Pictured: K.H. Lee.

Another day at TPC Craig Ranch produced more low scoring as the field ate up the course for the AT&T Byron Nelson to the tune of 2.88 strokes under par on average.

The players that went out early had a bit of an advantage with a lack of wind, which allowed both Harris English and Scott Stallings to capitalize with the lowest rounds of the day. They would each post 9-under rounds of 63, three strokes better than the next best scores, and it allowed them to climb into the top 10 heading to Sunday.

The leader going into the final round remains Sam Burns, but his advantage is just one over K.H. Lee who cut into his three-shot deficit with a bogey-free round of 67. They will make up two thirds of the final group as tee times are moved to first thing in the morning, with threesomes off of both tees in an effort to get the round in before bad weather comes into the area.

Charl Schwartzel will round out the group as he leads a group of four at 17-under including Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar and Alex Noren, three shots back of Burns.

There are 14 players within five shots of the lead going into the final round, and usually with rain comes wind. The story all week is that wind is the protection of this course, and if it plays a real factor on Sunday, this tournament could become wide open to a large number of players. Let’s take a look at the strokes gained data from Round 3 to see if we can find the winner.

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Strokes Gained Explanation

Strokes Gained can give golf bettors, DFS players and fans way more detail on how a golfer is truly playing by measuring each shot in relation to the rest of the field.

Using the millions of data points it collects, the TOUR calculates how many shots on average it takes a player to get the ball in the hole from every distance and situation. If a player beats those averages, he’s gaining strokes on the field.

Every situation in golf is different — Strokes Gained measures how players perform relative to the situation.

In this piece, we’ll touch on a variety of Strokes Gained metrics…

  • Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee
  • Strokes Gained: Approach
  • Strokes Gained: Around-the-Green
  • Strokes Gained: Putting
  • Strokes Gained: Ball-Striking (which is Off-the-Tee + Approach)
  • Strokes Gained: Tee-to-Green (which is Ball-Striking + Around-the-Green)

In general, ball-striking and tee-to-green are the most stable long term, while putting is more prone to volatility.

You can often find live-betting advantages by identifying golfers who are hitting the ball well, but just not getting putts to drop. Likewise, players with high SG: Putting numbers may regress moving forward.

3 Golfers to Buy in Round 4

We didn’t come this far to bail on K.H. Lee now. He has been the steadiest player in the field since they teed off on Thursday. He couldn’t quite make it three-straight 65s on Saturday, but it was another solid, bogey-free round. Lee hasn’t had a bogey in this event since his 11th hole in his opening round where he yipped a three-foot par putt.

In the strokes gained department, the South Korean ranks third in the field tee-to-green on the week. He is gaining strokes across all categories, and he hasn’t lost strokes to the field in any of those three metrics in any of the first three rounds.

This will be his first chance for a win on TOUR, but he stood up from one of the final groups on Sunday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February to finish in a tie for second, one shot behind Brooks Koepka. He didn’t waver then, and I haven’t seen any hesitation from him this week, which has me confident he can come through for the win.

The player that sticks out for a more traditional final-round buy is Charl Schwartzel. He ranks fourth in the field tee-to-green this week and was the top player in the field on Saturday in that category. His 6-under round was strong, but it would’ve been notably better if he could simply get the ball in the hole.

Schwartzel lost .83 strokes to the field on the greens, and it was his first round of the week where the putter struggled. I expect him to be able to bounce back with the flat stick on Sunday and be in a position to pressure the leaders in his grouping down the stretch. He’s a player that has been improving throughout the year, and at +1100 he’s a solid buy to be the next older player for a resurgent win this season.

I’ll go to the well for a third time this week on Doc Redman, but it’s time I reverse course. I really underrated the improvement he showed with his ball striking in Round 2, and that continued on Saturday. The issue for him in Round 3 was that while his ball striking was dialed in, he predictably lost the hot putter he had in the first two rounds.

Redman was still able to post a three-under round and stay within shouting distance of the lead going into the final round. If he can put it all together for 18 holes on Sunday and gets a little bit of help from the top of the leaderboard, +3700 on FanDuel is a solid number for a potential longshot win.

3 Golfers to Fade in Round 4

I’m buying two of the three players in the final group, so by default I am fading the leader Sam Burns. I do think things will get interesting on Sunday as there are a number of players that could work their way into pressuring Burns down the stretch, and two of them are in his group.

He remained solid on Saturday as he plodded his way around TPC Craig Ranch, taking advantage of the Par 5s and mostly avoiding mistakes. Burns was cold on the putting greens in the third round as he lost nearly a stroke-and-a-half to the field with the flat stick. He was also merely field average ball striking on the day, which isn’t likely to be good enough if that happens again in the final round. I’m planting my flag here on the fade, but it’s a bit jaded with my preexisting K.H. Lee ticket that I am hoping to bring home.

My next fade is on Burns’ playing partner in the final group on Saturday, Alex Noren. It was really a struggle throughout the day for the Swede as he lost strokes to the field in all categories tee-to-green. He lost nearly two strokes to the field in that metric, which was impacted mostly by more than a stroke lost on approach. Noren was still able to salvage an under-par round as he holed an eagle from off the green at the fifth hole, which matched his two-under score. I think it will be tough for him to bounce back in a positive way on Sunday, knowing that he really let a good chance slip in the third round.

Seamus Power checks in as my third and final fade of the week. I was surprised to see his data after what was a great 5-under round on Saturday. He was able to climb into a tie for seventh with a bogey-free round, but digging deeper, he did it entirely on and around the greens.

Power’s biggest shot of the day was a hole-out from the greenside bunker on the short Par 4 14th for eagle, which really shot his name up the leaderboard. He would also birdie three of the Par 5s in his round, though none came easy as he struggled getting into position tee-to-green. I expect we see his name drop from the first page of the leaderboard on Sunday unless he finds something in his ball striking leading into the final round.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 3

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