3 Picks for the AT&T Byron Nelson: Luke List Finding His Game, Bryson DeChambeau Rides Momentum
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Luke List of the United States plays a shot on the seventh hole during the final round of the 2021 Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club on May 09, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
This season has continued the trend of stars breaking winless streaks as we have seen Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama, and now Rory McIlroy find their first win in more than a year. McIlroy came through with a one-shot victory at the Wells Fargo Championship by narrowly avoiding complete disaster on the final hole to outlast Abraham Ancer by one shot.
Rory posted consecutive birdies on the 14th and 15th to take a two-shot advantage down the stretch at Quail Hollow as he entered the Green Mile. As that was happening, Ancer posted a 5-under 66, as he birdied three of his final four holes to close out his round. Rory was seemingly ready to cruise home when he went in the creek off the 18th tee, but thankfully had two shots to play with and would use one of them to finish off his first win in 18 months.
The TOUR will now head to Texas for a quick stop before coming back to the Carolinas for next week’s PGA Championship. After his win today, many books have moved Rory into the tops odds position for the year’s second major, bringing the Irishman back to the forefront of golf and back into the Top 10 in the world.
This week, the AT&T Byron Nelson will be played at TPC Craig Ranch, which will be another new stop for this tournament. It has attracted a solid field with DJ, Spieth, and Brooks Koepka, his first tournament since The Masters. While many of the big names that played the Wells Fargo will take a week off before next week’s major, a few others will look to carry some positive momentum from their week in Charlotte over to McKinney, Texas.
3 Buys for AT&T Byron Nelson
This is a new TOUR course, so we don’t know exactly which players fit the profile. Since we don’t really know what to expect, one of the best things to do will be to lean on recent form.
We knew that distance and ball striking would be a great advantage at Quail Hollow, and that certainly played out for Luke List. He has long been a bomber off the tee and great ball striker, but often falls short due to his short game.
List actually gained strokes on average across every metric, including his putting. He was simply solid throughout the week in Charlotte, and that played out as he finished in a tie for sixth. Unfortunately for List, his game became a bit shaky on Sunday as he lost more than three strokes to the field tee to green as his approach and around the green game faded.
Ironically, it was his putter that helped to hold him in the top 10. I was still encouraged by his performance across the week, and he should be another player to keep an eye on going into the AT&T Byron Nelson. He actually has some course history here, finishing T13 at TPC Craig Ranch in the 2012 Web.com Tour Championship.
Aaron Wise is a player that will come into the event in good form after he finished his week in Charlotte in the top 5 of the field in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green. He gained strokes on average in each round across every metric in this category at Quail Hollow. While he struggled a bit with his approach on Sunday, he was otherwise steady throughout the week and showed it across his entire bag. He did win this event back in 2018 at a different course, but maybe the good Texas vibes come back to Wise this week.
We don’t know just how much distance will be an advantage on this new TOUR track, but we know for sure that Bryson DeChambeau will do whatever he needs to try to take advantage of his power. He will come into the event with some good feelings after thinking he had missed the cut following his second round on Friday — he quite literally had to turn things around to play on Saturday morning.
The reigning U.S. Open Champion would take full advantage of his new found opportunity as he climbed from on the cut line to the top 10 over the weekend. He was a bad-luck double-bogey on the last hole on Saturday from a great round, and then followed it up with another strong round on Sunday. The key for Bryson is that he seemed to find his ball striking as he gained 4.65 strokes on the field in that category on Sunday.
Most of those strokes, 3.9 to be exact, were gained off the tee and not approach, but that is a bit of the standard for Bryson and he can do that at nearly any course on TOUR. It seems he should benefit from some added rounds in competition, and as always he will be a player to watch this week in Texas.