AT&T Byron Nelson Round 2 Buys and Fades: Daniel Berger Highlights 3 Players to Target

AT&T Byron Nelson Round 2 Buys and Fades: Daniel Berger Highlights 3 Players to Target article feature image
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Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Daniel Berger.

I thought it would be a birdie fest this week at TPC Craig Ranch, but I didn’t quite anticipate the field carving up the course to this extent.

The morning wave averaged 3.64 strokes under par with 13 players shot 7-under or better. Players going out in the afternoon found it only a touch tougher, averaging more than three shots under par in their rounds.

J.J. Spaun seemingly came out of nowhere to post a 9-under 63 en route to what appeared to be an insurmountable opening round lead, until Jordan Spieth started doing Jordan Spieth things. The Texas native charged out to 7-under thru 13 holes before stalling a bit on his way in. Spieth hit his second from 281 yards out on the final hole to 55 feet for what I expected to be a difficult two putt for birdie on the par 5, but Spieth doesn’t play for two putts. Instead, he drained the eagle putt to join Spaun at the top of the leaderboard heading into Friday.

The round by Spieth was a microcosm of what happened all around the course today as there were eagles and birdies available at every turn. In total, more than 30 players shot 6-under or better on the round, and if there were a cut today the crowd at 3-under, including Bryson DeChambeau, would not make it. There is a little wind expected to pick up tomorrow afternoon, but it’s hard to see this birdie train stopping.

We still have 54 holes to play so while it feels like Spieth may go out and post another low one tomorrow morning, there is still a lot of golf left. The jumbled pack and a betting favorite at the top also creates a solid betting market into the second round.

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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 2

If you want a bit of a flyer going into Friday, I really like what K.H. Lee did on Thursday. He played in the afternoon wave, which was a bit tougher, and should get some optimal playing conditions to start his second round.

Lee shot 7-under in the opening round and ranked fourth in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green on the day. He was the second-best player in that category from the afternoon wave and he showed a few months ago at the Waste Management Phoenix Open that he has staying power. Lee finished second to Brooks Koepka during that event, which was held on another TPC course.

Lee is one of the longer odds of the players at the top with +6500 available on FanDuel. If he can keep his ball striking going, which gained nearly four strokes on the field Thursday, he can put himself in position for a late tee time heading to the weekend.

[Bet K.H. Lee at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]

One player that we know has a sense of his way around TPC Craig Ranch is Ryan Palmer. He spoke about the dozens of times he’s played the course earlier in the week, sneaking, in the fact that he holds the course record with a 61.

Palmer didn’t do anything to hurt his chances on Thursday with a 5-under 67, but it certainly could’ve been much better. He gained more than three shots on the field tee to green, including strokes gained in every metric. The issue for the Texan in the opening round was a balky putter that gave up 1.44 strokes on the greens. If Palmer can find the putting stroke, I love his ability to go low and stay in the hunt the rest of the way. I really like the +6500 FanDuel has posted on him as I feel it’s about 15-20 points from where it should be heading into Round 2.

[Bet Ryan Palmer at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]

It appears I really like guys all in the same range heading into Friday. My real long shot from a strokes back stand point is with Daniel Berger. He “only” shot 3-under in his opening round and will start the day six shots behind the leaders. The interesting part is how far he is being separated from players at similar scores.

Bryson DeChambeau, Jon Rahm and Hideki Matsuyama are all names that are priced well ahead of Berger going into Friday. In looking closer at Berger’s numbers, that differential just doesn’t add up. He gained more than 2.5 shots on the field ball striking on Thursday. Berger hit all but one green in regulation on the day, but he was left with some lengthy putts and when he had good looks, he couldn’t get anything to drop. Berger lost nearly three strokes on and around the greens with the majority of that coming with the putter where he lost 1.85 shots to the field.

Berger was able to close the round with an eagle to take some momentum into tomorrow, and he will go off with the ideal conditions of the early wave. He’s a player that has posted many rounds in the low 60s on TOUR before, so we know he can go really low and get back into the mix. I love him as a potentially contrarian play in DFS, and will dabble at +6600 to win on BetMGM.

[Bet Daniel Berger at BetMGM.]

3 Golfers to Fade in Round 2

I like Doc Redman and think it is just a matter of time before he is one of the next young players to break through for a win on TOUR. I also believe it will be in an event like this, where we see 20-under par or higher as the winning score, but I just can’t buy him this week.

Redman started the opening round at the Byron Nelson with a strong 8-under 64, but it was really short game dependent. Redman gained close to four strokes on and around the greens, with a majority coming with the putter. He currently ranks 137th on TOUR in strokes gained putting, which leaves me fading the three plus strokes he gained today as I expect that to regress to the norm heading into the weekend.

Mark Hubbard checks in as the next fade that sticks out following the first round. He actually lost strokes to the field tee to green on Thursday but still managed a 7-under 65.

I don’t have video proof to confirm if he was using his infamous snail grip on the greens, but something was clearly working well for him. Hubbard gained nearly four strokes on the field with the flat stick in the opening round, which allowed him to overcome an extremely average day tee to green. Unlike Redman, Hubbard is a fairly solid putter traditionally, so we may see him continue to roll it well on Friday, but I think the issues ball striking will be what holds him back from keeping up with the field into the second round.

The final fade into Round 2 is with Michael Gligic, who checks all of the boxes I’m looking for in a target for matchups tomorrow. He shot a strong 7-under 65 on Thursday, mostly by ranking second in putting on the day.

The Canadian gained more than four strokes on the field with his flat stick in the opening round, which more than made up for the strokes he lost tee to green. He would combine to lose strokes on ball striking on the day, with his approach being the only positive number tee to green. This was a great round for Gligic and hopefully he can hold on to play the weekend, but I expect we see his name dropping down the leaderboard on Friday.

Strokes Gained Data for All Players in Round 2

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