Power Rankings: AT&T Byron Nelson
May 10, 2021
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
- Jon Rahm is one to watch at the AT&T Byron Nelson. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
TPC Craig Ranch makes its debut in the big leagues this week.
The newest host of the AT&T Byron Nelson located 25 miles due north of downtown Dallas is in it first of a five-year agreement with the PGA TOUR, but it’s not new to TOUR-sanctioned competition. It was the site of the Korn Ferry Tour Championship in 2008 and 2012.
A field of 156 is assembled this week. For a breakdown of what it will attempt to tackle, how the course comps to familiar nearby tracks and more, scroll past the ranking of projected contenders.
POWER RANKINGS: AT&T BYRON NELSON
Brooks Koepka, Lee Westwood, Rickie Fowler, Thomas Pieters and defending champion Sung Kang will be among the notables reviewed in Tuesday’s Fantasy Insider.
For both editions of the KFT Championship, TPC Craig Ranch played to a par of 71 with three par 5s. For the AT&T Byron Nelson, it’s been stretched by 30 yards and will play as a stock par 72.
The par-5 12th tips at 547 yards. Previously, it was a 493-yard par 4 and played as the toughest hole on the course in both KFT Championships. The only other change in length occurred at the par-3 17th. Now 147 yards, it’s down 24 yards.
TPC Craig Ranch features bermudagrass rough and bentgrass greens. That matches the combination of grasses at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, site of the Charles Schwab Challenge in two weeks. However, while the fairways at Colonial also are bermuda, the target off the tee at TPC Craig Ranch are zoysiagrass. That matches the same at Trinity Forest (which has bermuda greens), host of the last two editions of the AT&T Byron Nelson.
While it’s making its PGA TOUR debut, TPC Craig Ranch isn’t new to PGA TOUR membership. For one, AT&T Byron Nelson defending champion Sung Kang practices here. For another, 12 of the participants of the more recent KFT Championship are in this week’s field (as of Monday). They are led by James Hahn, who was the runner-up in 2012.
Typically, because of the learning curve required for the putting surfaces, largely unfamiliar tracks reward ball-strikers. The primary rough will be allowed to grow north of two inches, but because scoring should be low, the combination of greens in regulation and converting those chances into par breakers likely will define the majority of the final leaderboard. Consider that Justin Bolli posted 16-under 268 en route to victory at the 2012 KFT Championship and Matt Bettencourt hung up 17-under 267 in 2008. Now that the 72-hole par is 288, 20-under very much is in play this week.
Greens average almost 6,800 square feet and they are prepped to run upwards of only 11-and-a-half feet on the Stimpmeter. They’re governed in part so that Texas winds don’t take control of the wheel.
It’ll be relatively calm early in the tournament before breezes will intensify with encroaching inclement weather on Sunday. Otherwise, comfortable springtime conditions are forecast with daytime highs in the 70s and an 80 or two on the weekend.
ROB BOLTON’S SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton recaps and previews every tournament from numerous angles. Look for his following contributions as scheduled.
MONDAY: Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers; Fantasy Insider
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks for PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf, which also publishes on Tuesday.