POWER RANKINGS: AT&T BYRON NELSON
RANK PLAYER COMMENT
15 Ryan Moore Ryan Moore
Since an incredible run of form that bled into 2017 – it's hard to believe that it's that long ago – he's gone back to picking his spots. Recently T20 at TPC Sawgrass and third at TPC San Antonio.
14 Scottie Scheffler Scottie Scheffler
There isn't a stronger asset than confidence. The local native is bursting with it with four straight top 10s on the Web.com Tour, including two seconds. Also placed T20 at TPC San Antonio.
13 Adam Schenk Adam Schenk
The PGA TOUR sophomore is building a terrific season with two top 10s among six top 25s. Finished T13 at Quail Hollow last week. Second on the circuit in rounds under par (45).
12 Seamus Power Seamus Power
Pardon the pun but he's surging. The 32-year-old from Ireland has crafted a career on patented heaters, so this endorsement is all about his T6-T5-T13 burst over the last three weeks.
11 Rory Sabbatini Rory Sabbatini
Kept his rally rolling with a T18 at Quail Hollow despite an opening 76. Three straight top 20s anchoring an 8-for-8 burner and trending toward another at Trinity Forest (T13, 2018).
10 Ryan Palmer Ryan Palmer
The local resident is rested since teaming with Jon Rahm for victory in NOLA. Palmer sits 11th in GIR, T33 in proximity, 24th in strokes gained: putting and 15th in putting: birdies or better.
9 Kevin Na Kevin Na
Continues to show signs of climbing out from the rut caused by a broken finger. Since a T5 at the Match Play he placed T10 at Harbour Town. Finished T6 here last year after a similar slump.
8 Charles Howell III Charles Howell III
Trinity Forest is in his wheelhouse as a racetrack for his laser-like irons and potential for white-hot putting. Ranked second in strokes gained: putting en route to a T9 here last year.
7 Aaron Wise Aaron Wise
While he's experiencing the duties of a defending champion for the first time, he's settling back into a groove to warrant attention again. Top 20s in his last two starts and five on the season.
6 Sungjae Im Sungjae Im
This should be fun for the PGA TOUR's leader in red numbers (47). It helps the cause to stay busy (21 starts), but the rookie does it all. Ranks 25th on TOUR in adjusted scoring.
5 Hideki Matsuyama Hideki Matsuyama
He's not putting four rounds together, but he isn't going away, either. En route to a T16 at Trinity Forest last year, he was fifth in strokes gained: putting and second from inside 10 feet.
4 Scott Piercy Scott Piercy
His 40th birthday (last November) hasn't been a burden. Lurking at 36th in the FedExCup with five top 10s and another three top 20s. Currently 10th on TOUR in GIR. T32 here last year.
3 Keith Mitchell Keith Mitchell
Easy or hard, he caters to all courses. Finished T3 as a rookie here last year; led field in proximity. Won at PGA National two months ago and finished T6 at Bay Hill and T8 at Quail Hollow.
2 Brooks Koepka Brooks Koepka
After four straight tournament appearances, he sat out Trinity Forest's debut last year. Should enjoy the experience as a primer in advance of his title defense at the PGA Championship.
1 Marc Leishman Marc Leishman
Settled for second place last year after leading outright following the first and second rounds and sharing the 54-hole lead with Aaron Wise. The Aussie has five top 10s this season.
Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Patrick Reed and Branden Grace will be among the notables reviewed in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
As noted at the top, Trinity Forest is a property of extremes. As a result, wind is the only true defense for the three-year-old par 71 south of downtown Dallas. Yet, when the Texas winds aren't howling, even the undulations on the massive Champion bermudagrass putting surfaces don't pose much of a challenge to the quality of skill taking aim on them because they're governed to run no longer than 11 feet on the Stimpmeter. That's to guard against the course getting out of control on a breezy day.
In its inaugural edition as host to the 156-man field last year, Trinity Forest surrendered a scoring average of 69.415. That landed as second-lowest among all par 71s played all season. Gigantic landing areas off tees yielded a fairways-hit percentage of 79.50 (or 11.13 of 14 per golfer per round), highest since SilverRock co-hosted the 2011 Desert Classic. The field also averaged 13.83 greens in regulation per round, second-highest of 51 courses last season.
Then-rookie Aaron Wise played it like a video game on beginner mode. En route to his breakthrough title, he missed only six (of 56) fairways and only six GIR, fewest for any PGA TOUR winner since Willie Wood missed only five when he prevailed at the 1996 Sanderson Farms Championship (then known as the Deposit Guaranty Golf Classic).
Wise also ranked ninth in distance of all drives, third in proximity to the hole, second in strokes gained: tee-to-green and seventh in strokes gained: putting.
Where Wise didn't make noise was on the set of four par 3s. Rolling over for an average of 2.96, they ranked as the second-easiest among all courses in 2017-18. The champ beat the field average, but he did the bulk of his work by leading the field on the par 4s.
The par-3 eighth hole averaged -0.354 strokes to par to establish the record for lowest scoring average among all par 3s since recordkeeping launched in earnest in 1983. However, expect aggregate scoring on the par 3s to rise this year. Thanks to new tees, No. 8 is 20 yards longer and capable of reaching 160 yards, while the par-3 12th can now stretch to 220 yards, an increase of 15 yards.
Overall course yardage is down nine yards to 7,371 as the par-4 16th will be prepped to tip at 385 yards, a reduction of 44 yards from last year.
As membership continues to learn how to further capitalize on the course – as of midday Monday, 77 from last year's field are committed this week – the weather will promote the extension of aggressive thinking. Moderate winds will all but disappear by the weekend and the persistent threat of rain will keep the track soft and gettable. Daytime highs in the 70s will help sustain physical energy in the humidity.
Bottom line, for all pros headed to next week's PGA Championship, the AT&T Byron Nelson presents as a terrific opportunity to build confidence while staying fresh.