AT&T Byron Nelson First-Round Leader Tips: Sam can burn it up early

Dave's hoping to land a FRL punt this week

The PGA Tour heads back to Texas and Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be First Round Leader at the AT&T Byron Nelson...

"Opening 64s at Riviera and TPC Scottsdale have helped put Burns in the top 10 of early starters, the former giving him a piece of the first-round lead at the Genesis Invitational."

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for TPC Craig Ranch: Temperatures start in the early 50s and reach 70 by 1pm. Winds are fairly light and don't really get above 5-7mph all day.

First-round leader history:

This is TPC Craig Ranch's debut on the PGA Tour. As for previous editions of this event:

2019 - 63 Denny McCarthy
2018 - 61 Marc Leishman
2017 - 64 James Hahn, Ricky Barnes
2016 - 63 Sergio Garcia, Danny Lee, Johnson Wagner
2015 - 62 Steven Bowditch

Strategy: Weather, in particular the wind, can be a deciding factor for a Texas FRL punt but it's not a great help this time. Warmer conditions in the afternoon may help a little but the early wave could get a softer course after rain in the build-up and purer greens due to less foot traffic. I'll pick two early and one late.

Back Burns

For my first morning pick, I'll go with recent Valspar winner Sam Burns.

Burns ranks eighth for Early Scoring Average on the PGA Tour this season so enjoys going low from a morning tee time.

Opening 64s at Riviera and TPC Scottsdale (both from a.m.) have helped put Burns in the top 10 of early starters, the former giving him a piece of the first-round lead at the Genesis Invitational.

He was seventh after day one when winning the Valspar while at another fairly recent Texas event he was eighth following Thursday's play and then the halfway leader at the Houston Open.

This week's course, TPC Craig Ranch, looks a good one for him as he ranks seventh in Birdie Average.

Burns, who heads out at 07:34, is 45/1.

Hahn has hope

I'll take a bit of a flyer with my second pick and try James Hahn at an industry-best 125/1.

Hahn was third in this event in 2017 at a different venue but shared the first-round lead after throwing down a Thursday 64.

Notably, he also has happy memories of this week's course having finished runner-up in the Korn Ferry Tour Championship held there in 2012.

He posted a third-round 64 on that occasion so already has a low one under his belt at this track. There's also a suggestion that he plays well on the same courses so he should remain a good fit for TPC Craig Ranch.

While his current form isn't great, you'll still find some low round scores in his results. And not so long ago he finished T10 in Phoenix and T15 at Riviera so a repeat of that form and he could do some damage from his 07:12 tee-time.

Pan the man

It's a decent strategy to go with in-form iron players when betting on a likely birdie-fest: the idea being that they pelt lots of greens in the right number and set up continuous birdie chances.

C.T. Pan could be an interesting runner here given that he's ranked fifth for GIR in two of his last four starts.

Those stats helped him finish third in the Honda Classic and T18 in last week's Valspar Championship.

Pan opened with 66 in the most recent Byron Nelson (2019) while he took third place at the Charles Schwab Challenge two years ago so has some decent Texas form too.

The 12:44 starter is a whopping 125/1 (as low as 70s elsewhere) so is definitely worth a poke at those odds.

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