Our golf expert brings you his preview and predictions for this week's PGA Tour event, the AT&T Byron Nelson.
AT&T Byron Nelson - Winner
TPC Craig Ranch is the third different venue for this event in the last four renewals as the event cuts its long ties with TPC Las Colinas. A new venue is always a challenge for punters but this one looks a shade easier to analyse than most maiden tracks. Here we have a 7400+ yard course with long par 3s and short par 5s. A creek meanders its way through the course and could be an issue with some drives off the tee but generally speaking the course looks wide open and with little hazards off the tee looks set up for a bomber to dominate. Strokes Gained off the tee will be of high importance I'd suggest and maybe birdie or better leaders are worth looking to for a pointer as to who may score well. TPC courses are usually a great setup with I expect plenty of birdies here.
Before the DJ withdrawal I was seriously considering backing Bryson. This course should be ideal for his game right now. We were on last week and can consider ourselves slightly unlucky giving he finished that horrible place (9th) and lost over 5 strokes to the field on approach. He is the first golfer since 2015 to finish in the top ten having lost over 5 strokes on approach. This is what makes Bryson such a good betting prospect on many occasions now. He doesn't need to play anywhere near his best to compete, and if you get his best you are in for a stress free winning week. Anyhow, single figures now presents itself and it is difficult to pull the trigger. I'll concentrate on a few more juicier prices.
Carlos Ortiz at 70/1 (8 Places)
Carlos Ortiz kicks off the staking plan in the hope that wider fairways and less to navigate off the tee will help improve his long game figures. He lost over 5 strokes tee to green last week at Quail Hollow and that has been the story of his past month or so with similar efforts resulting in missed cuts at the Players, Masters and the Heritage. This should be a venue where someone with an out of touch long game could find it again though with little to worry about off the tee and plenty of chances to score. Ortiz is of course a Texas resident who has already won close by in Houston. He held off a strong field then and is capable of winning once again. 70/1 out there looks a tasty bet.
1pt each-way C.Ortiz 70/1 (1/5 8)
Johnny Vegas at 125/1 (8 Places)
Johnny Vegas topped strokes gained off the tee last week at Quail Hollow and was let down once again by a sub standard short game. Ryan Palmer has said that it could turn out to be somewhat of a putting contest but he suggests this is a bombers course. Vegas ranks inside the top 30 in Driving Distance this season and he is making all of his gains lately off the tee. He simply needs an upturn in fortune on the greens then we could have a contender. The 125/1 is more than fair.
1pt each-way J.Vegas 125/1 (1/5 8)
Doug Ghim at 70/1 (8 Places)
Doug Ghim has shortened a little in the market but I'm more than happy to go in around the 70/1 mark. Ghim lives and went to College in Texas and has already fired a top 15 finish here in the Byron Nelson back in 2019. He managed a 5th place in the American Express earlier in the season and was sitting pretty at Sawgrass with a round to go before finishing with a 79. A similar story played out a few weeks previous when he fired a final round 81 at the Arnold Palmer. His putter continually lets him down but these are the guys I'm prepared to take a chance with when their long game is on fire. If not this week I wouldn't be surprised to see a big effort in the next few events.
1pt each-way D.Ghim 70/1 (1/5 8)
Charles Howell at 80/1 (8 Places)
Danny Lee has a good record around these parts and would possibly have been on my staking plan had it not been for an injury scare last week that forced him to withdraw at Quail Hollow. He may be one to look to in play should he start well. Peter Uihlein is playing great stuff on the Korn Ferry Tour lately but looks short enough in the market in a field with this strength. Instead I'll opt for Charles Howell. Howell has been playing some solid golf of late posting a top 10 at Sawgrass and a top 20 at the Heritage. Approaching the greens he hasn't been impressive but with a driveable par 4 and easy reachable par 5s his short game should take the load this week. In that department he has been strong gaining over 5 strokes on the greens lately at Harbour Town. He has played well in this event down the years finishing 9th in 2018, 4th in 2016 and 3rd in 2014. If his short game shows up here once again he could easily find himself in the mix on Sunday.
1pt each-way C.Howell 80/1 (1/5 8)
Sebastian Munoz at 125/1 (8 Places)
Finally, one worth chancing at triple figures is Sebastian Munoz. The Colombian has missed his last two cuts although it is worth noting than in the last four recorded events he has posted positive numbers on the greens. His long game let him down last week at Wells Fargo and he is another to chance who may be suited by the less penal layout here in Texas. He went to College here in Texas and has already posted some impressive results here finishing 10th in this event in 2019 and 9th in the Texas Open just four starts ago. He clearly likes playing in these parts and the easier track should play to his strengths.
1pt each-way S.Munoz 125/1 (1/5 8)