Dates: May 11, 2023 to May 14, 2023
Location: Texas, USA
Course: TPC Craig Ranch
Course Par: 72
Course Length: 7414
Prize Purse: $9500000
It’s the week before the PGA Championship and the appetiser for the second major of the year comes in the form of the AT&T Byron Nelson, held at TPC Craig Ranch in Texas. Native Texans Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth will benefit from the noisy local support and both look to have obvious chances, but who will get the confidence-boosting victory to take them to Oak Hill with a spring in their step?
This tournament has been at its current home, TPC Craig Ranch for only two years, and on both occasions KH Lee emerged victorious. He is an incredible 51 under par for those two victories, averaging almost 6.5 shots under par per round, and it looks all but guaranteed that another low score will be required this year.
Craig Ranch is relatively short by today’s standards and we’ll be looking for players who can give themselves a stack of birdie opportunities and putt well enough to convert more than their fair share of them. It could hardly be a more different test to what awaits at Oak Hill next week, so it may be unwise to read too much into what happens this week with an eye on the PGA Championship. Scottie Scheffler and Jordan Spieth head the field and the market, but low-scoring shootouts can often make it tough for the class players to separate themselves from the field, so will be digging a little deeper to find some value to boost our profits further after Wyndham Clark did the business for us in the Wells Fargo.
For all that it’s tempting to have a decent chunk on Scottie Scheffler, who sits well ahead of this field both in terms of world ranking and strokes gained data, his putting has been a consistent issue of late and the nagging doubt is whether he can hole enough putts to put together a winning score here. In each of the last two editions of this event he’s played well enough but conceded enough ground on the greens that he finished well back in the chasing pack; it could well be a similar story this week. So our strategy will be to look deeper into the field and hope to find a couple of longer-priced options that can give us a good run at the top 10 at the very least.
|Outright US Odds
Our first play is Brandon Wu (2pts each way, 50/1, 10 places), who comes into this having finished hot on the heels of Tony Finau and Jon Rahm in Mexico. While that was a standout recent performance and his data looking further back is fairly mediocre, carrying anything like his Mexico form into this week would give him a decent shout at another good finish. Not many around his price are bringing much in the way of worthwhile form to the table, so it’s easy enough to take the chance that his last outing was the start of a recovery.
Hideki Matsuyama (3pts each way, 22/1, 8 places) is one of the class acts in this field and on a course that doesn’t put a premium on driving distance, and having taken a break since a very creditable top 20 in the Masters, looks the best value from towards the front of the market. He’s been slowly working his way back from a neck injury, but this hasn’t stopped him posting a string of creditable finishes and the short break since Augusta may just help him take a further step forward, in which case he really ought to be posting a top 10 here at the very least. The fact that he finished hot on the heels of KH Lee and Spieth last year adds further confidence in his chances.
Jimmy Walker (1.5pts each way, 100/1, 8 places) had more or less disappeared from the golfing consciousness in recent years, having been suffering with Lyme disease, but now seems to be on his way back to showing a fair level of form. It certainly feels like more than seven years since he won the PGA Championship, but he’s shown recently that he may just be capable of a decent twilight to his career. Another who should benefit from the relatively short test this week, since he has been losing ground to the field off the tee, his putting will stand him in good stead. Amazingly he’s posted four top 25s in his last five outings; form which isn’t too far off the best in this field, improving his total strokes gained from 0.14 over the last six months to 0.74 when you just look at the last three.
We’ll finish as we started with our second Wu of the week in the shape of Dylan Wu (1.5pts each way, 100/1, 8 places), who also fits the mould as a relatively short hitter whose strength is on the greens. Despite not making any headlines he sits in the top 20 in the field for strokes gained in the last three months, which makes offers around the 100/1 mark look very appealing. He’s made four cuts from his last five, including three top 25 finishes. He’ll need to improve a little more to get into contention here, but he’d certainly have a decent chance at a top 10 or 20 finish even if just carrying forward his current level of form.
With the PGA Championship just a week away and a favourite who could easily take this field apart, it doesn’t make sense to get too heavily involved, so we’ll leave it at four picks. Matt Kuchar is easy to imagine having another good week, as is Jordan Spieth in his home state, if recovered from the illness that saw him miss the cut in the Wells Fargo. Sam Stevens, Eric Cole and Seamus Power were the three others who came closest to making the final list though.