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Talor Gooch is the outright pick at +4500 win and +400 top 10 with DraftKings
Tom Hoge win at +1100 and top 20 at +350 with DraftKings
Sam Burns to beat Jordan Spieth at -125 with BetMGM
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This week’s tournament was first played in 1944 and it has had a remarkably long list of different titles down the years, since 1968, all of those variations have celebrated the very first man to win it – Byron Nelson.
Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson are among the multiple winners of the tournament, while Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have also lifted the trophy.
In more recent times the event has become less of a draw for the world’s elite but not this week.
It has been an odd spell for the PGA Tour since the Masters, with the world’s best players taking a lot of time off, aware that from next week the schedule is packed with high-class events right into the last week of August.
Nine of the world’s top 20 ranked players are in Texas this week, led by the #1 and Masters winner Scottie Scheffler.
All of them are aware that they need to sharpen their competitive instincts before next week’s PGA Championship.
The test they face is a Tom Weiskopf design that is long but wide.
It hosted the event for the first time 12 months ago and Korea’s KH Lee won it with a 25-under total that reveals it was something of a birdie-fest.
With the weather set fair, we can expect more of the same this week.
If the players find the fairway – and it’s not difficult – then the Zoysia grass sits the ball up nicely for them to attack the greens.
In last year’s event, five of the top six finishers ranked top seven for Strokes Gained Approach and those numbers backed up the stats from the two times TPC Craig Ranch hosted the second tier Korn Ferry Tour.
Those events did take place in 2008 and 2012 and featured only traditional statistical metrics, but both times a good long game mattered: in the first event the top four, and in the second the top eight, all ranked top 20 for Greens in Regulation.
There was also a key trend on the par-3s: the winners, and those golfers who placed, all played the short holes in fine style.
Those two factors lead us to Talor Gooch, who ranks 19th for both SG Approach and Greens in Regulation this season and first for Par-3 Scoring.
He’s been in superb form all season, landing no less than 13 top 30 finishes including a first PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic.
More recently he contended at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and was T14th at the Masters.
He was a solid enough T39th on course debut last year and can improve on that in his current form.
Let’s stick with this season’s first-time PGA Tour winners in the form of Tom Hoge.
He broke through at the AT&T Pebble Beach and maybe he can complete the AT&T double?!
He has good stats too: He shares top spot with Gooch in Par-3 scoring this season and he is ninth for SG Approach.
He’s never quite fired at a course Tom Weiskopf has re-designed – TPC Scottsdale – but he’s not been far off.
He’s played there five times and, although he has a best of T14th (this year), he has featured in the top 12 in each of his last four starts at some point in the week.
He’s a big price for a man with a win and a second on his CV from this season alone.
We’re in good form with match-ups currently, with Sergio Garcia’s victory over Troy Merritt being our eighth winning selection in a row – fingers crossed that run continues this week.
We’ll focus on the BetMGM match-bet between Sam Burns and Jordan Spieth.
If you look at their entire careers then it is a dead split at 25 wins apiece.
But Speith held the early advantage, when he was a standout performer on the PGA Tour and Burns was still a rookie.
Since the start of 2020 Burns holds a significant 19-12 advantage.
Moreover, Burns leads 8-2 in the last 10 events the pair have played together.
It’s true that Spieth finished tied ninth at TPC Craig Ranch last year but even then Burns bettered him by finishing second.
It’s a battle of the recent winners because Burns won the Valspar Championship just before the Masters and Spieth the RBC Heritage just after it.
But those long-term and short-term advantages for Burns are persuasive.
Back him to continue his dominance at -125 at BetMGM.
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|AT&T Byron Nelson Information|
|Tournament||AT&T Byron Nelson|
|Location||TPC Craig Ranch, McKinney, Texas|
|Time||Thursday May 12 – Sunday May 15|
|How to watch||Thursday & Friday 4pm-7pm ET (Golf Channel), Saturday & Sunday 1pm-3pm ET (Golf Channel) & 3pm-6pm ET (CBS). And all four days on Sky Sports.|
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Matt Cooper has been a sports journalist since 2009 with his work appearing at ESPN, Sky Sports, NBC, Sporting Life and the Planet Sport Network among many others, in addition to guest appearances on the BBC and CNN. Although a specialist in golf, who has traveled the world to cover the sport, Matt has also covered rugby, cricket, football and the Olympics. Email: [email protected]More info on Matt Cooper
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