AT&T Byron Nelson Odds, Tips & Top Golfers to Back

AT&T Byron Nelson Odds, Tips & Top Golfers to Back

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Last year the AT&T Byron Nelson moved from long-term host Las Colinas to Trinity Forest and, though it received mixed reviews, plenty of golfers were positive about a course built rather incongruously on top of a refuse site.

This year there is yet more flux because the tournament is now the warmup for the PGA Championship – or not, for those who are skipping this week. Brooks Koepka is a notable entry for PGA Tour betting fans and so is Jordan Spieth, who is a member at the course and badly in need of a good result.

It is now nine months since Spieth’s last top 10, 12 months since his last top five and fully 19 months since he was last a winner. He’ll hope home comforts prompt a happy week.

The Course

The design by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw features wide, sweeping fairways and large, undulating putting surfaces with Bermuda grass.

“There’s a lot of different players at the top of the leaderboard,” said Keith Mitchell (who tied for third last year). “That shows a lot about the course. It doesn’t favor any one person. It’s a great test with great strategy.”

In an ideal world it was created to be played in very firm conditions, which leads us nicely into the next section for golf betting enthusiasts.

Pointers about Trinity Forest

Aussie Marc Leishman said of the track: “It’s a links course. When it’s as firm as it is now it plays like a proper links course. I think with wind it would be even more like that. We’re not used to how far the ball is travelling. I was hitting 3-wood 300 yards so it was rolling out really good.”

Spieth added: “Well, it’s an American links course. You’ve kind of got to play it in the air, not really bounce it in. But it is still links-like to look at. (Royal) Birkdale is the closest comparison I’ve found to a links course in that you have to attack it from the air.” Spieth should maybe know, being not only a member at Trinity Forest but also an Open Championship winner at Royal Birkdale.

The designers themselves? “I call it a distant cousin to a links course,” Crenshaw said.

Branden Grace

The South African plays a lot of his golf at home on Fancourt Links, a course that isn’t quite a British or Irish links. That experience has made him a fine performer on both genuine links tracks, new links designs and those that are distant cousins.

For example: Grace has won the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, finished second in the Scottish Open on youthful Castle Stuart and was fourth at Chambers Bay in the U.S. Open. This makes him a fine each-way betting proposition.

Moreover, if the Royal Birkdale comparison is of any value then the fact he finished sixth behind Spieth two years ago, scorching a brilliant major championship low 62 on the way, is a great advantage. He and partner Justin Harding were flying last time out in the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, one behind the lead after 54 holes, but they made a mess of the final round foursomes. That’s forgivable.

The clincher? He tied third last year at the Byron Nelson and said: “I love it. It feels like a breath of fresh air. I really enjoyed how it played.” He is 33/1 each way with 888Sport.

Brooks Koepka

He’s the favorite, and at a short price. Now a three-time major champion, his breakthrough came in the U.S. Open at Erin Hills, another track which had some links-like features. He was also T18th at Chambers Bay and his best Open Championship effort was a tie for sixth at Royal Birkdale.

He also boasts a rather extraordinary record in Texas, lacking only a win. In his last nine starts in the state he has three times been the runnerup and once finished fifth. He was also second at the Masters in his last solo start. He's 7/1 to win with Karamba.

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Alex Noren

Let’s go all-in on the Birkdale link and take a third man who finished tied sixth there two seasons ago. As with Grace and Koepka, however, there is more to Sweden’s Alex Noren than that one simple connection.

Noren has genuine links pedigree and has achieved success on tracks that have been built in recent times: Third and first at Castle Stuart and second at Archerfield. He has also won at Le Golf National and Celtic Manor, both of which have greens which the designers have compared to links greens but which need high approach shots.

He was T28th last time out in The Heritage, with two rounds of 67. He's 60/1 each way with Betfair.

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