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PGA Tour best bets: AT&T Byron Nelson

May 11, 2022 09:12 AM
USATSI_18023460

Max Homa earned his fourth career PGA Tour victory in difficult weather and course conditions at the Wells Fargo Championship on Sunday. Homa, priced as high as 40-1 early last week, won by two strokes over Keegan Bradley, Cameron Young and Matt Fitzpatrick — the latter two runners-up were tipped in this column. Homa led the field for Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee. Young, who was second in the field Off-The-Tee, led the field for Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green but lost more than 5.5 strokes with the putter over the first 36 holes. Young now has three runner-up finishes this season. Bradley was ranked 151st on tour for Strokes Gained: Putting but ranked No. 1 in the field last week. His typically solid iron play disappointed, though, and prevented him from earning his first PGA Tour victory since 2018. 

This week, a stronger field than usual comes to Dallas for the AT&T Byron Nelson. With the PGA Championship about 250 miles away next week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Nelson will have its best field in years. Seven of the top 13 in the OWGR (Official World Golf Rankings) will be teeing it up at TPC Craig Ranch this week. World No. 1 and Dallas resident Scottie Scheffler (10-1) heads the market and will be playing his first individual tournament (he played the team event in New Orleans) since his triumph at the Masters. 

Justin Thomas (12-1) will make his first appearance in the Byron Nelson since 2013. Jordan Spieth (22-1) was born and raised in Dallas and will tee it up in his hometown after winning the Heritage four weeks ago in his last event. Xander Schauffele (18-1) also won his last time out, partnering with Patrick Cantlay to win the Zurich Classic. 

Will Zalatoris (22-1), who resides in nearby Plano, has finished no worse than sixth in his last three events. Sam Burns (20-1) shot 62 here in last year's second round before settling for a runner-up finish. Burns also was the medalist by five strokes on this course in 2017 at the Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying School. 

Dustin Johnson (22-1) will make his first start as a married man as he and Paulina Gretzky tied the knot two weeks ago. Hideki Matsuyama and Brooks Koepka, who lost in a playoff in this event in 2016 at TPC Las Colinas, are both priced at 33-1. Defending champion K.H. Lee is 100-1. 

The Event

The AT&T Byron Nelson is named after its first winner. Nelson won this tournament in 1944 when it was known as the Texas Victory Open. He lent his name to this event in 1968 and served as host until his passing in 2016. 

Many legends of the game have won this tournament, including Tom Watson (1975, 1978, 1979, and 1980), Sam Snead (1945, 1957, and 1958), Jack Nicklaus (1970, 1971), Sergio Garcia (2004, 2016), Nelson (1944), Ben Hogan (1946), Phil Mickelson (1996) and Tiger Woods (1997). 

The tournament was moved to TPC Craig Ranch, located in McKinney (32 miles northeast of downtown Dallas), last year. 

The Course

TPC Craig Ranch plays host for the second year. The layout was designed by Tom Weiskopf in 2004. Weiskopf also designed TPC Scottsdale (Phoenix Open) and the Torrey Pines North Course (Farmers). The course is set in a rolling valley and features tree-lined fairways and Rowlett Creek, which criss-crosses the course 14 times. The track plays as a par-72 of 7,468 yards. The course was set up to play 7,252 yards last year, but we can expect it to play closer to the tips this year as the field took it apart in 2021.

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