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A T & T BYRON NELSON
Rory McIlroy barely hit a fairway last Sunday but he was unbelievably clutch with the putter. As it stands, Rory looks in great nick ahead of the PGA Championship, a tournament he has previously won at Kiawah by a record 8 shots.
This week sees the players heading to the Lone Star State for one final tune-up before the year’s 2nd Major. Originally known as the Dallas Open, the first edition of this event was won in 1944 by the very man whose name it now bears.
This was once an extremely prestigious event, with the likes of Nicklaus, Watson and Woods all tasting success in its various incarnations. But the event started to lose some of its appeal when it was hosted at TPC Four Seasons (a course notoriously unpopular with many pros).
After a few years at Trinity Forest, the event has now moved to TPC Craig Ranch, just north of Dallas. It is a tree-lined parkland event with very generous zoysia grass fairways. The bent grass greens will be relatively slow at around 11.5 on the stimpmeter. Perhaps the most striking feature of the course is, Rowlett Creek. The water-hazard will snake its way through 14 holes
On last week’s performances, Bryson DeChambeau played well. Jon Rahm missed the cut to break an extremely consistent sequence of events and will be gearing up for a huge Major push next week.
So on to this week and Masters Champ, Hideki Matsuyama, returns to action after a protracted post-Augusta sojourn. Spieth will be rearing to go in his home state while Brooks Koepka will determine how ready his knee is ahead of Kiawah.
Further down the field, don’t discount the likes of Keith Mitchell and Luke List following their excellent performances last week.
2020: cancelled due to covid
2019: Sung-Hoon Kang (-23)
2018: Aaron Wise (-23)
2017: Billy Horschel (-12) *playoff
2016: Sergio Garcia (-15) *playoff
2015: Steven Bowditch (-18)
Latest prices To Win Outright
Bryson DeChambeau – 15/2
Jon Rahm – 15/2
Jordan Spieth – 10/1
Daniel Berger – 16/1
Hideki Matsuyama – 18/1
To Win 28/1
Leishman just has to sneak in this week.
Firstly, he has knowledge of the course, finishing 8th here in a Korn Ferry event in 2008. He also has previous Byron Nelson finishes of 2-3-3.
Marc arrives in Texas off the back of a win alongside fellow Aussie Cameron Smith in the Zurich Classic. That followed an excellent 5th at Augusta.
He hits bullet iron shots that are able to pierce heavy breezes which should come in handy at some point this week.
Furthermore, the Aussie was 3rd behind Koepka at TPC Southwind in 2019; a course that utilizes the same zoysiagrass fairways as TPC Craig Ranch.
To Win 33/1
The big-hitting Texan is one to beware of this week.
A victory here for Palmer will see him return to the winners’ circle in a stroke-play event for the first time in ten years. In Texas. That’s big.
Also, Ryan has been in deceptively good form this year. He has eight top 25 finishes in 15 starts. That includes a runner-up finish at the Farmers Insurance Open.
He is currently 14th on Tour for Birdie Average and a dark-horse pick.
To Win 25/1
Zalatoris missed the cut last week but shouldn’t be too down about it given the likes of Rahm and Cantlay fared no better around a challenging Quail Hollow.
He has finished T10 or better in six of his last 16 events. That includes a runner-up finish at the Masters and a T6 at the US Open.
Over his past 50 rounds, he ranks 1st in this field in strokes gained approach.
He will no doubt get a boisterous reception from the limited fans available.
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