Byron Nelson Preview : Koepka Is The Player To Back Against The Three Market Leaders
Event Venue: TPC at Four Seasons, Irving, Texas, Thursday May 18th at midday. Live on Sky Sports.See Stats
We are at a stage in the season when the better players are focusing on the US Open in four weeks. However, this week’s Byron Nelson tournament could provide a useful guide because the host course puts a premium on accuracy over distance. Bookmakers are offering ante post markets and free bets for this tournament.
The betting is dominated by three recent major champions but there are issues about Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Sergio Garcia that makes them not the best betting propositions. All three would probably swap 10 Byron Nelson tournaments for just one US Open. Its majors that matter for golfers of this calibre.
That means players further down the betting may represent some value and Brooks Koepka (16/1 with bet365) and Jason Dufner stand out in this context. The tournament is named in honour of a player who won 11 events in succession in 1945 and 18 from 35 in total.
That degree of dominance will never be matched in the modern era and even Tiger Woods at his very best could only win three weeks in a row and never mind 11. Johnson, the 9/2 favourite with Skybet, won all three outings ahead of the US Masters but he never played a shot at Augusta after a freak injury ruled him out of the Masters Tournament.
TPC at Four Seasons in Texas has been the sole host of this event since 2008. the course rewards accuracy from the tee and fairway and the bigger hitters don’t have an advantage. It’s a par 70 track over 7,166 yards that requires accurate play and solid putting for good scoring. The above average size greens present plenty of birdie putts. You can see the course layout here.
The course is not a good fit for Johnson, Spieth is still battling with the demons from blowing a great chance of winning a second Masters and Garcia is still probably on clod nine since winning his first major at Augusta in April but you wouldn’t blame him after years of heartache in the four most prestigious tournaments.
The new Masters champion is defending and a two times winner of the Byron Nelson. He’s clearly at ease on a course that suits his game but the hunger and motivation could have taken a temporary dip after the Masters. El Nino finally became a man in the context of major championship golf and that situation is alien and there could be a period of adjustment. Garcia is a player to oppose this week at 14/1 with Ladbrokes.
Kopeka is a player to have on your side against the three market leaders. He led the Players Championship for putting inside 10 feet which could be crucial on the large greens. He was tied 16th at Sawgrass which was his fifth top 20 finish in as many tournaments. Koepka lost in a playoff to Garcia last year and made the top 20 in 2015.
Dufner (40/1 with William Hill) made the top 25 in seven consecutive non-majors before finishing well off the pace in the Players Championship. He won at the course in 2012 and also has two other top 10s in the Byron Nelson in his record. The course suits his game but on balance Koepka has a better profile and is this week’s tip.
BROOKS KOPEKA is a player in form with a game suited to the host course for the Byron Nelson and is the selection.
Brooks Koepka 16/1 with bet365.
- The tournament was first played in 1944 and was won by Byron Nelson
- Since 2008 the host course has been TPC at Four Seasons
- Sergio Garcia is the only multiple champion since 1990
- There have been three playoffs since 2008
- The average winning score in that spell is 12 under in a range form 3 to 19 under
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