EXTRA VALUE FOR THE BYRON NELSON!
About TPC Craig Ranch
For the third event in succession, the field looks much weaker than it ought to due to the timing, with 2019’s edition also being played just before the PGA Championship, lending an invitation for some of the world’s best to rest easy this week in preparation for the second major of the year.
While there’s little to go off in terms of course analysis, with the only two noteworthy events coming in the 2008 and 2012 TOUR Championships in what is now the Korn Ferry Tour, recent form and Texas pedigree can go a long way to picking players to go well.
AT&T Byron Nelson Tips
Local Ryan Palmer believes this 7,468-yard Par 72 will lend itself to the bigger hitters in the game, though data from previous events suggests that this could be something of a putt off.
Indeed, in those two TOUR Championship years, all but one of the top nine in the field ranked in the top 20 for putting accuracy in 2008, with winner Matt Bettencourt leading in that metric, while in 2012 each of the top six ranked 13th or better on these bent grass greens.
Marc Leishman 28/1
That leads us into our first pick who looks set to go very well this week, and that man is Marc Leishman (28/1). The Aussie has enjoyed this event over its multiple tracks in recent years, going 8-12-MC-3-12-3-MC-MC-13-2 from his 10 renewals so far, and that just reiterates how he fits the mould with Aussies performing well in dry Texas conditions.
He has a previous seventh placed finish in that Korn Ferry 2008 Tour Championship renewal at this very course, while he’s looking in good nick at the moment as he paid out on us backing him and fellow Aussie Cameron Smith at the Zurich Classic just a few weeks ago.
He’s made eight of his last nine cuts in this state, finishing 13th or better in five of those as he has all the credentials to go well here. He’s shortened massively from his starting price, but for someone who hits low bullets with his irons and is a demon around the greens, he still seems worth backing at his current price.
Brandt Snedeker 66/1
The second pick goes in the way of American Brandt Snedeker (66/1) who is looking to get back to the top of the game after a testing period.
His good performances are becoming less fleeting as he’s beginning to string together some results, not least a 6th at the Texas Open where he remained in the top 10 from the second round onwards, as well as an 11th placed finish in Florida just last week where he putted exceptionally (ranking 12th). He also has a strong recent record in Texas, making each of his last five cuts in the state, and he’s one of the best bent grass putters of the last decade or so. He currently ranks in the top-30 on tour for one putt percentage and putting average, and he should take immense confidence in his all-round game coming to a course that should suit him.
Anirban Lahiri 250/1
The final pick for this week comes a little out of the west field, but as mentioned, with wide, forgiving fairways, this tournament is going to be won or lost around the greens.
While Anirban Lahiri (250/1) isn’t the best iron player in the game by any stretch of the imagination, his work around the greens has gone under the radar this season. Indeed, in this field he ranks 10th for Scrambling over the last 12 months, and an even better 6th for putting average.
That work on the greens is even better when just limited to this season, as only Patrick Reed and Justin Thomas have a better average than Lahiri this season.
Consistency has been an issue for the Indian this season, though he’s finished 11th or better in a quarter of his last 12 PGA Tour events going back to September last year, including a telling 5th placed finish at the Texas Open just last month. He enjoys Texas golf, and has made the cut in five of his last six events in the state.
While not the longest hitter, his work around the greens should stand him in good stead here and looks well worth a flutter at his price, though his lack of consistency is covered by the staking plan.