PGA Tour Picks: Byron Nelson Championship Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/14/2014
It seems inconceivable that last week's victory at the Players Championship was just the second-ever PGA Tour win for ex-world No. 1 Martin Kaymer of Germany. The other was the 2010 PGA Championship. During that span he missed more than twice as many cuts (nine) as he had finishes in the Top 10 (four).
Kaymer looked to be rolling to the win Sunday at TPC Sawgrass with a three-shot lead when the weather caused a 92-minute delay. He wasn't quite the same after that. Kaymer was three shots ahead when he teed off on No. 15, but he double bogeyed that hole and would bring a one-stroke edge to the famous island green No. 17. His first shot looked good but was a few feet short of the stick, nearly spun off the green and into the water but stayed in the rough. Kaymer had a poor chip, leaving it 29 feet short. So of course he made that one, and then he took the victory with a 3-foot par putt on No. 18.
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Kaymer had held or shared the lead after 18, 36 and 54 holes. Jordan Spieth, tied with Kaymer going into the final round, struggled with a final-round 74. He didn't make a bogey in the first 58 holes but then five over the final 14. Jim Furyk shot a final-round 66 to finish a shot behind Kaymer for his second straight runner-up result on Tour. He had finished nearly an hour before Kaymer and was watching his near implosion on TV.
I did not touch on Kaymer last week because he just hadn't been a factor in anything important for so long. I went with a threesome to win at +450 of Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott or Sergio Garcia. Scott was a disappointing T38, McIlroy T6 and Garcia third. Thus, I hit on McIlroy at +125 and Sergio at +200 for Top-10 finishes. I also nailed Furyk at +150 on a trio against Zach Johnson and Charl Schwartzel. Head-to-head, wins on Furyk (-130) over Johnson, Spieth (-105) over Phil Mickelson, Spieth (-130) over Bubba Watson and Garcia (-165) over Spieth. All in all, a solid tournament, but I'm still peeved no winners yet in 2014.
So now we really start the warm-up to the U.S. Open with the beginning of the Texas Swing and the Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving. Nine of the world's Top 25 are set to tee it up, led by No. 5 Matt Kuchar and No. 8 Spieth. The world ranking will change after this tournament even though No. 2 Scott isn't playing. He's going to be No. 1 regardless of what happens here. Tiger Woods, who has been on top of the rankings since last March, has held the top ranking for a record total of 683 weeks in his career. Mickelson is also off this week. After another missed cut, Lefty has dropped to No. 11 in the world, his first time outside the Top 10 since last March.
The defending champion is South Korean Sang-Moon Bae. He blew a four-shot lead on Sunday but managed to recover and win by two over Keegan Bradley for his first victory in the USA. Bae has yet to have a Top-10 finish since.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Byron Nelson Championship Favorites
Spieth and Kuchar are the 12/1 co-favorites at Bovada . This is essentially a home game for Spieth, a Dallas native. He played here in 2010 while in high school and finished T16, foreshadowing how good he really was going to be. Spieth somehow hasn't won this year despite two runner-ups and six Top-10s. How good has Kuchar been? His T17 last week at the Players was his worst tournament since March. He has never missed a cut in this tournament, but then he doesn't anywhere, with two Top-15 finishes.
Jimmy Walker and Bradley are 20/1 . Walker has those three wins this season and finished T6 last week with a final-round 65. The native Texan has missed the cut once in seven tries at the Byron Nelson and was T27 last year. This is probably Bradley's favorite course. He got his first Tour win here in 2011 and finished solo second last year, almost leading wire-to-wire. He's second in all-time earnings at the event. Dustin Johnson and Schwartzel (both 22/1) round out the favorites. The latter has played here once, a third last year. Johnson is struggling lately and hasn't played here since a T20 in 2011.
PGA Tour Picks: Byron Nelson Championship Predictions
I'm just going to recommend Kuchar (+110) on a Top-10 prop every week I think. I don't like Spieth (+110) because he might be a bit down after fading last week and pressing too hard back at home. I also like Bradley at +185 and Gary Woodland at +240. Head-to-head, take Kuchar (-115) over Spieth (-115), Bradley (-115) over Walker (-115), Ryan Moore (-115) over Jason Dufner (-115) and Marc Leishman (-115) over Ryan Palmer (-115). Go with Paul Casey at 9/2 as the Top European, Leishman at 9/4 as the top Aussie and Schwartzel at 5/4 as the top South African.
Leishman is interesting value at 33/1 to win. He has four Top-12 finishes in this tournament in his past five starts. He also finished with a strong 67
last week for some momentum. But I'm going with Bradley, who holds the course record, even though he missed the cut last week. Sometimes that can be a
blessing in disguise when heading to a course that favors you. It means more time to get ready.
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