I'm sure the TPC Four Seasons resort in Irving, Texas, will go down as the most memorable location in Aussie Stephen Bowditch's life. Bowditch shot a final-round 64 on Sunday to win the AT&T Byron Nelson for his second career PGA Tour win. Bowditch also had his wedding reception there. He moved to north Texas a decade ago after essentially throwing a "dart at a map" and met his future wife Amanda, who grew up in the area. They were married at a nearby church on Sept. 10, 2011, and then took the party to the TPC Four Seasons. Good stuff.
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Bowditch was tied with Dustin Johnson early in the Aussie's round on Sunday, but he played his final 13 at 6-under. He did get a bit lucky that his tee shot on the par-3 17th didn't go in the water. Bowditch had 27 birdies overall for the weekend while becoming the seventh player to lead all four rounds of the event, finishing at 18-under. Charley Hoffman, Jimmy Walker and Scott Pinckney tied for second at 14 under. Johnson finished T8 at 11 under. I told you I wasn't a big fan of Jordan Spieth last week as he tried yet again to win for the first time as a pro in his native state and finished just T30.
I was a bit torn on my winner: Keegan Bradley or Marc Leishman, another Aussie. Alas, Bradley was T22, and Leishman missed the cut. I did get Johnson at even money for a Top 10 as well as Hoffman at +275 as he has played well in Texas all season. My third choice was Gary Woodland, and he was T60. Obviously Bowditch was the top Aussie, and I went with Leishman. The top European was Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano at T16, and I liked Martin Laird (missed cut). Heat-to-head, I hit on Johnson (+125) over Spieth and Walker (-115) over Zach Johnson. Two other guys I touched on, Jason Day and Ian Poulter, both ended up withdrawing from the tournament.
So I'm ready to move on from Texas as the Tour heads outside Columbus to Dublin, Ohio, for Jack Nicklaus' Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village, which is a fantastic course I have been fortunate enough to play. The Golden Bear designed it to mimic Augusta National in some ways and the par-3 12th looks just like Augusta's 12th. The Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup have both been held there.
Because it's Jack's tournament and with the U.S. Open upcoming, it's a very good field. No Rory McIlroy, but 15 of the world's Top 25 are set to play. Day is one of them if he feels up to it. Tiger Woods plays for the first time since a disappointing effort at the Players Championship. Tiger has won this event a record five times (last in 2013) and is 22/1 at Bovada along with Phil Mickelson, who has never won here.
Last year, Hideki Matsuyama won his first PGA Tour event here despite a tee shot on the 16th Sunday that led to a double bogey and then a bogey on No. 17. But he birdied No. 18 to force a playoff with Kevin Na, beating Na on the first extra hole by draining a 10-foot par putt. Matsuyama had won five times previously on the Japan Golf Tour. Bubba Watson had a one-shot lead with five holes to play but was 3-over the rest of the way. Then-world No. 1 Adam Scott was tied for the lead until playing the last seven holes in 4-over. Not sure why neither Watson nor Scott is playing this year.
PGA Tour Golf Odds: Memorial Tournament Favorites
Spieth is the 13/2 favorite , and I think he was pressing last week because he wanted that hometown win so much. I believe being out of Texas, where he also has three runner-ups this season, actually will be good for him. He was T19 here in 2014.
Dustin Johnson is 12/1. Memorial tends to favor long hitters as it's nearly 7,400 yards, and Johnson is certainly one of those. Johnson has three Top 20s in his past six trips here.
The rest of the favorites are Matsuyama at 18/1, and Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler at 20/1. The only guy to repeat here was Tiger when he won three straight starting in 1999. Matsuyama has seven straight Top-25 finishes this season. Rose is Mr. Hot or Cold here. He has a win in 2010, runner-up in 2008 and four other Top 15s but also three missed cuts in the past six visits. I'll be curious how focused Fowler is as it's his first PGA Tour event since winning the Players Championship. He played last week at the Irish Open and was T30. Fowler was runner-up here five years ago but hasn't contended since.
PGA Tour Picks: 2015 Memorial Tournament Expert Betting Predictions
On the "over/under" finishing props, go under 9.5 on Spieth, under 15.5 on Johnson, under 21.5 on Jim Furyk, over 23.5 on Fowler, over 21.5 on Day, over 25.5 on Mickelson and under 27.5 on Tiger. I like Spieth (-200), Johnson (-110), Furyk (+185) and Matt Kuchar (+185) for Top 10s. I'll go Tiger at -115 for a Top 20.
I will take Rose as the top European at even money as he's clearly the best one playing. Go Ernie Els at 5/1 as the top South African. I like Spieth as the highest-placed finisher at +165 over Johnson (+300), Rose (+450), Matsuyama (+550) and Fowler (+550).
Head-to-head, Spieth (-150) over Johnson (-115), Matsuyama (-115) over Rose (-115), Furyk (-110) over Fowler, Kuchar (-115) over Mickelson (-115) and Rose (-120) over Day (-110).
It's been a rough season for Kuchar, who used to be Mr. Top 10. He has only three in 15 tournaments this season. But he's my guy to win at 25/1. In his past seven starts here, Kuchar hasn't finished worse than T5, with a win (2013) and a runner-up finish (2011).
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