Who's going to survive TPC Craig Ranch for PGA Tour glory? Oddschecker's Tom Jacobs has made his picks to win in Texas
The PGA Tour stars head to Texas to take on TPC Craig Ranch in the lead-up to the PGA Championship this week. Scroll down for my AT&T Byron Nelson betting tips, but first…
- Also: Soudal Open betting tips
AT&T Byron Nelson preview
Venue: TPC Craig Ranch, Texas, USA
Date: May 11-14, 2023
Course stats: Par 72; 7,468 yards
Course summary: This watery, tree-lined parkland track replaced Trinity Forest after its two-year stint as host. Players will need to give due consideration to the hazards on this course, with a creek that crosses the fairways no less than 14 times. Wind can also be a factor here but as a new venue for many of the players, recent form could be the key indicator for success this week.
Purse: $9.5 million
Defending champion: Lee Kyoung-hoon (-26)
Thursday: Sky Sports Golf from 5pm and Main Event from 10.45pm
Friday: Sky Sports Golf from 5pm and Main Event from 10.30pm
Saturday: Sky Sports Golf from 5pm and Main Event from 10.30pm
Sunday: Sky Sports Golf from 5pm and Main Event from 9.30pm
2023 AT&T Byron Nelson betting tips
The Banker: Matt Kuchar @28/1
Father time is sure to catch up with Matt Kuchar and up until this season it looked like it might already have done so, but he looks reinvigorated once again, and he continues to impress at the golf courses he enjoys.
TPC Craig Ranch is one of those as he’s finished 17th and 12th here over the past two years, but in 2021 it promised to be a lot better. Kuchar went into the final round in 3rd place two years ago, but a final round 73 put the sword to any chance of competing for a win. A year later it was a reverse effort as he finished like a storm, shooting a 64 on Sunday to climb to 12th and actually better his finish from the year before.
Looking at the year so far, Kuchar has finished 8th at Riviera, put in another strong match play effort, and was 3rd at the Texas Open. These are all great signs as it suggests when Kuchar gets back to familiar and suitable surroundings, he can still challenge and that is certainly the case in my mind this week.
With Jordan Spieth now out of the field, the top of the market is getting weaker here and Kuchar can take advantage.
The Each-Way Play: J.J Spaun @ 45/1
J.J Spaun is a player who has certainly been on the rise, and his win last year at the Valero Texas Open certainly seemed to give him a new-found belief.
The talent has always been there for Spaun and he was well known for fast starts and a lack of killer instinct over the weekend when he first joined the Tour, but a misdiagnosis set him back in recent years and halted his good play. Spaun was initially diagnosed as a Type 2 Diabetic but the whole time he was actually Type 1, and once he found that out and was able to manage his health, his results started to improve on the golf course, as you would imagine.
I backed Spaun here last year, based on his recent win down the road at the Valero Texas Open, and the fact he’d made a fast start here a year before, but it was very much a similar case to the year before. In 2021, Spaun kicked off the week with a 63 to lead on Thursday and a second-round 69 put him in 5th place going into the weekend. A poor weekend saw him tumble to T47 but the signs were positive. Last year, he was 7th after round 1, 15th after round 2, and still 18th going into Sunday, but a poor final round saw him finish T38.
If he can find the recipe to success for four rounds here instead of two, then I am confident enough that he can perform in contention now he has that win under his belt at the Valero, and his recent form is promising enough to suggest he can.
Spaun impressed in a tough Match Play group going 3-0 against Matt Fitzpatrick, Min Woo Lee and Sahith Theegala, but he, unfortunately, met a red-hot Xander Schauffele in the Round of 16, where he lost 3 & 2. He then returned to the Valero Texas Open as champion, and finished a respectable 22nd before adding a 27th-place finish last week.
Once again, he started fast at the Wells Fargo, sitting 4th at the halfway mark but he couldn’t finish the job, which is a pattern I am hoping changes this week.
Spaun finished 3rd in this event at a different course in 2018 and he was 4th at the Phoenix Open in the past as well, which seems to be an event that provides crossover, so I really like his chances once more.
Another Each Way: Michael Kim @ 80/1
Michael Kim is back playing some consistent golf again and his 7th place finish last week in an elevated event adds to strong finishes in weaker fields at Pebble Beach (11th ) and the Puerto Rico Open (5th) in 2023.
Kim has now made seven-straight cuts, something we couldn’t have imagined from him just a couple of years ago, but this one-time PGA Tour winner has all the tools to be a really talented player at this level and seems to be showing that again.
Cast your mind back to 2018, and Kim won the John Deere Classic by eight strokes at -27 and it is that effort, plus his current form, that leads me to believe he can take advantage of TPC Craig Ranch.
Kim was T27 at the halfway stage on his debut here in 2021 and certainly wasn’t in the same form we find him now as he had missed six straight weekends, rather than making seven in a row! 12th and 21st place finishes in Texas at the Houston Open and Valero respectively suggests Kim likes this part of the country when in form and I will bank on that being the case again this week. He currently ranks 12th in SG Approach and 28th in SG Tee to Green in this field over the past 15 weeks, so I like his long-term form amongst this respectfully weaker field than last week.
The Long Shot: Jimmy Walker @ 100/1
Much like J.J Spaun, Walker is another player that has been held back with health issues in recent years, as his Lyme Disease diagnosis in 2017 can certainly be attributed to his lack of form.
Walker has now put together four straight top-25 finishes, including at the RBC Heritage where he was the leader at the 36-hole stage and was still 4th going into Sunday. The Texas resident can now put one last strong week together on this run to contend at the Byron Nelson, as we know he plays well in his current home state.
Walker has a win, a runner-up, and multiple more top-10 finishes in the state of Texas which suggests he gains a certain level of comfort from playing at home, and that will be especially important as he looks to extend a good stretch of form and continue to find it after consecutive weeks on the road. Even over just two years we have seen plenty of crossover between results at Riviera and here, despite the courses having very little in common, and if there is anything behind that, Walker’s two 4th place finishes at that course are just an added bonus.
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