Winner’s Share – $1,278,000
Course – TPC Four Seasons Resort (7,166 yards Par 70)
Our 2014 Picks – Jimmy Walker – T37 Paul Casey – T16 Justin Hicks – MC
This week on the PGA Tour we stay in Texas for the AT&T Byron Nelson with a field that doesn’t excite anywhere near as much as last week or over the event over in Ireland.
But, we’ve got to look past all that and try and value at a course which is honestly, quite hard to predict.
Only 3 of the 8 winners on this track had recorded a top 10 before their victory, whilst there has been another 3 first-time victors. Therefore course form can theoretically be chucked out the window, but we always feel it’s important to keep an eye on previous results.
The 7,166 yard par 70 possesses large, undulating greens with several water features and strategically placed bunkers that will swallow anyone who strays into them. The tree-lined fairways clearly indicate how vital it is to be accurate off the tee, whilst you can’t help but think those that attack the pins and birdie hunt will find themselves near the top of the leaderboard. If the wind gets up, there’ll be havoc amongst the scores, but if it’s mild, the players will go really low.
That makes this so tough because you could look at accurate grinders or bombers, so check out the wind before you bet – right now it looks like we could be in for a pretty horrific few days weather….
Matt Kuchar (33/1 Coral)
Kuuuch has been his ever consistent self this year, making 14 out of 15 cuts since the season began. We are aware that one failure to make the weekend did come at his most recent outing – The Players – but we are going to be looking past that because this is a track where he should fare well.
His tee to green game is infamous and could be a great fit for the demands of the course – a place where his formline isn’t spectacular, but it is certainly impressive nonetheless. 2 top 10’s in his last 4 outings here with a worst finish of T33. He really needs to bring the form from the RBC Heritage back here and if he can then 33’s will seem like incredible value and definitely worth backing.
His putter has been particularly hot this season as well, which will, without doubt, make for an easier effort here.
Harris English (66/1 various)
Didn’t we say it was last chance saloon for Harris English a couple of weeks back? Yes he has intrigued us several times going into a few events this season and duly not delivered but at 66/1 we feel he’s worth another cheeky bet.
This is a track that has his name written all over it. One of the best on tour off the tee – 17th total driving – he could be hitting it long and straight to set up perfect positions to attack pins. Considering he is 21st for GIR and 26th for strokes gained putting, you can’t help but think his all-round game will be perfect here and although his best finish is T17 in 2 starts, you still think there’s plenty more to come.
And that can be said for his whole season really. No top 10 since the Valspar a couple of months back, but a cracking player with the potential to show his true abilities at very reasonable odds.
Brendan Steele (80/1 BetVictor)
This is a course, despite missing the cut on the two times he’s been here, that Steele could be a real handful on. At first glance Four Seasons looks like it’s one for the straight hitters out there and to a degree that’s true – Steele isn’t renowned for being arrow-straight. But looking through the history books, it’s the ‘total-drivers’ that have really thrived here. That’s where Steele comes in. Okay, he doesn’t find every fairway but in the main he’s not only straight but long as well. He ranks T35 total driving on tour and was actually 1st in driving distance in his last event at the Wells Fargo.
It’s his T9 in his last outing that is the main reason we’re having a punt on the American in Texas this week. As always, we watched plenty of live coverage but Steele was someone who really caught our eye. It’s one thing ploughing through stats and then another actually seeing these guys strike the ball. He looked on top of his game and on further inspection you’ll find he ranked 1st in GIR for the week, absolutely no surprises there. At 80’s bookies are obviously looking elsewhere given his 2 MC’s here but he could go close this week.
Much like Chris Kirk, Steele has the quality to start pushing on now and racking up a few more PGA titles. The scene of his one and only PGA Tour title so far was in none other than Texas, at the Valero. Good omens.
Jerry Kelly (125/1 BetVictor)
Jerry Kelly will probably be a popular outsider this week because he looked pretty impressive with his irons at Colonial and he just seemed to be really bloody happy.
He was a smiling guru of approach play throughout the week and to finish T10 shows his game is almost there. He is very much a true grinder with ridiculous accuracy stats – 13th driving accuracy – and this is a place that should suit him perfectly.
He has finished T3 here before and recorded 2 other top 11’s which shows it’s a place he likes and if he can continue his steady rise in finishes – T22, T17 and T10 – this will be a memorable week for the old timer.
Martin Laird (150/1 BetVictor)
Martin Laird will be incredibly accustomed to any wind that decides to barrage down in Texas this week and whilst his recent form hasn’t been great, at 150’s he’s definitely worth a gamble.
30th for total driving and 35th GIR proves he has plenty of potential on these sort of tracks. We’ve seen him grinding and scrambling his way on tough courses already this season – T5 at the Waste Management and T7 at the Valspar – so if he can replicate that sort of form then he really is a decent outsider to consider if the weather decides to take a turn.
Will Wilcox (250/1 Paddy Power)
250’s might put some of you off but as we keep saying, pretty much every week someone at this sort price will always sneak a place, if not win. Adam Hadwin (400/1) last week, prime example.
So why will Will win? He’s played here once and missed the cut. Good start. But… looking at his recent form, he’s actually in good shape. Two top 20’s on the Web.com preceded by a T33 at the Valspar and T6 in Puerto Rico.
Then we look at stats. He ranks 7th total driving, 2nd bogey avoidance, T28 par 4 performance and 6th par 3 performance. Essentially, tee to green he’s one of the best on Tour. Naturally, he needs to up his short game and when the pressure is on how will he cope. All good questions but he’s 250/1 and worth a few coins.
Every week we’re running a weekly betting competition on both Tours with esteemed magazine Golf Monthly. It is a bit of fun between us and them to see who has the better tipsters! We have £10 to put on each tournament and will write up a weekly post for their site detailing the horrors we are sure to endure throughout the year – so keep an eye out.
It will also (for the first time from us at DownThe18th) show some sort of staking plan we have for out bets. Obviously, this isn’t the exact stakes we will put on our players, some weeks we won’t even enter a couple of our picks, but at least it can be shown roughly where our thoughts are money wise.
Our £10 against Golf Monthly will be as follows –
£2.00 e/w on Matt Kuchar at 33/1 (Coral)
£1.00 e/w on Harris English at 66/1 (Stan James)
£0.75 e/w on Brendan Steele at 80/1 (Bet Victor)
£0.55 e/w on Jerry Kelly at 125/1 (Coral)
£0.40 e/w on Martin Laird at 150/1 (Coral)
£0.30 e/w on Will Wilcox at 250/1 (Paddy Power)
Each way bets ¼ odds for top 5 finish unless stated otherwise.
Find the Golf Monthly Preview here (http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/news/tour-news)
Current Standings after 19 weeks
DownThe18th Golf Monthly
European Tour: £-71.95 European Tour: £-50.62
PGA Tour: £-25.94 PGA Tour: £23.75
Total: £-97.89 Total: £-26.87
Golf Monthly leads by: £70.02