How low can you go?
That will be the driving/chipping/putting question this week as the PGA Tour hits Dallas and Trinity Forest Golf Club for the AT&T Byron Nelson.
It sounds easy: Go low to win. Last year’s champ, Aaron Wise, shot rounds of 65-63-68-65 to finish up at 23-under-par and a three-stroke victory. In fact, none of the top seven finishers had a round in the 70s on the par-71 course.
Last year, the first year the tournament was held at this course, the Tour players put up 1,970 birdies and eagles over the four days. It was the second highest total for a course all year.
So who’s got the game to go flag-hunting for four straight days? We’re going to go with Brooks Koepka (13-2 odds). Why? Well, he’s going to be gearing up to defend his title at the PGA Championship which will be held next week.
Koepka has won three of the past seven majors including two of them last year (The PGA Championship and the U.S. Open), so he knows about setting up his game to be in top form around majors. And there’s no better way to set up your game than with a victory.
One final note: He had a great chance to win another major recently as he finished T2 at The Masters, coming up just short of Tiger Woods’ winning score.
This is also a week where players with longer betting odds have to be licking their lips as the field includes just eight of the top 30 in FedEx Cup points. Here’s a chance to make an impact and win on the PGA Tour.
Who that might be is the million dollar question (if you bet the right amount and your pick wins).
We’re going to dabble with two players with big odds. Both have been close enough to the first page of the leaderboard in recent events to pique our interest.
Those two players are: Sungjae Im (40-1) and Ryan Palmer (40-1).
If you haven’t heard about Im, you need to pay a little more attention than just watching the final groups on Sunday. He has four top 20 finishes in his last seven starts (he was T31 last week after a 71-72 weekend finish) and that includes play from around the world.
Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that he leads the PGA Tour in birdies this year. And he leads by a wide margin. Through the Zurich Classic, Im recorded 276 birdies in 69 rounds. Runnerup is Joel Dahmen with 243 birdies in 64 rounds.
Then there’s Palmer. He’s back on the PGA Tour after teaming up with John Rahm to win the Zurich Classic team event. It’s a home game for him in Texas so expect him to have a huge following. Nothing breeds success like a victory and Palmer should still be riding that high this week.
Like the saying goes, you can’t win if you’re not in. He’s in this week — and for two more years with the exemption he earned with his team’s recent victory.
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