Byron Nelson Preview
Pick to win:
Dustin Johnson (9/1): This week, this already long course will be playing much longer with the weather conditions expected to continue throughout the tournament. And which player can bomb it off the tee farther than DJ? It also doesn’t hurt that his last three appearances here have resulted in three top-20s. With Jason Day and Ian Poulter withdrawing, it seems to be DJ vs. Speith, but this course is seemingly much more fit for Dustin.
Players to watch:
Brooks Koepka (50/1): I’m still not sure if Koepka is healthy, but if he is, this course will be perfect for him. He is one of the biggest bombers on tour, and also is elite at putting this year. That combination, along with his ability to shoot low rounds, will set him up for a top-10 finish this week, assuming that he is healthy and able.
Marc Leishman (25/1): Leishman has been a completely different player since his wife’s health is back to normal. Since then, he has finished in the top-30 in all three events, and now comes to a course where he has finished T-12th or better in four of the last five years. I wouldn’t be surprised with any top finish from him this week.
Justin Thomas (25/1): Although course experience is nice to have here, I think Thomas will be an exception, as this week is just looking perfect for him. He is a long driver who gets tons of birdies and can putt well. He is also on a streak of four consecutive top-25s, and I expect that to expand to five in a row after this week.
Patrick Rodgers (75/1): I was going to have him as my super sleeper, but there is someone else who I like as well, whose odds as more fit to be a sleeper. Rodgers is one of the only guys who can compete with Dustin Johnson for longest driver. Last week, I was a little surprised to see Rodgers even make the cut, as the course didn’t suit him that well. However, The Wells Fargo Championship was hosted at a course that fitted Rodgers well, and he finished T-2nd. I could see him back in the top-25 this week as well.
Will Wilcox (125/1): This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned Wilcox as my sleeper. I believe he’s way underrated, and his stats support that claim as well. He is ranked 14th in proximity to the hole, and is an elite driver as well, ranking 69th in driving distance and 27th in driving accuracy. He was looking strong at his last tournament until suddenly he ended his Friday round with a bogey, and then a dbl bogey, to miss the cut by one stroke. Before that, he was on a streak of foue top-35s, including three top-20s, and I expect him to play strong this week as well.
Edited by Emily Berman.
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