FIRST staged in 1944 as the Dallas Open and won by the man the event is now named after, the HP Byron Nelson Championship has an impressive list of champions.

Indeed, Sam Snead and Ben Hogan won the next two stagings, two top-quality maiden winners in Jason Day and Keegan Bradley won the 2010 and 2011 renewals and top-class performer Jason Dufner took the title last year.

Designed and built by Robert Trent Jones Jnr and opened in 1983, TPC Four Seasons in Irving, Texas, was remodelled in 1986 by Jay Moorrish, Byron Nelson and Ben Crenshaw, and it underwent a major renovation again in 2008 by DA Weibring.

It has tree-lined Bermuda grass fairways and large undulating Bentgrass greens. In benign conditions low scores are perfectly possible and the course record of 61 has been shot four times in total but it's a different beast altogether when the wind gets up as it's forecast to do this year.

No clear stat emerges as the most important here. Driving distance is largely irrelevant and most winners need to drive it straight but three of the last five winners, Jason Day, Rory Sabbatini and Adam Scott all ranked outside the top 25 for accuracy off the tee.

Greens in Regulation has been a key stat over the last couple of years but Day was 50th for GIR when he won and Sabbatini ranked 39th. Par 4 Performance has been a key stat but that's hardly surprising on a par 70 course and to add to the confusion Dufner ranked just 54th for both scrambling and putting last year.

All in all it's a bit of a murky picture but I'd definitely favour accuracy over power and I'll be looking at excellent wind players, especially this year, as the forecast suggest it will blow fairly hard all week.

Vastly-experienced players tended to win here but that's changed of late. Day and Bradley won their first PGA Tour titles here and Dufner had only recently broken his duck, at the Zurich Classic, when he won 12 months ago. So again, nothing stands out.

If you're going to play in-running then you may need to side with the frontrunners. It's incredibly tough to come from behind and since 2000 every winner, bar Bradley, has been within two at halfway and Dufner had already reached the front after 36 holes last time around.

That said the wind blew ridiculously hard on day four two years ago, when Bradley won from four back after round three, and if that happens again this year the up-with-pace plan might go out of the window.

The par 4 16th is the second easiest hole on the track with the other long hole, the 7th, consistently ranking slightly easier, but other than that, it's a tough finish once the players reach the 14th tee, so if someone does post a score from off the pace on Sunday, especially if the winds howling, it will make sense to get them onside.

With form figures reading 1-5-9, it's patently obvious Day plays the track superbly. He did himself proud at the US Masters recently, where he finished third, but just looks a shade short to me. His win here in 2010 is still his only success on the PGA Tour and although he played very well in-contention at Augusta, I'm not sure I trust him enough to back him as short as 15.5.

Matt Kuchar and last year's winner Dufner are next in the list and they too look short enough. Both players aren't player at their best and the latter named may struggle to defend. There's been money for Bradley, the 2011 winner, and that's understandable given the weather forecast but again, at just a shade over 20.0, he makes no appeal.

It's always well worth taking a look at Betfair's Fixed Odds market and this week's tasty morsel was the 51.0 about recent Houston Open winner, DA Points. Whether he's worth backing at his current price of 40.0 is debatable but he has both course and current form and he won't mind the windy conditions.

Great wind players, Brian Gay and James Huh, look attractively priced and Matt Every's worth an-each way bet.

I've also taken a chance on three huge outsiders in James Driscoll, Justin Hicks and Patrick Reed. The first two shot 66 and 67 here on day four two years ago when the wind howled and Reed is just a weakness of mine. The Texan young gun Monday qualified many times last season and looks to have a bit a class about him.

Recommended Bets

D.A Points @ 51.0 (Fixed Odds)
Brian Gay @ 130.0
John Huh @ 130.0
Matt Every @ 150.0 (Fixed Odds)
James Driscoll @ 260.0
Justin Hicks @ 390.0
Patrick Reed @ 500.0
Bobby Gates @ 550.0

Milesey (Betfair)

  1. Milesey 8 years ago

    a trio of bets from the Byron Nelson opening round three-balls…

    Young Jordan Spieth looks short enough outright at 34.0 but will likely be a hard man to beat in his opening day three-ball with Jeff Overton and Ryo Ishikawa. Spieth is born and raised in Dallas and remarkably tied for 16th position here in 2010 when just 16-years-old; his form this season has been so good that he’s already virtually guaranteed full PGA Tour membership for next season. Jeff Overton missed the cut last year but has two top 10’s in his last three tries here and rates the danger.

    Veteran Kenny Perry has been in reasonable form on the Champions Tour this year, registering three top 10’s. This week he makes his first PGA Tour start of the season and his 21st start in this particular tournament. Perry looks a big price to outscore two rivals who have been in indifferent form – Y E Yang and Gary Woodland. The latter has been threatening a good week for a little while and must rate the danger but at the prices, it’s Perry.

    Texas native Justin Leonard has a number of good rounds to his name in this tournament and stands out as a big price to get the better of Padraig Harrington and Marc Leishman in the first round. Australian Leishman has been in wonderful form and is a worthy favourite, but his price looks very skinny.

    Recommended Bets

    Back Jordan Spieth @ 2.37
    Back Kenny Perry @ 3.75
    Back Justin Leonard @ 3.75


  2. Milesey 8 years ago

    Ian Poulter @ 9.8
    Bo Van Pelt @ 23.0

    D.A Points @ 51.0 (Fixed odds)
    Brian Gay @ 130.0
    John Huh @ 130.0
    Matt Every @ 150.0 (Fixed odds)
    James Driscoll @ 260.0
    Justin Hicks @ 390.0
    Patrick Reed @ 500.0
    Bobby Gates @ 550.0

    Simon Wakefield @ 110.0
    Daniel Vancsik @ 150.0 (Fixed Odds)
    Tano Goya @ 150.0


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