2009 HP Byron Nelson Championship Preview and Picks

HP Byron Nelson Championship
Thurs. May 21 Sun. May 24, 2009
TPC Four Seasons at Las Colinas Irving, TX
Golf Channel/CBS

by Matt of Predictem.com

The PGA rearranged its traditional schedule this year to allow for a three week stay in Texas and week two brings us the HP Byron Nelson Championship. The Nelson certainly has the name power with Lord Byron attached to it, and many of the top professionals have made this stop over the years to pay their respects and cash some big checks while they were there. Adam Scott is the defending champion from 2008 and former champions of this event include Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh. The Golf Channel has all the early round action with weekend finish on CBS.

The TPC Four Seasons is still a bit new to most of the field after going through a major renovation in the 2007 offseason. The two courses at Las Colinas were traditionally used in this event, but the Four Seasons layout now hosts all four rounds after last years remodel that saw every green redone and a number of trees added to frame many of the holes. The variety of change and the newly undulating greens make this 7,166 yard, par-70 course a whole new challenge for the competitors. The average winning total from 2000 to 2007 was 14-under, but 2008 saw Adam Scott post 7-under in victory and the low score for the week at 5-under, 65.

Each week we take a look at the golf sportsbooks and highlight a few players
expected to contend. Well make a pick to win from a short, middle and
long odds perspective and breakdown a few head to head matches as well.
This weeks odds and line information come courtesy of the board at Superbook.
Here are some players to watch at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Short: Ian Poulter (15 to 1 for an outright win)

Poulter hasnt lived up to his end of the bargain after announcing that Tiger would be his only competition when he (Poulter) got his swing going, but hes certainly getting closer to cashing in a win in the near future. Ian has made six of seven cuts in the U.S. and has finished in the top-20 in all of those, including his runner-up at the PLAYERS. Poulters overall stat sheet is nothing to get excited about (160th in GIR%, 84th total driving) but he is 2nd in putts per round and 1st in scrambling which means he just gets it done. Ian has a top-30 scoring average at 70.35 and is currently 8th in par-4 performance which should help this week with only two par-5s on the card.

Middle of the Road: Charley Hoffman (25 to 1)

Charley has shown a lot of consistency in 2009, making the cut in all twelve of his starts and notching three top-10s, including a T9 at last weeks Valero. Hoffman has made our pick set before, but this is the first time that he isnt in our longshot spot at greater than 30 to 1. Hoffman ranks no higher than 23rd in driving distance, greens hit, putting average, birdie and scoring average along with owning the most overall birdies to this point. Charley also is riding a 21 event cuts made streak, which makes him a fair pick against anyone in a head to head match situation.

Longhsot: Scott Verplank (30 to 1)

Picking individuals to win is a hard science, players get hot at different times and one bad hole in can end your chances on Thursday afternoon, but the one rule in golf betting is: have a Texan on your team when the event is in the Lonestar state. Players like Verplank, Justin Leonard and Chad Campbell could all retire on checks cashed in their home state alone and Verplank seems to have his best luck at the Nelson, highlighted by his 2007 victory. Scott currently ranks 5th in fairways and 20th in both putting average and overall scoring average.

Head to Head Matches (our pick to win)

*all matches are for entire tournamentcheck with your favorite golf sportsbook for single round matches, updated daily.

Brian Davis (-115) v. Jonathan Byrd (-105) (Byrd)

Davis has been hot in the last few weeks especially, but Byrd is the more consistent player which is attractive in a four day match. Davis hold an edge in the putting average, but Byrd is 1st on total driving, 30th in greens in regulation and 14th in birdie average, all outrank Davis by a sizeable margin.

Charles Howell III (+105) v. Davis Love III (-135) (Howell III)

Weve made some hay in the past years picking underdogs with suspect stat sheets and this week is no different. DL3 outranks CH3 in nearly every scoring stat, but Howell has the 18th best scoring average to Loves 60th ranked per round number. Bottom line in this match comes down to the intangible of limiting damage and Howell has done a better job at that.

Good Luck!