AT&T Byron Nelson: Best 72-hole match betting tips, when to watch
Wise to oppose struggling Jordan Spieth at Trinity Forest
TV: Sky Sports Golf, 1.30pm Thursday
Trinity Forest hosts the Byron Nelson for the second time and, while the wide-open fairways will help the error-strewn game of Jordan Spieth, they will also play to the strengths of defending champion Aaron Wise.
Wise took advantage of benign conditions to shoot 23 under par across four rounds last year as he claimed a first US Tour title and the 22-year-old looks to be running into form at the right time to make a decent bid to retain the title.
Wise missed back-to-back cuts at the Texas Open and the Zurich Classic last year before finishing tied second at the Wells Fargo and collecting the Byron Nelson crown. He arrives in Dallas following 17th at the Masters and 18th at the Wells Fargo Championship and the super-talented American could get the better of Spieth.
This is the Dallas native’s home event but he has never really contended in the tournament – which was held at TPC Four Seasons until last year. Spieth has made eight appearances in the Byron Nelson but never bettered the 16th-place finish he made on debut in 2010 as a fresh-faced 16-year-old.
The three-time Major champion is still in a long-running slump that is showing little signs of ending and the 25-year-old has failed to crack the top 20 in any tournament this season – his best effort coming when finishing 21st at his beloved Augusta National last month.
Texas-born Mexican Abraham Ancer could delight the Trinity Forest galleries this week but he has missed two consecutive cuts and is worth taking on with Scott Piercy, who was in excellent form when last seen in solo action at the RBC Heritage.
Piercy finished in a tie for third at the Heritage despite the cramped confines of Harbour Town which have never played to the strengths of the 40-year-old Las Vegan.
The wide fairways of Trinity Forest should be better suited to his game. Piercy finished 32nd in the event last season but ranked in the top ten for greens in regulation, his undoing on that occasion was poor putting.
While never one to fully trust with the flat stick, Piercy ranks 106th on the PGA Tour in strokes gained putting this season, which might not sound impressive but is favourable in comparison to a rank of 186 in the 2018 season.
Keith Mitchell finished third behind Wise and Marc Leishman last year and the Honda Classic champion has every chance of contending again.
Mitchell followed up his Honda success by finishing in a tie for sixth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and finished eighth at the Wells Fargo last time.
Trinity Forest is vulnerable when winds are low, which should be the case when Mitchell tees off alongside CT Pan and Kevin Tway at 1.20pm, and he looks a lively first-round leader contender.
A Wise to beat J Spieth
2pts 10-11 bet365
S Piercy to beat A Ancer
2pts 17-20 Betfred
K Mitchell first-round leader
1pt each-way 45-1 Sky Bet
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