Adam Scott is the player to back in the HP Byron Nelson Championship on the PGA Tour this week, the Australian running into form after a quiet start to the year.
The winner of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in impressive style last August, the 31-year-old Adelaide native has clearly structured his season around the Majors and his quest to win one of golf’s four most prestigious championships for the first time.
Indeed, this is only Scott’s second bread-and-butter event of the year in the States if you discount last week’s Players’ Championship, which is a Major in all but name.
He used the Northern Trust Open in February as his warm-up, finishing a progressively better 17th, then after a first-round exit at the Accenture Matchplay he was 13th at the WGC-Cadillac Championship and a never closer eighth in the Masters.
There was also much to like about Scott’s performance at Sawgrass last week when he opened up with a 68 and although ultimately no threat to winner Matt Kuchar, his 15th place was enough to show his game is in pretty decent shape heading towards the most crucial phase of the year.
Plus, his chances for this week’s tournament are boosted by an excellent record at the Four Seasons Resort near Dallas.
Third on his debut in 2006, Scott was the winner two years later when he holed a monster putt in a play-off to beat Ryan Moore.
Odds of 14/1 with most bookmakers are a very fair reflection of the Aussie’s chance this week as the two players ahead of him in the betting, Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar, are well worth opposing.
Mickelson has won this tournament but was not really on song at the Players, while Kuchar may take a little while to come down to earth after his Sawgrass heroics and is not a frequent winner in any case.
At a bigger price, I also like the look of England’s Brian Davis, who is a general 40/1 chance.
It’s well known that the Londoner has yet to win on the PGA Tour but don’t let that put you off – this seems to be a year for players breaking their duck after a long wait as Jason Dufner and Rickie Fowler recently testify.
Davis is a consistent player, although his record in the Byron Nelson is the opposite – second in 2009 and eighth three years earlier, he has missed the cut on his other starts.
But the 37-year-old’s form this year is very respectable – fourth at Bay Hill and Houston – and he has not missed a cut since February.
He was in among the world’s best when 25th at the Players and looks well worth an each-way interest.
The same can also be said of a big outsider, Blake Adams, at a whopping 100/1 with Coral
Very much a journeyman having held down his card since graduating from the Nationwide Tour, the big-hitting Georgian was an excellent 12th at the Players and runner-up in the 2010 Byron Nelson, so his confidence should be high for this week.
Brian Davis – 40/1 (Coral
Blake Adams – 100/1 (Coral