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CJ Cup Byron Nelson: Tips, predictions and odds

After Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry took the PGA TOUR's only team title at last week's Zurich Classic, normal order is resumed at the CJ CUP Byron Nelson, and the PGA TOUR's Mike Glasscott fancies one player to pick up his second win of the season.

PGA TOUR

CJ CUP Byron Nelson Tips

To Win – Si Woo Kim 18/1, Stephan Jaeger 33/1 
Top 10 – Ryan Palmer 11/1, Tom Hoge 16/5
Top 20 – Peter Kuest 4/1, Seamus Power 5/2, Chan Kim 16/5

TPC Craig Ranch course guide

Serving as the host for the fourth consecutive season, TPC Craig Ranch in the Dallas suburb of McKinney, Texas, hosts the event. 

The second of two Tom Weiskopf designs (TPC Scottsdale) used on TOUR this season will play as a Par-71 and tip at 7,414 yards for the second consecutive year. The first two editions played as a Par-72 at 7,468 yards.

One of the most scoreable tracks in play, the rolling hills northeast of Dallas provide massive landing areas off the tees and green complexes averaging 6,800 square feet. The wind is a way of life in Texas, and the big targets off the tees and into the greens allow for big gusts and breezes.

With plenty of room to work the ball, 83 bunkers, and water penalty areas on 13 holes should be avoided. Rowlett Creek runs through the land and crosses Nos. 14 and 18. 

Bentgrass putting surfaces cover the greens and will be on offer for the first time for any who didn’t play in the Masters last month. The green speeds are a very tame 11.5 feet on the Stimpmeter because of the constant winds that blow.

The stock Par-71 features three Par-5 holes, and none of the trio extends more than 564 yards. The four Par-3 holes are all 216 yards or better except No. 17, which measures only 147 yards.  

With the course sitting right in front of the players, the scoring reflects the quick learning curve. The winning scores have been 23-under, 25-under, and 26-under, and four-round totals of 10-under par or better are the norm. Ranking in the top five easiest courses on TOUR the first three seasons, I wouldn’t expect anything but more birdies for the 2024 edition.

Defending champion Jason Day has won this event on two different courses. 

Tournament record holder K.H. Lee won the first two events at TPC Craig Ranch. Setting the tournament record in 2021 with 25-under-par, he posted one better in defense. 

With usually soft conditions, low scores are required, not expected. The course record, 60, has been set twice in the last two editions.

The 2022 edition produced the most birdies and eagles of any TOUR stop that season. The 2023 version ranked third in most birdies circled.

CJ CUP Byron Nelson course guide

Formerly the AT&T Byron Nelson, the event has shifted from TPC Four Seasons to Trinity Forest to TPC Craig Ranch over the last decade.

The third of four events in Texas, the TOUR will return the week after the PGA Championship to Fort Worth and Colonial Country Club for the Charles Schwab Challenge.

This is the first full-field event since the Valero Texas Open led into the Masters.

The field of 156 players includes 10 of the top 50 from the Official World Golf Rankings and will be cut to the top 65 and ties for the final 36 holes. Internationals have won the last three events. 

Winning by three shots in the inaugural event at TPC Craig Ranch, K.H. Lee owns the margin of victory mark. Adam Scott is the only player on TOUR to have won all four stroke-play events in the Lone Star State. 

The winner will take home 500 FedExCup points and $1.71 million of the $9.5 million purse.

Players not already qualified for the Wells Fargo Championship next week have one final opportunity to force themselves into the Aon Next 10 and Aon Swing 5. Those who fall short can tee it up in the brand-new event, the Myrtle Beach Classic, in South Carolina.

Top of the Board

Jordan Spieth (16/1): The highest-ranked player in the field, the Dallas native missed the 2023 edition with a nagging wrist injury. Opening the week at 14/1, his odds have inflated since Monday. The shift to TPC Craig Ranch has produced solo second and T9 from two visits, the best two results from any tournaments he’s played under the Byron Nelson moniker. Sleeping in his own bed won’t help his nagging wrist, but he’s in the field, and that’s the first step.

Si Woo Kim (18/1): The 2023 co-runner-up has glided through 2024. Never missing a cut, he has popped five straight T30 or better with the best of the bunch coming at TPC Sawgrass (T6). Terrorising tracks tee to green, I will need the putter to show up on the weekend to pick up win No. 5 on TOUR.

Jason Day (20/1): Defending a title is nothing new for the Australian. Neither is winning in the Dallas area. K.H. Lee showed the way to successfully defend the title in 2022. With 13 wins to his name, including two at this event, he’s impossible to overlook.

Adam Scott (25/1): Posting T8 at TPC Scottsdale, Weiskopf’s other design used on TOUR, the Australian bagged his best finish of the season. Last year, he opened and closed with 63 for 19-under (T8) and is 35-under in two visits.

Alex Noren (25/1): First-time winners on TOUR this year have lifted the trophy five times from 17 events. If the Swede closes the deal this week, he makes it six from 18. Do the 40-somethings have enough in the tank to make enough birdies to keep up? Ranking second in bogey avoidance, he won’t needlessly throw away shots. I’m hoping he continues to pepper the first page of the leaderboard, but this time on Sunday.

Sungjae Im (28/1): This is a super exercise in restraint or paint. His strength is finding fairways, yet everyone will enjoy that angle this week. In his last six starts, he’s cashed as many times as he’s checked out early, but T12 at RBC Heritage is his best since T5 to open the season at Kapalua. Too many questions.

Min Woo Lee (28/1): Taking three weeks off after T22 at the Masters, the Australian jumps back in an event where there’s no time to be rusty. Sitting No. 2 in Total Driving does not hurt, but his iron game and putter have not risen to the level to pay it off. The metrics are not his friend this week.

Byeong Hun An (28/1): The metrics are the Korean’s friend! Ranking 14th in Total Driving and 18th in GIR, he also registered second in Proximity. Making his 192nd start on TOUR the only metric missing is a win.

Tom Kim (28/1): Known for games around town with Scottie Scheffler, the Dallas resident is looking to get back into contention in his backyard. Without a top 10 since his repeat victory at the Shriners in October the birdie machine needs a bit of oiling. I’d prefer him as a countermeasure in other formats.

Players to consider for Top 10, Top 20, or Top 40 action:

Stephan Jaeger (33/1): Already a winner in Texas in Houston in March, the only man to beat Scottie Scheffler in a month is making bunches of birdies and enjoying a career-best season. 

Tom Hoge (33/1): Big targets off the tee will give his superior irons more chances to get it close again this week. Only Scheffler is better on approach. Sits seventh in Birdie or Better Percentage.

Seamus Power (60/1): The only player in the field to cash T19 or better in all three events.

Sam Stevens (80/1): The Fort Worth native can really move it off the tee and is a noted wind player (T3 Corales 2023; 2nd Valero Texas Open 2023).

C.T. Pan (80/1): Posted a career-best round of 62 in Round 4 here last year to finish fourth.

Chan Kim (80/1): Cashed eight straight on his own ball and nine consecutive starts overall including T28 last week at Zurich. The last two on his own ball were T6 at Corales and T14 at Valero. Toss in T8 at Vidanta, and this event is right up his alley.

Peter Kuest (90/1): The Monday qualifier at Valero cashed T10 and followed with T9. The only way to get more starts is to perform!

Joseph Bramlett (125/1): Proven track record here offsets an inconsistent 2024.

Vincent Norrman (125/1): Won a shootout at the Barbasol in the summer of 2023 and backed it up with a win at the Horizon Irish Open eight weeks later. The 2024 results? Right, nothing but a sprinkle here.

Ryan Palmer (140/1): Cashing in the top 10 in the last two editions, the Colleyville resident shared the 36-hole lead in 2022 and the 54-hole lead in 2023.

Wesley Bryan (250/1): Running solo second in Corales, he missed catching Billy Horschel but has cashed in four of his last five on TOUR. 

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