The second major of the season takes place next week with the PGA Championship and Brooks Koepka is one of several in with a chance who will be heading to the Byron Nelson in Dallas at the weekend.
While the likes of Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson have decided to make their own preparations for the next week’s PGA Championship, and Tommy Fleetwood is hosting the British Masters in Southport, a number of the game’s biggest stars will be heading to Trinity Forest looking for one last outing before the second major of the year.
Local lad Jordan Spieth, Henrik Stenson, Hideki Matsuyama and Patrick Reed are some of the better-known names making their way to Dallas but perhaps the most interesting inclusion is Brooks Koepka; who will be going for his fourth career major at Bethpage Black and looking to make it three of the last five.
Koepka played the week before each of his three major wins so his attendance will certainly raise a few eyebrows having swerved the Byron Nelson last year after playing three consecutive weeks, culminating with the Players Championship, and has finished runner-up in three of his last six starts in Texas.
Koepka is making his fifth start in this competition and his best finish yet is second in 2016, though the highest FedExCup ranked player in the field has never played Trinity Forest Golf Club and its Open Championship feel will present its own dangers for the world number three who is currently 7.75* to take the win here.
Course could favour links lovers
With wide fairways, limited rough and large greens, not to mention being susceptible to the ever-changing weather conditions, this course might just appeal to those who thrive on links courses and with Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson teeing it up this week the Byron Nelson will welcome two of the last three Open Championship winners.
The 2016 Open Champion Stenson is making his first visit to Trinity Hills and although the Swede hasn’t been at his best this season, a magnificent display of iron play at the Valspar followed by something similar at Quail Hollow last week suggest he might just be finding his form in time for three majors which suit his game.
Stenson barely missed a green during the first two rounds of the Wells Fargo and while he’s going to need to putt better to win here the slower greens could be an advantage and it might be the case that the player who consistently hits the ball close to the flag will claim victory with the Royal Troon champion a 20.00* chance here.
Spieth goes in search of the slam
Hometown hero Jordan Spieth will be looking to better his T-21 Byron Nelson finish last year and get back to contending for major championships once more having endured something of a drop in form of late after bursting onto the scene in 2013 before recording victories in the Masters, the Open Championship and the US Open.
At first glance the links-style layout with no water and few trees should suit the 2017 British Open winner’s game but he hasn’t finished inside the top five at any tournament since coming third at the 2018 Masters, but victory at Bethpage Black would mean completing the career Grand Slam so he’ll be looking to head to upstate New York with a much-needed victory under his belt and can be backed at 21.00.*
Saying that, what the players will experience here is a far cry from what they will come across at Bethpage Black at the PGA Championship next week with strong winds and huge undulating greens providing a very different kind of challenge and previous form could be key.
Brandon Grace finished tied for third here 12 months ago, following a nine under par final round, while Marc Leishman thrived in the conditions on this demanding course last year on his way to finishing runner-up and is 26.00* to go one better this time around.