The Punter

The Punter's In-Play Blog: Scheffler and Detry worthy favourites

Golfer Scottie Scheffler
Scottie Scheffler in action at the Byron Nelson Championship

There's just one round to go at both the Byron Nelson Championship and the Soudal Open so our man's back with his final thoughts on both events...

  • Three tied at the top in Texas

  • Scheffler a fair price to convert

  • Is Detry ready to get off the mark?

08:10 - May 14, 2023

The world number two, Scottie Scheffler, has been matched at a low of 1.491/2 to win the Byron Nelson Championship but a lacklustre level-par 71 in round three yesterday has seen him lose the lead. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 8:00.

Ryan Palmer -16 5.69/2
Austin Eckroat -16 8.615/2
Zecheng Dou -16 10.09/1
Scottie Scheffler -14 4.57/2
Jason Day -14 8.615/2
Si Woo Kim -14 13.5
Vincent Norman -14 24.023/1
Tyrrell Hatton -13 15.014/1
Patton Kizzire -13 65.064/1
-13 and 100.099/1 bar

The Byron Nelson Championship has been a fantastic tournament for outsiders, with eight of the last nine winners being matched at a triple-figure price before the off, and with a round to go, the three players tied at the top - Ryan Palmer, Austin Eckroat and Zecheng Dou - were all longshots before the off.

The veteran Texan, Palmer, who was matched at a high of 470.0469/1 was generally a 200.0199/1 chance before the off, Eckroat was a 420.0419/1 shot and Dou was trading at around 750.0749/1. The latter named were both matched at 1000.0999/1.

Matt Bettencourt won the Korn Ferry Tour Championship at this venue back in 2008, having been tied for the lead through three rounds, but Justin Boli trailed by two after 54 holes when he won that event here in 2012 and K.H Lee, who has won the last two editions of this event at TPC Craig Ranch, was trailing after three rounds on both occasions. He sat solo second, trailing by a stroke, in 2021 and he sat tied for sixth and four off the pace 12 months ago.

With Eckroat and Dou in search of their first victories on the PGA Tour and with Palmer looking for his first individual title in 13 years (he won the Zurich Classic alongside Jon Rahm in 2019), we can expect a few nerves in the final three-ball and another winner from outside the 54-hole lead looks likely.

Scheffler had a really odd day yesterday. His iron play was off early on, the putts just didn't drop (ranks 489th for Strokes Gained Putting through three rounds) and his day was summed up nicely on the par five 18th when he failed to get out of a fairway bunker at the first attempt but he's clearly the man to beat still.

Yesterday was a poor day and if he plays like that again today, he's got no chance of winning but it's hard not to view his price as very fair this morning given he trails by two with a round to go and that he's only fractionally shorter than he was before the off.

The two-time PGA Tour winner, Patton Kizzire, who's played well here previously, looks a big price at over 50/1 given he's only three off the lead and I was happy to throw a few pounds at Korea's Sung Kang at 100.099/1.

Over on the DP World Tour, Sweden's Simon Forsstrom returned to the course after a weather delay to finish off his third round in style at the Soudal Open yesterday with birdies at 16 and 17 to fire a second successive 67. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 8:00.

Simon Forsstrom -15 3.3512/5
Thomas Detry -14 2.568/5
Julien Brun -12 12.011/1
Jens Dantorp -12 17.016/1
Richie Ramsay -11 28.027/1
Mike Lorenzo-Vera -11 30.029/1
Andrew Wilson -11 44.043/1
Matthew Southgate -10 50.049/1
David Horsey -10 120.0119/1
Yeongsu Kim -10 140.0139/1
Thorbjorn Olesen -9 85.084/1
Alexander Bjork -9 95.094/1
-9 and 150.0149/1 bar

Forsstrom has led after every round so far but the home favourite, Thomas Detry, looks a huge danger with a round to go.

Detry is still in search of his first victory on the DP World Tour and that has to be viewed as a negative, but he really should have the class to win here given the inexperience of the leader and the gap back to the remainder.

The four-time DP World tour winner, Richie Ramsay, who loves this sort of venue, would be my idea of a sporting alternative to the favourite but this really does look like an excellent chance for Detry to finally get off the mark.

09:30 - May 13, 2023

The world number two, Scottie Scheffler, began the Byron Nelson Championship trading at around 5.04/1 and anyone that was prepared to take what looked a short enough price on paper is now on very good terms with themselves.

After back-to-back seven-under-par 64s around Craig Ranch, Scottie heads into the weekend with a one-stroke lead over Canada's Mackenzie Hughes and fellow Texan, Ryan Palmer, and he's now trading at odds-on. Here's the 36-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 09:15.

Scottie Scheffler -14 1.68/13
Mackenzie Hughes -13 12.011/1
Ryan Palmer -13 12.5
Si Woo Kim -11 17.5
Richy Werenski -10 160.0159/1
Jason Day -9 28.027/1
Hideki Matsuyama -9 30.029/1
-9 and 75.074/1 bar

It's very hard to make a case for opposing Scheffler.

He's playing superbly and he'll enjoy playing with his good friend, Ryan Palmer, in today's final three-ball.

There'll be worse odds-on shots to back over the weekend than Scheffler and if he kicks on to win it will be no surprise but the value at halfway sits with the other member of today's final three-ball - Mackenzie Hughes.

Trailing by just a stroke and a best price of 9/1 on the High Street, the Sanderson Farms Championship winner is fractionally over-priced at 12.011/1 given he's the most obvious alternative to the leader.

The partisan crowd will be rooting for the two Texans today, but Hughes has the game to upset the apple cart and I'm happy to get him onside at 12.011/1.

Hughes came into the event on the back of two missed cuts and he failed to make the weekend on debut here last year which would explain his pre-event odds of 160.0159/1 but having won on the PGA Tour as recently as October, he's far more likely to contend over the weekend than the often-flaky Palmer, who hasn't won an individual event in 13 years.

Si Woo Kim is an interesting contender and I've backed him this morning at a huge 420.0419/1 for next week's US PGA Championship.

The Korean is a mercurial character, as Hughes pointed out at the beginning of the week (see below tweet), but he plays very well at the Donald Ross-designed Sedgefield Country Club, the host course for the Wyndham Championship, and next week's major is to be played at Oak Hill - another Ross design.

It's a much tighter affair at the Soudal Open in Belgium, where 12 players are within four of the unlikely leader, Simon Forsstrom. Here's the latest standings with prices to back at 9:20.

Simon Forsstrom -11 6.86/1
Jeong weon Ko -10 9.617/2
Thomas Detry -9 4.94/1
Julien Brun -8 13.5
Jens Dantorp -8 26.025/1
Ewen Ferguson -8 26.025/1 (thru 8 holes)
James Morrison -8 50.049/1
Thorbjorn Olesen -7 13.012/1
Alexander Bjork -7 13.5
Fabrizio Zanotti -7 28.027/1
Soren Kjeldsen -7 85.084/1
Felix Mory -7 150.0149/1
-6 and 55.054/1 bar

I suspect we might see quite a bit of change on Moving Day today and we've already seen one huge move.

Matt Cooper's each-way fancy, Ewen Ferguson, who began the day eight strokes off the lead, has just birdied six holes in-a-row from the third to throw his hat in the ring!

The frontrunning 34-year-old Swede, Forsstrom, won on the Challenge Tour back in 2016 but he's never been in the hunt on the DP World Tour, and he looks opposable.

Simon Forsstrom.jpg

The 25-year-old French Korean, Jeong weon Ko, looks a more likely winner and he sounded confident enough after his second round.

"I was in this position a few times last year on the Challenge Tour. It's not too different, just with more people watching."

As positive as he sounds, he led three events in-a-row through 54 holes on the Challenge Tour in September last year but finished fourth, eighth and second.

This is yet another excellent opportunity for Belgium's Thomas Detry and he's the correct favourite at halfway but he's yet to win on the DP World Tour and I'm more than happy to swerve him.

I'm happy enough with the start made by my pre-event pick, Thorbjorn Olesen, and if I wasn't already onboard, I'd be backing him this morning at 13.012/1.

I thought this tree-lined track would be to his liking and he's far and away the most prolific player on the premises at halfway so I'm happy to stick with what I have for now.

10:20 - May 12, 2023

Sweden's Simon Forsstrom kicked off the Soudal Open with a seven-under-par 64 yesterday morning to lead by a stroke but he's been caught this morning by fellow Swede, Marcus Kinhult, Soren Kjeldsen and James Morrison, and my pre-event pick, Thorbjorn Olesen, is within a stroke, despite double-bogeying the 14th.

I'll take a detailed look at that event once they reach the halfway stage but I have had one small in-running bet, on Eddie Pepperell at 40.039/1.

The Englishman began his opening round with a bogey at the 10th and he finished it with bogeys at holes seven and nine yesterday morning but he was on the shortlist before the off and he's clearly coming into form.

Over on the PGA Tour, Korea's Seung-Yul Noh, shot a course record equalling 11-under-par 60 at the Byron Nelson Championship to lead by three, despite breaking his driver on the 12th tee!

Generally a 770.0769/1 chance before the off, Noh was matched at a high of 850.0849/1 and he's been matched at as low as 11.010/1.

Up with the pace is the place to be when the scoring is low and the four previous course winners were all inside the top-ten places and within four of the lead after the opening round, although Justin Bolli, at the 2012 Korn Ferry Tour Championship, is the only man to lead or co-lead after the opening round and win.

Sebastian Munoz also opened with 60 12 months ago and he led after rounds one, two and three but slipped to third with a 69 on Sunday.

Justin Hicks, who was tied with Bolli and four others in 2012, also led or co-led through rounds one, two and three but ultimately came up short, finishing fifth, beaten by four. And although he led after round one, Bolli dropped out of the lead through rounds two and three before rallying to win. Winning wire-to-wire is tough.

Noh may be three in front, but the clear favourite is the world number two, Scottie Scheffler, who signed off his opening round with an eagle three at the 18th.

Trailing by just four and trading at around 9/4, Scheffler is the man to beat here but he hasn't shortened up considerably in the market for next week's US PGA Championship, where he and Jon Rahm are both trading at 8/1.

I'm going to leave this one alone for now and take another look at halfway.

Soudal Open Pre-Event Selections:
Thorbjorn Olesen @ 25.024/1
Daniel van Tonder @ 80.079/1

In-Play Pick:
Eddie Pepperell @ 40.039/1

Byron Nelson Championship Pre-Event Selection:
Hideki Matsuyama @ 34.033/1

In-Play Pick:
Mackenzie hughes @ 12.011/1

Find Me a 100 Winner Picks:
Back 1.5 pt Cameron Champ @ 310.0309/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1

Back 1.5 u Daniel Gavins @ 210.0209/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1 & 10u @ 2.01/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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