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AT&T Byron Nelson: Amazing Grace to tame Texas links

The PGA Tour returns to Texas this week for the AT&T Byron Nelson at a new venue which breaks the mould for most American courses.

Trinity Forest Golf Club is based on an old landfill site a quarter of an hour outside Dallas and is a treeless par-71 links-style course that has no rough and plenty of room off the tee but which is exposed to the elements - namely wind.

Designers Ben Crenshaw and Bill Coore have produced this unique track with the aim of attracting major championships but sadly many of the PGA Tour's finest have decided to swerve what looks like a fascinating event.

Texas native Jordan Spieth has played here "a lot" as a club member and says the course "looks really good".

He added: "It's like an American links. You've kind of got to play it from the air, not really a bounce the ball up kind of links, but it is still a links-looking golf course...Birkdale was kind of the closest comparison I've found to a links course that you kind of have to attack from the air.

"You get maybe four or five, six holes where you can bounce the ball up, but the way to get balls close is to come in with a higher shot. That's not necessarily true links. I don't want to say that about Birkdale because of the history and everything, but it's just the way I've found to play it well is that route."

Crenshaw himself says he has created a "diverse test of golf" with "different-sized greens" so it promises to be a brilliant week and should be great preparation for those competing at Carnoustie this year.

Twelve months ago Spieth won a brilliant duel with Matt Kuchar to win The Open and both players head the AT&T Byron Nelson betting at 11/2 and 14/1 respectively.

We have no reason to put anyone off backing Spieth but his comments about Birkdale lead us to pick out a couple of players who did well at last year's Open.

First up in our AT&T Byron Nelson betting preview is Branden Grace at 25/1. Last year the South African closed with a major championship record nine-under-par 62 to finish sixth at Birkdale and it would be hard to find a better wind player in this week's field.

Another course which has similarities to Trinity is Chambers Bay which hosted the 2015 US Open where Grace finished fourth that year, two shots behind winner Spieth.

Last week's Players Championship was Grace's first since becoming a father a few weeks ago and though his T46 won't have got pulses racing, he was in the top 10 for greens in regulation and we expect a return to form at a course which should suit his eye.

Marc Leishman also finished T6 at Birkdale and he gets the nod at the same price. The Australian is another excellent wind player and with three top-six finishes in the last four years at The Open, he stands an excellent chance this week.

Leishman did not pull up any trees at Sawgrass where he hasn't played well for a few years but his form this season makes him a force to be reckoned with, posting five top-10s, including ninth at The Masters.

One player that seems to be on many people's lips this week is Beau Hossler who is 33/1 to win his maiden PGA Tour event in his debut season.

Trinity is Hossler's home club and he lives locally, so should bring plenty of insider knowledge to the event for this most un-American of courses. It's only been seven weeks since Hossler lost in a play-off in the Lone Star State to Ian Poulter at the Houston Open and this could be the tournament where he goes one better.

AT&T Byron Nelson Betting Tips

Branden Grace to win @ 25/1 1/4 top five

Marc Leishman @ 25/1 1/4 top five

Beau Hossler @ 33/1 1/4 top five

Don't forget that if your player wins a PGA Tour event with a bet placed pre-tournament and he trades at a bigger price over the first two rounds, you will get the bigger price.

Warren Barner
@warren_barner in Golf