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Michael Taylor 19th May 2009 - 18:12

Bank on Verplank for the Byron Nelson

Having won the HP Byron Nelson Championship just two years ago it's hardly surprising that Scott Verplank fancies his chances of repeating victory over the coming week - yet you can back him at a massive 40/1.

The 44-year-old American has been the focus of much admiration through the years, whether it is down to his deadly accurate driving, neat putting or his unwillingness to allow diabetes affect his Tour status.

And when he lifted the Byron Nelson Championship title aloft back in 2007 nobody could have denied that it was just reward for one of the most likeable players on the circuit.

Now, having made a big impact at last week's Valero Texas Open, he looks a great bet to make a serious challenge at the event at which he has often thrived.

It's no surprise that he has had success at Irving in the past - he lost out in the 2001 play-off to Robert Damron - since the course in Texas is tailor made to suit his unique game style.

The course is short, has narrow fairways and the weather is hot and dry - perfect for a seasoned veteran who works on the theory that accuracy is just as important on hitting big drives.

Throw into the equation that he was born and bred in the Lone Star State then you can understand why he might play a major role over the four days.

Other contenders

Looking away from Verplank there are some great looking prices available throughout the strong starting field - perhaps none more so than the 50/1 about Mr Consistency himself Brian Davis.

London born Davis can hardly be considered one of the bigger names in British golf yet his recent record is amongst the very best in the world.

Sixteen consecutive rounds of par-or-better is testament to someone at the very peak of their game and if that streak makes it up to twenty by Sunday night then he's sure to figure near the top of the leaderboard.

Whether he can go all the way is debateable given that he's never won on the PGA Tour but maybe he's ready to make the breakthrough this week - stranger things have happened.

And if you're looking for stranger occurrences then look no further than Anthony Kim's demise from last year's best up-and-comer to tournament also-ran this year.

The young American was being touted as the next Tiger Woods last year as he took two Tour titles, played a starring role in Team USA's Ryder Cup win and saw his world ranking rise as high six.

However it has all gone horribly wrong in 2009. No Tour wins, only one top-10 finish and a miserable position of 53rd in the Race for the FedEx Cup (compared to fourth last year).

His massive price of 33/1 to win the Byron Nelson is in recognition of his rapid fall from grace and, despite the length, is not an option I would regard to be good value for outright tournament success.

Elsewhere, if you're after a big priced dark horse, the name DJ Trahan at 125/1 has to be given at least some consideration.

Trahan has been enjoying another season of reasonable success with two top-10 finishes already and he could find his game well suited to the generally low scoring par 70 course.

He's very much a raw talent but he's shown enough to at least warrant a few of my hard earned pounds on him - each way at least.

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