On-song DJ to improve on decent Irving record.
Johnson loves the venue for this event, which has been renamed the AT&T Byron Nelson this year, and has compiled form-figures of 4-7-20-7 from his last four visits. The rain which has been falling this week may allow DJ to add a victory to his rock-solid Four Seasons CV.
Johnson's return to the US Tour after a much-publicised sabbatical could not have gone much better. He was fourth at Pebble Beach and lost a playoff at Riviera before getting back to winning ways in the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March. Sixth place in the Masters was another decent effort and his last visit to Texas must also be lauded.
Johnson tied sixth in the Texas Open at the end of March despite getting a terrible set of tee-times, battling through the worst of the weather at TPC San Antonio over the first two rounds. It was further evidence of the new, improved, more mature, more professional Johnson.
A share of 69th at unsuitable Sawgrass last time out is easy to ignore and this 30-year-old beast of the fairways can be expected to go close to a tenth US Tour title at a much more welcoming layout on Sunday.
Next best Morgan Hoffman 66-1 Another runner who will appreciate the extra cut in the ground is the ultra-aggressive Morgan Hoffmann, who has also proved himself at TPC Four Seasons. Hoffmann was fifth in the 2013 Byron Nelson in his rookie season, an effort which becomes even more impressive when you consider he had missed six cuts up to that point and was looking in great danger of immediately losing his card. A pair of weekend 66s banked what was then the biggest cheque of his career.
Hoffmann has settled on the US Tour since, producing fireworks in the penultimate event of the FedEx Cup playoffs in September, closing with rounds of 62 and 63 for third place in the BMW Championship. This year's highlight has been fourth place at Bay Hill and the 25-year-old is getting closer to a breakthrough.
Other selection Marc Leishman 40-1 Horses-for-courses punters will be looking no further than Marc Leishman, who has compiled TPC Four Seasons form-figures of 8-12-MC-3-12-3. The Australian, full of punch off the tee, should relish this week's conditions and threaten a second US Tour victory.
Leishman feared he was going to lose his wife last month - she fell seriously ill with pneumonia and multiple infections, was induced into a coma, and Marc was told she had a five percent chance of survival. Audrey is slowly but surely recovering, though, and her husband has a new sense of perspective on the course.
He has played some great golf since returning to the circuit and could end a troubled time on a high at a happy hunting ground.
Other notables Jordan Spieth is gunning for home-state glory again, having fallen one shot shy at Colonial on Sunday.
The anguish from that nearmiss may linger and Spieth's relationship with caddie Michael Greller took a hit. They misclubbed from the 15th fairway and the 16th tee on Sunday, crucial mistakes which gifted Chris Kirk victory. Spieth is obviously a dangerman, but his Byron Nelson record (16-32-68-37) is patchy.
Russell Henley and Harris English were also heavily considered, but the Houston Open is the only Texas event Henley has previously played (Byron Nelson debutant), while English has not quite shown enough form of late to merit a place in the staking plan. Steve Palmer Staking plan D Johnson 3pts each-way 12-1 general M Hoffman 1pt each-way 66-1 Coral M Leishman 1pt each-way 40-1 general
Dustin Johnson has been in excellent nick since returning from his sabatical
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|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||May 27, 2015|
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