2023 AT&T Byron Nelson First-Round Leader Odds & Picks: Bet Byeong Hun An, Cameron Champ & Austin Smotherman

2023 AT&T Byron Nelson First-Round Leader Odds & Picks: Bet Byeong Hun An, Cameron Champ & Austin Smotherman article feature image

Via Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images. Pictured: Austin Smotherman of the United States plays his shot from the 8th tee during the second round of the Mexico Open at Vidanta on April 28, 2023 in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.

The PGA Tour heads to McKinney, Texas to play the AT&T Byron Nelson at TPC Craig Ranch. This will be the third time TPC Craig Ranch hosts the event, and we’ve learned in the first two editions that it’ll take extremely low scores to capture the first-round lead this week.

In 2021, J.J. Spaun and Jordan Spieth shot 63s to tie for the first-round lead, and in 2022 Sebastian Munoz fired a 60 on Thursday. In the past two editions of the AT&T Byron Nelson, there have been three first-round leaders or co-leaders. Of the three, two have had AM tee times.

Wind could most definitely be a factor this week, particularly in the afternoon. Starting at around 10 AM local time, it appears we will get a steady wind of 13-17 MPH with gusts up to 22 MPH. Therefore, I believe the majority of the picks this week should come from the AM wave.

Tommy Fleetwood (+6000) got it done for us last week. My strategy will remain the same as it’s been all year: risking a small amount with limited selections at longer prices for a big return that allows for a win here to carry us a long way.

AT&T Byron Nelson First-Round Leader Picks

Byeong Hun An +6500 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 2:17 PM Local Time

While two of my three selections this week will be AM starters, I don’t mind having one in the PM in case the other two struggle early. I also have an inkling that Byeong Hun An gets off to a fast start at TPC Craig Ranch this week.

An has been spectacular in the state of Texas throughout his PGA Tour career. Two weeks ago at the Valero Texas Open, he finished in sixth place and gained a whopping 10.7 strokes tee to green. Prior to that he’s placed in the top 10 in the state three separate times in his past five seasons on Tour.

He has been strong off the tee this season and should get to all three par-5s in two shots. I would be surprised if he didn’t get off to a strong start Thursday.

Pick: Byeong Hun An FRL +6500

Cameron Champ +7500 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 8:23 AM Local Time

Backing Cameron Champ in any market can be a roller coaster. Lately, that roller coaster has had a lot more downs than ups, but I am cautiously optimistic that TPC Craig Ranch could suit Champ this week.

Off the tee prowess is definitely an asset at this course, and the 26-year-old is showing signs of his driving dominance returning to form. Two starts ago in Mexico, Champ finished in eighth place and gained 5.1 strokes on approach and 4.8 off the tee. He missed the cut at Quail Hollow last week, but he continued to gain strokes off the tee (+2.3). I’ve never thought of Quail as a course for Champ, so the missed cut in a strong field isn’t too worrisome.

He’ll now return to a course that should suit him much better in a weak field similar to those he’s won in previously.

Pick: Cameron Champ FRL +8000

Austin Smotherman +10000 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 8:56 AM Local Time

Austin Smotherman is another AM starter whose Texas ties make him appealing this week. The SMU product lives in Dallas and should feel comfortable on this golf course.

Like Champ, Smotherman had his best start of the season in Mexico and struggled to follow it up successfully at Quail Hollow. His statistics in Mexico were enough to make me believe he’s found something as he heads to a course that should be a better fit.

Smotherman finished 25th here last year, with his best round (66) coming in round three. He’ll need to shoot a few better than that if he wants a shot at the first-round lead, but I believe he’s capable.

Pick: Austin Smotherman FRL +10000

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