Ishikawa can live up to the hype at last in Byron Nelson

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Jordon Spieth shares the market summit for the Byron Nelson Championship at 12/1 following another excellent four days work at the Players Championship, however, with still only one win to the young man’s name this is not the week to back the sport’s hottest property.

The 20-year-old Texan has been rightfully lauded for a season that has included a phenomenal seven top-10 finishes including runner-up cheques earned at the Tournament of Champions and the Masters.

However, his victory in the John Deere Classic last year remains is only win on tour and he wouldn’t be the first flavour of the month from across the pond to find passing the winning line far trickier than he thought.

Last week’s performance in the Players Championship was another example of Spieth contending and then faltering on the back nine – he was odds-on in the early stages of the round – however, he was coming up against a multiple and Major winner in Martin Kaymer who should be given credit for not allowing Spieth to ever get comfortable in what turned out to be an academic duel at the top.

So, with one of the joint-favourites taken out of calculations attention should be turned to one of the each-way golf punter’s true friends, Matt Kuchar.

Kooch has obliged for place purposes in six of his 15 starts this season and showed an incredible amount of resilience to win the RBC Heritage after being in winning positions on the previous two Sundays.

That victory in South Carolina would have tasted mighty sweet for the extremely popular Floridian having gone so close the weeks before, however enthusiasm for this ever-reliable performer is dampened when looking at his record at the event.

For a man as consistent as Kuchar the fact that he has only managed a top-six finish once is a major concern with the majority of his other weekends ending in him being way down the field.

Martin Kaymer (20/1) was a popular winner last week but considering that was his first trophy for three years it has to be deemed unlikely that the German will now post back-to-back.

Recent winners at the Four Seasons include Keegan Bradley (20/1) and Rory Sabbatini (50/1), but neither are playing particularly well and now is not the time to back a return to form.

And so a chance is taken on someone even further down the betting order in Japanese hero Ryo Ishikawa, attractively quoted at 50/1.

Looking at the roll of previous winners a recurring theme throughout is the attribute of top-draw ball-striking and few in the game can boast as much confidence in that aspect as the 22-year-old.

Despite his age this is a man wise beyond his years evidenced when he pledged all of his 2011 prize money to his country’s earthquake fund following the disaster.

And with four top-eight finishes on the PGA Tour this season there are definite signs that one of golf’s most talked about talents is on the verge of hitting the big time at last.

Ishikawa finished fifth in a Japan Tour event last time out and found only nine better when making his Byron Nelson debut last year.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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