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Byron Nelson Golf Preview
by Matt Fargo - 05/14/2013
The PGA Tour rolls into Texas this week for the HP Byron Nelson Championship from the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas in Irving, Texas. Irving has served as host city to the Nelson for 28 years and this event is the ninth longest running active tournament on the schedule. Despite this storied history, it does not attract the same field that it used to. That is even more the case as it has followed THE PLAYERS Championship the last two years.
This will be the sixth year the TPC will be the sole host as Cottonwood was removed from the rotation. The winning score that year was -7 by Adam Scott and the higher score can be attributed to the earlier date, late April, as opposed to the late May date that it now takes place at. Four years ago, Rory Sabbatini broke the tournament record at -19 while three years ago, Jason Day brought home the championship at -10. After Keegan Bradley won in a playoff two years ago at -3, Jason Dufner won last year at -11.
The TPC Four Seasons Report is a 7,166-yard, par 70 layout and while there are plenty of hazards to deal with, it is the tough wind that players need to figure out. That will be the case again as the forecast is calling for high winds throughout the weekend. Hitting fairways has always been tough here and last year was no exception as players caught the short grass just over 52 percent of the time. Also, players familiar with Texas winds is also a good asset to have.
Jason Dufner (+1,500) will look to defend his championship but he is not playing nearly as well this year as he was last year coming in. He had four top tens including a pair of victories but this year he is without a top ten, his highest finish being a T12 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. A light field could certainly help him but he is not in good form right now.
Jason Day (+1,200) is the favorite this week and for good reason. He is a past champion here as he won on 2010 and followed that up with a solo fifth in 2011 and a T9 last year. He has yet to miss a cut this year, has four top tens including a pair of solo thirds and had a solid Sunday at THE PLAYERS to finish T19. He is ranked 14th in the All-Around with only three players in the field ahead of him.
Louis Oosthuizen (+2,000) is the highest ranked player in the field this week and he is coming off a solid T19 last week at Sawgrass where led the field in driving distance. He did miss the cut at the Byron Nelson last year but that came after a missed cut at THE PLAYERS. He has been all over the place this year and has yet to break through on American soil but his time will come and here is as good of a place as any.
Chances are Jimmy Walker (+2,500) will be around for the weekend as he has made 22 straight cuts, the longest active streak on tour. He has finished outside the top 30 only once this year and he is ranked 10th in the All-Around. He went to college at Baylor so this is right in his back yard and while his best finish here is a T23, he is playing the best of his career. This is a fitting place for his first tour win.
Jordan Spieth (+3,000) would typically be in the longshot category but not here with the thin field. He made his PGA Tour debut here with a T16 in 2010 and while he has not been able to better that, this should be the year to do so. He has three top tens to his credit in 2013 including a T2 in Puerto Rico and being from Texas, he knows the wind. He is ranked 12th in the All-Around.
James Driscoll (+15,000) is a huge longshot this week but we will take a chance on the Texas native. He has four top tens in 15 starts in Texas and at the Byron Nelson, he finished T19 last year after a T8 in 2011. He has bounced back from four straight missed cuts with a solid effort at the Wells Fargo while finishing T26 last week at THE PLAYERS after a Thursday 75.
Recommended Tournament Win Five Pack at HP Byron Nelson Championship (all for One Unit)
Jason Day (+1,200)
Louis Oosthuizen (+2,000)
Jimmy Walker (+2,500)
Jordan Spieth (+3,000)
James Driscoll (+15,000)
2012 Record to date after 36 events: +51.6 Units
2013 Record to date after 18 events: +5.6 Units
Hyundai Tournament of Champions -5 Units
Sony Open in Hawaii -5 Units
Humana Challenge - 5 Units
Farmer Insurance Open +3.5 Units
Waste Management Phoenix Open +19 Units
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am -5 Units
Northern Trust Open -5 Units
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship +25.66 units
The Honda Classic -5 Units
WGC-Cadillac Championship -5 Units
Tampa Bay Championship -5 Units
Arnold Palmer Invitational -1.5 Units
Shell Houston Open -5 Units
The Masters -8 Units
RBC Heritage +27 Units
Zurich Classic of New Orleans -5 Units
The Wells Fargo Championship -5 Units
THE PLAYERS Championship -5 Units