The PGA Tour is back deep in the heart of Texas this week for the Byron Nelson Championship in Irving as the pros attack TPC Four Seasons-Las Colinas a week after tackling the famous TPC Sawgrass. Aside from the name, the two courses aren’t that similar as this week features one of the rare par-70′s on tour. With a generally shorter track and fewer par 5 chances, expect ball-striking and putting to be what wins the week.
Last week, Martin Kaymer held on late against a charging Jim Furyk to win the PLAYERS Championship as Furyk fell just short for his second straight tournament (and yes, he was on my roster both times). In our Fansided and Friends group at Yahoo! it was “golfcarte” that took the win for the week with Furyk, Garcia, and a final round from Jimmy Walker who won the week with an impressive 215 (if you are interesting in joining, check out the details here). The Harbour Dogs also had another solid week and remain atop the standing for both the spring segment and overall for the season.
Here are my picks for this week’s Nelson:
Matt Kuchar: Kuchar continues to be incredibly consistent although last week he did slide outside the top ten and finished t17. It was his first non-top-ten finish in five starts and he has eight overall top-10 finishes this season in 12 starts.
Gary Woodland: Woodland has quietly been almost as consistent as Kuchar finishing in the top 40 in each of his last 12 events including eight top 20′s. Last week, he finished t11 and comes into the Nelson with some serious momentum. He also has made the cut in his last four trips to Dallas which would seem to indicate another good week for the former Jayhawk.
Keegan Bradley: Bradley is an obvious pick this week, but he’s one you have to own given his past record at TPC Four Seasons even coming off a missed cut last week. Bradley won the event in 2011 and finished solo second last year in a tournament that featured a scorching 60 in the opening round. Also last year, he hit the shot from the lemonade stand at the top of this post in his final round. Bradley has five top-15 finishes in this wrap-around season, but he has also missed the cut in two of his last three events. Given his history here, though, I think he’s a must-own this week.
Graham DeLaet: DeLaet missed the cut after a rough round 2 at THE PLAYERS, but I think he has a chance to rediscoer his early-season form this week after finishing in the top ten at this event last season. He was red hot early this season but has cooled some as of late. However, many of the recent Nelson winners have been young breakthrough winners and DeLaet is due for a W at some point this season.
Jordan Spieth: Spieth’s playing his hometown event for the fourth time in the last five years and is still a good pick despite Sunday fades at Augusta and TPC Sawgrass. He’s been in the top 20 in four of his last five events on Tour and has experience at this venue which is out of the ordinary for Spieth who has been making his debut at many events this season. He hasn’t finished in the top 15 at the Nelson, but he hasn’t missed a cut at the event either. I’m starting him on my bench to conserve the start if possible since I only have five left, but I’ll plug him in quickly if he gets off to a fast start.
Martin Flores: Flores is an under-the-radar selection, but the Texas native has been playing well lately and could pull out the breakout win this week. He has three top 20′s in his last five events and is coming off a t48 last week following his 3rd place finish at Quail Hollow. He made the cut last year at TPC Four Seasons for the first time in five tries finishing t43.
Jimmy Walker: Walker has been on an amazing run this season and closed with a great Sunday last week to finish t6 despite an opening round 75. He has been in the top 25 in eight of his last nine tournaments and continues to lead the FedEx Cup race which speaks to his consistency following his three early season wins.
Ryo Ishikawa: Ishikawa has five top-25′s on tour this season and finished in the top ten at the TPC Four Seasons last season. He is coming off a t5 in his last tournament in Japan called The Crowns where his final round +2 cost him a shot at taking home a victory. In his last stateside event, he finished t18 at the RBC Heritage. Ishikawa is a sleeper pick that could pay off, and I feel like I can roll the dice a little in this spot since Walker is so reliable.