HP Byron Nelson Championship
TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas
TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas
Yards: 7,166 as per the scorecard
Par: 70 (35-35)
Rough: Bermudagrass at 2.25”
Water Hazards: 8
Course Architect: Jay Morrish (1986); D.A. Weibring and Steve Wolford (2008).
Winner’s Share: $1,206,000
FexExCup Points: 500 to the winner
Defending Champion: Jason Dufner defeated Dicky Pride by one shot for his second victory of 2012 and second of his career.
Dates: May 16-19
Notes: Gamers, this tournament was played on TWO courses before TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas took all four rounds in 2008. Course history stats for me will pertain from 2008 forward.
The HP Byron Nelson has been hosting TOUR events since 1944, making it the ninth-oldest event. It is also the first event on TOUR named after a former player. Lord Byron won 11 times in one season back in the 40’s. And you thought Tiger Woods was having a good year! Nelson was known as one of the great gentlemen in the game of golf and is a legend in these parts. He spent his later years sitting in the shade just off the 18th green to thank the players for coming and playing. Shouldn’t that have been the other way around?
Tom Watson and Bruce Lietzke are the only multiple winners in the last 40 years.
Only Ernie Els (1995), Jason Day (2010) and Keegan Bradley (2011) won in their first attempt. Still, that’s two of the last four winners so don’t rule out the first-timers completely.
Since 2000, Robert Damron (2001), Ted Purdy (2005), Brett Wetterich (2007), Jason Day (2010) and Keegan Bradley (2011) have made TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas their first wins on TOUR. Only Bradley has won another TOUR event over time. Weird.
There are eight former champions in the field this week.
Jason Dufner 2012
Keegan Bradley 2011
Jason Day 2010
Rory Sabbatini 2009
Scott Verplank 2007
Vijay Singh 2003
Jesper Parnevik 2000
Neal Lancaster 1994
Jason Dufner was first in fairways hit and second in GIR last year. All righty then!
Since 1968, 17 of the 45 winners here have won in a playoff. That’s the highest percentage of playoffs in an event on TOUR in that time frame. #ExtraGolf
In 2013 10 of the 18 stroke-play events this season the 54-hole leader (or co-leader) have gone on to victory. This is the SIXTH week in a row where the 54-hole leader(s) have not held up their end of the bargain as Phil Mickelson faded to third and Nick Watney leaked to T10.
The winners on TOUR have been Johnson (28), Henley (24), Gay (41), Woods FOUR TIMES (37), Mickelson (42), Snedeker (32), Merrick (30) Kuchar (34),Thompson, M (27) Brown (29), Streelman (34), Points (36), Laird (30), Scott (32), G-Mac (33), Horschel (26) and Ernst (22). The young folks (30 and younger) now have eight victories; the 30-somethings have nine victories, and the “old folks” (40 and up) have their two wins. Jeff Maggert was flying the flag last week for the old folks with T2.
Rank and File
What a difference a week makes! After 46 of the OWGR top 50 teed it up last week, just 11 of the top 50 are playing this week.
Designed by Jay Morrish in 1986 and completely renovated by D.A. Weibring and Steve Wolford in 2008, TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas has taken on the natural surroundings in the Dallas area. Tree-lined fairways that are tough to hit, rugged bunkers that swallow errant tee and iron shots are prevalent and there’s just enough water in play to keep you on your toes. Once on the greens, the undulations will test even the steadiest of strokes on TOUR.
TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas has ranked 14th-hardest in 2012; 5th in 2011; 12th in 2010; 30th in 2009; 7th in 2008. Rory Sabbatini turned this place upside-down in 2009 when he scorched it for a tournament record 261 (19-under-par). Keegan Bradley has seen the “other” side as he ground out a 277 (three-under-par) in his first victory on TOUR here in 2011. Stuck in the middle of all of this is the average winning score which has been 10-under since 2008. I prefer courses where par is a fair score instead of birdie-fests!
The winning formula for me this week will be guys who strike the golf ball solidly from tee to green. These fairways are tough to hit so guys will have to find the greens from places other than the fairway as well this week. With par-70 in play, those who are par-four players will also be on my radar since two par-fives are missing. Guys who can make birides on the par-fives will be rewarded but they only have two chances each round to cash. If they don’t take advantage of the only two par-fives, they are going to have to make it up somewhere else. If you look at the list of previous winners from this course, only Jason Dufner stands out as a guy who doesn’t “kill” it off the tee and he’s not “short” by any means. The farther you drive it, the closer your second shot, right?
I’ll also take a look at guys who have had success in Texas during this time of year when the wind can blow. Australians are famous for playing in the wind and it’s not a surprise Day, Scott and Leishman have done well here. On the contrary, Dufner and Bradley don’t jump out as wind players, yet they have solved the riddle as well. Day, Bradley and even Ernie Els have won in their first times at this event so don’t completely dismiss any young up-and-comers this week!
Let see who’s going to factor this week.
Top 10, Plus One
Jason Day: In three events here Day has finished T9, fifth and W. Shall I continue? In 10 events this season he has banged four top 10s. His length off the tee and his short game (14th scrambling; 20th strokes gained-putting) will be on full display this week as he should be the clear favorite.
Marc Leishman: Another Aussie jumps to the top of this list and it’s not hard to see why. Leishman has been buoyed by his 2012 victory at the Travelers and his game has blossomed in 2013. His last three outings are T8, T9 and T4 on some very difficult golf courses (Sawgrass, Harbour Town, Augusta) so he’s flying right now. He lands this week in a place he’s very comfortable as he’s registered T3, MC, T12 and T8 in his four starts here. If it gets windy, the advantage for him is even greater as he’s proven before.
Jimmy Walker: THIS IS A RECORDING. You know how I feel about Walker. I have two Yahoo! starts on him remaining. He rewarded my patience last week with a 67 in the final round at TPC Sawgrass with a co-low Sunday 67. It could have been 65 except for his ball in the water on No. 17! He will be making his sixth start in a row here and has made all five cuts. He’s also made 22 cuts on the bounce, best on TOUR. He’s first on TOUR in par four performance.
D.A. Points: Here’s another player right now in fine form as Points recovered from a nothing winter to fully blossom this spring. Victory at SHO was backed a month later with a runner-up at Zurich. Instead of fading he posted T16 at Quail Hollow and only had one off round in a T48 at THE PLAYERS. In four appearances here since 2008 he’s four-for-four including finishes of T19, T40, T7 and third. Giddy up!
Jason Dufner: The international man of mystery remains mysterious this season. Currently, he’s better known for “Dufnering” than actually putting the ball in the hole but as his friend Bubba Watson has been known to remark: #golfishard. This time last year he was just coming off a T60-something THE PLAYERS and a honeymoon when he put it all together to win for the second time in 2012. He’s more than capable of having a great ball-striking week because he has the talent. His putter will need to cooperate to give him a shot to repeat. In the last 40 years, only Nicklaus and Watson have repeated at this event.
Ryan Palmer: HA! If Palmer thinks he’s going to fool me again, he’s nuts! Last year, in this very column, I stated that Palmer should be avoided because he missed six of seven cuts and his P2 was the exception not the rule. He finished T9. Last week, Palmer was in the exact same part of the column because he had played the TPC Sawgrass seven times, missed six cuts and his best finish was T75. He finished T5. YOU WIN. I surrender! Get this native Texan in your lineup this week! He’s 20th in par-four scoring and 17th in ball-striking.
Charl Schwartzel: He’s sixth in scoring average on TOUR but hasn’t broke 70 in his last 12 rounds. He’ll have no trouble on the greens as he’s one of the best putters around and his distance off the tee won’t hurt either. He’s been handling the par-fours well and has too much class to dismiss as a first-timer here.
Matt Kuchar: Anytime he’s in the field, he’s on this list. His last two times to this part of Dallas he’s banged out T15 and T6 so this course fits his eye quite well. Kuchar’s short game on and around the greens has been his stabilizer this year as he’s struggled tee-to-green(side). He’s still found a way to make 15 cuts in a row and is 17th in scoring average on TOUR. Class player.
Keegan Bradley: Along with Jason Day, Bradley has shown young guys with mad skills can win here in their first time as he did in 2011. The new question with Bradley is when the slump is going to end. I’m guessing this week as his course history here is T24 and Win. He had a streak of T10, T3, seventh and T4 that he backed up with T54 (Augusta), MC (Zurich) and MC (THE PLAYERS). At the Masters, it was a Saturday 82. At Zurich it was a second round 74 (after opening 69). Last week, it was Friday back nine of 42. Gulp.
Ben Crane: He’s now hit the top 10 in two of his last four starts and his “horse-for-courseness” last week was rewarded with T8. He’s made the cut here in his last three and was T7 in 2010 so I like that as well. I also like that he was par or better in all four round last week at another tough track. Once a hot putter gets rolling, roll with him.
Fredrik "Freddie" Jacobson: Ah, The Junkman. Will he WD or will he play? I’m going with play this week as he completed four rounds last week at THE PLAYERS coming back from his latest niggle. He’s eighth on TOUR in scoring average and enjoys a nice grind on difficult layouts. His putting and scrambling are off the charts so let’s hope his medical chart is not needed this week!
These guys just missed out above
Louis Oosthuizen: He’s like the South African Phil Mickelson, all-or-nothing! Louis, you’re too young for that, lad! He was knocked out in the second round of WGC-Match Play and then MC at The Honda. He was T33 at WGC-Cadillac and MC at Tampa. He was T10 at SHO and MC at the Masters. Last week, he played decently and was T19 at THE PLAYERS. Wait, that’s not even fair to the “all” part of “all-or-nothing”. One top 10 and three MC is a bit scary for a player of his caliber. There’s too much talent here to dismiss but I’m not hitching my wagon up just yet, not after three doubles and a triple here last year in a MC.
Dustin Johnson: He has enough talent where he can absolutely win each week he tees it up. He has now proven to us that he can also WD at the drop of a hat. At TPC Four Seasons he’s shown that this long, challenging course is right up his alley as he’s finished T20, T7 and T4 in his last three starts here. But, in fantasy golf, the biggest surety is eliminating guys who aren’t sure bets. If he’s in your line up, you’ll need ample back up, no pun intended…As I typed this, I received an email from Rob Bolton saying that he has WD on Tuesday afternoon. He owes me 100 words…
Jeff Overton: In five events since 2008 he has found himself in the top 10 twice at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas. He’s also found himself in the top 10 twice in 2013. He’s been on decent run of form lately and is known to play hot in bunches. He had it to eight-under last Sunday at THE PLAYERS before a double on No. 4 killed his momentum so he’s close!
Jordan Spieth: As an amateur, he played this event twice and finished T32 in 2011 and T16 in 2010. He’s been under par in five of his eight rounds so this isn’t a long-shot selection this week. He’s already hit the top 10 three times and has his special membership for 2013 so he can just let it rip the rest of the season. He could be the next Els, Day, Bradley-type to win this.
Robert Garrigus: After missing the cut in his first start here, Garrigus has rattled off finishes of T16, T26, T20 and T9 last year. His recent form has been spotty but his length and GIR penchant should overcome his putting fallacies this week, especially on a course he loves. Course form here trumps.
Brian Gay: With finishes of T7, T2 and T14 in the last five years here, Gay is another player who can thrive this week. He’ll hit every fairway and make most putts he looks at and that formula has proven to be successful around here. He’s missed three of his last eight cuts and hasn’t finished better than T35 in those eight starts so I have found this week’s winner, obviously.
Pat Perez: He had a nice run of seven straight starts broken up with a MC last week at THE PLAYERS but that’s hardly going to dissuade me from taking a look this week. He’s hit the weekend in his last two outings here and was T9 last year. In eight rounds here he’s found a trio of 66s and a 67 and has five of eight rounds below par.
J.J. Henry: Another Texas residence with success here, Henry has made all five cuts since 2008 and was T3 here last week. He had a chance to win on Sunday last year, including an ace on No. 5, but his three-putt on No. 17 kept him from a playoff and the winner’s circle. He’s made 10 of 11 cuts here in his career and is a solid ball-striker. His recent form moves him down the list here.
John Rollins: Sometimes you have to stretch in a light field and this pick would qualify that. In his last six starts on TOUR he’s been T22 or better in three and MC in the other three. With finishes of T6 and T24 last year in his last two, I’ll go with T22 or better this week. He’s in the top 30 in ball-striking on TOUR.
Graham DeLaet: He’s second on TOUR in ball-striking and 20th in scrambling so there are worse choices you could make this week. In 10 weekends this year he’s hit the top 25 five times.
Off the Beaten Path
Either “horse-for-course” or guys off the radar
Henrik Norlander: He’s hit the weekend in five straight including T15 and T16 in his last two. He’s ninth on TOUR in ball-striking and can take it deep as well. Hot golf is hot golf.
Jeff Maggert: Speaking of hot golf, this Texan was two holes away from a playoff at THE PLAYERS last week before doing the backstroke on No. 17. He’s fourth on TOUR in driving accuracy and that probably explains why he hits 68% GIR, good for 34th. The putter is his hindrance but the more greens he hits, the more birdies and pars he’ll have a chance at making. #Math. He was T8 here in 2009, his only weekend in five tries.
James Driscoll: He’s now put together back-to-back solid weeks on TOUR and his final three rounds at Sawgrass were 68-70-71 so he’s found something these last two weeks. He was T19 here last year and T8 in 2011 so I’m not stretching that much!
Harris English: It will be his first time around these parts but I’ll never forget his famous quote from last year: “I love playing tree-lined courses.” A solid putter and ball-striker, this sophomore has finished T6 (Zurich) and T33 (PLAYERS) in his last two starts and seven of those eight rounds have been under par.
Rod Pampling: With a T8 and T23 here in his five starts, the Aussie, and Dallas resident, should be comfortable taking a shot this week. He was six-under at Quail Hollow before a 74-78 weekend dropped him to T43.
Luke List: The rookie has played under par in seven of his last eight rounds resulting in 31st at Zurich and T16 at Quail Hollow. He hits it further than anyone on TOUR and if he kept his ball in play enough at Quail, he’ll be all right around here. Flier.
Tim Herron: Sometimes you have to ride the wave and I’ll take a look after Herron’s excellent 68 on Sunday at THE PLAYERS that moved him into T16. Sometimes these fine-tuned machines just need a bump in the right direction to fire. This will be his 16th event at the HPBNC.
D.H. Lee: With finishes of T16 and T8 in his last two starts, I can live with taking a chance on that form. He’s a ball-striker that can sneak under the radar this week as he’s riding a three event streak of cuts made.
Take It Deep
Long shots. Oh, you mean other guys besides the bottom five on the list above? Righto.
Matt Every: Four cuts on the bounce including T26 last week yet a first-timer here.
Blayne Barber: His last time out he won a NGA Tour event and received a sponsor’s exemption this week. He’s made both cuts (NTO & PRO) in the events he’s played in 2013. You’ll remember that he called a one-shot penalty on himself in Q-School but realized the next morning that it should have been a two-shot penalty. He DQ’d himself from the tournament and killed any chance of him getting his card for 2013. #Karma.
Padraig Harrington: Sure, why not! He was T15 last year so he looks great on paper. He makes Mickelson look stable.
Stuart Appleby: Another grizzled veteran who won’t mind if the blowers are on this weekend, Appleby has quietly made four cuts in a row. Sadly, that’s now considered news for him in the fantasy world. But, those are his best four finishes of 2013 so if he’s going to bust one, it would be right about now. No course history (all MCs) to speak about here.
These folks have struggled on this track or in general recently.
Chez Reavie: Five starts, four MCs and a T63. Ryan Palmer scoffs at me.
Colt Knost: Five starts, four MCs and a T52.
Erik Compton: Great story, stale golf as he’s MC his last four events.
Tom Gillis: Five straight weekends off on TOUR.
Paul Haley II: I’ll take Bill Haley AND The Comets instead.
David Mathis: I’ll take Johnny Mathis!
Rookie of the Week Last Week
I keep an eye on the youngin’s each week to see who is making the most noise.
Sony: Russell Henley WIN
Humana: David Lingmerth P2
Farmers: Brad Fritsch T9
WMPO: James Hahn T16
AT&T: James Hahn T3
NTO: Luke Guthrie T21
WGC-Match Play: Russell Henley 2nd round
Honda: Luke Guthrie 3rd
WGC-Cadillac: Russell Henley T28
Puerto Rico: Jordan Spieth 2nd
Tampa Bay: Jordan Spieth T7; Shawn Stefani T7; Ben Kohles T7
Arnold Palmer: Ben Kohles T14
Shell Houston Open: Robert Streb T22
Valero Texas Open: Ben Kohles T37
Masters: Russell Henley MC
RBC Heritage: Russell Henley T6
Zurich Classic: D. H. Lee T8
Wells Fargo Championship: Derek Ernst WIN
THE PLAYERS: David Lingmerth. Great back-to-back weeks for the rookies on TOUR!
SEASON TOTAL: $2,559,123
HTOC: Steve Stricker (2nd; $665,000)
Sony: Charles Howell III (T3; $324,800)
Humana: Tim Clark (MC)
Farmers: Rickie Fowler (T6; $204,350)
WMPO: Jason Dufner (MC)
AT&T Pebble: Hunter Mahan (T16; $94,250)
Northern Trust: Bill Haas (T3; $343,200)
WGC-Match Play: Charl Schwartzel (T33; $46,000)
Honda: Lee Westwood (T9; $156,000)
WGC-Cadillac Championship: Matt Kuchar (T35; $68,500)
Tampa Bay: Jim Furyk (T7; $148,892)
Bay Hill: Sergio Garcia (WD after three rounds)
Shell Houston: Jimmy Walker (T50; $14,838)
Valero: Cameron Tringale (MC)
Masters: Phil Mickelson (T54; $18,320)
RBC Heritage: Luke Donald (T3; $336,400)
Zurich Classic: Bubba Watson (T15; $102,500)
Wells Fargo: Webb Simpson (T32; $37,073)
THE PLAYERS: Nick Watney (MC)
HPBNC: Jason Day. Sorry, mate…
GolfChannel.com Fantasy Challenge
Wells Fargo Classic
(I play as “Glass” for ALL fantasy games)
Mike Glasscott (Rank: 2,719; $12,516,547)
Group 1: Jason Day
Group 2: Marc Leishman
Group 3: Jordan Spieth
Group 4: Henrik Norlander
Ryan O’Sullivan (Rank: 7,665; $10,788,565)
Group 1: Jason Day
Group 2: Marc Leishman
Group 3: Jordan Spieth
Group 4: D.J. Trahan
Ned Brown (Rank: 3,174; $12,291,263) “Pure Spin”
Group 1: Jason Day
Group 2: Marc Leishman
Group 3: Jordan Spieth
Group 4: Brendon Todd
Rob Bolton (Rank: 8,735; $10,516,079)
Group 1: Jason Day
Group 2: Marc Leishman
Group 3: Jordan Spieth
Group 4: Kenny Perry
Ned said, “…
Ned Brown is a long-time contributor for Rotoworld Golf. He’s had documented success in Yahoo!’s game for years. Even if you’re confident in your selections for that game, give his insight a read. Ned also provides us with his GolfChannel.com Fantasy Challenge selections as well!
Jason Dufner-- Dufner hasn't put it together this season, but he might wake up at the Byron Nelson where he tied for eighth in '11 and won the championship last year.
Charles Howell III-- Group A is really thin this week, so CH III gets the nod here. He looked very good in the first two rounds of THE PLAYERS and he has collected two top 10s in his last five starts on the TOUR.
Boo Weekley, Padraig Harrington
Marc Leishman-- Leishman broke out of mini-slump at the Masters with a T4 and he then followed it up with a T9 at the RBC Heritage and a T8 at THE PLAYERS. He has had success at the Byron Nelson with the most recent being a T3 finish last year.
Jimmy Walker-- One of the keys in the Yahoo! game is to use players that will make the weekend cut. Walker has yet to miss a cut this year and has racked up 8 top 25s, plus four top 10s in 13 starts.
Matt Kuchar-- Kuchar was actually in a good position at THE PLAYERS, but a double-bogey, triple-bogey on the final two holes dropped him down to a T46 result. He has a nice record at the Byron Nelson and I don't think there will any carryover from last week's poor finish.
Keegan Bradley-- Bradley is coming into this week in a bit of a mini-slump with two consecutive missed cuts. His brief history at the Byron Nelson is very good with a T24 last year and a championship in '11.
Fredrik Jacobson, Ben Crane, Charley Hoffman, John Senden
Jason Day-- Day looked great at the Masters, where he finished in third place, and his history at the Byron Nelson is also great with a T9 last year, a fifth place in ''11 and a championship in '10.
Ryan Palmer--This spot is a tossup between Charl Schwartzel and Ryan Palmer. Palmer is coming off a T5 at THE PLAYERS and his recent history at the Byron Nelson is very good with a T9 last year and a playoff second place in '11.
Charl Schwartzel, Jeff Overton, Robert Garrigus, D.A. Points, Jordan Spieth
Points last week: 156
Points this year: 3,172
Overall Ranking: (234; 99th percentile)
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat WEDNESDAY at NOON ET. We will be breaking down the field at the HPBNC and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget to follow Rob (https://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (https://twitter.com/GlassWGCL) on Twitter.