2015 AT&T Byron Nelson Championship picks + predictions, plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week #isitThursdayyet

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has traded in its typically arid, windswept landscape for a sloshy, rain-soaked mess, as repeated thunderstorms and heavy downpours have wreaked havoc all across the state of Texas these past couple weeks.  The tragedies in the area from all of the recent flooding sure put things into perspective and make golf seem like an afterthought, but the PGA Tour marches onward to Irving this week, site of the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship.

The host course is TPC Four Seasons Resort-Las Colinas, which annually plays as one of the toughest par 70s on Tour ranging anywhere from .5 to 1 stroke over par.  With the wet conditions, scores could be lower than usual, as the fairways will be easier to hit and players will be able to hold the greens with much more ease on approach shots.  It may very well be another start-and-stop week again judging by the upcoming weather forecast.

A shabby week of picks by yours truly last week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, as Ryan Palmer was the main letdown of the week and my BUST pick on Ian Poulter clearly was a misfire as he scraped and scabbed his way around the track to the tune of a t-5th finish.  Time to leave Colonial in the rear-view mirror and get ready for a big week Byron Nelson Championship style.

Now, let’s hop into some picks for this week:

LOCKZILLAS (Last Week: Palmer MC, Todd t-43rd)

Keegan Bradley
Keegan Bradley
– Keegan’s switch to the short putter hasn’t treated him well for the most part, but that’s not something that a return to a familiar track where Keegan has had huge successes can’t fix.  Keegan won here in 2011 and finished solo 2nd in 2013, which included an incredible opening round of 60 (sixty!).  In the two years between his victory and runner-up, he finished t-24th and t-29th, so he’s clearly comfortable on the TPC track.  Wet fairways and greens = all the better for Keegs this week (long hitter and poor putter), look for another high finish from the soon to be 29-year-old this week.

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson
– No one ever said that DJ was a consistent player…so safely throw his last 3 starts straight out the proverbial window, especially when you consider how poor his track record is on Pete Dye tracks (t-69th at TPC Sawgrass and t-43rd at Zurich in 2 of 3 past starts).  All that DJ did before that was go on a run of t-4th, P2, MC, 1st, t-6th, t-6th.  He’s simply primed and poised to continue towards his best ever season on Tour and that ramp-back-up starts this week, where he’s finished t-7th or better in 3 of his last 4 appearances, most recently a t-7th last year.  DJ is a top 10 LOCKZILLA this week with winning upside.

SEMI-FLIER (Last Week: Toms MC)

Graham DeLaet
Graham DeLaet
– It was only a matter of time before the talented Canadian busted out of his slump, as he put together solid opening rounds of 70-68-67 at Colonial, before fading to a 74 on Sunday.  Ok, that t-53rd finish is nothing to jump up and down about, but a track record of t-7th and t-10th in his past two appearances here at TPC Las Colinas is.  In fact in his t-7th finish here last year, DeLaet came in off of missed cuts in two of his prior three starts, proving that there’s something about this track that clearly fits his eye.  Also, a wet, soggy course will help equalize his wobbly flatstick on the greens–look for DeLaet to notch his first top 15 since February this week.

HOSEL-ROCKET BUST (Last week: Poulter t-5th)

Brandt Snedeker
Brandt Snedeker– Sneds seemed to suddenly rediscover some fine form last week at Colonial, as he had a chance to post -12 and potentially join a playoff with Chris Kirk, but his putt on the 72nd green ultimately slid by the edge of the cup and he had to settle for t-2nd.  That close call will have many aboard his golden locks train this week, but yours truly won’t be one of them.  Sneds made his first appearance here last year since ’07 and missed the cut, which actually was his only missed cut from Pebble Beach in February all the way to the Barclays at the end of August.  Basically, he doesn’t miss too many cuts, but even though it’s a limited sample size, his course history here isn’t good…and I’m not buying that he’s suddenly in great form after just one week, as prior to Colonial he hadn’t cracked the top 10 in any tournament since his victory at Pebble.  Stay away from the Sneds train this week and thank me later.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK (Last Week: Weekley t-33rd)

Morgan Hoffmann
Morgan Hoffmann– I mentioned the words “primed and poised” in my Dustin Johnson write-up above and there couldn’t be two more appropriate words to put next to Morgan’s name in describing on how close and ready he is to capture his first victory on Tour.  Sans an MC at the PLAYERS Championship where he missed the cut by one stroke, he’s on a great current stretch of play, highlighted by his solo 4th at Bay Hill and t-9th at the RBC Heritage.  His track record here just screams site-of-his-first-ever-victory, as he finished t-16th here last year (when he was in contention early on Sunday before fading to a 73), and was t-5th in 2013.  Primed and poised yes, and ready to capture that maiden Tour title.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

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