HP Byron Nelson Championship Preview, Picks + Predictions Plus the Driver-Off-The-Deck BOLD Play of the Week

After a week in which NBC, Golf Channel, Tim Finchem and everyone involved straight up let Tiger Woods off the hook for a bad drop on the 14th hole on Sunday on his way to victory at the PLAYERS Championship, the PGA Tour heads back West to Texas for this week’s HP Byron Nelson Championship.  The host course for the Nelson is the TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving, which is hosting the event for the 28th time. 

Even at “only” 7,166 yards, TPC Four Seasons, consistently plays as one of the toughest tracks on Tour.  The course is first and foremost defended by the lovely Texas wind, which consistently whips through the track and makes reaching double digits under par a difficult feat.  Last year’s winner Jason Dufner made a 25-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to post 11-under to defeat Dicky Pride by one stroke and win his second event on the PGA Tour.

The forecast for this year’s tourney shows temps in the mid to upper 80’s, with steady South winds in the 15-20mph range.  Expect for the winning number to be right around 10-under again this year, meaning patience will be key for all players in the field.

Now, onto some picks:

LOCKZILLAS: (Last week: Westwood t-8th, Moore MC)

Jason Day
Jason Day
– No surprise here.  Won here in 2010, solo 5th in ’11 and t-9th last year.  Finished t-19th last week at the PLAYERS Championship and overall has had a solid season with 4 top 10s.  Wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Jason take home his first title of the season this week.

Jason Dufner
Jason Dufner
– Defending champ at this event, had a good week going at TPC Sawgrass last week until exploding to a final round 80.  Have no fear, the Dufster is simply too good of a ball-striker and thrives in tournaments like this where fairways and greens coupled with rounds of  just -1 or -2 keep you in contention.  Duf will bounce back and will earn his first top ten of this PGA Tour season this week.

SEMI-FLIERS: (Last week: Streelman t-2nd,Van Pelt t-62nd)

Ben Crane
Ben Crane
– The golf boy is beginning to heat up, with a t-8th at the PLAYERS, which followed a t-4th from the Shell Houston Open from just a few weeks prior.  T-7th here in 2010, as well as a number of other top 25s over the years.

Ryan Palmer
Ryan Palmer
– Love Ryan this week.  Notched a top 5 last week at the PLAYERS Championship even with playing with a heavy heart following learning the news of a good friend passing away.  Ryan lost in a playoff in 2011 and finished t-9th last year.  Seems to play well in streaks.  Case in point t-6th at Humana followed by 5th at WM Phoenix Open his next start this year, also t-5th at Colonial followed by t-3rd at FedEx St Jude last year.  Keep riding that streak this week, and most definitely give his 25/1 odds to win more than just a look.

HOSEL-ROCKETS: (Last week: Horschel MC, Phil MC)

Charl Schwartzel
Charl Schwartzel– The previously red hot South African has hit a spring swoon, with zero top 15s in his past 4 starts, including a choppy t-55th at last week’s PLAYERS.  Throw in the fact that this is Charl’s first visit to TPC Four Seasons and it’s a week to stay away from “Sharl.”

Louis Oosthuizen
Louis Oosthuizen
– I’m very anti South Africans this week, well in the TPC Four Seasons sense.  Louis notched a t-19th at the PLAYERS this past week, but has just one top 10 this year (t-10th at Shell Houston Open) along with three missed cuts.  It’s amazing how his sweet swing could ever be off, but I think we’re still several months away from seeing Louis play the golf we know he’s capable off.

DRIVER-OFF-THE-DECK BOLD PLAY OF THE WEEK: (Last week: Fernandez-Castano MC)

James Driscoll
James Driscoll
– Watch out for Mr Flat Bill Four Seasons style this week.  James has had a slew of top 30ish finishes this year on Tour, most recently a t-26th at the PLAYERS Championship last week.  James finished t-18th here last year, t-8th here in ’11 and has only one missed cut in nine appearances.  Feeling something good from that flat bill this week, James is my Driver-off-the-deck BOLD play of the week.

#isitThursdayyet

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

Speak Your Mind

*