Byron Nelson Championship experts' picks

May, 14, 2013

Each week of the season, our experts share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week's tournament: The HP Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons Resort in Las Colinas, Texas.

Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, senior golf analyst: Jason Dufner. The defending champ comes into the event off a Sunday 80 at The Players Championship. That won't keep him out the top 10 this week at the Byron Nelson, where his Sunday scoring average for the tournament is 68.

Farrell Evans, senior golf writer: Dufner. The defending champion at the Byron Nelson has been in a minor slump for most of this season, but he expects to play well at the TPC Four Seasons Resort, where he shot 11-under on a very difficult course last year.

Bob Harig, senior golf writer: Keegan Bradley. He got his first PGA Tour victory at the TPC Four Seasons two years ago and also tied for 24th last year.

Birdie Buster

Michael Collins: Charles Howell III. Time for a top-10 at this event for Chucky Three Sticks. True, he's never had one here but … he's ranked 12th right now in the FedEx Cup points standings with five top-10s to his name, including a second and third early in the year. It's time to shine.

Farrell Evans: Jeff Maggert. Counting his days until he can play the Champions Tour, the 49-year-old three-time tour winner stumbled into a tie for second at The Players to lock up his 2014 regular tour card. Now he's thinking he can stay out there with the kids for a little while longer.

Bob Harig: Marc Leishman. The Aussie is on a nice run, having followed up his tie for fourth at the Masters with a tie for ninth at the Heritage and a tie for eighth at The Players Championship.

Super Sleeper

Michael Collins: Jordan Spieth. Both times he teed it up in this event he made the cut, even having a chance to win on Sunday in 2010 as a high school senior. So far this year on the PGA Tour he's made three cuts in four starts, including two top-10s in his past two starts.

Farrell Evans: Casey Wittenberg. The 28-year-old former U.S. Amateur runner-up got his first top-10 on the season with a tie for eighth in The Players, one of the strongest fields of the year. Though he shot a 75 in the final round, he played with the winner, Tiger Woods, which had to do wonders for his nerves under pressure.

Bob Harig: Spieth. He made his PGA Tour debut at the Nelson in 2010 as a 16-year-old and tied for 16th and is off to an excellent start in his first year as a pro, with three top-10s already to earn temporary status on the PGA Tour and all but assure his card for the 2013-14 season.


Michael Collins: Jonas Blixt. He'll be inspired by his friend David Lingmerth's performance at The Players Championship. The Swede finished third here last year and this week gets his second career PGA Tour win.

Farrell Evans: Bradley. The Byron Nelson is where it all started for the Bradley in 2011. He won here that May. Then three months later he won the PGA Championship. He needs a good week after missing his past two cuts in Charlotte and at Sawgrass.

Bob Harig: Ryan Palmer. He tied for fifth at The Players despite learning of the death of a longtime friend and has a good record at TPC Four Seasons, where he lost in a playoff to Bradley two years ago. The Texas native breaks through for his fourth PGA Tour victory.





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