Preview: PGA Tour’s HP Byron Nelson

Preview – PGA Tour – HP Byron Nelson Championship – TPC Four Seasons Resort at Las Colinas – Irving, Texas –

This week’s PGA Tour stop at the HP Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons Resort at Las Colinas dates back to classic champions like Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Tom Watson and, of course, Bryon Nelson.

Recently the tournament has yielding first-time champions including Sang-Moon Bae last year. Several recent past champions has used this title to spring board their careers including Jason Dufner (a champion in 2011), Keegan Bradley (2012) and Jason Day, who won here in 2010.

Several high-profile players from last week’s THE PLAYERS are entered this week including Martin Kaymer, Jordan Spieth, Matt Kuchar and Charl Schwartzel.

TPC Four Seasons is par-70 layout and stretches to more than 7,100 yards. The signature hole at TPC Las Colinas is the 198-yard par-3 17th hole, but the most difficult scoring hole is historically No. 18. The course requires strong putting skills considering its large, undulating surfaces.

Strong Texas winds could also play a big factor this week. Last year in the final round, 30 mile-per-hour winds impacted the championship.

2013 Recap:

  • Bae (13-under) chased down Bradley, the 54-hole leader, for his maiden PGA Tour victory. As a 125-to-1 betting long shot to win it, Bae opened with three straight 66s and posted a 69 in the winds during the final round to secure a two-shot win over Bradley. Schwartzel was alone in third at 10-under, while Jason Bolli was fourth. Kaymer headlined a group at T-5 at 8-under.

FANTASY: Players with Texas ties tend to perform well here. Consider Spieth in this spot. He was in the mix to win THE PLAYERS and the Masters before falling short on the final nine holes. The 20-year-old is second best-ranked player in the field at No. 8 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Keegan has a great history here with a win in 2012 and runner-up last year. Kuchar, World No. 5, should continue his sharp play this week in Texas. A string of top finishes climaxed with a win at the RBC Heritage last month. He was T-5 at the Masters.

BETTORS: Spieth, who has four Top 5s this year, is the betting favorite at at 12-1 odds, but he only has one win and now has no value at 12-1.  Bradley (20-1) is due for a victory. He has failed to secure a title in 2014 and this is as good a spot as any. For an international pick, take Schwartzel (22-1), who won in December at the Alfred Dunhill Championship on the European Tour. He was third here in 2014. For a longer shot, take John Senden. At 40-1, the Aussie contending through three rounds at THE PLAYERS and won in Tampa earlier this season.

The Golf Channel has coverage Thursday and Friday with CBS Sports handling television Saturday and Sunday.

Other Golf News:

  • Stacy Lewis, World No. 2 following her win two weeks ago in the North Texas Open, is the betting favorite this week at 3-1 odds as the LPGA Tour hosts the Kingsmill Championship. She leads the Race to CME Globe and is T-1 on tour in Greens In Regulation.
  • Charles Schwab Cup Standings leader Bernhard Langer headlines the field at the first major of the season this week on the Champions Tour at the Regions Tradition in Alabama. The tour’s money leader was also T-8 at the Masters Tournament last month.
  • Sergio Garcia (5-1 at is the featured competitor at the European Tour’s Open de Espana this week at PGA Catalunya Resort. He won the Qatar Masters earlier this season the tour and contended last week at THE PLAYERS. He won’t have a cake walk with Miguel Angel Jimenez, Thomas Bjorn and Francesco Molinari also competing.