By Brandon Raper @Brandon__Raper on May 14, 2014
A little over halfway through the season, the PGA Tour is set to begin its Texas swing with the HP Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons just outside Dallas.
Named for one of the legends of the sport, the Nelson has drawn a strong field to the tough par-70 course in the Lone Star State. With major champions and a certain young hometown favorite in play, these five players could easily separate themselves from the field.
Here comes the big test for Kaymer. He’d been on a steady rise for a month before winning at The PLAYERS Championship, and now the golf world will be watching to see if it’s a legitimate return to the form that made him the No. 1 player in the world a few years ago. Kaymer won’t have as many par-fives to take advantage of this week as he did at Sawgrass, but he shined here last year with four sub-70 rounds on his way to a season-high T-5.
Kuchar’s streak of top-five finishes came to a close at last week’s PLAYERS Championship, but he put together a solid, if somewhat quiet, tie for 17th. He’s played well at TPC Four Seasons throughout his career, and this week should be no different. Kuchar leads the Tour in par-4 performance, so he should benefit from the par-70 track that features only two par-5 holes.
What might have started this year as just a hot streak of golf has turned into a habit of strong play by Walker. Still leading the FedEx Cup points race, Walker has only two top-tens since winning at Pebble Beach in February, but those came at the Masters and the PLAYERS, two of the toughest tournaments on the calendar. Walker struggles a bit with accuracy from the tee, but he still hits greens and putts lights out.
Home events are always a double-edged sword on the PGA Tour. On the plus side, you’re comfortable and rested, but you also have the obligations to friends and family right outside your door. Spieth played well on Thursday and Friday last year only to tumble down the leaderboard on the weekend. Now that he’s not playing for his career, expect much better results this time around.
It’s been a tale of two Keegans over the last few months on Tour, as Bradley has as many top-tens (two) as missed cuts in his last five starts. There’s something about this tournament that suits Bradley’s game, however, as he’s scored a win and a runner-up in just three starts at the Nelson. The site of his first career victory could also be where he gets his first of 2014.
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