2012 HP Byron Nelson Classic
TPC Four Seasons Resort – Irving, Texas
Par 70 – 7,166 yards
Thursday, May 17-Sunday, May 20, 2012, TV: Golf Channel, CBS
Defending Champion: Keegan Bradley
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker
Even though a lot of the world’s top players are either playing in the Volvo World Match Play Championship or taking the week off after last week’s Player’s Championship, there is still some star power at the Byron Nelson Classic. The tournament dates back to 1926 when it was known as the Dallas Open.
The Byron Nelson Classic has been held at the TPC Four Seasons resort for the last 28 years. The course can be difficult, especially when the wind is blowing. The weather forecasts do predict sustained winds of 12-16 MPH for all four days of the tournament. For the past two years, a player has won his first PGA Tour title here. In 2010 it was Jason Day, and last year Keegan Bradley won. Bradley would also go on to win the PGA Championship and PGA Tour Rookie of the Year.
Here is a look at some of the contenders and their odds to win, as well as some head to head match-ups. All odds are courtesy of Bookmaker.
Phil Mickelson (21/2)
Mickelson hasn’t played this event since 2007, when he tied for third. He was inducted in to the Golf Hall of Fame last week and tied for 25th at the Player’s Championship. Mickelson won this event in 1996 and has 6 top 15’s in 13 career starts. Mickelson is playing some consistently good golf right now. He leads the PGA Tour in scrambling, and is in the top 10 in the all-around and bogey avoidance. Strangely enough even though Phil is the favorite to win the tournament, he is an underdog in match-ups against Adam Scott and Matt Kuchar. Mickelson is +105 to beat Scott and even money to beat Kuchar. I think Mickelson finishes in the top 10 but I don’t think he wins this week.
Matt Kuchar (12/1)
Kuchar won his fourth career title last week at the Player’s. No one has won back to back events on the PGA Tour since Vijay Singh in 2008, but Kuchar has done well at the Nelson. Last year he tied for sixth here. He is eighth in scrambling and fourth in bogey avoidance. Kuchar is -130 against Mickelson and -145 to beat Jason Day. I like him against Day, and a top ten is possible.
Adam Scott (12/1)
Scott tied for 15th last week at the Player’s and was 8th at the Masters last month. He won this event in 2008 and tied for third in 2006. Scott is -135 to beat Mickelson and -145 to beat Bradley. I like Scott to win both those match-ups and the tournament.
Keegan Bradley (16/1)
Bradley won this event last year for his first win. He has struggled recently though with no top 25’s in his last 4 starts. He tied for 35th at the Player’s last week. Bradley leads the PGA in all-around scoring. Bradley is +115 against Scott and -130 against Jason Dufner. I like Bradley to beat Dufner, and a top five finish is a strong possibility.
Jason Day (20/1)
Day missed the cut last week at the Player’s but tied for ninth two weeks ago at Charlotte. He won this event in 2010, and tied for fifth last year. Day led the field in birdies at last year’s Byron Nelson. Though he is from Australia originally, he lives in Texas and loves this course. He is +115 against Kuchar.
Jason Dufner (20/1)
Dufner barely made the cut last week, and ended tied for 68th at the Player’s. His big problem was putting as he struck the ball really well on drives and approach shots. He was in the top 15 last week in fairways and greens in regulation, but second to last in strokes gained putting. Dufner is even against Bradley.
Louis Oosthuizen (20/1)
Oosthuizen missed the cut last week at the Player’s despite 11 birdies in 2 rounds. However, he also had 10 bogies and a double. The former British Open champion has never played the Nelson before. He finished second at the Masters this year losing in a playoff to Bubba Watson. He is seventh on tour in ball-striking and 15th in GIR. He is -140 against fellow South African Ernie Els. I like Oosthuizen in that match-up and a top 10 is a good possibility.
Carl Pettersson (25/1)
Pettersson tied for 10th last week at the Player’s he was the only golfer to post under 70 rounds on both Saturday and Sunday last week. He tied for fourth at this event in 2008. He is 12th on tour in strokes gained putting. Pettersson is -140 to beat Brian Davis.
Ernie Els (30/1)
Like Mickelson, Els returns to the Nelson after a long absence. He won this event in 1995, but hasn’t played here since 2006. He has 4 straight top 13’s or better here. He has missed the cut in 2 of his 3 previous events, including last week at Sawgrass. He only hit 10 of 28 fairways which cost him a shot at playing on the weekend. He is 22nd in ball striking on tour this season. Els is +110 against Oosthuizen.
Brian Davis (33/1)
Davis has 5 top 25’s in his last 6 starts including a tie for 25th at the Player’s. Davis has struggled in this event missing the cut in 4 of his last 5 trips to Irving. He was the runner-up in 2009 though. Davis is +110 against Pettersson.