Can Australia's run in Texas continue?
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2014 HP Byron Nelson Championship | Preview | 13 May 2014
The HP Byron Nelson Championship at the TPC Four Seasons Resort in Dallas is the next stop for the PGA Tour, the first of two events in Texas before the Memorial in Ohio in two weeks time.
This week’s tournament is followed by the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial before the Memorial.
This week’s defending champion is Sang-Moon Bae who as a 26 year old won by two over Keegan Bradley with Charl Schwartzel one shot further back.
It was Bae’s first win on the PGA Tour and although there has not been much to get excited about on the PGA Tour since (he did record one win in Korea), it was a breakthrough win that established the talented Korean as yet another product of the golfing factory that is South Korea.
Several of those in the mix at the Players last week are teeing it up again headed by the man who appeared as if he might challenge Kaymer for the title, Jordan Spieth.
20 year old Spieth made the cut but finished well back in this event last year although with three top tens in his last five starts including a 4th place finish last week and a runner-up finish at the Masters he is likley to start as the favourite.
Spieth is not the highest ranked player in the field however, that honour going to the ever present Matt Kuchar. Kuchar continues to perform well in nearly everything he plays and although he has only one top ten in six starts in this event he is such a consistent player he might again be in the mix.
Keegan Bradley as a great record at the TPC Four Seasons Resort, winning in 2011 and finishing runner-up last year. Bradley’s recent form has been mixed, missing two cuts and yet recording two top tens in his last five starts. His liking for this layout however suggests he has to be a great chance of continuing just that.
It might have been easy to dismiss last week’s winner, Martin Kaymer because of the let down factor but given that he finished 5th last year in his only start in this event suggests he could back up well.
Jimmy Walker recovered from a slow start last week to finish 6th after finishing 8th a few weeks before at the Masters. His three titles this season along with the other good finishes is a great reason to keep the faith.
Walker has never really contended in this event but he has made six of seven cuts and he is a clearly much better player now.
Australians have already won two in Texas this year with Steve Bowditch winning in San Antonio and Matt Jones winning in Houston and they may well have a chance of making it three this week.
John Senden has played very well this season on the PGA Tour and plays what is essentially a home game this weekend given that he lives in the Dallas area.
Senden does not enjoy a good record in this event but he didn’t enjoy a great record at the Masters either until this year and finished 8th. He was contending into the final round last week but fell away with a series of dropped shots late. Provided he has gotten through that he could go very well.
Marc Leishman on the other hand does have a great record at the Byron Nelson. Four top twenties in five starts including a 3rd place finish 2012. After a good start to the season, Leishman’s form fell away but he was much better last week at the Players Championship and might well have a very good week this week.
Other Australians in the field include Steven Bowditch, Robert Allenby, Aaron Baddeley, Greg Chalmers, Bronson La’Cassie, Rod Pampling, Scott Gardiner and Stuart Deane.