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Sunday, May 11, 2014

HP Byron Nelson Championship - Preview

With THE PLAYERS dramatically in our past, it's time to turn our attention to the HP Byron Nelson Championship for a preview of what's to come at TPC Four Seasons Resort.

TPC Four Seasons Resort is a par-70 layout of 7,166 yards and has served as the lone host of the Nelson since 2008. It was part of a two-course rotation dating back to 1995, but there should be enough relevant history to where there's no real reason to dig any deeper than 2008 when researching course history. As expected on a par-70, there are just two par 5s.

Here's a look at the winners and runners-up dating back to 2008:

  • 2008 - Adam Scott (273) over Ryan Moore (273) in a playoff
  • 2009 - Rory Sabbatini (261) over Brian Davis (263)
  • 2010 - Jason Day (270) over Blake Adams, Brian Gay and Jeff Overton (272)
  • 2011 - Keegan Bradley (277) over Ryan Palmer (277) in a playoff
  • 2012 - Jason Dufner (269) over Dicky Pride (270)
  • 2013 - Sang-moon Bae (267) over Keegan Bradley (269)

Among the things that stand out the loudest is the quality of winners and runners-up relative to the field. Due to the spot on the schedule and the fact that Byron Nelson is no longer living, the majority of the players take this week off. For the elite (or soon-to-be elite) that show up, they are rewarded with a real opportunity for a win. Jason Day and Keegan Bradley each picked up their first win here, and Jason Dufner grabbed his second. Adam Scott's pedigree speaks for itself. In my mind, a trait of a solid course is that it identifies great champions, which TPC Four Seasons Resort tends to do. 

There's certainly an element of overall ball-striking in play at this course, with a tilt towards accuracy over power. As is the case most weeks, SGP is an important stat. With 12 (as opposed to 10 or 11) par 4s on the course, par 4 scoring average takes on an even more important role. 

It's also worth noting that wind can play a factor in the Dallas area, and TPC Four Seasons is not exempt from that. 

We will spend some time researching all of this and return tomorrow with our weekly power ranking.

Until then, happy research!

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