Expert picks: HP Byron Nelson Championship


This week the PGA Tour heads to TPC Four Seasons for the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Keegan Bradley defends his title against a field that includes Phil Mickelson and new Players champion Matt Kuchar. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from four groups of players based on Golf Channel's new fantasy game, Fantasy Challenge. We will also keep track of their scores and standings. The panel consists of: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin;'s Rob Bolton; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams; and Golf Talk Central contributor Ryan Ballengee.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Jason Day: The Australian's PGA Tour breakthrough came here in 2010 and he finished fifth last year. He also tied for ninth at Quail Hollow earlier this month, a good sign he's fully recovered from the ankle injury that forced him to withdraw from the Masters.

Group 2: Ryan Palmer: Your scribe asked Palmer last week on the TPC Sawgrass practice tee if he planned to play the Nelson. 'Heck yeah, going to get me some revenge.' Palmer lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley last year and lives in the Dallas area. Question withdrawn.

Group 3: Bob Estes: OK, so the Texas native hasn't exactly lit up the Nelson in his career - he's missed 13 cuts in 23 starts - but he posted a co-round of the day on Sunday at the Players (65) and finished T-4 in his last start in the Lone Star State (Valero Texas Open).

Group 4: Joe Ogilvie: The thoughtful Tour type has missed more cuts than he has made this season (7 of 13), but he played well last year in Dallas (T-3) and could use a good week.

Ryan Ballengee

Group 1: Adam Scott: The 2008 champion returns after a two year absence. Was T-15 last week at The Players and is still very fresh.

Group 2: D.A. Points: Top-8 finishes here in two of the last three years is a good sign.

Group 3: Arjun Atwal: Atwal likes Las Colinas, with two top-8 finishes here in the last two years.

Group 4: Briny Baird: Only two missed cuts here since 2003 balanced out with a pair of top 10s in that stretch.

Gary Williams

Group 1: Louis Oosthuizen: Although he missed the cut last week, Oosthuizen has recently finished third in Houston and runner-up at The Masters, plus a win at the Maybank Malaysian Open. He is making his first appearance here and I think he will bounce back from the MC at Sawgrass quite nicely.

Group 2: Ryan Palmer: Palmer had missed six cuts in seven appearances here before losing in a playoff last year to Keegan Bradley. Although he missed the cut last week, he recorded his best finish of 2012 in New Orleans where he finished T-4.

Group 3: Colt Knost: The 2007 U.S. Amateur champion is finally starting to live up to the potential that some have set out for him, as seen by his pair of third place finishes at Mayakoba and Hilton Head. Knost grew up in Texas and attended SMU in Dallas so this would be the perfect place for a breakthrough win.

Group 4: Joe Ogilvie: This veteran has not had a great 2012 season but that was the same situation last year and he finished T-3 here. Ogilvie is both smart and talented, and if he can pull it off once, I think he can pull it off twice.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Phil Mickelson: On the cusp, Lefty's game is right there. Time to strike while the iron is hot.

Group 2: John Rollins: His ball striking is too good right now not to win a large reward.

Group 3: Bob Estes: Taking a flier here; Estes' record isn't so good at this event but his new swing is rejuvenating his game.

Group 4: Rocco Mediate: Seems like it's about time for Rocco to rise from the ashes again.

Rob Bolton

Group 1: Adam Scott: Coming off a T-15 finish at The Players, his best finish at that event in five years. It's also his ninth consecutive to-20 in a stroke play event, dating back to last year's TOUR Championship.

Group 2: John Huh: Fearless rookie has six top-25s this year. That includes a victory at windy El Camaleon in Mexico, which is a grinder's and ball-striker's paradise. Plus he doesn't turn 22 years of age until Monday.

Group 3: J.J. Henry: The Fort Worth resident has cashed in his last five starts entering this week, as well as his last eight visits to TPC Four Seasons Resort. I'll lean on those angles in a shallow field.

Group 4: Will Claxton: The Q-School grad hasn't missed a cut in his last seven starts. He's 16th on Tour in ball-striking and 20th in bogey avoidance, two key stats when projecting success this week.

 **Join Fantasy Expert Rob Bolton for a live golf chat Wednesday at 12:00p ET at**

Tune in to Golf Channel this Thursday-Friday from 3-6PM ET for live coverage of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.