Expert Picks: HP Byron Nelson Championship


This week, the PGA Tour heads to Dallas this week, as TPC Four Seasons plays host to the HP Byron Nelson Championship. 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 includes: senior writers Rex Hoggard, Randall Mell and Jason Sobel; contributors John Hawkins and Win McMurry; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' host Gary Williams and staff writer Ryan Lavner. They will also be joined by former 'Saturday Night Live' star Norm Macdonald, who will serve as a celebrity guest throughout the fantasy season.

Rex Hoggard

Group 1: Louis Oosthuizen: Recent record suggests South African is due for another solid week – he finished fifth at the Ballentine’s Championship in late April and T-19 at The Players – and he is too good of a ballstriker to pass up at TPC Four Seasons.

Group 2: Martin Kaymer: On his way to victory last year Jason Dufner led the field in greens in regulation. Last week at TPC Sawgrass, Kaymer tied for fifth in GIR and should find the fairways easier to hit in Dallas.

Group 3: Charlie Wi: It has been a tough spring for Wi – four missed cuts and a T-55 at The Players – but he has some history at the Nelson (T-7 in 2008) and normally plays his best golf in the summer.

Group 4: Alexandre Rocha: Although he has just two Tour starts this season, he may be the hottest hand on the secondary Tour with top-5 finishes in his last two starts.

Jason Sobel

Group 1: Jason Dufner: I'm not usually a fan of picking the defending champ, but Dufner could be primed to make it two in a row. 

Group 2: Jimmy Walker: When you're dwelling in the cellar of the fantasy standings, the guy with the Tour's longest made cut streak should at least cash a check.

Group 3: Jordan Spieth: If he can contend here before high school graduation, he can now that he's a full-time PGA Tour member.

Group 4: Blayne Barber: Whatever the tour, wherever he plays, Barber has shown a propensity for finding the leaderboard.

Randall Mell

Group 1: Jason Day: As horses for courses go, Day's a thoroughbred in this event.

Group 2: Jimmy Walker: Consistency pointing toward something larger.

Group 3: Jeff Maggert: Terrific 70 holes for Maggert last week, and no island hole this week.

Group 4: Jason Bohn: Liked that top-10 finish in last year's event.

Win McMurry

Group 1: Jason Day: The 2010 champion at the Byron Nelson Championship comes in off a T-19 at The Players. He has a handful of top-10s this year, including two third place finishes, most notably at the Masters.

Group 2: Marc Leishman: After Day, this is another Aussie who can handle the wind in Texas. He’s been so hot in recent weeks – finished T-8 last week at the Players – and was T-3 last year at Byron Nelson.

Group 3: Dicky Pride: He finished runner-up last year to Jason Dufner, has 3 top-25s this year and is due for another.

Group 4: Henrik Norlander: He comes in off back-to-back top-20 finishes. It’s the rookie’s first time here, but his game is really strong right now. He ranks 17th on Tour in GIR.

Ryan Lavner

Group 1: Jason Day: Has made every cut this season, and the former champ (2010) here also has top 10s in his other two starts at TPC Four Seasons.

Group 2: Marc Leishman: Has three consecutive top 10s, dating to his impressive performance at the Masters. In Dallas, he's posted top-12 finishes in three of his four career starts.

Group 3: Jordan Spieth: The Texan teen had a chance to win this event when he was still in high school. Nothing has changed now that he's joined the play-for-pay ranks, and he has a pair of top-35 finishes in his last three starts.

Group 4: Henrik Norlander: Has made six of his last seven cuts, and he's coming off back-to-back top 20s in New Orleans and Charlotte.