Fantasy Island: HP Byron Nelson Championship

RSS experts offer up their picks for the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Each week a panel of experts will offer up their picks from three 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 Charlie Rymer; editorial director Jay Coffin; 'Morning Drive' hosts Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias; contributor Win McMurry; writer for's ProGolf Talk, Ryan Ballengee; and's Rob Bolton.

You can battle the experts and play along as well. Just click here to get into the game.Compete against the experts and other fans in our Fantasy Challenge.

In parentheses, next to the names, are the participants' 2011 points earned and ranking among the 17 Fantasy Challenge 'experts.'

Rex Hoggard

Rex Hoggard (6,161,230; 3rd)

Group A: Jason Day: The defending champion hits it plenty long enough and since this is likely his last event as a Dallas-area resident he’s looking to go out in style.

Group B: Brian Davis: Cruised to medalist honors at Monday’s British Open qualifier (6-under 64) and finished runner-up at the 2009 Byron Nelson.

Group C: Chris Stroud: Texas native plays his best golf in the heat and his T-12 at The Players Championship is a sign that summer may have come early this year.

Randall Mell

Randall Mell (3,758,889; 15th)

Group A: Jason Day: Five top-10s so far this season. Good form makes the defending champion dangerous again this week.

Group B: Brian Gay: Nearly won at TPC Four Seasons last year. Nobody's hitting more fairways this year, not many are scoring better.

Group C: Roland Thatcher: Looking for that T-7 finish at TPC Four Seasons in '08 to spark a run.


Jason Sobel

Jason Sobel (N/A, N/A)

Group A: Jason Day: Hate picking defending champs. It’s like cheating on a pop quiz. But I really, really need to pass this class. 

Group B: Bo Van Pelt: Stellar final round at Colonial gave him solo third. He’ll keep the momentum building this week.

Group C: Brett Wetterich: Five years removed from playing in The Ryder Cup, he already has a Nationwide Tour win this season.

Charlie RymerCharlie Rymer (5,515,388; 7th)

Group A: Dustin Johnson: I'm sure Matt Kuchar is gonna win this week because I'm leaving him and picking Johnson.

Group B: Sergio Garcia: Garcia has been showing signs that he's ready and this may just be his week.

Group C: Steven Bowditch: Bowditch keeps popping up on the radar and maybe he brings it in for a safe landing near DFW.

 John HawkinsJohn Hawkins (5,967,481; 5th)

Group A: Ben Crane – Good golf all year, time for a win. 

Group B: Justin Leonard – Should have won here by now, good ballpark for him. 

Group C: Brett Wetterich – Past champ, why not? Not a strong group of Cs. 


Jay CoffinJay Coffin (5,068,203; 12th)

Group A: Nick Watney: He hasn't had great results in the four times he has played here. Still, Watney is playing too well now not to contend.

Group B: Jason Dufner: I'm going with a trend here of picking people who have played poorly at this event. Dufner has two MCs in two starts.

Group C: Keegan Bradley: This guy has never played this event but he's five spots ahead of Tiger Woods on the money list so he can't be that bad of a pick can he?

Gary Williams

Gary Williams (5,526,357; 6th)

Group A: Dustin Johnson: He has the most wins of any American under 30 with four, and armed with a new caddie, he is in position to win for a fifth time.

Group B: Brian Gay: He has had some recent success in this event – T-7 in 2008 and T-2 in 2010 – and in 2011, he has missed the cut just once in 13 starts.

Group C: Chez Reavie: Playing on Major Medical Exemption in 2011 and recorded a season-best tie for fifth last week at Colonial to earn $235,600.


Erik Kuselias

Erik Kuselias (5,222,109; 11th)

Group A: Dustin Johnson: This is DJ’s first event with Joe LaCava as his permanent caddie and although he has struggled lately, he has a good history at this event.

Group B: Bo Van Pelt: He finished third last week at Colonial, which is his best finish in 2011 and goes nicely with his tie for eighth in the 2011 Masters.

Group C: Steven Bowditch: He was tied for second after 36 holes last week at Colonial before finishing T-16 and is making his first appearance in this event.

Win McMurry

Win McMurry (7,899,573; 1st)

Group A: Jason Day: Staying on the Day train this week. The defending champ has had a strong season and I don’t see him giving up his first Tour title easily.

Group B: D.A. Points: He is coming off two MCs, but I think that works to his advantage. After winning his season at Pebble, Points is ready to get back in contention.

Group C: Cameron Beckman: After a consistent start to 2011 he’s missed five cuts in a row. He will not make it six, especially at a course where he was T-5 last year.

Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee (2,531,005; 16th)

Group A: Dustin Johnson: He has shown flashes of coming back to 2010 form. He has consecutive top-7 finishes in this event, so he must like this course.

Group B: John Senden: He just posted his first top-10 of the year at Colonial and has been consistent all season. The Aussie's best finish here is seventh two years ago.

Group C: Steven Bowditch: The guy is getting married here not too long from now, so maybe he can play some inspired golf and get a discount on the ceremony.

Rob Bolton

Rob Bolton (4,167,223; 14th)

Group A: Dustin Johnson: In a bit of a rut in the U.S. since Doral, but owns a pair of top-10s in his last two starts here and matches up with the course profile brilliantly.

Group B: Brian Gay: Co-runner-up here last year and currently leads the PGA Tour in Fairways Hit and scrambling. Has cashed in nine straight starts, too.

Group C: Blake Adams: Returns to the site of his only top-5 on the PGA Tour (T2, 2010). Also coming off a T-16 at Colonial, his best finish of 2011.

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