Golf: Keegan Bradley

Nelson notes: Short miss on 16 ends Bradley's comeback hopes

May, 19, 2013
5/19/13
6:51
PM CT
IRVING, Texas -- When Keegan Bradley sank an 18-foot birdie putt on the hole proving the most difficult this week, the 504-yard par 4 No. 15, he said he felt like he was going to win the HP Byron Nelson Championship for the second time in three years.

Trailing by four strokes earlier in the day, the birdie allowed Bradley to catch leader Sang-Moon Bae with three holes to play.

[+] EnlargeKeegan Bradley
Tom Pennington/Getty ImagesKeegan Bradley's birdie on No. 15 allowed him to catch leader Sang-Moon Bae with three holes to play, but a short miss on 16 derailed his efforts to win the Byron Nelson Championship for the second time in three years.
But on 16, faced with a 4-foot birdie putt to remain tied for the lead, Bradley missed.

“I figured if I could hang and hang, somehow I would find a way, but that putt was the end of it," said Bradley, who led after all three of the previous rounds.

“I wouldn’t have hit the putt any different. It’s surprising to miss like that. I want to win, so coming in second is great, which I’ll love tomorrow -- but right now it’s a little disappointing."

Bradley missed this chance to join the elite few who have won the tournament multiple times.

“It would have been special," Bradley said. “I’m hoping to come here for another 20 years, so hopefully I can get another one or two."

Celebration: Nelson winner Bae said two days before the tournament he was considering a move from Los Angeles to Dallas.

And after winning? "Definitely! I love this place. I would move to Dallas tomorrow," Bae said.

Bae is the fifth player of Korean descent to win on the PGA Tour.

"It's something I've always dreamed of," said Bae, who has 11 wins abroad. "I was in awe actually, so I almost didn't know how to react."

Hoffman and Hoffmann: The names sound like a law firm, but 36-year-old Charley Hoffman of Las Vegas and 23-year-old Oklahoma State product Morgan Hoffmann shared more than a last name on Sunday. Both were able to vault into the top 10 on a difficult scoring day.

Morgan Hoffmann, who made the cut on the number Friday, finished in a tie for fifth at 8-under after his second straight 66. He credited a putter switch after the first two rounds: "To my old trusty that I’ve used for four years, a Newport Scotty Cameron."

Charley Hoffman shot a 67 on Sunday and landed in a tie for eighth at 7-under. It marked a continuation of his strong play in Texas this year, having tied for 20th at the Shell Houston Open and tied for third at the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio.

Not this year: Jason Dufner capped his week as defending champion with his first over-par round, a 72, to finish at 1-under, in a tie for 33rd place.

“It’s not much fun playing golf right now the way I’m playing," Dufner said. “It’s pretty much everything. I can’t score.

“You’ve got to make birdies and save pars when you can, and I can’t do it, so it is a very frustrating time for me right now golf-wise."

The last player to win the Nelson in consecutive years remains Tom Watson, who won three straight from 1978-1980.

Big finish: Round of the day on Sunday belonged to 37-year-old Justin Bolli, who had a bogey-free 5-under 65. Bolli began the day tied for 19th and moved up to solo fourth at 9-under.

“Some weeks you come in on Tuesday and you are feeling great and your game kind of deteriorates. This week I wasn’t feeling that great on Tuesday, and every day my game has felt better and better. I’d never had any history of success here. I just played really well."

Bolli executed a difficult 35-yard bunker shot on his final hole to save par. “To be honest, long bunker shots are not my forte. So I wasn’t exactly licking my chops there, but it came off perfect and almost went in. It was as good of a shot as I could hit."

Limping home: For the first three days of the Nelson, John Daly played consistently, averaging 13 pars per round. But on Sunday, the enigmatic 47-year-old made only five pars and faded badly with bogeys on his final six holes for a closing 77. Daly plummeted to a tie for 66th at 4-over.

Notes: Jordan Spieth, the 19-year-old playing in his hometown tournament for the first time as a professional, shot 75 on Sunday to finish 5-over, in a tie for 68th place. … Ryo Ishikawa carded five 3’s on his final nine holes to shoot a 4-under 31 en route to a closing 3-under 67. The 21-year-old from Japan holed his 128-yard approach on the par-5 No. 16 for an eagle. … Attendance for Sunday’s final round was announced at 76,500, about 1,500 more than on Saturday. For the week, the event drew 265,000.

Nelson notes: Gillis' finish not so boring

May, 18, 2013
5/18/13
6:43
PM CT
IRVING, Texas -- For a guy trying to play boring golf, journeyman Tom Gillis diverted from the script at the conclusion of Saturday’s third round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

[+] EnlargeTom Gillis
Jim Cowsert/USA TODAY SportsTom Gillis is looking for his first victory on the PGA Tour.
The 44-year-old Gillis, seeking his first victory on the PGA Tour, holed a 46-foot bunker shot for birdie on the finishing hole to cap off a 3-under 67. He’ll begin final-round play in third place at 11 under, two strokes back of leader Keegan Bradley.

"I’m not in a position to take a lot of risks and shoot at every pin," Gillis said. "I’m trying to hit the fairway and the center of the green. Just make it very, very boring would be my way of going about it tomorrow."

From 134 yards, Gillis bunkered his approach to 18, short and right of the green. But his play in the sand this week has been superb, going 6-for-6 in saves, including the hole-out to end his round.

In previous Nelsons, Gillis said he never felt comfortable on No. 18 or, for that matter, on the TPC Four Seasons course. But he said he likes the hole, and the course, likes them a lot more now.

"The more I play it, the more I realize there is a lot of strategy involved," Gillis said.

Gillis is reunited this week with his old coach of five years, and that has calmed him. So has a change to his old set of irons.

Tougher conditions: With the wind picking up and TPC drying out, birdies became harder to find Saturday. Less than half the field broke par, and there were no bogey-free rounds Saturday. Jerry Kelly, Scott Piercy, Jason Day, Morgan Hoffmann and Sang-Moon Bae recorded the day’s low scores, 4-under 66.

Risky play: Apparently most of the field considers going for the green with their tee shots on No. 11 too much risk and not enough reward.

The intention behind constructing a new tee on the opposite side of the water hazard during redesign of TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas was that more players would choose to gamble on going for the green on the short par-4 that played at 321 yards Saturday.

Through three rounds, there is yet to be an eagle on No. 11 and only four tee shots have found the green. Two were hit by Gary Woodland in Rounds 1 and 2. Erik Compton and Peter Tomasulo found the putting surface Friday. All four shots were rewarded with birdies.

Woodland chose to play safe Saturday and made a par.

The risk for the aggressive tee shot at No. 11 is four well-positioned bunkers and a pond that extends along the left side of the fairway and green. Ten tee shots this week found the water.

Those who go for the green are averaging 3.56 on the hole, compared to 3.92 for those choosing to lay up.

More grip, less rip: Are we seeing a more mature golf game this week from John Daly?

Coming in to the HP Byron Nelson Championship, Daly had made the cut in only two of seven tour events this season. In three rounds at TPC, Daly has played solid golf without the occasional blowup hole that has cost him so many times in the past. Through 54 holes, Daly has made nothing worse than a bogey, and only six of those. Add in 39 pars and nine birdies, and Daly is 3 under, tied for 32nd, going into Sunday.

On Saturday, Daly shot an even-par 70 despite hitting only five of 14 fairways.

Remembering a friend: Ken Venturi, who died Friday, was remembered as a friend of Byron Nelson and the tournament.

"Ken Venturi was a great friend of the tournament and he will be dearly missed," said Mike McKinley, 2013 tournament chairman. "Ken was the first of the young golfers that Byron mentored and he remained very close to Byron. The world of golf has lost another of its great gentlemen."

Byron’s widow, Peggy Nelson, said the news of Venturi’s death was sad and unexpected. She recalled her late husband’s face lighting up when Venturi called.

"If Byron could have, he would have adopted him," she said.

CBS began its Saturday tournament telecast with a tribute to Venturi.

"A lot of people don’t realize the things that Ken Venturi gave back to the game and gave back to people, and he was like the great man this tournament is named after, Byron Nelson," said Lance Barrow of CBS Sports.

Nelson leader Bradley recalled a helpful tip concerning club takeaway that Byron Nelson passed along to Venturi, who passed it along to Bradley’s coach, Jim McLean.

Speaking of Venturi, Bradley said he was "an icon of the game, both playing and in the booth, and a great guy. He will be missed by everybody."

Notes: Jimmy Walker of Boerne, Texas, enters tournaments for the long haul. Walker, who shot even-par 70 on Saturday, has survived 23 consecutive cuts, the top active streak on tour. ... Marc Leishman, tied for 16th at 5 under, needs to move up at least six spots Sunday to extend his streak of consecutive top-10 finishes to four. ... Dallas’ 19-year-old Jordan Spieth hit only nine greens and made six bogeys in a third-round 73 that left him at even par for the tournament, tied for 63rd.

Keegan Bradley takes 3-shot lead to weekend

May, 17, 2013
5/17/13
6:42
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IRVING, Texas -- Keegan Bradley is 11-under and leads the HP Byron Nelson Championship by three strokes over Sang-Moon Bae and Tom Gillis through two rounds at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas.

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Bradley followed up his course-record 60 with a 1-under 69 on Friday.

Bae recorded a second consecutive 66 and is 8-under. Gillis, seeking his first PGA Tour title, fired a 63 in the morning wave.

Area resident John Huh shot 64 in the morning and was one of three players tied at 7-under, joining Charl Schwartzel and Ryan Palmer. A host of players, including Angel Cabrera, are another shot back at 6-under.

Among players who missed the cut and won't be around for the weekend is 14-year Chinese prodigy Guan Tianlang, who shot 77 on Friday after opening with a 70.

Tom Gillis among trio making a charge

May, 17, 2013
5/17/13
1:57
PM CT
IRVING, Texas -- Tom Gillis, a 44-year-old still seeking his first PGA Tour win, was among a trio of golfers making strong second-round charges at the HP Byron Nelson Championship on Friday morning.

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Ben Crane joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Byron Nelson Championship, his Golf Boys boy band group and more.

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Playing in the first pairing off No. 10, Gillis shot a 7-under 63. He’s at 8-under for 36 holes, in second place overall, two off the lead of Keegan Bradley, who is part of the afternoon wave.

"I'm glad I got to find out what I could do in calm conditions," Gillis said. "We were playing at a good pace and I was putting great."

Gillis holed seven birdie putts of nine feet or more, including a 32-footer on No. 13. Had he converted a 12-foot birdie putt on his last hole, Gillis could have finished with a 61 and a tie for the lead. Instead, he three-putted for his lone bogey.

"I gave it too much on my first putt and lost concentration coming back," Gillis said.

Erik Compton and John Huh, a 22-year-old Dallas resident, climbed into the top 12 with rounds of 63 and 64, respectively. Huh is tied for fourth at 7-under and Compton is tied for 11th at 5-under.

The projected cut is at 1-under.

Emotional Ryan Palmer puts trust in caddie

May, 16, 2013
5/16/13
6:51
PM CT


IRVING, Texas -- Local pro Ryan Palmer puts ultimate trust in caddie James Edmondson’s club decisions in just one tournament every year -- the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

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Ian Fitzsimmons and Chuck Cooperstein, broadcasting live from the Pavilion at the HP Byron Nelson, are joined by Keegan Bradley, who shot a 10-under 60 in the opening round.

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"This is the one week, his week. He might as well be in here," Palmer said in a post-round interview following a 5-under 65 that has him in a tie for sixth.

When the 36-year-old Colleyville resident asks his caddie for a distance, all he gets is a club.

"I found myself looking at the yardage a little more, but he wouldn’t give it to me. He would say 'hit this 8-iron' and I was like 'how far is it?' It’s kind of strange."

The first time Palmer let Edmondson do the steering at the 2011 Nelson, Palmer made it to a playoff. His Nelson track record prior to that was not impressive.

"I’ve been able to keep that feeling the last couple of years," Palmer said. "I think I’ve shot 65 Thursday every year, or 64 maybe."

It has been an emotional week for Palmer since learning of the death of lifelong friend Clay Aderholt, who was killed in a traffic accident in the San Antonio area seven days ago.

Palmer wore a cap with his friend's initials on Sunday when he finished fifth at The Players Championship. Palmer said he signed that cap and gave it to Reid, his friend’s 4-year-old son and gave a black one to Clay’s dad.

"Maybe we can honor him even more on Sunday afternoon," Palmer said.

[+] EnlargeGuan Tianlang
Tom Pennington/Getty ImagesChinese sensation Guan Tianlang, 14, shot even par in his first round at the Nelson.
Young guns: Jordan Spieth, 19, who made headlines in this event as an amateur, opened with a five-birdie, four-bogey 69 in his first Nelson round as a professional. The only amateur in the event this year, 14-year-old Chinese sensation Guan Tianlang, opened with an even par 70.

Practical jokers: Pair Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia and watch sparks fly. Pair Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner and expect a practical joke.

"He loves to mess with me," Bradley said of Dufner.

Before the two Ryder Cup teammates played together Thursday, Bradley found his clubs scattered about in the locker room.

"I left my clubs, which is a huge mistake," Bradley said. "It was my fault. He took my clubs out and they were all over."

Bradley, who fired a 10-under 60 on Thursday, said he is a little reluctant to retaliate.

"I’m too scared to do anything too much because I don’t know what he will do," Bradley said. "He could throw my clubs in the water or something. I did remove something from this locker and he’s going to need it. We’ll see if he can find it."

Bradley and Dufner, joined by Matt Kuchar, draw a 12:20 tee time for Friday’s second round.

International flavor: Of Thursday’s 52 pairings of threesomes, only one was composed entirely of internationals.

The grouping of Martin Kaymer, Charl Schwartzel and Angel Cabrera seemed to feed off each other’s company, combining to go 14-under.

South African Schwartzel, playing in his first Nelson, led the group with a 7-under 63, two strokes better than Argentina’s Cabrera. Kaymer, a German, shot 2-under.

No delay: Following thunderstorms that drenched the course, workers at TPC Four Seasons were at it early before Round 1, sacking over 100 bags of debris that washed up from a creek that cuts through the course. Most of the debris was on holes 9, 11 and 14. Play began on time at 7 a.m.

Nelson playing tougher for afternoon groups

May, 16, 2013
5/16/13
5:03
PM CT


IRVING, Texas -- The afternoon wave is finding TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas much more difficult on Day 1 of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

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Ian Fitzsimmons and Chuck Cooperstein, broadcasting live from the Pavilion at the HP Byron Nelson, are joined by Keegan Bradley, who shot a 10-under 60 in the opening round.

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Calm, cool conditions prevailed for those lucky enough to draw early tee times. But the afternoon brought with it wind and humidity.

Keegan Bradley leads after a course-record 10-under 60. The current top nine scores were all posted by morning starters.

Among those in the afternoon wave, Marc Leishman, Patrick Reed and Andrew Svoboda are all 4-under with holes remaining.

In other afternoon play of interest, Dallas’ 19-year-old Jordan Spieth is even after 14 and 14-year-old Chinese prodigy Guan Tianlang is 1-under through 11 holes.

Keegan Bradley fires course record at Nelson

May, 16, 2013
5/16/13
1:57
PM CT


IRVING, Texas -- Keegan Bradley took advantage of near-perfect scoring conditions to fire a course-record 10-under 60 in Thursday’s opening round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas.

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Ian Fitzsimmons and Chuck Cooperstein, broadcasting live from the Pavilion at the HP Byron Nelson, are joined by Keegan Bradley, who shot a 10-under 60 in the opening round.

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Bradley, who won this event in 2011, made nine birdies and an eagle on greens softened by overnight rain. His eagle came at No. 7 after a 6-iron approach that Bradley called one of his best shots of the year.

"Shooting a course record is pretty unbelievable at an event like this, considering the history and the players that have won and the players that have played here before," Bradley said. "It was an explosive kind of round. All I had to do was get the ball on the green. The hole looked huge today; even the putts I missed almost went in."

Bradley also credited the chemistry from playing partners and Ryder Cup teammates Matt Kuchar and Jason Dufner, the the defending champion.

"It felt like a Saturday morning round with your buddies," Bradley said.

A 59 wasn’t really in the equation because Bradley finished eagle, birdie, birdie. His 136-yard approach to the final hole for eagle was on line and stopped three feet from the hole.

"It crossed my mind for a second it would be unbelievable if I buried this," Bradley said of his shot from the fairway.

Despite the heavy rain and storms Wednesday, play began on time at 7 a.m.

"I saw a bunker full of water this morning, so I didn’t expect the course to be in great shape," said South African Charl Schwartzel, who shot 63 and is currently second to Bradley, "but surprisingly, it was very good."

Players to watch: Byron Nelson Championship

May, 15, 2013
5/15/13
9:00
AM CT


IRVING, Texas – It's time for the start of the North Texas swing on the PGA Tour, and that begins with a stop in the backyard of the late Byron Nelson.

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Lance Paczkowski, the marshal and escort for Tiger Woods last weekend, joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what happened with Woods and Sergio Garcia.

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The HP Byron Nelson Championship, as it has for the past few years, is trying to make the most of being the tournament directly after The Players Championship. There won't be any rematch of feuding golfers Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia, for instance. Neither is in the field. Phil Mickelson isn't here, either.

But there are some top Americans and international players competing at the TPC Four Seasons Resort & Club this week. Let's take a look at some of the golfers to watch in the event, which starts Thursday:

Jason Dufner: All this talk about "Dufnering" doesn't happen without the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Dufner, the defending champion, arrived in Dallas in March and appeared slumped over and out of it as kids were busy reading a story in a classroom at J. Erik Jonsson, a school supported by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, which also runs the Nelson. The photo went viral even before Dufner flew out of town and the golfer was a great sport about it. It helped publicize the tournament in a way no one expected.

But joking aside, Dufner can play. He won last year's event thanks to a clutch par putt on the final hole to beat surprise contender Dicky Pride, continuing his best career year. He was the runner-up to Zach Johnson the next week at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. He ended up on the Ryder Cup team and made more than $4.8 million last season.

Dufner's not as hot this season as he was coming into the event last year (after winning in New Orleans). He is still looking for his first top-10 of the season, though he’s made nine of 11 cuts. A final-round 80 dropped him out of a chance at a top-10 at The Players Championship last weekend.

Jason Day: He has to be one of the favorites here because of how well he plays in this event. He won it in 2010, his first time playing in the tournament, and has top-10s in his other two appearances. Day had a 68 in the final round of The Players, earning him a top-20 finish.

Day has played just twice since his third-place finish at the Masters and has made the cut in all 10 of his events in 2013. The Australian nearly withdrew before winning the Nelson in 2010. He felt ill because of medicine for a sinus infection, but stayed in the tournament and won by two strokes over Blake Adams, Brian Gay and Jeff Overton. It was a strange final hole that year as Day hit his approach shot into the water on 18, giving Adams, his playing partner, an opening. But Adams didn't know where Day hit his shot and he ended up in the water too. Day bogeyed the hole to get the win.

Matt Kuchar: He blew into the Nelson fresh off a win at The Players Championship last year. It's not the same in 2013, but Kuchar is as close to an automatic top finisher as you can get on the PGA Tour this year. He has made the cut in all 14 events he’s played and he’s got four top-10s. He likes the Nelson, making the cut in all five of his attempts. His best finish was a tie for sixth two years ago.

Keegan Bradley: It was the Nelson that marked the emergence of Bradley on the PGA Tour. He won rookie of the year honors that season -- 2011 -- and was the rookie of the year. That included a major victory at the PGA Championship that season. But it was the Nelson where he posted his first victory. And he did it coming from behind. He entered the final round four strokes back of Ryan Palmer and shot a 68 to tie Palmer and force a playoff. He won on the first playoff hole (the 18th). He won with a total of 3-under for the event, the highest in relation to par at the Nelson since 1981. It was windy and the players had a tough time, but Bradley survived. He has missed his last two cuts, but he has finished fifth or better in five tournaments this season.

Jordan Spieth: It was at age 16 that Spieth was the biggest story at the Nelson, getting himself into contention on Sunday before finishing tied for 16th as an amateur. He played well under pressure in his first PGA Tour event. Three years later, Spieth is 19 and a pro on the PGA Tour. He made the decision this year to take sponsor’s exemptions rather than go full time on the Web.com Tour. But for that to be smart, Spieth had to play well early in the season. He has, earning more exemptions and a chance to finish in the top-125 of the money list to earn his card for next season. The Dallas native has three top-10s this season already and is certainly comfortable in Irving.

Marc Leishman: I know he's probably not a familiar name to many, but in flipping through the top finishers at the Nelson the past four years, his name pops up. Leishman tied for third last year and was in the top-12 in three of his four Nelson appearances. He showed he could hang in under pressure at the Masters, tying for fourth. He posted two more top-10s since and can handle the wind. He’s one to watch.

Don't forget about: Ryan Palmer (two straight top-10s at this event); J.J. Henry (TCU alum has made 10 cuts in 11 appearances); Louis Oosthuizen (has major pedigree and playing well); Ben Crane (he's hot right now and had a top-10 at The Players).

Field set for HP Byron Nelson Championship

May, 13, 2013
5/13/13
1:46
PM CT
The field for this week's HP Byron Nelson has been finalized and will feature recent former champions Jason Dufner, Jason Day, Keegan Bradley and Vijay Singh along with 14-year-old amateur Guan Tianlang of China and former Jesuit and Texas Longhorns standout Jordan Spieth.

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Lance Paczkowski, the marshal and escort for Tiger Woods last weekend, joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what happened with Woods and Sergio Garcia.

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“We are thrilled with the quality, diversity and depth of our field,” 2013 tournament chairman Mike McKinley said in a release. “We have a great mix of young rising stars, PGA Tour veterans and a strong international contingent that I’m certain will have great appeal for our fans.”

Matt Kuchar and Dustin Johnson are also in a field that includes major champions Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer, Y.E. Yang, Dallas' Justin Leonard, Mike Weir, Angel Cabrera, Trevor Immelman, Bradley and Singh.

The 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship will be played May 13-19 at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas in Irving. Children 13 and under receive free admission, and free public parking and shuttle service is available at the intersection of SH 114 and Loop 12 in Irving (2000 E. John Carpenter Freeway, Irving). Fans may also travel by DART to the Northlake College Station, where free shuttles will be available to the main entrance.

Star power added to fields for Nelson, Colonial

April, 24, 2013
4/24/13
5:05
PM CT
Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Jason Dufner -- all ranked in the top 20 of the Official World Golf Rankings -- will be in the field for both the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial and the HP Byron Nelson Championship.

Kuchar, ranked No. 10, won the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship earlier this season.

Oosthuizen, ranked No. 7 in the world, finished tied for 10th in the Shell Houston Open -- his best finish this season -- and lost in a playoff at the 2012 Masters.

Schwartzel (No. 15), the 2011 Masters champion, will be making his Metroplex debut for both events.

Keegan Bradley (No. 13), the 2011 Nelson champion, and Martin Kaymer (No. 33), the 2010 PGA Championship winner, also will be teeing it up at TPC Las Colinas. The Nelson field currently includes 12 of the top 50 players in the official world golf rankings. The field will not be final until Friday, May 10 at 5 p.m. The 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship will be played May 13-19 at TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas in Irving.

The Colonial field also will be highlighted by Rickie Fowler (No. 29) and defending champion Zach Johnson (No. 30). The field currently includes nine of the top 30 in the world. The field will not be final until Friday, May 17. The 2013 Crowne Plaza at Colonial will be played May 23-26 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.

Former champions commit to HP Byron Nelson

March, 28, 2013
3/28/13
1:31
PM CT
HP Byron Nelson Championship officials announced Thursday that the past four Nelson Champions will be returning to TPC Four Seasons in May. Jason Dufner (2012), Keegan Bradley (2011), Jason Day (2010) and Rory Sabbatini (2009) have all committed to compete at the 2013 Nelson.

“We are proud of the continued successes and accomplishments of each of these HP Byron Nelson champions. They honor our tournament, our charity and the legacy of Byron Nelson by their loyalty and support,” 2013 tournament chairman Mike McKinley said in a release. “We are expecting an extremely strong field and their commitment to play in this year’s tournament will only add to the anticipation and excitement of another memorable championship.”

Former Texas Longhorn and Dallas Jesuit standout Jordan Spieth will also be playing after accepting a sponsor's exemption earlier this month.

The field will not be final until May 10. The Nelson will be played May 13-19 at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas in Irving.

W2W4: 14 guys within 4 strokes of lead

May, 20, 2012
5/20/12
9:00
AM CT
IRVING, Texas -- It should be a fun final round with so many players bunched up on the leaderboard, hoping to pass Jason Dufner for a victory. Here are some things to keep an eye on:

* Wind. It's not supposed to blow quite as hard, but we should get some 10 to 15 mph winds and gusts that could hit 20 mph or so. That's enough to impact shots and make certain holes difficult.

Those holes would include No. 11, where if the wind blows across like it did Saturday, it could give players a chance to go for the green knowing they'll get help from the wind in keeping the ball out of the water. The downside: It can blow balls across the road and cause big numbers. Just ask Keegan Bradley, who likely had his tournament hopes dashed Saturday with a triple bogey on the hole.

* Early bird gets the worm. If you want to see someone play fast, check out Ryuji Imada. He's first off at 7:10 a.m. and is playing by himself (or with a marker if he chooses). Imada shot 79 on Saturday after shooting 67-68 the first two rounds.

* Players to watch early in the round: Jhonny Vegas (7:26 a.m.), Nick O'Hern (8:06 a.m.), Ricky Barnes (8:22 a.m.), Brian Davis (8:39 a.m.) and Todd Hamilton (former British Open winner from Westlake, Texas, tees off at 8:48 a.m.).

* Players will go off No. 1 tee all day in twosomes. Phil Mickelson, still the biggest draw of this event, tees off at 10:45 a.m. and is playing with Shane Bertsch.

* Six of the final 10 pairings include someone from Texas. That includes Fort Worth's J.J. Henry, who plays with Dufner in the final group starting at 12:15 p.m. Expect to see plenty of purple as TCU fans will be cheering on Henry. His caddie, Pete Jordan, also played golf at TCU.

* Vijay Singh is one of the bigger names on the leaderboard and is back in contention. He'll be in the third-to-last group with Jonas Blixt. They tee off at 11:57 a.m. If Singh continues to putt well, he'll have a chance as he sits two back of the leader.

* Three players to watch that are four strokes back: Ryan Palmer, Matt Kuchar and Bradley. They'll tee off right after one another (starting with Palmer at 11:12 a.m.)

* 2010 champion Jason Day is one back of the leader and fell behind because of a bogey at No. 18.

* Dufner will be tough to beat. He's used to being in the lead and taking care of business, as his win three weeks ago at New Orleans showed. He had a top-10 finish here last year.

W2W4: Moving day at the Nelson

May, 19, 2012
5/19/12
8:00
AM CT
IRVING, Texas -- It's Saturday and that's traditionally "moving day" on the PGA Tour. To make a move Saturday, golfers must adjust to the wind, which is expected to blow like it did Friday (15 to 20 mph, highest gust of 28). A few things to watch Saturday:

* Since 79 players make the cut, they'll be going off both tees in groups of three. That also means a cut will be made after Saturday's third round so that players can be paired for the final round.

* Get to the course early. The tee times start at 9:35 a.m. and Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson both have early tee times. Els tees off on No. 1 at 9:35 a.m. and Mickelson tees off at 9:45 a.m. off No. 1.

* Can Jason Dufner keep chipping balls in the hole? He did it twice Friday, including a chip-in from just off the green on No. 18, which gave him a one-shot lead. Before New Orleans, the question with Dufner might have been whether he could handle the lead on the weekend. But now that he's won a PGA Tour event, he's liable to be comfortable as he tries to hold it for 36 more holes.

* Matt Kuchar continues to play well fresh off his Players Championship win. I'll be honest: I thought Kuchar might be mentally worn out from that win. But he's hitting the ball well and putting his way toward the top of the leaderboard. As confident as Kuchar is, don't count him out.

* Keegan Bradley dropped a stroke on No. 12, his third hole, but came back with six birdies (he had four bogeys total) to shoot 68. Bradley took advantage of calmer conditions in the morning Friday. He probably won't be as lucky today. Still, the defending champion beat everybody in the wind last year.

* Neighbors Chad Campbell and Ryan Palmer will be playing together Saturday. So it won't be tough for local fans -- they are both from Colleyville, Texas, located between Dallas and Fort Worth -- to follow them as both are in the final threesome.

* Wind. Mother Nature seems to love to put a stamp on this tournament. She blew a mighty wind over the weekend last year. And while the forecast doesn't call for winds with gusts up to 40 mph like last year, it's looking like 25 mph or so. It will certainly impact the golf.

* TCU fans can come out and pull for a couple of former Frogs golfers. J.J. Henry, sporting his purple shirt Friday, shot 68 in the second round and is 4-under for the tournament. J.J. Killeen made the cut on the number at 2-over.

* Who could go low from way back? Keep an eye on Brian Gay. We talked about him before the tournament and he made the cut on the number. He likes the course and has gone low here before.

* Sleeper group: Vijay Singh, Gary Woodland, John Rollins. All three have played well in spurts this week and could feed off each other playing in the middle of the tee times at 10:35.

Round 3 times: Threesomes of both tees

May, 18, 2012
5/18/12
7:55
PM CT
IRVING, Texas -- Since 79 players made the cut (2-over), they'll go off in threesomes Saturday starting at 9:35 a.m. at TPC Four Seasons Resort & Club at Las Colinas.

The complete list is here. Some highlights:

* Ernie Els is in a group with Jerry Kelly and Brandt Jobe at 9:35 a.m. off No. 1 tee.

* Phil Mickelson tees off right after that at 9:45 a.m. with Andres Romero and Scott Brown.

* Defending champion Keegan Bradley is in the 11:25 a.m. group with Marc Leishman and Ryuji Imada.

* The Players Championship winner Matt Kuchar tees off at 11:35 a.m with Dicky Pride and Pat Perez.

* Leader Jason Dufner joins Colleyville, Texas, neighbors Chad Campbell and Ryan Palmer at 11:45 a.m.

Player to watch: Keegan Bradley

May, 16, 2012
5/16/12
12:00
PM CT
video

IRVING, Texas -- Our look at players to watch for the 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championship continues.

Player: Keegan Bradley
Why he can win: Bradley won his first PGA Tour event at last year's Nelson and used it to build confidence. He later won the PGA Championship, his first major title. He's got two top-5s this season and has made the cut in 11 of his 13 events.
Best Nelson finish: 2011 champion
Best 2012 finish on PGA Tour: second at Northern Trust Open.

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