HP Byron Nelson Champ. experts' picks

May, 13, 2014
05/13/14
1:38
PM ET

Each week of the season, our experts share their insights into which players fit the criteria for our four categories: Horse for the Course (a golfer who knows the track inside and out), Birdie Buster (a guy who could take it low this week), Super Sleeper (a player who could unexpectedly contend) and Winner.

This week, the PGA Tour is at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas for the HP Byron Nelson Championship.


Horse for the Course

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Keegan Bradley
In three starts, he got his first win on tour, a tie for 24th and a runner-up last year. I'd say he's found his favorite course on tour. If Bradley wins this week, I'm not going to be even a little bit surprised, especially coming off the MC last week that was only his third of the year. Motivated? Maybe just a teensy-weensy bit.

Richard Durrett, ESPNDallas.com writer: Matt Kuchar
He is 6-for-6 in cuts made at TPC Four Seasons and was tied for sixth and tied for 15th in 2011 and 2012 respectively. He knows how to navigate this course.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Keegan Bradley
In 2011, his rookie year, the former PGA champion won the Byron Nelson. Last year, Bradley shot a course-record 60 in the first round at the TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas on his way to a second-place finish.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Keegan Bradley
His first tour victory came at TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas in 2011, and he shot 60 in the opening round last year on his way to a second-place finish.

Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: Marc Leishman
In five starts at the Nelson, Leishman has four top-12 finishes, including a T-3 in 2012 where he finished a couple of shots back of winner Jason Dufner. The Aussie hasn't played great of late -- he's missed two of his past three cuts -- but a return to familiar surroundings will likely help him get back on track.


Birdie Buster

Collins: Dustin Johnson
It's funny how a couple of bad weeks can make people think you're done. He went 80-W/D at the Shell Houston Open, then a missed cut at the Masters. I'm sure plenty of folks had written him off for the year. Well, he's going to throw a bucket of ice water in their faces this week with a top-10 finish.

Durrett: Gary Woodland
He's on a big-time roll right now with 12 straight cuts made and eight top-25 finishes. He's made the cut four straight years at the Nelson and was in the hunt for a top-10 last year until a final-round 79 dropped him way back.

Evans: Matt Kuchar
With a tie for 17th at the Players, the former U.S. Amateur champion had his worst finish in a tour event in nearly two months, but there is not a more consistent top-10 finisher (eight in 12 events) on tour in 2014.

Harig: Martin Kaymer
He had already been showing some good form in recent weeks before winning the Players Championship on Sunday at the TPC Sawgrass, where he shot 63 in the opening round. Last year, his only appearance at the Nelson, Kaymer tied for fifth.

Maguire: Jordan Spieth
Picking him to win this week would be simply too perfect for the 20-year-old returning to the event where he first got to play against the PGA Tour pros he now calls peers. With six top-10s in this wraparound season, he has clearly avoided the sophomore slump and is looking for career win No. 2 in his native Dallas area.


Super Sleeper

Collins: Morgan Hoffmann
Coming off a nice 17th-place finish at the Players Championship last week, Hoffman comes back to the place where he got the first of his three top-10s in 2013 and his best finish of the year. He is inconsistent in making the cut (7-of-18 missed), but this week, I expect success.

Durrett: Ryan Palmer
I like the way he's playing this season -- four top-10s, including two runners-up -- and he was second in this event (to Keegan Bradley) in 2011. He has made three straight cuts at the Nelson and is comfortable here.

Evans: Patrick Reed
Since winning at Doral and proclaiming himself a top-five player in the world, the 23-year-old former Augusta State star has missed three cuts and finished T-48 and T-52 in two other events. There is not a more dangerous player than one trying to prove his worth to his peers and naysayers.

Harig: Ryo Ishikawa
The Japanese star has been quietly finding his game this year with three top-10s on the PGA Tour. He recently tied for fifth at a Japan Tour event but did not get into the field last week at the Players Championship.

Maguire: Patrick Cantlay
The former No. 1 amateur in the world, Cantlay makes his first start -- of the season and at the Nelson -- this week after dealing with injuries.


Winner

Collins: Ryan Moore
It has been four years since he last teed it up in this event. From 2007 to 2009, there were two missed cuts and a runner-up in between. But the man who comes back this week is not the same. Moore is a solid all-around golfer with a win under his belt this season, and a second victory should send him to the U.S. Open as a favorite.

Durrett: Jordan Spieth.
It's difficult not to take him this week after his solid weekend at the Players Championship and the fact that this is as close to a home course as it gets for the 20-year-old. Don't be shocked if Jimmy Walker makes a run, either, but I'll take Spieth to get his second tour win.

Evans: Jordan Spieth
Is Spieth the best player in the world under the age of 30? If you look at the past month, it's hard to place Rory McIlroy and Patrick Reed, to name a few, ahead of him. Back at the event where he first jumped into the bright lights of the PGA Tour in 2010, the 20-year-old phenom, coming off a tie for fourth at the Players, is poised to earn his second career tour victory.

Harig: Gary Woodland
He was on the fringe of contention last week at the Players Championship, eventually tying for 11th, and he has made 12 consecutive cuts. A victory for long-hitting Woodland would be his third on the PGA Tour and first since winning the Reno-Tahoe Open in August.

Maguire: John Senden
Since 2006, there has been at least one Aussie in the top 12, with Jason Day (2010) and Adam Scott (2008) both earning wins at the TPC Four Seasons resort. If Senden can get that putter working like it did in his victory at the Valspar Championship in March, look for another Aussie to be on top of the leaderboard come Sunday.

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