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      Power Rankings: HP Byron Nelson Championship

    • Jimmy Walker owns 10 T25s in his past 12 starts and leads the TOUR in strokes gained-putting. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR) Jimmy Walker owns 10 T25s in his past 12 starts and leads the TOUR in strokes gained-putting. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)

    TPC Four Seasons-Las Colinas not only hosts the HP Byron Nelson Championship, but it reintroduces a pair of layout characteristics absent on the PGA TOUR for several weeks. For one, it's the first par 70 since PGA National hosted The Honda Classic. While all 156 golfers in Irving, Texas, are playing the same track, all that matters is making fewer strokes than the next guy, but with only two par 5s on which to capitalize, opportunities to separate are limited.

    Las Colinas is also the first hybrid design since the Match Play the week before the Honda; that is, approaches from Bermudagrass fairways will be targeted at bentgrass greens (that average 6,000 square feet). These guys are good, but they can also adapt. Still, this significant wrinkle will help pry open the door for a handful of surprises on the final leaderboard. Three of the last four champions were first-time winners -- Jason Day (2010), Keegan Bradley (2011), Sang-moon Bae (2013).

    At plus-0.413 strokes to par, Las Colinas checked in as the fourth-most challenging par 70 in a non-major for the second consecutive season. Yet, it was the easiest the course scored since 2009 (-0.315) during its only stint under par after it was redesigned prior to the 2008 edition. While it always boasts some of the hardest fairways to find off the tee, it's largely irrelevant since the course peaks at 7,166 yards and usually plays host to a putting contest.

    Defending champion Sang-moon Bae ranked T39 in driving accuracy, but finished T9 in greens in regulation and 17th in scrambling. Like many before him, most notably Rory Sabbatini (2009) and Jason Day (2010), the South Korean found paydirt time and again with his putter. He placed second in both strokes gained-putting and average distance of putts made. He co-led the field with 12 conversions outside 10 feet.

    Midweek rain is expected to shift east by the opening round if not sooner. Dry conditions are anticipated throughout the tournament, but the ubiquitous moderate-to-gusty winds will remind the field that it's in Texas. High temperatures a couple of clicks on either side of 80 degrees are forecast.

    Power Rankings: HP Byron Nelson Championship

    Rank

    Player

    Comment

    1 Keegan Bradley Keegan Bradley

    The 2011 champ is second in all-time earnings here in only three appearances. Opened last year's solo second with a course-record 60.

    The 2011 champ is second in all-time earnings here in only three appearances. Opened last year's solo second with a course-record 60.

    2 Jordan Spieth Jordan Spieth

    Fourth appearance in his hometown event. Still after a top 15. Recent close calls at the Masters and THE PLAYERS. Sixth in adjusted scoring.

    Fourth appearance in his hometown event. Still after a top 15. Recent close calls at the Masters and THE PLAYERS. Sixth in adjusted scoring.

    3 Charl Schwartzel Charl Schwartzel

    Solo third in his debut here last year. Ranked T4 in total driving and led the field in both greens in regulation and proximity to the hole.

    Solo third in his debut here last year. Ranked T4 in total driving and led the field in both greens in regulation and proximity to the hole.

    4 Martin Kaymer Martin Kaymer

    Was already playing well prior to winning THE PLAYERS -- T18 at Quail Hollow. Shared fifth place here in his debut last year.

    Was already playing well prior to winning THE PLAYERS -- T18 at Quail Hollow. Shared fifth place here in his debut last year.

    5 Jimmy Walker Jimmy Walker

    Back-doored a T6 at THE PLAYERS with a field-tying-low 65 on Sunday. Ten top 25s in last 12 starts. Leads TOUR in strokes gained-putting.

    Back-doored a T6 at THE PLAYERS with a field-tying-low 65 on Sunday. Ten top 25s in last 12 starts. Leads TOUR in strokes gained-putting.

    6 Marc Leishman Marc Leishman

    Rapidly entrenched himself as one of the TOUR's best in the wind. All four of his cuts made here are top 15s. T23 at last week's PLAYERS.

    Rapidly entrenched himself as one of the TOUR's best in the wind. All four of his cuts made here are top 15s. T23 at last week's PLAYERS.

    7 Gary Woodland Gary Woodland

    A T11 at THE PLAYERS was his 12th consecutive cut made; eight were top 20s. Made the cut here in his last four visits.

    A T11 at THE PLAYERS was his 12th consecutive cut made; eight were top 20s. Made the cut here in his last four visits.

    8 Matt Kuchar Matt Kuchar

    "Settled" for a T17 at TPC Sawgrass, his first result outside a top five in five starts. He's 6-for-6 at Las Colinas with two top 15s.

    "Settled" for a T17 at TPC Sawgrass, his first result outside a top five in five starts. He's 6-for-6 at Las Colinas with two top 15s.

    9 Dustin Johnson Dustin Johnson

    First appearance since a T20 in 2011. Also placed T4 in 2009 and T7 in 2010. Scuffling lately, but he's been prone to droughts.

    First appearance since a T20 in 2011. Also placed T4 in 2009 and T7 in 2010. Scuffling lately, but he's been prone to droughts.

    10 Ryo Ishikawa Ryo Ishikawa

    Rested after a T5 at home in Japan. Three top 10s and another five top 25s on the PGA TOUR this season. T10 here in debut here last year.

    Rested after a T5 at home in Japan. Three top 10s and another five top 25s on the PGA TOUR this season. T10 here in debut here last year.

    11 Ryan Palmer Ryan Palmer

    The Texan flashed form in March (P2, Honda) and April (T7, Houston). Lost a playoff here in 2011 and tied for ninth the following year.

    The Texan flashed form in March (P2, Honda) and April (T7, Houston). Lost a playoff here in 2011 and tied for ninth the following year.

    12 Rory Sabbatini Rory Sabbatini

    No top 40s in four return trips since winning the 2009 edition, but has two top 10s and another top 20 in his last four starts this season.

    No top 40s in four return trips since winning the 2009 edition, but has two top 10s and another top 20 in his last four starts this season.

    13 Jason Dufner Jason Dufner

    Quiet of late, but he's logged four top-15 finishes in 2014. Victory here in 2012 chased a share of eighth place in 2011.

    Quiet of late, but he's logged four top-15 finishes in 2014. Victory here in 2012 chased a share of eighth place in 2011.

    14 Brian Stuard Brian Stuard

    Sandwiched missed cut at Quail Hollow with T5 at Harbour Town and T17 at TPC Sawgrass. Inside top 25 in par-3, par-4 and par-5 scoring.

    Sandwiched missed cut at Quail Hollow with T5 at Harbour Town and T17 at TPC Sawgrass. Inside top 25 in par-3, par-4 and par-5 scoring.

    15 Morgan Hoffmann Morgan Hoffmann

    If not for a steady T17 at TPC Sawgrass -- the best finish in his last 10 starts -- last year's T5 here means little. Closed it out 66-66.

    If not for a steady T17 at TPC Sawgrass -- the best finish in his last 10 starts -- last year's T5 here means little. Closed it out 66-66.

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