Power Rankings: AT&T Byron Nelson
May 15, 2017
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM
- Last year's champ, Sergio Garcia, returns to the AT&T Byron Nelson in fine form. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
The PGA TOUR announced last October that the AT&T Byron Nelson would be moving to Trinity Forest Golf Club in 2018. This means that Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, gets one more spin as host to 156 golfers.
After 14 years sharing the first two rounds with nearby Cottonwood Valley, Las Colinas was redesigned by D.A. Weibring prior to the 2008 edition. It's since served as the solo site of the tournament that debuted in 1944 won by none other than its namesake, Byron Nelson. In his only other appearance, the World Golf Hall of Famer placed third in his title defense in 1945.
Eight of the last nine champions of the AT&T Byron Nelson are scheduled to compete this week. The only no-show is 2013 winner Sangmoon Bae because he is currently fulfilling his military obligation in his native South Korea.
Former AT&T Byron Nelson winners Jason Day (2010) and Keegan Bradley (2011) will be among the notables reviewed in Tuesday's Fantasy Insider.
The par 35-35=70 has measured 7,166 yards since Weibring went to work and it will again this week as there weren't any significant modifications made to the course since Sergio Garcia defeated Brooks Koepka in a playoff that required only one hole last year. Both posted 15-under 265 to headline a scoring average of 69.115, lowest in the history of Las Colinas as a host course. In fact, only once in the previous 15 editions (2009) did the field finish under par. Last year's field capitalized on soft turf and mostly tranquil winds throughout.
This week's forecast aligns with what we come to expect when the TOUR navigates Texas. Moderate-to-gusty winds are forecast through at least Saturday. Rain and thunderstorms cannot be ruled out at any time, and the chances increase on the weekend. After a high temperature flirting with 90 degrees for the opening round, a cooling of 5-10 degrees will occur.
Tuesday's Comfort Zone will dig deeper into the combination of skill sets that have prevailed in recent memory at Las Colinas, but the track doesn't discriminate against any. When the wind is up, distance off the tee and greens in regulation carry added value, but not enough to drown great putting. Rough grown 2-3 inches will likely gather a few more tee balls than usual due to the wind, but greens will be prepped to run no faster than 11 feet on the Stimpmeter. That will help mitigate the challenge on approach.
Indeed, this is one of the most underrated among the fairest tests on the schedule. If that's its legacy, Nelson would likely work a smile.
ROB BOLTON’S WRITING SCHEDULE
PGATOUR.COM’s Fantasy Columnist Rob Bolton will be filing his usual staples leading up to this week’s event. Look for the following columns this week.
MONDAY: Rookie Ranking, Qualifiers, Reshuffle, Medical Extensions, Power Rankings
TUESDAY*: Sleepers, Comfort Zone, Fantasy Insider
WEDNESDAY: One & Done, Expert Picks-PGA TOUR Champions One & Done presented by SERVPRO
THURSDAY: Ownership Percentages in PGA TOUR Fantasy Golf and One & Done presented by SERVPRO
* - Rob is a member of the panel for PGATOUR.COM’s Expert Picks, which also publishes on Tuesdays.