Super stallion K.H. Lee looks to three-peat at AT&T Byron Nelson
4 Min Read
Written by Mike Glasscott @MikeGlasscott
K.H. Lee (+2200) has run riot over the Tom Weiskopf designed TPC Craig Ranch. In 144 holes over two events Lee has posted 53 birdies and two eagles against only six bogeys for an aggregate total of 51-under. So one might suggest the Korean feels more than at home in the Dallas suburb of McKinney, Texas. With a scoring average of 65.63, his worst round is just 68 over the two visits, that both resulted in victories. Lee has birdied every hole but two and has only made bogey (six total) on five holes. He doesn't own the course record or tournament scoring record but posting 26-under and 25-under in the two editions here is nothing to scoff at!
With local legend Jordan Spieth out this week and possibly longer with a wrist injury, I'll turn my attention to another green jacket holder. Hideki Matsuyama (+2200) bested his 2021 appearance by 12 shots last year to claim T3. Closing with nine birdies, an eagle, and a bogey for 62, the best of eight rounds here, his Sunday rally fell two shots short. All eight rounds are 70 or better (67.50 average.)
Scott Stallings (+6600) couldn't run down Lee in the 2021 debut, but it wasn't due to a shortage of firepower. Unleashing 30 birdies to lead the field pushed him up to T3. But it was two double bogeys on the card that stalled his challenge. Last year 20 birdies and three eagles set the pace, but another dreaded double and seven other bogeys pushed him to T25. All eight rounds are in the red (67.25 average.)
Seamus Power (+3300) has posted 18-under on both visits. The 2021 edition was good enough for a top 10 payday (T9). Last year four rounds in the 60s were only good enough for T17. Co-led the field in Bogey Avoidance in 2021 (2 bogeys, one double) and squared just five bogeys (no doubles) last year. All eight rounds are in the red, and seven reside in the 60s (67.50 average.)
Matt Kuchar (+2500) will feel he's getting closer to cracking the code at TPC Craig Ranch. Sitting just three shots off the lead after 54 holes in 2021, he only made one birdie in stumbling to the finish line with 73 on Sunday. Posting rounds over par here is a roadblock. The 73 knocked him from T3 to T17 (16-under). Last season he posted all four rounds in the red, including 64 on Sunday to jump to T12 on 20-under. Yep, 20-under didn't hit the top 10 last year! Only K.H. Lee has made fewer bogeys in the previous two years than Kuchar's seven.
Scottie Scheffler (2/2; +333): Becomes the crowd favorite with Spieth on the shelf. Improved to T15 after T47 debut. Seven of eight rounds in the red. All four rounds in the 60s in 2022.
Ryan Palmer (2/2; +12500): Held the non-TOUR course record (61) before 60 was established last year. Posted 62 to lead after 36 holes before cashing T5 (23-under). Of his eight rounds, five have resulted in 67 or better. 75 on Sunday in 2021 (T47) didn't help his scoring average!
Patton Kizzire (2/2; +12500): Rode the roller coaster on debut. Rounds of 69 and 71 in Rounds 1 and 3 never help here. Posting 64 in Round 2 and 63 in Round 4 helped to hit the podium on T3. Made the cut on the number last year but played the weekend 1-over (T83).
James Hahn (1/2; +20000): Closed 61-69 last year for T9. Missed tying the course record by a shot in Round 3. Squared only five bogeys for the week. One of the many who missed out in 2021 on 5-under, the lowest to MC of the two editions.
Davis Riley (1/1; 5500): Sat T107 after opening with 72 last year. Played his final 54 holes with one bogey and posted 21 under. Posted 64 in the second and third rounds.
Joseph Bramlett (2/2; +6600): Opened with 64 in 2021 to sit one off the first-round lead before cashing T7. Returned last year with four more rounds of 70 or better for T51.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout (1/1; +5000): Last member of the 20-under club in the field this week. 24 birdies against just four bogeys. Holed 383 feet of putts on the Bentgrass surfaces.
What to know
Field of 156.
Top 65 (plus ties) play the final two rounds.
TPC Craig Ranch (Tom Weiskopf, 2004) will play Par-71 at 7,414 yards, both have changed for the 2023 edition.
Scorecard reflects Par-71 and plays 54 fewer yards than the 2022 and 2021 editions. Read Rob Bolton's Power Rankings to learn why.
TPC Craig Ranch has ranked in the top five easiest courses over the last two years.
$9.5 million prize pool. $1.71 million plus 500 FedExCup points to the winner.
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