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BlogWho will win at the Nelson on Sunday?

HP Byron Nelson Championship

May 15 – 18, 2014

TPC Four Seasons Resort

Irving, Texas

Par: 70 / Yardage: 7,166

Purse: $6.9 million

with $1,242,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Sang-Moon Bae

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

Things you need to know before Sunday’s final round:

A bunched up leaderboard, what does that mean for the final round?

That we are again going to get another close finish.  Just look at this chart of tournaments on the PGA Tour that have the closets finishes:

  • Event                                                # of playoffs       # of one shot wins     Totals
  • HP Byron Nelson                                 17                               16                     33
  • Travelers Championship                      16                               17                     33
  • *Shell Houston Open                           17                               16                     33
  • RBC Canadian Open                           13                               18                     31
  • *includes this year’s event

In just the last 50 years, the Nelson has had 17 playoffs and 16 events that were won by a shot.  So with ten players within 3 shots of leaders Louis Oosthuizen and Brendon Todd and 35 players within seven shots you know things will be close.

But at the same time with close calls, in the last 13 years, 8 third round leaders have won so if history tells us anything Oosthuizen and Todd have a 61.5% chance of winning on Sunday.

Will the final round be a David versus Goliath kind of day?

You have the final round pairing between Louis Oosthuizen, who won the British Open in 2010 and Brendon Todd whose resume of achievements including two Web.Com wins so in a way it is David vs. Goliath.  But let’s take this a step further, I think that Oosthuizen is more the Goliath’s on Sunday because I see a lot of talent in back of them and I can’t picture either one of those in the final grouping winning.

So I am saying that a major championship winner going into the final round of a PGA Tour event is an underdog?

Yes I am.  Oosthuizen has played great and has improved each day and on Saturday was 8 under in his last 14 holes.  But his game has not been that sharp statistically as he ranks 23rd in greens hit and 5th in strokes gained putting.  The thing that I question about Louis is his one year bout with back pain.  Talk about déjà vu it was a year ago in the final round in which the symptoms of his problems started when he was forced to withdraw on the Sunday of the Nelson due to neck pain.  It’s been a one year odyssey for him to get healthily again.  Even though he is saying he has no problems with his injuries, it was just a couple of months ago at the Match Play and Cadillac that he still was having problems with the back, so bad that he couldn’t start the Honda Classic.  Who knows if divine intervention is setting in but I would still worry about him.  One last thing, to win the Nelson you have to be a great ball striker, which Oosthuizen is but you have to be a great scrambler, right now he ranks 191st in that stat this year so that is why I don’t have much faith in him.

So what problems do you I have with Todd?

A spotty record and experience.  I go to our within 5 of the lead going into the final round and in looking at Todd’s resume of work there is nothing that tells us that he will be the tower of granite on Sunday.  In 76 starts Todd has only finished three times in the top-ten,  he has never experienced the rarefied air of playing in the final group on Sunday so I think he will be out of his element.  This could be an case of a water glass being more than half empty; it does have some water in it. One thing going for him is the fact that he was part of the winning Georgia team in which his teammates included Russell Henley, Harris English and former roommate Chris Kirk so he will have a lot of Georgia support from these guys who have won on the PGA Tour.

So who do we look for to conquer the Nelson on Sunday?

Here is a couple of guys with some good reasons.

First there is Gary Woodland.  He could have easily been in the leader if not for a very ugly double bogey on the par 5, seventh hole on Saturday.  He has the length and is among the leaders one of the best in greens hit ranking T6th.  I have looked at his progress this year and he has knocked on the door a few times including last week at the Players were a poor final round has messed him up.  Again the experience factor of being close but not playing well could turn around for him.

Mike Weir – Yes don’t poop-poop him because of the fact that he hasn’t had a top-ten since his sixth place finish at the 2010 Humana.  That’s a long time ago, but Weir has been struggling with elbow problems for over five years now and at 44 years old many thought he was just going to have to wait until he turned 50.  Well he has a chance to put all of that right on Sunday, I will be rooting for him but the sensible me says that he will be overwhelmed with all of the hoopla on Sunday

So were do I think the winner will come from?

There are four players at 8 under, Padraig Harrington, Marc Leishman, Graham DeLaet and Morgan Hoffmann.  If you give me even odds on these four against the field, I would take that bet in a heartbeat.  Harrington has really struggled but he knows how to win and just has to put it into principle.

Leishman started the year on fire and has cooled down but I like what he has done at the Byron Nelson in past years.

The same with Morgan Hoffman, his record this year isn’t the greatest but in his only Nelson start last year did finish T5th so he could be someone that does well.  But of the four I am putting the most stock into Graham Delaet who has had a very good year and was T-10th last year at the Nelson.

Anybody else?

This is a tricky question because there are so many folks close to the leaders if a Matt Kuchar shots 64 on Sunday it sounds great on paper, but being six back and 11 players in front of him I see one of those guys shooting a 66 or a 65.  There just isn’t much wiggle room for those that are more than four back to shot up the leaderboard, unless someone shoots a 60 or a 61 which is possible but highly unlikely when you look at the winners of the Nelson.  The lowest final round by a champion since playing at the TPC Four Seasons (going back to 1983) is a 64 by Rory Sabbatini so again don’t look for that miracle round to power someone out of the pack.  Again look for a tight final round and another playoff to determine the winner.

Below is a list of the top-37 players on the leader board going to three under which is 7  shots back of Louis Oosthuizen and Brendon Todd.

Of the top-37 on the leaderboard, who is playing the best: for the HP Byron Nelson Championship

Player The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage Maybank Malaysian Masters Shell Houston Valero Texas Arnold Palmer Valspar Champ. WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico
Matt Kuchar
(313.33 pts)
T17
(49.5)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP T5
(93.33)
2
(33.33)
T4
(26.67)
DNP T38
(4)
T13
(18.5)
DNP
Martin Kaymer
(270 pts)
Win
(198)
T18
(32)
DNP DNP T23
(18)
DNP T31
(25.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T58
(0)
DNP
Jimmy Walker
(179.17 pts)
T6
(90)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T8
(66.67)
T24
(8.67)
T16
(11.33)
DNP DNP T25
(12.5)
DNP
Gary Woodland
(166.17 pts)
T11
(58.5)
T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(32)
DNP DNP T20
(10)
T8
(16.67)
T16
(17)
DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
(83.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(66.67)
25
(33.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T40
(5)
DNP
Morgan Hoffmann
(55.17 pts)
T17
(49.5)
CUT
(-10)
T34
(10.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
WD
(-1.67)
T35
(5)
T25
(8.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Robert Garrigus
(55 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP 73
(0)
DNP DNP T61
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T4
(26.67)
DNP DNP
Charl Schwartzel
(47.83 pts)
T48
(3)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T19
(10.33)
DNP DNP DNP T9
(22.5)
DNP
Retief Goosen
(46.67 pts)
T48
(3)
T50
(1)
T21
(19.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T31
(6.33)
T44
(2)
DNP DNP
John Huh
(44.33 pts)
T72
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T37
(4.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Charles Howell III
(41.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
T18
(32)
T34
(10.67)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T35
(5)
T14
(12)
DNP DNP
Keegan Bradley
(41.17 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP T8
(33.33)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T43
(2.33)
DNP 2
(33.33)
DNP T50
(0.5)
DNP
Paul Casey
(40.67 pts)
DNP DNP T11
(26)
DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T60
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Vijay Singh
(37.33 pts)
DNP T30
(20)
T62
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T37
(17.33)
DNP DNP T20
(10)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Marc Leishman
(26.83 pts)
T23
(40.5)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
T65
(0)
DNP DNP
Carl Pettersson
(26 pts)
CUT
(-15)
T69
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP T31
(6.33)
T16
(11.33)
DNP T20
(10)
DNP T4
(26.67)
Dustin Johnson
(25 pts)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
WD
(-1.67)
DNP DNP DNP T4
(40)
DNP
Graham Delaet
(20.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
T19
(10.33)
DNP DNP T8
(16.67)
T34
(8)
DNP
Brendon Todd
(19 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
T6
(20)
CUT
(-3.33)
T44
(2)
DNP DNP
Shawn Stefani
(14.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
T44
(6)
T52
(0)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP 5
(23.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Ryan Palmer
(11.67 pts)
T59
(0)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
T56
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Peter Hanson
(11.33 pts)
DNP WD
(-5)
T11
(26)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-13.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP T35
(5)
T44
(2)
DNP DNP
Brice Garnett
(11.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
83
(0)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP T7
(18.33)
T31
(6.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T72
(0)
Billy Hurley III
(-7.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T80
(0)
DNP T31
(12.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
James Hahn
(-11.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T68
(0)
DNP DNP 36
(4.67)
T16
(11.33)
DNP T38
(4)
DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Of the top-37 on the leaderboard, who isn’t playing well: for the HP Byron Nelson Championship

Player The Players Wells Fargo Zurich Classic Volvo China RBC Heritage Maybank Malaysian Masters Shell Houston Valero Texas Arnold Palmer Valspar Champ. WGC Cadillac Puerto Rico
James Driscoll
(-29.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T54
(0)
DNP T14
(12)
Charlie Wi
(-27.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
T34
(10.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T72
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Aaron Baddeley
(-23.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T67
(0)
T35
(5)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Tyrone Van Aswegen
(-22.33 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 71
(0)
T77
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T37
(4.33)
Greg Chalmers
(-19 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
T34
(10.67)
DNP WD
(-3.33)
DNP DNP T69
(0)
T56
(0)
CUT
(-3.33)
T44
(2)
DNP DNP
Andres Romero
(-18.33 pts)
CUT
(-15)
CUT
(-10)
T45
(3.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T24
(8.67)
T46
(1.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Charlie Beljan
(-18 pts)
T48
(3)
CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T69
(0)
T43
(2.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Lee Williams
(-17.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP DNP T43
(2.33)
Boo Weekley
(-17.67 pts)
CUT
(-15)
DNP T29
(14)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP CUT
(-13.33)
DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
84
(0)
T54
(0)
DNP
Padraig Harrington
(-16.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T67
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
CUT
(-3.33)
T67
(0)
T65
(0)
DNP DNP
Scott Gardiner
(-16.67 pts)
DNP CUT
(-10)
T80
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
T64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Mike Weir
(-12 pts)
DNP T57
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T44
(8)
CUT
(-3.33)
T56
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

In Conclusion:

Look for your winner to come from behind, but not too far back.  Now before I get myself in trouble. Louis Oosthuizen is a very cool guy and has been in this position many times and has come through.  The one thing that has always bothered me about him is the fact that he has played full time on the PGA Tour since 2011 and never won in America.  But there is always that first time and frankly Sunday could be that day for Oosthuizen.  He may not have won in America, but he has won at least once a year going back to 2010 and for those that don’t follow the European Tour he won the Volvo Golf Champions back in January in South Africa.  I still like Gary Woodland for some odd reason and even though I know that Mike Weir has very little chance he is by sentimental favorite.  Again don’t dismiss Matt Kuchar, remember what he did in the final round at Hilton Head he could shot 63 or 62 and be in the mix.

Who to watch for on Sunday at the Nelson

Best Bets:

Louis Oosthuizen

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
WD CUT

It’s his to loss, he is a cool customer that has been in this position before and come though so he should win. But be weary of the back and the fact that he hasn’t won in America yet.

Gary Woodland

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T48 T24 T49 T32 CUT

Has the length and I think his game is perfect for this course, it’s up to his short game and can he scramble like a true champ.

Graham DeLaet

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T10 T41 CUT

He is long overdue to win and this is the perfect stage for him. He is close, just needs to shot a 65 on Sunday to get the job done

They are close just need really low rounds:

Marc Leishman

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T12 T3 CUT T12 T8

Has knocked on this door before, just need to find the right key which is a low round on Sunday

Morgan Hoffmann

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T5

Lets see if he goes for the low round on Sunday or just plays it easy looking for a top-five finish

James Hahn

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
First time playing in this event

He is the quiet man that nobody will talk about until the end if he gets himself in contention. Could he win, no, but he has a chance to prove me wrong and could do it

Sentimental favorites that probably won’t win

Mike Weir

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T33 CUT CUT T16 T19 T59 CUT

Was a really good player that ran into some serious injuries. His experience will help him but will he be able to maintain and win is another question mark.

Padraig Harrington

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T48 T15

Will have a lot of folks rooting for him but always seems to get into his own way, that will probably happen on Sunday.

Boo Weekley

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
CUT T63

Everyone roots for Boo but he really needs to go low

Charles Howell III

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T17 T41 T20 T45 CUT T34 CUT T60 CUT

Sorry but I think it will just be another top-ten for this guy who just likes to collect big checks instead of wins.

Need a miracle:

Brendon Todd

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T17 CUT CUT

Just think he will have way too much pressure on him on Sunday, has never been in this position before.

Matt Kuchar

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T33 T15 T6 T39 T42 T39

Can he pull another final round like he did at Hilton Head? It would have to be even lower.

Dustin Johnson

2013 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02
T20 T7 T4 T63

Has to make up too much ground, still think he can shoot a 62 on Sunday but that may not be enough

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