HP Byron Nelson 2013: Contenders Who Must Finish Strong to Build on Season

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2013

IRVING, TX - MAY 17:  Keegan Bradley chips on to the 18th green during the second round of the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship at the TPC Four Seasons Resort on May 17, 2013 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

There are plenty of golfers in contention for the HP Byron Nelson Championship, but some players need a bigger performance than others.

While this event is not the biggest tournament on the schedule, it provides golfers with a great opportunity to gain some momentum as they enter the heart of the season. With the U.S. Open beginning next month and the Open Championship following in July, there are plenty of places for golfers to make their mark.

However, a few players looking to do well in these majors have struggled to this point in the year. A strong showing by these guys in the final couple of rounds this weekend will make a huge difference for the rest of the year. 


Keegan Bradley

It appeared that Keegan Bradley was going to be a top competitor at the Masters after he finished in the top 10 of four straight tournaments heading into Augusta. Unfortunately, an 82 in the third round dropped him far out of contention.

Since then, he's completely fallen apart. Bradley missed the cut at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and then missed the cut again at the Players Championship.

The good news is that he seems to have turned the corner this week at Irving with a 60 in his opening round. However, consistency has been a problem all year, and it will be impossible for him to win without posting four strong rounds in a row.

If he can avoid another collapse, he should be able to keep his confidence heading into the rest of the year.


Charl Schwartzel

After winning the 2011 Masters, Charl Schwartzel appeared as though he was going to take a big step toward being one of the top players in the world. While he is consistently in contention, he is rarely on top of a leaderboard.

Since the start of 2012, the South African has only missed three cuts, but he also has only four top-10 finishes in that time. 

Heading into the Byron Nelson Championship, Schwartzel had gone 13 rounds in a row without scoring in the 60s. That all changed with an impressive 63 on Thursday that featured seven birdies and no bogeys.

In the final two rounds, he must continue to play relatively mistake-free to finish strong and finish at least in the top 10.


Angel Cabrera

Despite a few years worth of struggles, it is clear that Angel Cabrera still has some very strong play left in him.

The 43-year-old pro lost in the playoff of the Masters to Adam Scott and is looking to build off that performance to get back among the top players in the world. The problem is that he has struggled down the stretch in each of his past two PGA events.

At the Wells Fargo Championship, Cabrera shot an 80 in Round 4. At the Players' Championship, he only managed at 76 in the final round. He has to make sure this does not become a trend.

With many talented young competitors jockeying for position on the leaderboard, Cabrera could end up once again falling behind. He has to avoid a poor round on Sunday to not only stay ahead in this event, but gain more confidence for many upcoming events.