Preview and Predictions for the 2016 AT&T Byron Nelson

Ben Alberstadt@benalberstadtFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2016

Preview and Predictions for the 2016 AT&T Byron Nelson

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    On the heels of Jason Day's resounding win at The Players Championship, the PGA Tour heads back to Texas for the AT&T Byron Nelson.  

    World No. 2, Jordan Spieth, will garner the lion's share of the attention this week as, following a missed cut at the Players, he enters the tournament where he posted a top-20 finish as a 16-year-old amateur. 

    This year's tournament, in contrast to the 2015 edition, which featured both a lot of rain and an improbable Steven Bowditch victory, ought to offer a little tougher test.

    The GolfStrat.com fantasy experts have identified the following stats as common among top performers at the Byron Nelson: approaches from 100 to 125 yards, approaches from more than 200 yards and approaches from 150 to 175 yards. 

    For the full preview and our predicted winner, read on.

Tournament Information

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    Defending Champion: Steven Bowditch

    Where: TPC Four Seasons Resort at Las Colinas, Irving, Texas; 7,166 yards; par 70

    What

    Total Purse: $7,300,000

    Winning Share: $1,314,000

    FedEx Points to Winner: 500   

    When

    Thursday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)

    Saturday-Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. ET (GC); Thursday-Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET (CBS)

Biggest Storylines

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    Jordan Spieth! The Dallas native will put a peg in the ground this week still looking for his first victory in the Lone Star State. He's gotten close, finishing runner-up in three tournaments. And as an AT&T sponsoree and on the heels of a missed cut at TPC Sawgrass last week, Spieth will be under the microscope even more than he customarily is. 

    With respect to the rest of the field, eight other golfers in the Official World Golf Ranking's top 30 will be teeing it up, including Dustin Johnson, Louis Oosthuizen, Sergio Garcia, Brandt Snedeker, Zach Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Charl Schwartzel and Matt Kuchar. 

    Zach Johnson, David Toms and Boo Weekley are all in pursuit of the "DFW Double," winning both the AT&T Invitational and Dean & DeLuca Invitational in their careers.

    And of course, the great Byron Nelson, tournament namesake who passed away in 2006, will rightfully be remembered, now 10 years on from his death.

The Favorites

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    Dustin Johnson

    DJ has tallied top-10 finishes at the Byron Nelson in four of his last five attempts. He finished 28th at the Players in his most recent action. Johnson is seventh on tour in strokes gained: total and third in birdie average. Ninth in scoring average, Johnson is ninth in both approaches from 150 to 175 yards and 100 to 125 yards.

      

    Matt Kuchar 

    Kuchar finished third at the Players and placed 39th at the Byron Nelson last year. He finished seventh in 2014. Kuchar is 12th on tour in strokes gained: total and 10th in scoring average. He's 30th in approaches from over 200 yards—an important range at TPC Las Colinas.

    Jordan Spieth 

    Spieth followed up his Masters disappointment with another disappointment, missing the cut at the Players. He's never done better than his 16th-place finish as an amateur in 2010 here. The Dallas native is 11th in strokes gained: total, second in birdie average and eighth in scoring average.

The Dark Horses

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    Colt Knost: A Dallas native, Colt Knost nearly chased down Jason Day at the Players last week, eventually finishing third. He finished 10th at last year's Byron Nelson. 

    Lucas Glover: Glover hasn't teed it up at TPC Las Colinas, so he's a real wild card. However, he's coming in with an eighth-place finish at the Wells Fargo tournament in his most recent start. 

    Other dark horses: Bryce Molder, Scott Piercy, Jimmy Walker

Prediction

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    Winner: Ryan Palmer

    We're tapping a Texan to win this week, and his name isn't Jordan Spieth. 

    Amarillo native Ryan Palmer arrives at TPC Four Seasons after finishing 23rd at the Players, and he tied for fourth at the Valero Texas Open prior to that, so his recent form is good.

    In his most recent work at the Byron Nelson, the Texas native finished 10th, and he's recorded top-10 finishes in three of his last five starts at the event (top-25s in four of his last five). 

    Looking at key stats, Palmer is 23rd on tour in birdie average (3.92) and 19th in scoring average (70.490). He's 36th on tour in approaches from 175 to 200 yards—a critical range.    

    All stats via PGATour.com.