New Dallas Course Welcomes PGA Tour AT&T Byron Nelson

SBR Staff

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 11:56 AM UTC

Tuesday, May. 15, 2018 11:56 AM UTC

Jordan Spieth is the favorite at a newer venue, but there are plenty of solid Byron Nelson contenders this week on the PGA Tour stop in Dallas.

The PGA Tour makes its swing through the Lone Star State this weekend, as defending champion Billy Horschel highlights a strong field for the AT&T Byron Nelson.

This year in Dallas, though, is unlike past years -- as Trinity Forest Golf Club is the new host of the Byron Nelson. A treeless new layout that was once a landfill southwest of town, Trinity Forest was renovated by Ben Crenshaw/Bill Coore to lure the Nelson away from TPC Four Seasons.

So while Horschel (who is a +2000 pick at Intertops this week) defends this week, the Nelson is truly a tossup for the entire field. And it is a star-studded field, with Dallas native Jordan Spieth (the overwhelming favorite at +450 at Intertops) still looking for a victory in his hometown event. Spieth's best finish at the Nelson is just a tie for 16th as a 16-year-old in 2010 (he missed the cut last season).

Both Horschel and Spieth are coming off solid starts at THE PLAYERS, with Horschel finishing at 7-under par and Spieth playing 71 holes of solid golf before a quadruple bogey at the last knocked him down to 41st place.

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It’s a great week to recognize Byron Nelson’s impact on golf. Look at the exchange he had with Tom Watson after a tough struggle in Nelson’s 1971 eponymous PGA TOUR stop: “Tom, I love the way you play golf,” Byron Nelson said, “an…

— The First Tee FW (@TheFirstTeeFW) May 14, 2018

Horschel out-dueled Jason Day in a playoff to claim his fourth PGA Tour title and end a 2 1/2-year winless drought at the 2017 Nelson. The victory was doubly sweet for Horschel, with news a day later that his wife Brittany had just celebrated one year of sobriety after seeking help for alcoholism.

Two-time Nelson champion and new Texas resident Sergio Garcia (+1400 at Intertops) is in the field, as is Aussie Marc Leishman (+2500) and Matt Kuchar (+1400). Garcia aims to join Sam Snead and Tom Watson as the only three-time Nelson champions.

Because the top 60 in the world rankings after the Nelson receive automatic berths into next month's U.S. Open, keep an eye on players like Charles Howell III (No. 61 entering the week).

Japan's Hideki Matsuyama makes his inaugural Byron Nelson start this weekend and is a +1800 pick at Intertops. Matsuyama has only played Colonial in 2014 and the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas.

A supreme dark-horse pick this week could be Chilean teen Joaquin Niemann, who is making his third professional start and is +6600 at Intertops. Niemann's last Texas start was a solo 6th at the Valero Texas Open.

Also keep an eye on Maverick McNealy (+6600), a former world No. 1 amateur, who is taking his first sponsor exemption since the West Coast Swing and is coming off a third-place showing at the Tour United Leasing & Finance Championship.

Trinity Forest stretches to 7,380 yards and plays to a par of 71. The course's name is a misnomer, as there is not a single tree on the layout. The course features one of North America's largest double greens -- the 35,000-square-foot No. 3/11.

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