After a week at the star-laden PLAYERS Championship, the PGA Tour showcases a much more modest field at this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson. The Dallas-based tournament will be teeing it up for the first time at the Trinity Forest Golf Club, a new Ben Crenshaw design located 20 miles southwest in Dallas.
The new location marks the end of a 35-year run for the Nelson at the TPC Four Seasons Resort and Club in suburban Irving, Texas.
Here are the players to watch most closely this week:
15. BEAU HOSSLER
As a Trinity member, Hossler has the advantage of being one of the few players in the field with something resembling experience here. He nearly won last month in Houston when he lost a playoff to Ian Poulter, and while his more recent results have not been as impressive, Hossler has shown this year that he can compete on Tour. His putting, which has been a considerable strength this season, was a disaster at THE PLAYERS, but he was No. 2 in the field in strokes gained: off-the-tee.
World Rank: 82nd
Field Rank: 15th
Last Seven: 46, 34, 51, 16, 2, 66, MC
14. SCOTT PIERCY
His results have been inconsistent, but Piercy’s iron game has been immaculate, as he currently leads the Tour in strokes gained: approach-the-green. If his putts drop better than they have been, the 39-year-old is a great bet for his ninth top-25 in 16 starts this year.
World Rank: 155th
Field Rank: 29th
Last Seven: MC, 1, MC, 16, 24, 60, MC
13. JOAQUIN NIEMANN
The 19-year-old Chilean star made the most of his professional debut last month, finishing T6 at the Valero Texas Open after a pair of 67s on the weekend where he showcased a pristine iron game. This field will not intimidate the young man who has won everywhere he has been.
World Rank: 654th
Field Rank: 116th
Last Seven: MC, 6
12. PETER UIHLEIN
After a miserable April where he missed the cut in all three of his starts, Uihlein dazzled the Quail Hollow field two weeks ago with a T5 that was highlighted by a third-round 62. His first year as a full-time PGA member has mostly gone well, aside from ghastly driving, and if he can limit the damage there, this could be a second straight very high finish.
World Rank: 57th
Field Rank: 9th
Last Seven: 5, MC, MC, 17, 66, 37, MC
11. AARON WISE
After his runner-up finish at the Wells Fargo Championship two weeks ago, it was a real shame that Wise was not in the field for last week’s PLAYERS Championship. If the 21-year-old stayed warm during his layoff, he is a tremendous bet next week in a weak field. Three 68s at Quail Hollow was far and away his best performance of his young career, and may have been the breakout everyone has been waiting for since he dominated at the University of Oregon.
World Rank: 99th
Field Rank: 18th
Last Seven: 2, MC, 32, 41, 68, 33, MC
10. BILLY HORSCHEL
The AT&T Byron Nelson defending champion is Horschel, who won his fourth career event last year when he took down Jason Day in a playoff. A T37 last week at THE PLAYERS ended a three-event hot streak where he went T5-T11-WIN, but his putting has been phenomenal since his recent switch, and it would not be shocking to see the former FedExCup Champion in contention for four days.
World Rank: 79th
Field Rank: 14th
Last Seven: 37, 1, 11, 5, MC, 54, MC
9. BRANDEN GRACE
It has been a quiet season for the solid South African, who has not missed a cut in 2018, but only has one top 10. His putting has been hot, which could be a great equalizer on a new course, and it was also promising that he hit at least 14 of 18 greens in three of four rounds at TPC Sawgrass.
World Rank: 36th
Field Rank: 7th
Last Seven: 46, 24, 29, 8, 30, 37, 20
8. ADAM SCOTT
A T11 at THE PLAYERS was a promising development for Scott, who was just one spot short of his first top-10 in 11 months after shooting three of four rounds in the 60s. His iron game is still a strength and he led the TPC Sawgrass field in scrambling, so there is definitely some good for him to build on.
World Rank: 65th
Field Rank: 11th
Last Seven: 11, 76, MC, 32, 41, 16, 13
7. HIDEKI MATSUYAMA
The world No. 9 has stumbled badly out of the gate lately, posting a first-round 79 at TPC Sawgrass after an opening 77 at Quail Hollow the week prior, but is too good for us to believe that will continue to be a trend. Even in his slumping form, Matsuyama has been phenomenal around the greens and he hit 85% of his fairways at THE PLAYERS in the two rounds he played.
World Rank: 9th
Field Rank: 2nd
Last Seven: MC, 76, 19, 36, 49, 12, 4
6. CHARLES HOWELL III
With five top-25s in his last six starts, CHIII has quietly gotten himself on the right side of the bubble to qualify for next month’s U.S. Open, rising inside the world’s top 60, which would get him a spot if he stays there after Trinity. In a T17 last week at THE PLAYERS, Howell shot three rounds in the 60s and reached 10-under.
World Rank: 59th
Field Rank: 10th
Last Seven: 17, 21, 55, 18, 9, 14, 40
5. JIMMY WALKER
The 2016 PGA Champion seems to finally be getting his game back after a lost year-and-a-half while battling Lyme Disease. Finishing runner-up at THE PLAYERS, where he went bogey-free on Sunday and hit 16 of 18 greens, the Texan now has four consecutive top 25s. If he plays anywhere near as well tee-to-green at Trinity that he did at TPC Sawgrass, a fifth straight would be nearly guaranteed.
World Rank: 56th
Field Rank: 8th
Last Seven: 2, 4, 20, 73, 28, 33, MC
4. MARC LEISHMAN
One of the highest-ranked players in the field at No. 16 in the world, the Aussie has been agonizingly inconsistent, but does have five top 10s on his season. THE PLAYERS was more of the same, as he went low on Saturday with a 67, but his Sunday 76 tied for the worst round in the field. He has been mostly awful off the tees, but his superior iron game makes him a threat anywhere. This could easily be a week where the cream rises to the top.
World Rank: 16th
Field Rank: 4th
Last Seven: 63, MC, 9, 52, 7, 37, MC
3. MATT KUCHAR
Last week we saw Webb Simpson end a four-year winless drought, could Kuchar, who has not won since the 2014 RBC Heritage, be next? Kuchar is one of the most accomplished players in the field, and he is 14 for 14 on making cuts this year. The results have not been super impressive by his standards, with no top 10s since an eighth place finish in Houston, but a T17 at THE PLAYERS included a first-round 66. On a brand-new course, Kuchar’s experience and all-around play should provide an enormous advantage.
World Rank: 22nd
Field Rank: 5th
Last Seven: 17, 51, 23, 28, 8, 9, 40
2. SERGIO GARCIA
The good news last week was that Sergio made the cut at TPC Sawgrass after having missed the weekend in his previous three starts. Unfortunately, his form did not make the weekend with him as rounds of 75 and 76 meant a finish of 70th, especially poor given that he is the event’s all-time earnings leader. In that weekend, he lost more than six strokes to the field tee-to-green. Still, Sergio is one of the marquee golfers in this field and Trinity could very well supply the confidence he needs going forward.
World Rank: 14th
Field Rank: 3rd
Last Seven: 70, MC, MC, 9, 4, 7, 33
1. JORDAN SPIETH
That abysmal quadruple-bogey to close THE PLAYERS had to leave a bad taste in his mouth, but at No. 3 in the world, Spieth is far-and-away the highest ranked player in this field. It is a home event for the Trinity member and ambassador, and expectations will be high this week. He was boom-or-bust last week with a bookend 75-74 around a 68-65 in the middle. Statistically, he has been great in everything lately except putting, which had been getting better before round 4 at TPC Sawgrass. He should be as confident as anyone in the field.
World Rank: 3rd
Field Rank: 1st
Last Seven: 41, 3, 3, 17, MC, 14, 9