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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering the Byron Nelson Championship

Jeremy Schilling

Schilling covers golf for RotoWire, focusing on young and up-and-coming players. He was a finalist for the FSWA's Golf Writer of the Year award. He also contributes to PGA Magazine and hosts the popular podcast "Teeing It Up" on BlogTalkRadio.

So with the end of Sunday's dramatic win at The Players by Martin Kaymer, golf's focus turns to the run up to the U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2 in a month's time. This week, it's the Byron Nelson Championship, where Jordan Spieth will attempt to do what he did last month: play well after a loss.

History Lesson I

Last year Sang-Moon Bae won this event by two shots over Keegan Bradley. That was preceded in 2012 by Jason Dufner defeating Dicky Pride by one. In 2011, Bradley won in a playoff over Ryan Palmer, and in 2010 Jason Day beat Blake Adams, Brian Gay and Jeff Overton by two.

Of this group, (all except Day - who is injured - and Adams are in the field) we really like Bradley this week. Yes, he did miss the cut last week at The Players, but in the last two months he has a second at Bay Hill, a T8 in New Orleans (though he did struggle down the stretch) and a T12 at the Honda Classic. He's also 24th in driving distance, 11th in birdie average and 23rd in the all-around Ranking.

History Lesson II

I wrote in this same stats column the week after the Masters that crushing defeats can be hard to rebound from, especially if you're playing the very next week. That was what Spieth faced just days after the Masters, but he rallied on Sunday to tie for 12th at Harbour Town. So while Spieth may not be the smart pick this week, we wouldn't underestimate him. He also nearly won this event as a 16-year-old. He's sixth in scoring average on the PGA Tour this season.

Who is Playing

This week's field includes Matt Kuchar, Ryo Ishikawa, Angel Cabrera, Tim Clark, Harris English, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Reed and Jimmy Walker.

My pick is Kuchar, who continued his solid run of play at TPC Sawgrass, finishing 17th. For the week he was T1 in sand saves and 18th in strokes gained-putting.

My sleeper pick is Ishikawa, who is quietly having a solid season. He has three top-10 and eight top-25 finishes in 15 starts, including a T2 in Las Vegas. He finished T18 in his last start at the RBC Heritage and ranks 31st in both greens in regulation and all-around ranking.

Sunday Surgers

Here are some players who played well Sunday who could help your fantasy team this week:

Jimmy Walker -
Walker shot a Sunday 65 to bump him up 26 spots to a T6 finish. Walker finished the week T9 in greens in regulation, 12th in strokes gained-putting and first in putts per green in regulation.

Marc Leishman -
Leishman shot a Sunday 67 at TPC Sawgrass that moved him up 29 places into a tie for 23rd. For the season, Leishman is third in greens in regulation from 125-150 yards.

Brendan Steele -
Steele's Sunday 67 was one of the day's best, producing a 35-spot jump on the final leaderboard to a T26 finish. Steele finished the week T10 in strokes gained-putting.