We move 35 miles East from Fort Worth to Dallas on the Texas swing and with TPC Four Seasons being in such close proximity to Colonial Country Club, you'd have to be very optimistic to hope the poor weather missed this week's stop. Indeed, according to reports, Las Colinas was hit even harder by the recent downpour. Renowned as one of the most wind affected events and toughest par 70s on the PGA Tour, soggy fairways will now add to the test even further.
Scene of two prominent moments in recent golfing history, TPC Four seasons and the Byron Nelson Championship is the home town event of Masters' champion Jordan Spieth - 6.00. Spieth made his debut here at just 16 and his schoolmates watched him get into contention until a double bogey down the stretch on the final day ended the excitement. Jordan is desperate to add a Texas title to his list of achievements and he missed out by just a shot at Colonial last week.
Speaking of Colonial, Jason Day - 17.00 - is a former Fort Worth resident and it was up the road in Dallas where he recorded his maiden PGA Tour success back in 2010 when Blake Adams capitulated on the last hole. Jason wrapped up the Byron Nelson Championship an he has a standout record on the Four Seasons track, showing a form line of 1-5-9-27.
The Course - TPC Four Seasons, Las Colinas
I mentioned the wind here and it is indeed the usual gusty conditions that are the defence of the course. Despite some room for manoeuvre off the tee, and greens measuring in at 6,000 square feet, TPC Four Seasons generally ranks as one of the tougher tracks to hit fairways and greens on. This is down to wind coupled with speedy surfaces. Keegan Bradley - 31.00 - edged out Ryan Palmer in a playoff here back in 2011, finishing on a -3 total in an event where just five players posted under par for the week. To put the wind factor into some context, In 2013, he smashed the course record with an opening 60. Brendon Todd told us how he teed it down coming home last year to try and make sure he hit the fairways. The course checks in at 7,166 yards to a par of 70 and scrambling will be vital at Las Colinas.
Three from the pack
I have a big asterisk in my Byron Nelson Championship notes beside Marc Leishman's - 41.00 or 9.00 - name. Leish is a course specialist. He puts his success here down to liking the windy conditions and generally fast greens - familiar to him having grown up in Australia. We backed Leish here last year and he led on the back nine before stalling. A 3rd place finish added to an exceptional form line of 8-12-mc-3-12-3 in six starts. Marc is simmering with a new perspective following a recent illness in the family. He'll also be buzzing having gotten up and down on the last at Colonial for a top 30 finish which earned him a spot in the US Open by the skin of his teeth.
I'm putting a big line through Ryan Palmer's - 41.00 or 9.00 - performance last week at Colonial. The rough was described as US Open style, and scoring over the first 3 days - before lift clean and place to 1 club length (including in rough) was introduced on Sunday - was not as low as usual. I see it as getting almost double the price this week on Ryan in a local event not carrying as much pressure as the Crowne Plaza did for the American. We can't forget that Palmer hit a 61 at Colonial 2 weeks ago in practice so form is there. As mentioned, he lost out in a playoff here to Bradley in 2011 and owns a recent 4 event average finishing position of 16.5, with another top 10 posted in 2012.
Brendon Todd - 51.00 or 11.00 - was first in scrambling en route to victory here in 2014 and key to his win was course management. I mentioned earlier how Brendon talked about purposely teeing it lower than usual in the wind to make sure he kept it in play. That struck a chord and gives me belief that he can handle the pressure once again if contending. He obviously has a liking for the track having finished top 20 the year previous. Todd is currently simmering and posted a T4 at the windy Harbour Town Links. Maybe Brendon can take inspiration from good friend and former University of Georgia team mate Chris Kirk's win last week. The Georgia Bulldog sits 9th in scrambling and 21st in proximity this season.
John Huh - 81.00 or 17.00 - has a fine record in Texas and has form at TPC Four Seasons and Colonial. Huh's been 8th and 16th here following a WD in his maiden season. He's also been T2 at the Valero Texas Open. Huh notched his maiden victory in windy Mayakoba in 2012 - a year in which he went on to win the rookie of the year award. John is 14th in driving accuracy and 21st in scrambling in 2015. He went -7 through 10 holes last Sunday eventually climbing into a top 20 spot at Colonial.
Rodney Pampling - 176.00 or 31.00 - is another with form around Colonial and TPC Four seasons. Being an Aussie, he'll be well used to the conditions in windy Texas and indeed he owns three recent top 10s at the Byron Nelson. He missed out by just a shot back at Colonial in 2008 to Phil Mickelson. Pampling just burst back into form on the WebCom Tour winning the BMW Charity pro-am - an event played over three courses. The Aussie matched the course record on two of the triumvirate opening with a pair of 63s.