Planet Golf — 17 May 2016 by GW staff and news services
Next up for PGA: AT&T Byron Nelson

DALLAS —  Former No. 1 Jason Spieth returns to his home territory this week’s Byron Nelson Classic looking for his first PGA win in the State of Texas.

The Dallas native is having an off-season by his standards and missed the cut at last week’s event — THE PLAYERS — in Florida.

He hopes some home cooking returns him to the winner’s circle.

• COURSE: TPC Four Seasons Resort at Las Colinas, 7,166 yards, par 70. Originally laid out by Jay Morrish in 1983, the course underwent a major overhaul in 2007 by D.A. Weibring and Steve Wolfard. The revamped layout features large, undulating greens, encouraging players to use slopes to work their shots closer to the pin – but with runoffs and closely mown areas just off the putting surface to penalize poor shots. Weibring/Wolfard also did extensive tree landscaping that brings creeks and ponds more into play. The 18th hole features a unique “water cascade” that extends from the landing area to the green.

• FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points.

• CHARITY: The Momentous Institute, which serves some 6,000 troubled children and family members in the Dallas-Fort Worth area each year with therapeutic and education services. The tournament has raised $143 million since its launch in 1968.

• FIELD WATCH: World No. 2 Jordan Spieth, whose first PGA Tour taste was a tie for 16th at Las Colinas at age 16, and No. 8 Dustin Johnson top a lineup that includes 10 of the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking. … Bryson DeChambeau, the former NCAA and U.S. Amateur champion whose share of fourth at the RBC Heritage put him on the brink of Special Temporary status, seeks to finish the job at Las Colinas. … Wake Forest sophomore Will Zalatoris, like Spieth a former U.S. Junior champion and Trinity Christian grad, will tee it up on a sponsor exemption. So will PGA Tour Latinoamerica’s Alex Moon, Spieth’s roommate from their days at Texas.

• 72-HOLE RECORD: 259, Steven Bowditch (pictured) (2015).

• 18-HOLE RECORD: 60, Arron Oberholser (2nd round, 2006 at Cottonwood Valley GC), Keegan Bradley (1st round, 2013 at TPC Four Seasons).

• LAST YEAR: Bowditch opened with a 62 and closed with a 64 to win in his adopted hometown, making 27 birdies over four days at the rain-altered layout. Two soggy weeks in the Metroplex were capped by a 5-inch downpour after the first round, forcing the tough par-4 14th to become a par-3 of barely 100 yards for the final three rounds. That turned the overall par to 69, believed to be a first in Tour annals. Nonetheless, Bowditch was forced to make a 12-foot par save at No. 14 on the final day to preserve a three-shot lead and keep the chase pack at arm’s length. It was the Aussie’s second PGA TOUR victory, taking place on the same Four Seasons property where he got married in 2011.

• STORYLINES: Spieth returns to his hometown event, still seeking his first victory in the state of Texas. He’s been runner-up three times – once each at Colonial, Houston and San Antonio. Here he still hasn’t improved on that tie for 16th as a teenager. … Though Dustin Johnson owns four top-10 finishes in his past five visits to TPC Las Colinas, he hasn’t been close enough to make a Sunday run at the title. Johnson’s best finish was fourth in 2009. … Former Colonial champions Zach Johnson, David Toms and Boo Weekley seek to become the 16th man to complete the “DFW Double” by winning both Dallas-Fort Worth events in their career. Adam Scott was the last to do it – winning Colonial two years ago also completed the first “Texas Grand Slam,” combined with wins at Houston and San Antonio.

• SHORT CHIPS: Ten of the past 16 Nelson winners, including Bowditch, have done it with all four rounds in the 60s. Last year, 11 of the top 15 broke 70 all four days. … Four of the past six winners have made it their first PGA Tour win, a list that includes major champions Jason Day (2010) and Keegan Bradley (2011). … The top 60 in the world rankings after Sunday’s final putt receive automatic berths into next month’s U.S. Open. Sony Open champion Fabian Gomez is on the bubble at No. 60.

• TELEVISION: Thursday-Friday, 1-4 p.m. PT (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 10-11:30 a.m. (GC), noon-3 p.m. PT (CBS).

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