The PGA Tour is back in Dallas-Fort Worth this week to begin a two-week stay, from Thursday’s opening round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship until the final putt drops May 26 at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Golfers will compete for a combined $13.1 million in prize money during the DFW doubleheader, starting with a $6.7 million purse at this week’s event in Irving. The Nelson field features defending champ Jason Dufner and includes two notable teenagers: Guan Tianglang, 14, the low amateur at the 2013 Masters, and Jordan Spieth, 19, a Dallas native who will be playing for the first time as a professional in his hometown PGA Tour stop.
Spieth, who helped lead Texas to the 2012 NCAA championship in his only season as a college golfer, made his tour debut at the 2010 Nelson and finished in a tie for 16th while competing as a 16-year-old amateur.
Guan, an eighth-grader from Guangzhou, China, will be the youngest competitor in Nelson history when he tees up in Thursday’s opening round at the Four Seasons Resort. And this event has had its share of notable teens through the years.
Sergio Garcia, then 19, made his professional debut at the 1999 Nelson and finished in a tie for third. Tiger Woods competed at the 1993 Nelson as a 17-year-old high school student and missed the cut, posting rounds of 77-72. Spieth, who played in high school at Dallas Jesuit, made the Nelson cut while playing on sponsor’s exemptions as a high school junior (2010, T-16) and senior (2011, T-32).
Now, it is Guan’s turn to be in the Nelson spotlight. After finishing as the low amateur at the Masters, he made the cut in last month’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where he finished 71st.
“What Guan has been able to accomplish at such a young age is very impressive,” said Mike McKinley, 2013 Nelson tournament chairman. “We have always had a tradition of identifying young talent and giving them an opportunity to compete at the Nelson. We look forward to continuing that with Guan.”