May 12, 2014

Kaymer’s climb adds 10th top-30 player in world rankings to Nelson field

Afternoon storm shortens pro-am, topples video board in Irving.

The strength of this week’s field at the HP Byron Nelson Championship took a step forward Monday when Martin Kaymer, Sunday’s winner of The Players Championship, climbed to No. 28 in the world golf rankings.

The move by Kaymer, a Nelson competitor, means 10 of the world’s top 30 players are slated to compete in Thursday’s opening round at the Four Seasons Resort in Irving. The list includes two top-10 golfers: Matt Kuchar (No. 5) and Jordan Spieth (No. 8), a Dallas resident.

Sunday’s results assured that six of the top 10 players in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings will compete in Irving: Jimmy Walker (second), Kuchar (third), Spieth (fourth), Dustin Johnson (sixth), Patrick Reed (seventh) and Jason Dufner (10th).

The top nine players in the Ryder Cup standings Aug. 10 will earn automatic berths on the 2014 U.S. team. The final three players will receive at-large bids from captain Tom Watson.

Weather issues

Tournament officials cleared the TPC course Monday afternoon when heavy rain and strong winds pelted the venue during pro-am rounds.

As of Monday evening, officials had not identified any significant course-related damage caused by the storm. But there was at least one Monday casualty: a video board near the 18th hole toppled during the storm.

Spieth’s role

Spieth, 20, will join Harrison Frazar as hosts of Tuesday’s youth clinic (5 p.m., TPC practice area). The clinic is free. Spieth will be making his fourth career Nelson appearance and his second as a PGA Tour member.

Also participating in the youth clinic will be Dan Boever, the 2008 Re/Max World Long Drive senior champion and a golf trick-shot artist.

Daly joins field

Scott Verplank, a Dallas native and the 2007 Nelson champion, joined Roberto Castro in withdrawing Monday from the Nelson field. Their places were taken by John Daly and Tim Petrovic.

Daly, a longtime fan favorite, will be playing the Nelson for the first time since 2008. His best career finish in Irving is a tie for 27th in 2004.

Qualifier suspended

Play was suspended with 34 golfers remaining on the course at Monday’s qualifier in Lewisville to determine the final four spots in the Nelson field. Competitors will return Tuesday at 8 a.m. to The Lakes at Castle Hills to complete their suspended rounds.

Among golfers who finished before Monday’s weather delay, the top four scores in the clubhouse at the par-72 facility belong to Case Cochran (69), Jason Allred (69), Brad Elder (70) and Dustin Risdon (70).

The top four finishers will earn spots in Thursday’s opening round.

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