Fantasy Aces: Byron Nelson

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jeff Babineau

Best Bet: Ian Poulter

This guy simply doesn’t take weeks off. By that, I mean when he shows up, he’s ready to play, and he was in the hunt at the Nelson two years ago.

Ace Up My Sleeve: Bo Van Pelt

Certainly on the short list of best players who have yet to win, on a pretty solid run since finishing T-8 in Tampa, and no stranger to playing in Texas.

Last Week's Best Bet: Justin Leonard (T-5)

Last Week's Ace: Mark Wilson (T-11)

Standing: 1st

Jim McCabe

Best Bet: Scott Verplank

All he’s done in the last eight of these gatherings is win once and place top 15 five times. Throw in the fact that he’s made nine straight cuts and has been knocking on the door of success all season, and, well, why not?

Ace Up My Sleeve: Ben Crane

Hey, we’re not picking someone to play the hurry-up offense here; we just need some contention, some leaderboard time, some steady play – and Crane has been doing all of that, at least in spurts this year.

Last Week's Best Bet: Justin Leonard (T-5)

Last Week's Ace: John Mallinger (T-47)

Standing: 2nd

Sean Martin

Best Bet: Charley Hoffman

This was a tough one between Hoffman and Luke Donald. Donald has finished in the top 20 in this event for six consecutive seasons, but has finished outside the top 35 in three of his past four events (a runner-up showing at the Heritage being the exception).

I’m going to go with Hoffman here because I think he’s on the upswing. He tied for ninth last week at the Valero Texas Open, and was one good round away from good finishes in the three weeks before that. Plus Hoffman tied for seventh at last year’s Nelson, and tied for eighth in ‘06.

Ace Up My Sleeve: Shigeki Maruyama

This pick may be a little out of left field, but hear me out. Maruyama is a past Nelson champion, and Maruyama has finished in the top 30 in three of four PGA Tour starts this year, including a T-12 at the Sony Open and T-10 at Pebble Beach. Maruyama’s last three starts have been on the Japan Tour, where he’s finished in the top five in two of his past three starts.

Last Week's Best Bet: Charlie Wi (T-40)

Last Week's Ace: Daniel Chopra (MC)

Standing: 3rd

Eric Soderstrom

Best Bet: Charley Hoffman

Two top 10s at Nelson in the last three years, including last year – and he’s having his best year on Tour yet. Not to mention the 63-66 finish he’s coming off at Valero.

Ace Up My Sleeve: Brian Davis

I threw him under the bus last week, saying he wasn’t apt to go low enough to compete at LaCantera, and then watched him rally to overtake my pick (Stephen Ames) in the end and secure his second consecutive top-5. Third time’s a charm this week.

Last Week's Best Bet: Zach Johnson (Won)

Last Week's Ace: Stephen Ames (T-9)

Standing: 5th

Lance Ringler

Best Bet: Ian Poulter

Has been playing as well as any player in the world without an '09 victory. This year Poulter has recorded seven of eight finishes inside the top 21.

Ace Up My Sleeve: Jeff Overton

He is going to win on Tour. It’s just a matter of picking the right week and since we have to look outside the top 50, why not Overton? In his previous two starts he has made the cut twice.

Last Week's Best Bet: Zach Johnson (Won)

Last Week's Ace: Mark Wilson (T-11)

Standing: 6th

Jeff Rude

Best Bet: Ian Poulter

Ace Up My Sleeve: Ben Crane

Last Week's Best Bet: Charlie Wi (T-40)

Last Week's Ace: Rory Sabbatini (DNS)

Standing: 7th

Alex Miceli

Best Bet: David Toms

Ace Up My Sleeve: Danny Lee

Last Week's Best Bet: Zach Johnson (Won)

Last Week's Ace: Brian Davis (T-5)

Standing: 4th readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.