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The Big Boys Warm-Up For The PGA Championship At The Byron Nelson

DALLAS (AP) — Koepka back at Nelson after 3 major wins, before a defense.



Zurich Classic Of New Orleans - Round One
AVONDALE, LOUISIANA - APRIL 25: Brooks Koepka of the United States plays his shot from the 16th tee during the first round of the Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana on April 25, 2019 in Avondale, Louisiana. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)



Brooks Koepka has won three majors since he last played at the Byron Nelson two years ago, before the tournament moved to a new links-style course south of downtown Dallas.



PGA Championship - Final Round
ST LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 12: Brooks Koepka of the USA celebrates with the winners trophy on the 18th green after winning the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive Golf & Country Club on August 12, 2018 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)



A week before defending his title at the now-earlier PGA Championship, the third-ranked Koepka and No. 19 Patrick Reed are the only top-20 players in the field. They are among 14 of the top 50 in the world ranking at soggy Trinity Forest this week.

"I usually play the week before a major. I think Augusta is the only one I don't do it," Koepka said. "The rest of them I like to play the week before. You don't need to play that great. I try to get some rhythm."



PGA TOUR - 2005 EDS Byron Nelson Championship - First Round
UNITED STATES - MAY 12: Tiger Woods watching his fairway shot during the first round of The Byron Nelson Championship at the TPC course in Irving, Texas. May 12, 2005. (Photo by Scott Clarke/Getty Images)


Except for the two-man team event at the Zurich Classic, Koepka hasn't played since tying for second behind Tiger Woods at the Masters last month.

The PGA Championship, which Koepka won last August, has been moved to a May date and is now sandwiched between the two Dallas-Fort Worth events on the PGA Tour that had traditionally been played on back-to-back weeks. The Colonial will follow the PGA Championship at Bethpage in New York.



EDS Byron Nelson Championship Round 4
IRVING, TX - MAY 16: Sergio Garcia of Spain smiles with Byron Nelson after winning the EDS Byron Nelson Championship on May 16, 2004 at the TPC Las Colinas in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)


Koepka was the Nelson runner-up in a playoff against Sergio Garcia in 2016, and tied for 50th when the event was last played at Four Seasons in 2017. But Koepka has won both U.S. Open tournaments played since then.

Aaron Wise's only PGA Tour win came at Trinity Forest last year, when at age 21 he had a Nelson-tournament record score of 23-under par.



The Masters - Final Round
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 14: Aaron Wise of the United States waves n the 18th green during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club on April 14, 2019 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


But Wise followed that victory by missing the cut in his next five tournaments. He has missed four cuts already this year, but backed up his 17th-place finish at the Masters with a tie for 18th at the Wells Fargo Championship last week.

"The game is good, you know. It's feeling great," Wise said. "It hasn't been maybe the most stellar year for me to this point but feel like I'm really trending well, feel like I had a great finish at the Masters, really got things going that weekend, jumped up the leaderboard a bunch and then continued that into last week and played really strong."



AT&T Byron Nelson Championship - Round Three
IRVING, TX - MAY 30: Jordan Spieth hits his second shot on the third hole during Round Three of the AT&T Byron Nelson at the TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas on May 30, 2015 in Irving, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)


Trinity Forest member Jordan Spieth, also like Koepka a three-time major champion, hasn't won since the 2017 British Open. He was the highest-ranked player in the Nelson field last year when he was then third, but is now 39th without a top-20 finish in his 12 starts this season. He finished 21st at Trinity Forest last year.

Another Trinity Forest member playing this week is Tony Romo, the CBS NFL analyst and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback who is in the 156-player field on a sponsor's exemption.



Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship - Round Two
PUNTA CANA, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - MARCH 29: Former NFL Player and amateur Tony Romo lines up a putt on the 18th green during the second round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship on March 29, 2019 in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)


This will be Romo's third PGA Tour start. He played in the last two tournaments played in the Dominican Republic, shooting 15 over and missing the cut both times.

"Obviously, I understand where I'm at comparatively to the guys in this field. These are the best of the best," Romo said. "How you improve is being around them, watching them and thinking about it and practicing. For me, putting it on display is the enjoyable part."




What TV coverage of the AT&T Byron Nelson Saturday and Sunday starting at 3pm, only on CBS62.


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