photo credit Bret Redman/D Magazine
The AT&T Byron Nelson kicks off this weekend at Dallas’ Trinity Forest Golf Club, as a packed field prepares for the historic tournament. The event is the final warm up for next week’s PGA Championship, and many golfers will be looking to fine tune their game heading into the second major of the year. The AT&T Byron Nelson has had many notable winners, including its namesake Nelson, but the tournament's low score record is held by a PGA Tour rookie on the way to his first ever PGA Tour win: Aaron Wise.
2018 Champion Aaron Wise
photo credit: AP Photo/Eric Gay
The California-raised Wise was a highly ranked amateur player who also won NCAA individual and team titles during his brief time at the University of Oregon. After only 2 years of college golf, Wise made the decision to turn professional in 2016 and earned his PGA Tour card by 2018. Wise entered the field on the back of a strong runners-up performance at the Zurich Classic, but few predicted he would better this result at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Wise hit a 65, 63 and 68 on the way to sharing the 54 hole lead with Marc Leishman. Amid soggy weather that led to a 4 hour rain delay, Wise hit 4 birdies on his first 10 holes to pull 4 strokes ahead of Leishman and then held his nerve to hit a tournament record score of -23. The win made the 21 year old Wise the second youngest winner in PGA Tour history, just half a year shy of Tiger Woods’ record.
Wise faces an uphill challenge to defend his title. Dallas local Jordan Spieth will look to win the event where he first got a taste of the PGA Tour as a 16 year old. Spieth finished 16th that year and announced his presence to the golf world and surely will want to win in front of a hometown crowd. Patrick Reed also joins the field as he looks to push his 2019 season to the same heights as last year. Ryan Palmer, one half of the winning team at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, will try and win it solo this weekend. Brooks Koepka is also a strong challenger with already 1 win this season and is currently 7th in the FedEx Cup standings. The field will also feature European Tour pros Thorbjorn Olesen and Thomas Pieters as they prepare for next week’s PGA Championship.
The tournament will also be covered by the Golf Channel and CBS. Coverage of Thursday and Friday rounds are on the Golf Channel 3:30-6:30pm ET. On Saturday and Sunday, coverage starts on the Golf Channel 1-2:45pm ET before switching to CBS 3-6pm ET. Extended streaming coverage is also available through the PGA Tour Live service. Radio coverage is provided by PGA Tour Radio on SiriusXM and PGATour.com.