Daily Wrap-up: HP Byron Nelson Championship, Round 4text sizeMay 19, 2013
By PGATOUR.COM wire services
IRVING, Texas -- Sang-Moon Bae watched anxiously after hitting his tee shot at the par-3 17th hole Sunday in the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
When the ball landed on the front edge of the green fronted by water, he bent his knees and leaned backward obviously relieved. He was only a few shots away from his first PGA TOUR victory and a congratulatory hug from the widow of the tournament's namesake.
After squandering a four-stroke lead in the final round, the 26-year-old South Korean beat Keegan Bradley by two stokes for a win in the United States to go with his 11 international victories on the Korea, Japan and Asian tours.
Bae picked up 500 FedExCup points with the win, moving to 18th in the season-long standings.
"It's something I've always dreamed of, winning on the PGA TOUR," Bae said. "It was surreal to have Mrs. (Peggy) Nelson there and with all the history ... I was in awe, actually, so almost I didn't know how to react. `'
Bae finished at 13-under 267 with a closing 1-under 69 on a day with wind gusting to near 40 mph at times, similar to conditions two years ago when Bradley got his first PGA TOUR win at TPC Four Seasons. Bradley shot 72 this time.
Four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the front nine gave Bae a four-stroke advantage in the final group. But he made double bogey at No. 9 and a bogey at the next hole.
After some nice par saves, Bradley finally got even with a birdie at the 15th hole, a 17-footer that had just enough to get into the cup. But he missed a short birdie putt at the next hole to fall behind for good.
"When my iron play came back in the latter part of the round, I had confidence," Bae said. "On that shot on 17, I knew it was short, and the wind pushed it over to the right, and I was happy and relieved that it turned out OK."
Bradley was trying to become the HP Byron Nelson's first wire-to-wire winner since Tom Watson in 1980. Bradley set the course record with an opening 60 even with two bogeys.
"I'm pretty disappointed but Moon played very well," Bradley said. `I just didn't play great today, but I hung in there. I chipped away. ... When I made that putt on 15, I was pretty confident that I was going to win."
Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champ, shot a 68 to finish third at 10 under. Justin Bolli shot a bogey-free 65 for the best round of the day and matched his career-best finish of fourth. A stroke further back at 272 were Morgan Hoffmann (66), Martin Kaymer (68) and Scott Piercy (72).
Bae won $1.2 million, nearly matching his PGA TOUR career earnings of $1.6 million in his 42 previous starts. He tied for second last year in the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank after getting into a four-man playoff. He is the fourth South Korean-born player to win on the PGA TOUR, joining K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang and Kevin Na.
Bradley's birdie at 15 was the only one he made all day. It gave him a share of the lead when Bae missed a par putt there from just inside 6 feet.
But after Bae sank a 5-foot birdie at the par-5 16th hole, Bradley had a shorter putt on the same line -- it horseshoed around the hole and didn't fall. He then hit his tee shot at the 171-yard 17th over the green.
"I hit that right down my line, right perfect," Bradley said. "I just hit it too good. I ripped it through the wind."
That made it irrelevant that he finally had a par at No. 18, the hole he bogeyed the first three rounds. Especially with Bae's final drive landing in the middle of the fairway.
Players wore red ribbons during the final round in memory of Ken Venturi, the 1964 U.S. Open champion and longtime CBS golf analyst who died Friday.
With the gusty winds and dried-out greens, the scoring average was 71.8 on Sunday. That was two strokes higher than Thursday's first round, after 1 inches of rain. Players were able to lift, clean and place their balls the first two days.
"Feels a little like the British Open without rain," Kaymer said about the conditions Sunday.
At No. 14, Bradley drove into the left rough between some trees and missed the green before chipping to 5 feet to save par. On the par 3 just before that, his tee shot settled behind the green, but he hit from there to 8 feet and made that putt as well.
Bradley scrambled for pars on the first two holes, and gave up the lead at the 502-yard third hole when his drive went left into the water. He bogeyed and Bae rolled in a 27-foot birdie putt.
Bae was 16 under and four strokes ahead after three consecutive birdies, on the fifth through seventh holes.
Notes: Tom Gillis, in his 150th PGA TOUR start since 1993 and still without a win, started the final round only two strokes out of the lead. He shot 76, including a triple-bogey 7 at the sixth hole that already had him 6 over for the round. ... Ryo Ishikawa had an eagle, five birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey in his closing 67. ... Defending champion Jason Dufner was 4 over through eight holes Sunday on way to a 72. He finished at 279, tied for 33rd. ... Louis Oosthuizen (neck) and Michael Bradley (back) withdrew before the start of the final round. Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open champ, entered the HP Byron Nelson with the No. 7 world ranking, the highest-ranked player in the field. He was 3 under through three rounds.
TPC Four Seasons: Round 4 Easiest hole Toughest hole
The par-5 seventh hole was the easiest with a Sunday scoring average of 4.414.
Eagles: 8 | Birdies: 32 | Pars: 24 | Bogeys: 5 | Others: 1
The par-4 14th was the toughest hole with a Sunday scoring average of 4.471.
Eagles: 0 | Birdies: 2 | Pars: 44 | Bogeys: 15 | Others: 9
About the winner: Sang-Moon Bae • Sang-Moon Bae moves from No. 95 to No. 18 in the FedExCup standings. Last year as a rookie, he finished 96th in the FedExCup standings.
• Bae, currently in his sophomore season, has made 11 of 13 cuts this year, with his only other top 10 coming at the Northern Trust Open (T8).
• Bae’s previous best finish on TOUR was a playoff loss to Luke Donald at the 2012 Tampa Bay Championship.
• Bae is the sixth golfer of Korean-descent to capture a PGA TOUR event: K.J. Choi (8), Anthony Kim (3), Y.E. Yang (2), Kevin Na (1), John Huh (1).
• A player of Korean-descent in their 20s has won on TOUR in each of the last three years: Kevin Na (2011/28 years, 17 days), John Huh (2012/21 years, 9 months, 5 days) and Sang-Moon Bae (2013/26 years, 10 months, 29 days).
• There have been 11 players that have claimed their first TOUR win at the HP Byron Nelson Championship: Don January (1956), Johnny Pott (1960), Charles Coody (1964), Mark Hayes (1976), Neal Lancaster (1994), Robert Damron (2001), Ted Purdy (2005), Brett Wetterich (2006), Jason Day (2010), Keegan Bradley (2011), Sang-Moon Bae (2013). • Three of the last four winners on TOUR have been by players in their 20s: Billy Horschel, Derek Ernst and Sang-Moon Bae. Overall, Bae is the seventh player in his 20s to win on TOUR this season compared with nine (12 wins) players in their 30s and two players in their 40s.