Sang-Moon Bae flawlessly executed a low-spin wedge shot en route to victory. (Pennington/Getty Images)
By Mark Immelman, Special to PGATOUR.COM
Lord Byron‘s event at TPC Four Seasons always attracts a stellar field as the PGA TOUR’s finest travel to the Lone Star State to pay homage to one of golf’s greatest champions and finest men.
The course layout is demanding from tee to green and play is normally defined by the warm and gusty North Texas winds. Hence it is those players who can flight the ball and control their shot trajectory (and make putts) who normally prevail around the firm and fast course conditions. This year, however, a band of severe Wednesday night thunderstorms changed the personality of the course and the first round became a birdie-fest with Keegan Bradley leading the assault on par with a 10-under 60.
The winds kicked up over the next three rounds and scoring became tougher. In the end it boiled down to a battle between the two members of the final Sunday pairing, Sang-Moon Bae and Bradley.
Both combatants were tied at 12 under as they headed up the par-5 16th. After getting their second shots into position, Bae faced an uphill pitch from about 40 yards and Bradley faced a pitch of about 50 feet from right of the green. Bae drove a low-spinning wedge into the green which gripped and spun back to about 5 feet from the cup. Not to be outdone, the gusty Bradley clipped an aggressive, low-spinning wedge shot to just inside of his playing partner. Both shots were absolutely gorgeous and certainly worth learning how to play.
How to play the low-spinning wedge shot:
This shot starts at address. Move the ball back to around the middle of the stance and favor your lead foot (left for right-handers) as you set the bulk of your weight there. Lean the shaft slightly to the left (for righties) as you set your hands a little ahead of the clubface and the ball.
As you make your backswing, hinge your wrists up to steepen the shaft plane which will assist you to make a crisp, descending strike. It is recommendable to make a slightly shorter backswing as this will give you the freedom to accelerate through impact without the fear of the shot going too far.
Begin your downswing by rotating your lower body back to the left and swing your arms down through impact with the lead arm closer to the body and the left hand leading the clubface through impact. That lead hand should retain control of the action throughout the delivery so that the trail hand does not shut down the clubface. Once contact has been made, swing and extend the arms past the body into a shorter, balanced follow-through. Once again, the lead arm and hand should dominate the delivery and holding the club a little tighter with the last three fingers of the left hand will certainly help.
Get out and practice this shot; it will surely shave strokes off your score.
Mark Immelman, the brother of PGA TOUR professional Trevor Immelman, is a well-respected golf instructor and head coach of the Columbus State University (Ga.) golf team. For more information about Mark and his instruction, visit his web site, markimmelman.com or follow him on Twitter @mark_immelman or “Like” Mark Immelman Golf Instruction on Facebook. He also has a golf instruction e-book called “Consistently Straight Shots – The Simple Solution” available on iTunes/iBooks.
PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider Jonathan Wall answered fans' equipment questions on Tuesday in a live video chat. You can replay the chat here on the TOUR Report or on the PGA TOUR's Google+ page.
To see a full list of our past video chats with TOUR players, media and more, click here.
Sang-Moon Bae stayed positive despite some challenges on Sunday. (Pennington/Getty Images)
By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM
Sang-Moon Bae, who captured the HP Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday, did not look like a novice who had never won before on the PGA TOUR. Rather, he showed the composure of a seasoned veteran with many victories under his belt. Observing the thoughts and behaviors of Bae can bring many valuable lessons to amateurs about how to handle pressure down the stretch of a golf tournament.
Here are some key mental game insights to bring to your game:
1) Bae said he was nervous on the last few holes of the tournament. Amateurs need to understand that everyone gets nervous when an event is important. Anxiety is not your enemy. The secret to your success will be how you handle those nerves.
2) When Bae felt the nerves creep into his game, he indicated that he focused on his game. In other words, he was not thinking about his score or winning but the process of making a good swing. When nerves enter your game, have a swing thought that you can trust, then focus on the process of making good swings.
3) In the middle of the round on Sunday, Bae struggled. He had a double bogey on No. 9 and then made a sloppy bogey on No. 10. Throughout your round, you will face a few real challenges. I call them dragons. You must be able to slay the dragons and not let them get you down or have them kill your confidence. Stay calm and collected like Bae and realize your game will rebound if you do not hit the panic button.
4) Have lots of fun during the heat of competition. Bae said he had a great time during the tournament. It is hard to be very nervous when you are enjoying the moment. Joy will push out the nerves.
Bae won his first tournament because he had the mental fortitude to handle the pressure. Follow his lead and you will be much more solid under pressure as well.
Bio: Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a regular guest every Tuesday on “Talk of the Tour” heard on the Sirius/XM PGA TOUR radio. He is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has been the mental game coach for many PGA TOUR players as well as top collegiate and junior golfer. Dr. Gregg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf, and you can get your autographed copy at www.drgreggsteinberg.com.
Each week, PGATOUR.COM's Fantasy Insider Rob Bolton offers his Power Rankings for the weekly TOUR event as well as his Sleeper picks. But what about the players who don't make the Power Rankings but who can't really be considered Sleepers? Bolton will make one "wild card" selection from the large group of players who fall into that middle range but might rise up to claim the title. This week's pick is ...
Owns a progressively improving record
at Colonial with a T38 in 2010, a T16 in 2011 and a T5 last year. Didn't
crack my Power Rankings because he's failed to post a top 30 in his
last four starts dating back to the Masters. Hasn't broken par in five
rounds. Currently 44th on TOUR in fairways hit, T62 in strokes
gained-putting, 46th in adjusted scoring and 23rd in scrambling.
POWER RANKINGS: To read Bolton's top 15 for Colonial Country Club, click here.
Here is the live interview schedule for this week's Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. All interviews will be streamed in the live video player, which is available above starting Tuesday.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
John Peterson, 2:30 p.m. ET
Corey Pavin, 3 p.m. ET
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Zach Johnson, 10 a.m. ET
Rickie Fowler, after pro-am
Sang-Moon Bae, TBD
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Marc Leishman finished in the top 10 at this year’s Masters and PLAYERS Championship. Now he’s on the verge of earning entry into another big event. Leishman enters this week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial at No. 58 in the Official World Golf Ranking; the top 60 at week’s end earn exemptions into the U.S. Open, which will be held June 13-16 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Leishman is one of several players trying this week to secure their spot in the year’s second major. Sang-Moon Bae, winner of last week’s HP Byron Nelson Championship, starts the week at 64th in the world ranking, while PGA TOUR rookie Luke Guthrie is ranked 68th. All three are in the field for this week’s Crowne Plaza Invitational. The European Tour's flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, also is being held this week at Wentworth Club in England.
Below is a list of players ranked between Nos. 55-70 who are not yet exempt for the U.S. Open (*- in Crowne Plaza Invitational field; #- in BMW Championship field):
55. Russell Henley
56. Marcel Siem#
57. Matteo Manassero#
58. Marc Leishman*
60. Chris Wood#
62. Hiroyuki Fujita
63. Jimmy Walker
64. Sang-Moon Bae*
65. Marcus Fraser#
67. Charles Howell III
68. Luke Guthrie*
69. Alexander Noren#
This is not the last opportunity for players to earn their way into the U.S. Open via the Official World Golf Ranking. The top 60 immediately following the FedEx St. Jude Classic, which ends June 9, also earn their way to Merion. Sectional qualifying will be held May 27 in Japan and England and at 11 sites in the United States on June 3.
Guan Tianlang has made two cuts in three PGA TOUR starts this year. (Revere/Getty Images)
Guan Tianlang has accepted an exemption to compete in the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance. The event will take place May 27 to June 2 at Muirfield Village Golf Club.
Guan, 14, last month became the youngest player to make a cut in a major championship in PGA TOUR history when he finished 58th at The Masters Tournament with a 12-over-par 300 aggregate. His invitation to the first major of the season came by way of his victory at the 2012 Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. A native of Guangzhou, China, Guan followed up his performance at Augusta National Golf Club by making the cut two weeks later at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, where he finished 71st at 4-over 292. Last week he missed the cut at the HP Byron Nelson Championship after rounds of 70 and 77.
Fans will be able to watch Guan's first two rounds at the Memorial through PGATOUR.COM's LIVE@ coverage.
“I am very excited to accept the invitation to play at the Memorial Tournament,” Guan said. “It is Jack Nicklaus’ event, and the same as all the golf fans out there I have very high respect to Mr. Nicklaus, not just as a golf legend, but also as a great person. He has been actively involved in the development of golf in China, and junior golf development worldwide, and as a junior golfer myself I appreciate what he has done to help us grow. My parents and I got the chance to meet him in person at the Masters, and that was one of the highlights of my week at Augusta National. I appreciate a lot the Memorial Tournament for having me there, and it is going to be a great week.”
Guan is ranked No. 78 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
“The Memorial Tournament has been a strong supporter of amateur golf since its inception, and each year the winners of both the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur are always invited to participate,” said Memorial Tournament Founder and Host Jack Nicklaus. “With the Asia Pacific Amateur Championship becoming such an important event in the game of golf, and with the winner earning an invitation to the Masters and a spot in International final qualifying for the British Open, the Captains Club thought it was only appropriate to offer an invitation to the Memorial Tournament. We hope that in the future, we can make this a standard policy with our exemptions."