IRVING, Texas – Keegan Bradley, a PGA TOUR rookie who is the nephew of LPGA legend Pat Bradley, beat Ryan Palmer on the first playoff hole to win the 2011 HP Byron Nelson Championship under brutally tough scoring conditions Sunday.
Bradley won with a par at the 18th hole after Palmer found the water with his approach shot and settled for bogey. The win is Bradley’s first on the PGA TOUR.
“I can’t believe this has just happened,” said Bradley, who moved to 20th in the FedExCup standings with the win. “This is a dream come true.”
Bradley called his second shot in the playoff hole – in which the ball sailed to the right of a line of trees, then curled back to the left to end up on the collar of the green – the “shot of my life.”
Palmer, the native Texan who was seeking his fourth win on the PGA TOUR, had forced the playoff with a birdie at the 18th hole in regulation. It was just the second birdie all day at TPC Four Season Resort’s closing hole.
Despite his disappointment in not winning, Palmer said he was proud of the way he battled to force a playoff. He finished birdie-bogey-birdie in regulation, with his approach shot at the 72nd hole stopping six feet from the pin for birdie.
“I got into position to win the golf tournament,” he said. “That’s all I can ask for.”
Bradley shot a final-round 68, one of just nine sub-par rounds shot on Sunday. Palmer, who led by one stroke after 54 holes, shot a final-round 72.
Joe Ogilvie and Ryuji Imada tied for third, one shot back.
Bradley and Palmer were two of just five players who finished the tournament under par. That’s the fewest number of players under par in this event since TPC Four Seasons Resort began hosting the event in 1983 and the fewest since 1980 when the tournament was held at Preston Trail.
Local favorite Jordan Spieth, the 17-year-old amateur, began the day just four shots off the lead. But he struggled down the stretch and posted a 7-under 77 to finish tied for 32nd.
“I’m sure it will sink in, of course, in a positive way,” Spieth said. “But it stings right now, it really does.”