May 21 2012
Watch: Pride birdies the 17th
Dicky Pride birdied the par-3 17th during Sunday's final round.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Dicky Pride didn't break his PGA TOUR victory drought of 17 years, 9 months and 19 days. Had he done so, he would have set a TOUR record.
Instead, after Jason Dufner drained a 25-foot, 5-inch birdie putt on the 72nd hole to edge Pride by one stroke Sunday at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, the 42-year-old Alabama native will have to settle for the second-best finish in his 380-event career.
That's the good news.
The bad news is what could have happened, but didn't.
"I hit shots I'm not happy with, but I'm going to continue to build on it," said the 42-year-old Pride. "Trying to take the positives and build on it."
But, he added with a chuckle, "I'm going to take 30 minutes, go break something because of a couple of shots I hit, and go from there."
Pride didn't hit many bad shots on Sunday. He was a bogey-free 2 under through 11 holes and was in and out of the lead throughout the day. But then he bogeyed the 12 and 14th holes, forcing him to scramble the rest of the way.
"I mutilated the 14th hole," he said. "Hit a terrible rescue, had to chip out. Got basically lucky that wedge didn't go in the water."
But then he reeled off three consecutive birdies and to move to 10 under. When J.J. Henry double bogeyed the 17th, Pride suddenly was in position to win or at least make a playoff.
His tee shot at the 18th, though, found the water when his right foot slipped during the shot.
"I tried to get it back to the right, but apparently my hand-eye coordination is not that good," Pride said. "It was an honest effort. Very proud of the fact that I regrouped myself, dropped a ball and gave myself a putt."
When Pride rolled in his 22-foot, 7-inch putt on the 18th green to save par, it looked like he was headed for a playoff. But then Dufner drilled home the winning putt a few minutes later on the similar line.
"I had a great putt, went in," he said. "Jason had a great putt and it went in, and the HP Byron Nelson Championship has a wonderful champion they should be proud of."
As for Pride, well, Sunday's second-place finish was his third top-10 of the season and moves him up 74 spots in the FedExCup standings to 43rd. After a career in which he's battled serious health issues and contemplated retirement from the TOUR -- "I've looked at not playing golf for a living," he said -- he's now enjoying a renaissance.
The fact that his mother Sandra made a surprise visit to watch him play Sunday made it even more fun.
"I like where my game is," he said. "The whole idea is to put myself in position as many times as I can, and I have done a solid job about that."