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May 19 2013

8:27 PM

Albers' Sunday observations


Justin Bolli carded Sunday's lone bogey-free round at TPC Four Seasons.

By: Fred Albers, PGA TOUR.COM Correspondent

IRVING, Texas -- Sang-Moon Bae pushed it perfectly. With a one-shot lead and facing a 171-yard tee shot at the 17th hole, Bae pushed his tee shot to the right. A 20-mile per hour wind, gusting from left to right, moved the ball in line with the water hazard. It cleared the water by about five feet, hitting the front of the green. Bae broke out in a big grin as he looked at his caddie, knowing he got away with a mistake that could have cost him the championship. The smile was even bigger 30 minutes latter, when Bae clinched his first PGA TOUR title with a par on the 18th.

Observations

Struggle: Everyone will look at Keegan Bradley’s missed putt from 3 feet, 11 inches at the 16th hole as the tournament’s tipping point. His birdie putt lipped out and Bae had a one shot lead with two holes to play. Bradley always hits his short putts firmly and that one carried a little too much speed to fall. He said he did not know if the pulled was pulled or just broke unexpectedly hard to the left.

It certainly was a key moment in the tournament but Bradley had other chances on a day that he termed “a struggle.” He left an 11-foot birdie putt short on the 10th hole and then three-putted from 17 feet for bogey at the 11th. Moon was struggling during that stretch and if Bradley had applied pressure at that critical juncture, the outcome might have been different. To his credit, Bradley said, “Moon played better than I did today. He deserved to win.”

Assist: Bae should send a thank you note to David Feherty. The CBS announcer might have saved Bae’s victory with a keen eye at the ninth hole. Bae drove the ball far left and tried to hit a high hook, over trees onto the green. It was a terribly foolish shot for someone who was 4 under and ultimately led to a double-bogey but it could have been worse. Nobody saw the ball land. Bae  looked at the lateral water hazard, right of the green but you can’t just assume the ball had entered the hazard. Someone needed to confirm the ball actually went into the water or it would be treated as a lost ball with a stroke and distance penalty. Feherty was the only one who saw it fly into the hazard. Bae was able to drop by the green, instead of re-hitting the shot.

Bogey free: Justin Bolli had one heck of a day, shooting a bogey-free 65. It was the only bogey free round of the day and Bolli hit just eight greens. He scrambled his way around the course, leading the tournament in scrambling and taking just 21 putts. Bolli had won just $206,605 and ranked 151st in FedEx Cup points at the start of the week.

Tee times: TPC Four Seasons was at its most vulnerable early on Thursday. Keegan Bradley teed off at 7:40 a.m., shot 10 under and played the next 54 holes in one under. Of the top nine players, only two of them -- Justin Bolli and Charley Hoffman -- had afternoon tee times on Thursday. If you played late in the opening round, you were playing catch-up the entire tournament.

Medallion: Byron Nelson use to sit by the 18th green on Sunday and greet players as they left the putting surface. Nelson’s wife, Peggy, now sits on the first tee and says hello to contestants before they begin their final rounds. She wore a large gold medallion around her neck on Sunday that was both striking and historic. It was Nelson’s gold medal from winning the 1937 Masters. Byron had the championship medal made into a necklace for her, saying he considered that Masters his most important victory since it gave him the confidence to not only compete but to win at the highest level.

Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here

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