Bae wins Byron Nelson for first PGA Tour title
Sang-Moon Bae won the Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday for
his first PGA Tour title, beating Keegan Bradley by two strokes
after blowing a four-stroke lead.
The 26-year-old South Korean closed with a 1-under 69 to finish
at 13-under 267.
Bradley was trying to become the Nelson’s first wire-to-wire
winner since Tom Watson in 1980. Bradley set the TPC Four Seasons
course record with an opening 60 even with two bogeys, but finished
with a 72 on a day with wind gusting to near 40 mph at times.
Bae already had 11 international victories – winning on the
Korea, Japan and Asian tours.
Four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the front nine gave Bae a
four-stroke advantage in the final group. But he struggled in the
middle of the round, making a double bogey at No. 9 and a bogey at
the next hole.
Bradley, whose first PGA Tour victory came as a rookie at the
Nelson two years ago, got even with a birdie at the 15th hole. But
he missed a short birdie putt at the next hole to fall behind for
Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champ, shot a 68 to finish
third at 10 under. His only bogey Sunday came at the closing hole,
where he hit his approach into a bunker and then hit through the
Bae won $1.2 million, nearly matching his PGA Tour career
earnings of $1.6 million in his 42 previous starts. His best finish
on tour had been a tie for second last year after getting into a
four-man playoff at the Transitions Championship.
Bradley had a couple of incredible par saves on the back nine
before finally making his first birdie of the round, a 17-footer
that had just enough to get into the cup at the 463-yard 15th hole.
That gave him a share of the lead when Bae missed a par putt there
from just inside 6 feet.
After Bae sank a 5-foot birdie at the par-5 16th hole, and was
already walking to the next tee, Bradley had a shorter putt on the
same line – it horseshoed around the hole and didn’t fall. The par
put Bradley a stroke back with two holes to play, and he then hit
his tee shot at the par-3 17th over the green and was unable to
save par. That made it irrelevant that he finally had a par at No.
18, the hole he bogeyed the first three rounds.
When Bae hit his tee shot at the 17th green that is fronted by
water, he watched anxiously and finally let out an obvious sigh of
relief, bending his knees and leaning backward when the ball landed
on the front edge of the green about 24 feet from the cup. He made
the par, and Bradley was unable to scramble again.
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.
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
Tom Gillis, making his 150th PGA Tour start since 1993 and still
without a win, started the final round only two strokes out of the
lead. But he was already 6-over for his final round after a
triple-bogey 7 at the sixth hole. He went on to a 76 and finished
tied for 12th.
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.
After Bradley’s opening drive of the day landed in rough near a
temporary lemonade stand, he hit over trees and a bunker to 15 feet
and save par at the hole he bogeyed each of the first two rounds.
His tee shot at the 202-yard second hole went into a bunker, but he
made a 6-foot par putt.
Bae’s long putt off the back edge of that par-3 green slid just
past the cup, causing him to step back and turn around in
disbelief. He knocked in a 4-footer that circled the cup before
The lead swapped at the downwind, 502-yard third hole when
Bradley’s drive went left into the water. He bogeyed while Bae
rolled in a 27-foot birdie putt and responded with a double fist
Bae built his lead to four strokes with three consecutive
birdies, getting to 16 under when he two-putted from 33 feet at the
One of Bae’s biggest reactions came after he made his par-saving
11-foot putt at the 462-yard eighth hole, where he drove into a
fairway bunker and then had to hit back into the fairway before his