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

good.

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

green.

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

Piercy (72).

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

falling.

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

pump.

Bae built his lead to four strokes with three consecutive

birdies, getting to 16 under when he two-putted from 33 feet at the

par-5 seventh.

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

approach shot.