Kyoung-Hoon Lee wins first PGA victory.
Kyoung-Hoon Lee gets his first PGA win with an impressive 25 under, handling the chaotic imcliment weather at the AT&T Byron Nelson, with scores of 65, 65, 67, 66. He had now earned a spot to the PGA Championships starting this week.
Sam Burns came into the final day at the AT& Byron Nelson hot off the lead, with Jordan Spieth placing in the top three at his hometown tournament, after a spectacular eagle putt on Day 3’s 18th hole. Even finishing just behind Burns, Lee wasn’t the one everyone was talking about by the time the early starts on Sunday took place.
But Lee soon demonstrated that his Day 1-Day 2 back-to-back 65’s were no fluke, knocking out a birdie right at the second hole on the final day and quickly nabbing the lead. T-times were scheduled earlier, with an 8 am start, in anticipation of the storms forecasted to wreak havoc with afternoon play in McKinney, TX. The storm did eventually arrive, but once the 29-year-old Korean surged with a five-birdie front-nine, he never looked back.
Patton Kizzire and Daniel Berger both saved their best for the final start, with Kizzire the golfer of the day with a 63, and Berger’s 64 tying them to T3 alongside Scott Stallings and Charl Schwartzel, all at under 21. But it was Lee who handled the downpour, soaked conditions, and the almost two-and-a-half-hour delay the most remarkably. Coming back from the rain delay after the 15th hole, he first-time PGA winner showed perhaps a bit of nerve at the 16th, clocking in a rare bogey. Still, with a slight lead, he never faltered, and managed to finish with panache, cinching his victory with back-to-back birdies on the last holes, sealing the deal to his first PGA victory with a final day score of 66.
Lee’s wins prior have occurred on the International Tour, two in Japan and two on the AsianOne tours (in Korea). Lee’s first PGA win at Byron Nelson secures him a final spot at the PGA tournament next week, where he had been placed as a third alternate. With the breakthrough win, Lee will also crack the Top 100 of the Official World Golf Rankings with a career-high spot, and some experts predict that he will even surge into the Top 60. With momentum going his way, Lee has certainly placed himself into contention heading into the PGA tournament at Kiawah.
With the subsequent major coming up next week, Spieth’s comeback is one to keep an eye on as well. He may have lost his momentum on the final day at TPC Craig Ranch, but there were moments when he came close yet again, especially his eagle finish at the conclusion of Day 3 of Byron Nelson. His finish in the top nine just adds to his consistent high performance standard that he’s displayed since the beginning of the year.
Spieth’s victory at the Valero Texas Open last month has been complimented by an exciting top three at the Masters, Top 4 finishes at Arnold Palmer and Waste Management Phoenix, as well as another top three at Pebble Beach in February. He’s left his days of draught and doubt in the dust. The PGA is the only major Spieth has never won (although he placed runner up in 2015) and he will be hungry to capture his first title there. Jordan Spieth will be one to watch at the PGA next week as well.
The PGA Championship begins Thursday, May 20, at the Kiawah Island Resort.