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HP Byron Nelson Championship. Keegan Crumbles, Korean Bae Wins.

Korean Sang-Moon Bae won the HP Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons Resort in Texas, with a last round of -1 under par, 69,  for a total of -13 under par. Keegan Bradley crumbled under the pressure and could only manage a last round of par, finishing two strokes behind the leader at -11 under par.

Sang-Moon rising

Sang-Moon Bae with his first PGA Tour Trophy/ Pennington / Getty Images

Sang-Moon said winning a PGA Tournament was something he had always dreamed of;

“It’s something I’ve always dreamed of, winning on the PGA TOUR. It was surreal to have Mrs. Nelson there and with all the history, I was in awe, actually, so almost I didn’t know how to react.”

Sang-Moon’s  previous best finish on the PGA TOUR was a playoff loss to Luke Donald at the 2012 Tampa Bay Championship. He said he was happy that he played the back nine better;

” When my iron play came back in the latter part of the round, I had confidence. On that shot on 17, I knew it was short, and the wind pushed it over to the right, and I was happy and relieved that it turned out OK.”

Despite struggling all day Keegan was uplifted by a birdie putt on 15, and thought he could then go on and be the first player since Tom Watson in 1980 to win this competition wire to wire;

“I’m pretty disappointed but Moon played very well. I just didn’t play great today, but I hung in there. I chipped away. When I made that putt on 15, I was pretty confident that I was going to win.”

South African Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters Champ, shot a last round of -2 under par, 68, to finish in third place on his own third at -10 under par.

 

 

 

HP Byron Nelson Championship. Keegan Continues, Just

Keegan Bradley continues to lead the HP Byron Nelson Championship, just, even though he made bogey again on the last hole, that’s three out of three times so far. He now has a slender one shot lead at -13 under par for the tournament.

Bradley's still the one

Keegan Bradley / Pennington / Getty Images

Keegan shot a third round of -2 under par, 68 on the par 70 lay-out TPC Four Seasons Resort course in Irving Texas. Given the way he has played the eighteenth this week he will probably need more than a one shot lead tomorrow as he stands once again on the last tee box. He sarcastically said;

” One of the most solid rounds of the year.”

Alone in second place is Sang-Moon Bae, after he put together a third round score of -4 under par, 66, to close the gap at the top of the leaderboard to just one shot. He has a total of -12 under par.

Tom Gillis is alone in third place, at -11 under par, mainly thanks to holing out from the bunker on the last for an unlikely birdie. From just 130 yards out Tom had somehow managed to find the front bunker, but his excellent bunker shot made amends in the best possible fashion. He remarked afterwards;

” That’ll make dinner taste a little bit better, that’s for sure.”

In fourth place is Scott Piercy, he also had a -4 under par, 66, and occupies the position alone at -10 under par for the tournament.

The winner will surely come from one these four players, it is hard to imagine someone from further back can get up to win. But golf is a funny game, and anything could happen. Keegan will be hoping to win, wire to wire and join the short list of golfers who have achieved this distinction.  Tom Watson did it in 1980, and back in 1976, Mark Hayes also went wire to wire.

HP Byron Nelson Championship. Keegan Still In Front

Keegan Bradley is still in front of the chasing pack at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, despite only managing a second round of -1 under par 69.

Fun in the sun

Keegan Bradley / Pennington / Getty Images

Keegan was happy to have a three shot lead after the second round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship, after he stalled on the day, but still finished in front by three shots at -11 under par, despite making bogey on 1 and 18, again;

” I’m almost more proud of this round than yesterday because I didn’t feel comfortable all day. I don’t know what it was, I can’t put my finger on it but, you know, I bogeyed the first hole. I was a little uncomfortable and then I settled in and hit some really good shots. The first hole is probably the easiest hole out here, I don’t know why I keep making bogey on that hole.”

Keegan came to the 18th tee with his four shot advantage intact, a wayward tee shot took care of that;

” I’ve got a four-shot lead, so the last thing I wanted to do was plop it in the water. I bailed out. I didn’t hit that bad of a shot it just got in the wind. I thought it was going to be way left of where it was, but I’m going to hit good ones Saturday and Sunday.”

Tied in second place are Tom Gillis, who had a second round of -7 under par 63, and Sang-Moon Bae, with his -4 under par 66. Both players are on -8 under par.

Tom thought the course definitely played easier in the morning, and also was happy to be reunited with his coach;

” It was easier, I think the wind was down and I was hoping that we would get a fair shot like they had Thursday morning, just to see what it would be like. Definitely, I thought it played better than in the afternoon. I stepped  away for a couple of months and tried to do some things on my own and kind of got lost. We had disagreements on some things. You talk things out, work things out. People change. I think he was right all along, to be honest with you.”

Sang-Moon was also happy with his round;

” That was a little weird, I thought this course was very windy, but Thursday morning was really good weather. So yeah, different, but I shoot same score as Thursday, so I’m happy.

 Charl Schwartzel also struggled today, in the afternoon round he shot an even par 70;
” It was a bit up and down out there, bit of a frustrating day, but I suppose it’s the mix.”
 

Chinese wonder teenager Guan Tianlang shot a second round of 77, to miss the cut. He was in good company with Boo Weekley, Robert Garrigus, John Senden, Robert Karlsson, Ryuji Imada and Y.E. Yang among those who failed to make the cut, which was set at even par.

HP Byron Nelson Championship. Keegan Crushes the Course.

Keegan Bradley crushed the TPC Four Seasons Resort course with an opening record scoring round of -10 under par 60, at the  HP Byron Nelson Championship.

HP Byron Nelson

Record holder Keegan Bradley / Pennington / Getty Images

Keegan Bradley set a new course record at the TPC  Four Seasons Resort course in Irving Texas, as they say, everything comes up big in Texas, and -10 under par for one round of golf is big. He now has a three shot lead over second placed Charl Schwartzel, who had a wonder round himself, shooting a -7 under par, 63. Usually that kind of round would give you the lead on the Tour, but not this week.

Keegan said the thought of a 59 had crossed his mind, talking about the putt for it, he said;

“It was going right at it, a 59 crossed my mind for a second, and it would be unbelievable if I buried this. But I had 3 feet to shoot 60, I was actually very nervous, uncomfortable over it and thank God I made it. It was rare to match up a ball-striking day and make everything. It happened today, the hole looked huge. Even the putts I missed almost went in.”

Charl was was happy they had played in the morning;

“Seems like you don’t get many of those opportunities, so being out here first was a bit of an advantage. So much rain, it softened up. Played long off the tee, but it’s a big advantage going into the greens with the second shot. You could attack flags.”

There are three players tied in third place at -6 under par for the tournament with opening rounds of 64, they are; Ted Potter Jnr, Harris English and Robert Karlsson. They must all be hoping that Keegan does not go out tomorrow and shoot another low round, which would probably wrap up the tournament.

Young Chinese player Tianlang Guan finished at even par, he was happy with his round;

“I missed a couple of birdie putts in the middle but overall not a bad round. After the Masters and New Orleans, I still feel nervous on the first tee but not too much, and I handle it pretty good in the middle fairway and kept it going.”

HP Byron Nelson Championship, Jason Dufner Wins

I'll have another

Jason Dufner Carroll/Getty Images

Jason Dufner birdied the 18th hole to win the HP Byron Nelson Championship at TPC Four Seasons Resort,  Irving, Texas, by one shot from Dickie Pride. Jason had a last round of -3 under par 67 for a tournament total of -11 under par. This is Jason’s second Tour win in four weeks, and also the second of his career. This win gives Jason the lead in the FedEx Cup standings. Jason was pleased with his weeks work;

 “Great week for me golfwise. Tough conditions throughout the week. Today was easier. That’s why I think you saw the leaderboard jam up there toward the top, made for exciting golf toward the end. Good bit of guys had a chance to claim the trophy.It was nice to have a birdie putt there at the end to win, and not to be in a playoff for once. So just all in all a great week the last month. You couldn’t ask for anything more professionally or personally, for what’s been going on”

Dickie Pride was alone in second place on -10 after his -3 under par last round. Dickie enjoyed his tournament and also praised Jason;

 “It was fun. Apparently that was not a very difficult putt on 18, from the long right !!  It was downhill about a cup and a half out, and I made it, and I was pretty happy about that. Jason made a great putt. He’s a really good player.I think we’re all seeing that, we’ve known that, now he’s just winning tournaments, but I have a lot of respect for Jason. When we had our pro-am in Tuscaloosa for Tornado Relief, he was the first guy. He said, “I’m coming, I’m bringing a team and how can I help,” and that says a lot about him. For a guy that doesn’t say much, that says a lot about him. I’m happy for Jason. He went to Auburn, everyone is making a big deal about that, but he married a woman from Alabama to show him around, guys, someone has to do it!

Four players tied for third spot at -9 under par, they were; Joe Durant, Marc Leishman, Jonas Blixt and J.J. Henry. Unlucky J. J. stood on the par three 17th tee with a one shot lead, but an errant club selection saw him airmail the green, and he suffered a double bogey 5, to drop out of contention. The seven iron was way too much club, Phil Mickleson by comparison hit just a wedge onto the same green. Phil finished tied for 7th place on -6 under par for the tournament.

J.J Henry talked about 17;

 “Obviously it’s disappointing. I played great all day, and to be honesty thought I had a great shot on 17. I hit the line exactly where I tried to, and it carried about 6 or 7 yards too far and it’s disappointing but that’s golf. You take the good with the bad. Great crowds out here. Everybody was very supportive. To play so well for that long, and actually like I said, I thought I had a good shot on 17 but the golf gods thought otherwise. I’m happy. This is the best I’ve played here, carry momentum into Colonial, right there where I live, and it’s always fun to play at home.”

Phil Mickelson enjoyed the week with his family, apart from his poor golf form;

“We had such a great week. There was so much to do here in Dallas: The two Ranger games, water parks. She and I had a special week, and I really had a great time here. This is a well-run event and I’m happy I was able to come back., I didn’t strike it well this week, and when the wind came up this week my misses were magnified and I hit into some crazy spots. Today there wasn’t any wind, they were more playable and manageable, and I was able to get hot with the putter. It’s not like I knocked down the flag by any means, but I tried to make some on the greens.”

 

Ernie Els finished tied for 41st place at 1 over par, another sad tournament for the South African Major winner.

Next week is the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial CC, Ft. Worth, Texas, where the defending champion is David Toms.

HP Byron Nelson Championship, first round

Remember the good times

Carroll/Getty Images

Ryan Palmer leads the HP Byron Nelson Championship after the first round was completed. Ryan shot a wonderful round of -6 under par, for 66, and leads by just one shot from Marc Leishman and Alex Chejka, who both had good rounds of 65.Ryan Palmer was a  runner-up in 2011, when he lost in a play-off, said he was happy to be back;

“Continuation from last year, that’s what’s cool about the whole thing. It was great. Felt great all morning, warm-up was great. I knew everything was going in the right direction, it was a matter of putting it all together at once. I drove it great for 14 holes, hit irons, putted great, had a short game my last four holes. I was talking to James walking up to the scoring table, and I was excited about my score but I was disappointed in myself and how I locked up the last four holes. I had big pull hooks on my last four tee shots. I fought my way in, but I got up and down 60 yards for par on 7, in on 8 and great up and down on 9. I fought to get in and the short game was awesome, but I was disappointed in the way I kinda locked up on my tee shots, but that’s what the short game is there for, and fortunately it was good. It’s great to be in this spot again.”

Marc Leishman finished off his round with two eagles;

” I hit the ball well all day, hit a lot of fairway and was getting up and down for pars, which was good, and I think I birdied the par five, seventh, first birdie of the day, followed with another on eight, bogey nine, and a couple of eagles on the back nine was awesome. On eleven I was trying to drive it up towards that right bunker, pulled it a little bit, perfect, right in front of the green there about ten feet off the edge, easy chip, down grain. Like I said, it was an easy chip and held that. Another one on sixteen, I think about 245, hit a two iron to about eight feet, easy put, straight up, rolled that in and it was a good day. I drove it well and held the par putts that kept the round going, and I managed, obviously two eagles helped as well.”

Two of the bigger names in the field, Phil Mickleson and Ernie Els could only muster par rounds, and will be hoping to do better tomorrow on this par 70 lay-out. As they say in golf, you can not win a tournament on the first day, but you sure can lose it.

Phil was unhappy with his performance;

” I’m frustrated that I’m letting shots slide here or there and not capitalizing on some birdie opportunities. The course is in great shape. We had a perfect day. There was no wind. You couldn’t ask for a better day. There are some low scores out there and plenty of birdies. I didn’t take advantage of it. I had countless opportunities to roll some in and didn’t take advantage of them.”

Ernie was just happy to be back at the Byron Nelson again, it has been a while since he competed here;

” It’s been awhile. God, I went through the workout area yesterday and I was looking at the old pictures. It’s amazing how quickly time goes. In ’95 I won here, and I played it a lot in the ’90s, and because of that tournament in England that had it the same damn date for so many years, and we redesigned the course, so I had a commitment to go there. But I always wanted to come back here, and now that they changed the date in England, and I’m grateful for that. I’m back here.”

Ernie also feels that he could win here, he has been close to wining this year. He blames a wayward putter for not doing so when he had the opportunity;

” You know, I probably could have won three times already this year, Europe and two of them here. But the flat stick didn’t help me out, I’m working on that. I feel like I’m hitting the ball nicely, I’m healthy again, I had the flu for 10 days, so I feel a lot stronger, so I’m looking forward to this week.”

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