Golf: Bae hangs on to win Byron Nelson Championship
Irving, Texas • Sang-Moon Bae watched anxiously after hitting his tee shot at the par-3 17th hole Sunday in the Byron Nelson Championship.
When the ball landed on the front edge of the green fronted by water, he bent his knees and leaned backward obviously relieved. He was only a few shots away from his first PGA Tour victory and a congratulatory hug from the widow of the tournament's namesake.
After squandering a four-stroke lead in the final round, the 26-year-old South Korean beat Keegan Bradley by two stokes for a win in the United States to go with his 11 international victories on the Korea, Japan and Asian tours
"It's something I've always dreamed of, winning on the PGA Tour," Bae said. "It was surreal to have Mrs. [Peggy] Nelson there and with all the history ... I was in awe, actually, so almost I didn't know how to react. ''
Bae finished at 13-under 267 with a closing 1-under 69 on a day with wind gusting to near 40 mph at times, similar to conditions two years ago when Bradley got his first PGA Tour win at TPC Four Seasons. Bradley shot 72 this time.
Four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the front nine gave Bae a four-stroke advantage in the final group. But he made double bogey at No. 9 and a bogey at the next hole.
After some nice par saves, Bradley finally got even with a birdie at the 15th hole, a 17-footer that had just enough to get into the cup. But he missed a short birdie putt at the next hole to fall behind for good.
"When my iron play came back in the latter part of the round, I had confidence," Bae said. "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."
Bradley was trying to become the Nelson's first wire-to-wire winner since Tom Watson in 1980.
Charl Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champ, shot a 68 to finish third at 10 under. 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).
Jennifer Johnson won the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic for her first tour title, birdieing four of the final six holes for a one-stroke victory over Jessica Korda and Pornagong Phatlum in Mobile, Ala. The 21-year-old American closed with her second straight 7-under 65 for a tournament-record 21-under 267.
World Match Play Championship
Graeme McDowell won the Volvo World Match Play Championship, beating Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee 2 and 1 in the final at Thracian Cliffs in Kavarna, Bulgaria. The 2010 U.S. Open champion fought back from 2 down after four holes and only edged in front of his 43-year old opponent on the 14th hole before securing the victory at the 17th.
Sang-Moon Bae -13
Keegan Bradley -11
Charl Schwartzel -10
Also Mike Weir E