Sunday 26 May 2019

Bae Sang-moon holds off Bradley to claim Byron Nelson title

Sang-Moon Bae of South Korea holds the trophy on the 18th green after winning the Byron Nelson in Texas
Sang-Moon Bae of South Korea holds the trophy on the 18th green after winning the Byron Nelson in Texas

Phil Casey

Bae Sang-moon fought off playing partner Keegan Bradley to win the HP Byron Nelson Championship and his first-ever PGA Tour title by two shots last night.

American Bradley had led the tournament for the first three rounds and began this morning in Texas leading Bae by one shot, but that lead quickly disappeared on the front nine.

The South Korean carded four birdies on the first eight holes while Bradley bogeyed the par-four third, finding the water in the process, to give Bae a four-stroke lead.

But a double-bogey on the ninth and bogeys on the 10th and 15th, on which Bradley picked up his first birdie of the day, saw the pair tied for the lead once again.

Bae, however, moved back in front on the 16th when Bradley, who won the tournament in 2011, circled the outer rim with a putt from four feet.

Bradley could not recover to save par on the 17th and Bae was two shots clear on the final hole, with a fine approach shot allowing him to seal victory with a two-putt par.

The 26-year-old from Daegu, who shot a final-round one-under 69 to finish at 13 under, told "The course was really tough.

"The winds were very strong. I did very well this week."

Bae continued: "I told myself, 'hang in there and just keep trying, keep trying, focus on my game'. That's it. That's what I did.

"I felt my swing was very comfortable this week. I hit a bunch of good shots and I made a lot of putts.

"This is my first win and I'm very happy, so excited. I was a little nervous on 16, 17, 18, but I tried to focus on my game and I won so I'm very happy."

Bradley was gracious in defeat, acknowledging Bae was a worthy winner.

"I'm pretty disappointed but Moon played very well," the 2011 USPGA champion said. "He played better than me today, so I'm happy for him. First win out here - he deserves it."

The American, who posted a course-record 60 in his opening round on Thursday, admitted his missed putt on 16 had proved crucial.

"I just didn't play great today, but I hung in there," he said.

"I chipped away. I was down four early on. I chipped away and got it back to even with four to play, which is all that I could have asked for.

"And when I made that putt on 15, I was pretty confident that I was going to win this tournament.

"But I missed that putt on 16, which was very disappointing, and Moon hit great shots on 17 and 18 - 18 especially."

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel of South Africa finished three shots behind Bae in third place after a final round of 68, with Justin Bolli (65) a further stroke back and Germany's Martin Kaymer (68) tied for fifth - five shots off the pace - alongside Americans Morgan Hoffmann (66) and Scott Piercy (72).

Press Association

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