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 in Irving, Texas.
The 26-year-old South Korean closed with a 1-under-par 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 miles per hour.
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.
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).
World Match Play — Graeme McDowell made amends for last year’s defeat to capture the title, defeating Thongchai Jaidee, 2 and 1, in the final at Kavarna, Bulgaria.
The 2010 US 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.
It was McDowell’s second win in three events after he also captured the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage this month at Hilton Head, S.C.
LPGA — Jennifer Johnson won the Mobile Bay (Ala.) Classic for her first tour title, birdieing four of the final six holes for a one-stroke win over Jessica Korda and Pornanong Phatlum.
Johnson closed with a 7-under 65 for a tournament-record 21-under 267 on The Crossings course at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Magnolia Grove complex.
European — Mattapoisett’s Peter Uihlein won the Madeira Islands Open in Santo Antonio da Serra, Portugal, by two strokes after shooting a 4-under 68 for his first career title in his 16th European Tour event.
Uihlein birdied four of his last eight holes for a 15-under total of 273 at the Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra course.
Norfolk County Classic — John Hadges of Thorny Lea Golf Course fired a final-round 1-under 71 for a two-day total of 140 to take home the title at Presidents GC in Quincy. Kevin Quinn (Charles River) and Doug Clapp (Old Sandwich) finished a stroke back.