K.H. Lee wins rainy Byron Nelson, earns PGA spot

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McKINNEY, Texas — Ok.H. Lee was more than pleased to play by a gentle downpour within the ultimate spherical of the AT&T Byron Nelson, and he did not thoughts ready out a climate delay of greater than two hours Sunday.

The reward was the ultimate spot within the PGA Championship subsequent week.

Lee earned his first PGA Tour victory and the prospect to compete on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island in South Carolina, turning into the second consecutive Nelson winner from South Korea by ending 25 underneath, 3 pictures forward of third-round chief Sam Burns.

Heavy rain fell a lot of the again 9 for the leaders, with employees utilizing squeegees to clear paths on greens and one ball getting caught in the course of a fast-moving stream on the 18th fairway. The gamers slogged by the deluge earlier than lightning compelled a delay.

Many of the standing water was gone when play resumed 2 hours, 23 minutes later. Lee missed a par putt on 16 to chop his result in 2, however he answered with two birdies. The solar got here out simply as Lee was ending his 6-under 66.

“Lengthy day for me, I believe everyone,” mentioned Lee, who was greeted simply off the 18th inexperienced by countryman Ok.J. Choi, an eight-time tour winner who lives within the Dallas space. “I imply, however I simply strive hold affected person and optimistic considering.”

Burns completed 22 underneath, a shot forward of 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Patton Kizzire and Scott Stallings. Troy Merritt and Joseph Bramlett completed 2 extra again at 19 underneath.

When the delay hit, Jordan Spieth already knew he was going to fall quick once more in his hometown occasion, performed on its third course previously 4 Nelsons on the rain-soaked TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, about 30 miles north of Dallas.

Spieth, 3 pictures again to start out the day, shot 71 and tied for ninth at 18 underneath, giving him his first top-10 on the Nelson 11 years after he contended Sunday as a 16-year-old when the course was at its residence of three many years, the TPC 4 Seasons.

“Coming into the week in case you instructed me high 10, I’d most likely take it,” mentioned Spieth, taking part in for the primary time since ending third on the Masters and testing optimistic for COVID-19. “I did not know the place something stood.”

South Korea’s Sung Kang was the defending champion after successful in 2019, when the second of simply two Nelsons was performed on the treeless hyperlinks course Trinity Forest in Dallas. The transfer was unpopular with followers and gamers, and Craig Ranch grew to become the event’s residence following final 12 months’s COVID-19 cancellation.

One factor about this Nelson was the identical, although: infamous spring climate in Texas.

Threesomes began from the primary and tenth tees simply after dawn to attempt to beat a forecast calling for growing rain all through the day.

Regular rain for two-plus hours acquired progressively worse as gamers started ducking for canopy underneath umbrellas instantly after pictures and continually wiped grips with towels. From the beginning of the spherical, they acquired to elevate, clear and place their pictures within the fairways.

“I’ve been drier swimming within the ocean,” Stallings mentioned. “If there may be any video of us strolling down 18, the objective of attempting to remain dry was over by the point we acquired to 18 as a result of there was simply water all over the place. We had been like youngsters strolling by puddles.”

Lee overtook Burns, who shot 70, earlier than it acquired actually moist.

The 29-year-old from Seoul went forward for good with a birdie on the par-4 third gap and stretched the result in 4 at No. 8 by placing his second shot inside 4 toes for birdie. Burns threw his ball in disgust after lacking a 5-foot birdie strive.

Lee, who completed tied for second on the Phoenix Open in February, had the bottom rating to par on the Nelson since 1983 on the par-72 Craig Ranch structure, beating 23 underneath from each years at par-71 Trinity Forest. The primary 4 Seasons course was par 70.

Lee is getting his third shot at a significant after twice lacking the minimize on the U.S. Open. The primary was in 2014, greater than three years earlier than his second PGA Tour look.

Burns wrapped up his PGA spot two weeks in the past along with his first tour victory on the Valspar Championship when he lastly transformed a 54-hole lead right into a win after two failed makes an attempt this season.

The 54-hole lead once more acquired away from the 24-year-old from Louisiana, who was attempting to grow to be the primary participant since Camilo Villegas in 2008 to get his first two PGA Tour victories in consecutive begins.

“I believe the largest factor for me is simply figuring out my recreation is in an excellent place,” Burns mentioned. “It is in a great place sufficient to the place I can contend.”

Seamus Energy was 21 underneath by eight holes however fell again with a uncommon double bogey on the par-4 thirteenth on a course that yielded practically 100 scores within the 60s within the opening spherical. Energy shot 70 to complete 18 underneath with Spieth, Jhonattan Vegas (67) and Doc Redman (70).

Kizzire, the one participant with two rounds of 64 or higher, was 8 underneath for the day by 12 earlier than settling for his 63. He vaulted into competition with a second-round 64 earlier than a 71 Saturday.

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