May 22, 2017
Billy Horschel had missed four straight cuts when he arrived at TPC Four Seasons, a course he was never particularly fond of.
After winning the last AT&T Byron Nelson scheduled at the Irving resort, Horschel now wishes he could have the chance to come back.
While his 18-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole Sunday stopped just short, Horschel won with a par when Jason Day pulled his 4-foot par putt left and past the hole.
"When I hit it I knew it was on a perfect line and I thought I got it to the hole. ... I just wanted to finish it off there," Horschel said. "I didn't expect him to miss it. I was expecting to go back to the tee and play the hole again."
Instead, the playoff wrapped up the Nelson's 35th and final tournament in Irving. The event shifts next year to the new links-style Trinity Forest Golf Club south of downtown Dallas.
In his only two previous Nelsons, in 2011 and 2012, Horschel missed the cut at 13 over through 36 holes both times. With a closing 1-under 69 on Sunday, including a 60-foot birdie putt at the 14th hole, Horschel matched Day (68) at 12-under 268 for a playoff.
"It's sad that it's leaving because I was never a fan of this course, but came here and now I am," Horschel said. "I won, and I don't want to leave."
Third-round leader James Hahn finished a stroke back after shooting 71. He just missed a miraculous eagle at the 18th hole that would have gotten him in the playoff with his playing partners - threesomes were used after early morning rain delayed the start Sunday.
Day, who got the first of his 10 PGA Tour victories at the 2010 Nelson, had the lead alone only once, when he pitched in from 78 feet from the rough by the greenside bunker at the 477-yard 15th. He was there after two horrible shots, a tee shot way right and the approach that set up an awkward stance.
But at the par-5 573-yard 16th, the easiest hole at TPC Four Seasons, Day's wayward tee shot hit a spectator. After making sure the woman was OK, he hit an approach that settled pin-high on the green, but a 9-foot birdie chance curled by the hole.
"I only had one top 10 up to this point. To be able to play the way I did today, I played some good solid golf," Day said. "It's a little disappointing, but it's not the first tournament I'm going to lose. ... I feel good about my game."
Horschel also got to the 16th green in two, and two-putted from 44 feet for a tying birdie. He and Day parred the last two holes, though Horschel had a longer but similar putt at No. 18 in regulation that also come up just short.
Earlier this season, Horschel was eliminated from a five-man playoff at the RSM Classic when he narrowly missed a birdie putt on the first extra hole, then shockingly missed a 2-foot putt.
"I know that feeling," Horschel said about Day's unexpected playoff miss. "I told Jason it's not the way I wanted to win. I know it's not the way he wants me to win."
Horschel's fourth PGA Tour victory, which earned him $1.35 million, was his first since taking the 2014 Tour Championship for the FedEx Cup title.
Hahn almost got to 12 under when his approach from 122 yards at the 18th hit on the green, spun back and skimmed over the edge of the cup. He made the 4-foot birdie putt to finish alone in third, one stroke ahead of Jason Kokrak.
Kokrak went into the weekend with a five-stroke lead, the largest ever after 36 holes at the Nelson, before weekend rounds of 72 and 70.
Dustin Johnson, the No. 1 player in the world, had a closing 69 to tie for 13th at 6 under.
Defending champion Sergio Garcia had birdies on six of his last eight holes Saturday to get within four strokes of the lead. But he was as quickly out of contention after giving back four strokes while missing three putts of 5 feet or less at Nos. 2-4. His closing 74 put him 4 under and tied for 20th.
May 21, 2017
James Hahn fired his second bogey-free 64 this week to grab a one shot lead heading into the final round of the PGA Tour's Byron Nelson event on Saturday.
Hahn has a slim lead over a crowded leaderboard that also includes Australia's Jason Day who blasted a 63 in the third round to move into contention at the TPC Las Colinas course just outside of Dallas.
"I played well out there. Overall it was a good day," Hahn said. "It is really close. One putt here or there. You need good breaks to happen to keep the momentum going and I did that today."
Hahn is at 12-under-par 198 while fellow American Billy Horschel is one stroke back after a four-under 66 that included making birdie on each of his last three holes.
World number three Day had eight birdies to move into a tie for third with second-round leader Jason Kokrak (72). Day and Kokrak are two shots adrift of Hahn at 10-under 200.
Cameron Tringale (67) is alone in fifth at 201.
Day made an incredible 60 foot birdie putt on the par-three 17 to move into a tie for the lead.
Reigning Masters champion Sergio Garcia, of Spain, fired a 64 on Saturday to get to 202 and into a tie for sixth with former Byron Nelson champion Jason Dufner (65) and Bud Cauley (68).
The defending champion Garcia shot 29 on the back nine Saturday, the same score he posted on the front nine in the opening round when he won in 2016.
Five players, including Scott Brown (65), Scott Piercy (66), Grayson Murray (68), Chad Campbell (68) and An Byeong-Hun of South Korea (69), are at 203 and within striking distance.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is tied for 19th after carding a one-over 71 Saturday. That snapped a streak of 14 consecutive par-or-better rounds at the Byron Nelson for Johnson who is seven shots behind Hahn.
May 20, 2017
While big-hitting Jason Kokrak has an AT&T Byron Nelson record five-stroke lead through 36 holes, he knows that is only halfway with plenty of other players who could make a weekend charge.
That includes top-ranked Dustin Johnson. But not local favorite Jordan Spieth after he missed the cut Friday for the first time at the tournament where he made his debut as a 16-year-old high school junior.
''Yeah, a bit shocking that's how it happened,'' said Spieth, who missed the cut by a stroke after a 5-under 75 that included a 9 at the par-5 16th hole after he hit two tee shots out of bounds.
Kokrak, ranked 128th in the world, shot a bogey-free 8-under 62 for his career-best scoring round and matched the Nelson's 36-hole record at 12-under 128. No one has ever had a bigger lead there after two rounds than his five strokes over Billy Horschel (65), who finished with three consecutive birdies.
''It's 36 holes. You've got the No. 1 player in the world chasing you, you've got x-number of other players that are outstanding players,'' Kokrak said, when asked about having wiggle room. ''Same game plan, just give myself birdie opportunities.''
Maybe as surprising as Kokrak's big lead halfway through the last Nelson to be played at TPC Four Seasons is the 23-year-old Spieth, the 2015 Masters and U.S. Open champion, done playing this week.
Spieth also missed the cut last week in The Players Championship. He last missed consecutive cuts in 2015.
With a 3-over total after the horrendous 16th hole, and needing at least one birdie, Spieth's 17-foot birdie try at No. 17 curled by the cup, and he missed a 14-footer on 18.
''It didn't need to happen. Just playing fine and I tried to just, you know, press it to try to reach the green in two, and then I tried to do it again,'' Spieth said, referring to the par-5 16th.
Kokrak finished with a nice par save after driving way right at the 18th. The ball landed in the rough closer to the first fairway with a temporary concession stand between him and the hole. He didn't take potential relief because that line would have put him directly behind a tree, but he hit the ball back in the fairway short of the green before chipping to 6 feet.
''I made a lot of birdies out there but it was nice,'' Kokrak said. ''Just keeping a clean card is always a goal. ... It was nice to get it up and down.''
The only other time Kokrak had the 36-hole lead in 146 career PGA Tour starts was at the 2016 Northern Trust Open, where he ended up with a career-best tie for second.
Johnson had his second consecutive 67 and was tied for third with Byeong Hun An (bogey-free 66), Bud Cauley (67), Cameron Tringale (68), Jhonttan Vegas (68) and first-round co-leader James Hahn (70).
Sergio Garcia, the Masters champion who is defending his second Nelson title, birdied six of his last 15 holes for a 65 to get to 2 under. He opened with a 73, and was at 4 over for the tournament after his only bogey Friday on his third hole.
This is Johnson's third PGA Tour event since a freak fall forced him to miss the Masters with a bruised back after winning three consecutive tournaments before that. He tied for second at the Wells Fargo Championship in his return to the tour two weeks ago, and then had a career-best 12th place finish at The Players Championship.
''The game is still not quite as sharp as it was leading into Augusta, but it's getting there,'' Johnson said. ''It's getting close.''
His only bogey was at his final hole, the 431-yard ninth hole, when his approach landed in rough between a bunker and the green after the wind shifted on him.
Spieth first played a PGA Tour event at age 16 on a sponsor's exemption in the 2010 tournament, and tied for 16th - still his best Nelson finish. He missed his high school graduation ceremony in 2011 to play after making the cut again.
After an opening birdie Friday, Spieth missed a 3 1/2-foot par putt at the par-3 second hole. He had five bogeys and four birdies, plus saved par from a drop at the edge of a curb after his tee shot at the 316-yard 11th hole rolled to a stop on a neighborhood street, before the quadruple at No. 16.
May 19, 2017
Brooks Koepka leaned in for a closer look at his ball buried in deep rough when a critter he couldn't identify caused him to jump back with a bit of a startled look.
His best guesses were a frog or rat, though he was too disoriented to be sure. It definitely wasn't a birdie, because Koepka was on his way to finishing with two straight bogeys after sharing the lead late in his opening round of the AT&T Byron Nelson on Thursday.
A year after losing to Sergio Garcia in a playoff at the TPC Four Seasons, Koepka settled for a 3-under 67 and trailed co-leaders James Hahn and Ricky Barnes by three shots.
''It jumped out and I didn't know what was going on, freaked me out,'' said Koepka, who needed help from a bevy of tournament volunteers and fans to find his ball while hitting two shots out of the thick grass and just missing a chip that would have saved par on the ninth hole, his last.
''I was so in amazement of what just happened, whether it jumped out, scared me. I couldn't see it because it ran underneath the grass again.''
Matt Kuchar, Jhonattan Vegas, Jason Kokrak and Cameron Tringale shot 66, and top-ranked Dustin Johnson topped the group at 67, a stroke ahead of fourth-ranked Jason Day and Jordan Spieth, the No. 6 player competing in his hometown event.
Masters and defending Nelson champion Garcia, ranked fifth, had three bogeys on the front nine and just one birdie in a 73 that left him tied for 93rd.
The event is the last at TPC Four Seasons, ending the tournament's 35-year run in Irving. The tournament will move to the new links-style Trinity Forest Golf Club south of downtown Dallas next year.
Tringale was the only player with a lower score than Johnson in a blustery afternoon round, while Hahn and Barnes played in slightly calmer conditions in the morning.
''It was blowing hard and it was gusty,'' said Johnson, who has four top-10 finishes in seven previous Nelsons. ''I thought it was very difficult to judge the wind and control the ball. Felt like there were a lot of times I hit really good shots that didn't end up in good spots.''
Using a mallet putter instead of his traditional blade, Spieth made a 10-footer for his second straight birdie on his 17th hole, the par-4 eighth. Normally one of the best putters on tour, the Dallas native was frustrated with that part of his game after missing the cut at the Players Championship last week.
''It's nothing crazy new,'' said Spieth, whose best Nelson finish remains his tie for 16th as a 16-year-old amateur in 2010. ''It helps me line up a bit better and that's kind of been my struggle is lining the putter up where I want to. I just haven't quite dialed in the speed yet.''
Day birdied the par-4 11th when he chipped to 12 feet off a cart path behind the green after a 326-yard drive on the 309-yard hole. On the next hole, he had to bend his second shot around tree from the rough and saved par. Day eagled the par-5 seventh and curled in a 28-footer for birdie on 18.
''In this wind, I think everyone's kind of scrambling,'' said Day, whose first PGA Tour win came at the 2010 Nelson. ''I was not going to drop it all the way back onto the other side of the road. It was just in long grass and I wouldn't be able to flop it over. It was quite a simple shot. You just had to contact it correctly.''
Hahn finished a bogey-free round with a 22-foot birdie putt on 18 to match his lowest round of the season. The two-time tour winner saved par with a 24-footer on 14. Hahn's first four birdies were inside 10 feet.
Barnes, who has made four straight cuts after missing 10 of his previous 13, started a run of three straight birdies with a chip-in on his 15th hole, the par-4 sixth. He had two bogeys.
''I'm having signs of brilliancy,'' said Barnes, still looking for his first win in his 255th PGA Tour start. ''I just need to put it all together.''
Koepka birdied his first two holes and was 5 under through 13 holes before stumbling late. On No. 8, his 17th hole, Koepka had to lift a folder lawn chair to uncover his ball behind the green. He missed the par putt.
After missing on a birdie chance for the win in 2016, Koepka went in the water on 18, the first playoff hole, to open the door for Garcia to become the only two-time winner since Lord Byron's event moved to the Four Seasons.
''I didn't play very good today,'' Koepka said. ''Even last year, I didn't play very good around this place and just managed to get a decent score. Three under isn't very good around here. I'll take it for how I played.''
|T27||USA||J. J. Henry||-3||-||68||69||69||71||277|
|T50||USA||Billy Hurley III||Par||-||69||71||71||69||280|
|73||USA||D. A. Points||11||-||69||72||74||76||291|
|74||USA||J. J. Spaun||13||-||73||69||74||77||293|
|CUT||TPE||Cheng Tsung Pan||4||-||71||73||-||-||144|
|CUT||USA||J. B. Holmes||4||-||76||68||-||-||144|
|CUT||RSA||Tyrone van Aswegen||7||-||72||75||-||-||147|
|CUT||USA||J. T. Poston||10||-||78||72||-||-||150|