DALLAS (REUTERS) - South Korean Lee Kyoung-hoon won his first PGA Tour event on Sunday (May 16), shooting a 66 for a four-stroke win at the AT&T Byron Nelson in McKinney, Texas.
The 29-year-old Lee entered the day in second, one shot behind 54-hole leader Sam Burns, but put the pressure on his playing partner immediately. He birdied five of the first eight holes at TPC Craig Ranch before a bogey at No. 9, then added three birdies and a bogey on the back nine.
A birdie at No. 17 gave him a three-stroke lead and breathing room on the final hole, putting the topping on the tournament with a birdie at No. 18 for a 25-under 263 total.
Whatever he had rehearsed to celebrate his first win was lost in the moment.
"Before a lot of imagine when I win, like what is that," he said through a translator. "Like, yeah, like fist pump or I imagine a lot of things, but too excited over there. Almost forget everything.
"So excited, yeah."
With the win, Lee earned a spot in next week's PGA Championship at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, South Carolina.
After shooting rounds of 65-62-69, Burns could muster only a two-under 70 on Sunday to finish in second, three shots back, at 22 under. The four-foot putt for birdie on the final hole moved him out of a four-way tie and into second on his own.
Behind Lee and Burns in a tie for third were four players, including two who made a big rise up the leaderboard on Sunday. Patton Kizzire fired the day's low round, a nine-under 63, to climb 23 places on the day, while Daniel Berger shot a 64 to move up from 18th place. Scott Stallings (66) and South African Charl Schwartzel (68) also finished in the tie.
Burns was going for his second win this month after winning the Valspar Championship on May 2.
Despite the second-place finish, he was happy with the results.
"I think the biggest thing for me is just knowing my game is in a good place. It's in a good spot enough to where I can contend," the 24-year-old from Louisiana said. "So that's cool for me, just to see some results for some of the stuff I been working on back home.
"All in all, a great week."
He also was happy for Lee.
"Yeah, he played awesome. I was really proud of him," Burns said. "When it was tough, he hung in there and he got off to a great start. It was kind of gettable in the beginning. Got off to a really fast start, and then kind of midway through got tough for everybody, and he kept hitting one shot after the next and never gave anybody a chance. It was fun to watch."
The final groups had to bear a weather delay of about two hours before finishing their rounds. The tournament started early and groups went out in threes with rain in the forecast, but the weather still got in the way.
Despite his blistering round, Kizzire said the storm had an impact.
"Yeah, so on the 15th tee it came in, and, gosh, it seemed like it sped everything up," he said. "You got the umbrella, you got the wind, rain, yardage, you got so many different factors going and it throws your routine off."
Finishing in a tie for seventh at 19 under were Troy Merritt (65) and Joseph Bramlett (68). Jordan Spieth, who was in contention after firing a 66 on Saturday, shot a 71 to finish in a four-way tie for ninth at 18 under. He was playing for the first time since the Masters after testing positive for Covid-19.
"I guess I got back into tournament golf. Played well, hit a lot of good shots," Spieth said. "You know, rusty mistakes here and there, and then I just didn't putt as well as I would like to. So, stroke was a little off to start, and I'll work on that for next week for sure.
"But coming into the week if you told me top 10, I would probably take it. I didn't know where anything stood."