Advertisement
Share

Golf roundup: K.H. Lee holds off Jordan Spieth to win Byron Nelson tournament

K.H. Lee makes an approach shot on the third hole during the final round of the Byron Nelson golf tournament.
K.H. Lee makes an approach shot on the third hole during the final round of the Byron Nelson golf tournament in McKinney, Texas, on Sunday.
(Emil Lippe / Associated Press)

K.H. Lee ran across the fairway to try to get a better view of the key shot in his second consecutive victory in the Byron Nelson.

The South Korean must have known it would be close, same as the low-scoring drama around him that included hometown favorite Jordan Spieth and a couple of other major winners in Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Thomas.

Lee’s 240-yard shot on the par-five 12th hole stopped less than 5 feet from the pin, and the eagle put him in front for good Sunday on the way to a nine-under 63 and a one-shot victory over Spieth at birdie-besieged TPC Craig Ranch.

Spieth shot a 67 to finish a stroke ahead of Matsuyama (62) and Sebastian Munoz (69), who held or shared the lead the first three rounds. Xander Schauffele had a career-best 61 and tied for fifth with Ryan Palmer (66) and Thomas (67).

Domestic dispute records shed light on former Mater Dei receiver Bru McCoy’s struggle to return to the USC football program.

Advertisement

A year ago, Lee was playing for a spot in the PGA Championship, where he’ll be again next week at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

This time it was for a place in history as the 30-year-old joined Sam Snead (1957-58), Jack Nicklaus (1970-71) and Tom Watson (1978-80) as the only repeat winners at the Nelson. Lee finished at 26 under, one shot better than last year.

Spieth had to settle for another career-best finish in the event he so badly wants to win, a year after the three-time major champion was ninth but never really close in a disappointing final round.

This final round was really close.

Leading by one, Lee made a curling 12-foot putt to save par on the par-three 17th after a short chip ran long when Lee tried to find his footing in the sand with the ball above his feet just outside the bunker.

Spieth missed a 9-foot birdie putt on 17 that would have pulled him even, then had to have eagle on the par-five 18th after Lee’s tap-in birdie. Spieth’s eagle chip stayed left of the hole.

With short par fours and reachable par fives, the birdies never stopped at TPC Craig Ranch, the second-year home of the Nelson.

There were 2,228 birdies after 2,007 a year ago, which was the most on tour last season. Eagles were plentiful, too. Last year, six players reached 20 under. This time it was 14.

LPGA Tour

Minjee Lee hits off the fourth tee during the final round of the LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup on Sunday.
(Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

CLIFTON, N.J. — The way LPGA scoring leader Minjee Lee has been playing, winning was only a matter of time.

The title came in the Cognizant Founders Cup on Sunday after a final round in which the Australian wasn’t playing her best.

Lee made her only three birdies on the back nine and held off Lexi Thompson by two shots to win her seventh career title and first since taking her first major at last year’s Evian Championship.

“I just feel like I’ve kind of been trending,” said Lee, who also has a tie for second and a tie for third among her seven starts this year. “I’ve been hitting it really, really well this whole — I mean, this whole season, and I just felt like it was kind of around the corner. I kept knocking on the door, and here I am now.”

It was another big week for the Angels, with rookie pitcher Reid Detmers and sluggers Brandon Marsh and Shohei Ohtani providing multiple highlights.

Lee took the lead for good with a two-putt birdie on the par-five 14th hole at Upper Montclair Country Club. She closed with a two-under 70, her only round not in the 60s, for a 72-hole total of 19-under 269 in the event that honors the 13 founding members of the LPGA Tour.

She steadied herself after what she called a “good” bogey on the par-three eighth. Her ball landed on the sod wall of the bunker and she put her second shot in the sand playing from an awkward stance, but got up and down from there.

“I was actually quite calm the whole day,” Lee said. “My emotion was actually quite just very, very level, so it was just nice just to win. I think that’s why I celebrated.”

Looking for her first LPGA Tour win since 2019, Thompson rallied from three down and grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie at No. 10. Thompson and Lee traded birdies on the par-five 12th, but Thompson closed with six straight pars for a 69. Thompson had birdie opportunities on the final two holes that she failed to convert before Lee closed it in style with a short birdie of her own.

It was Thompson’s second runner-up in six events this year.

PGA Champions Tour

Steve Stricker celebrates after winning the Regions Tradition on Sunday.
(Vasha Hunt / Associated Press)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Steve Stricker completed at a wire-to-wire victory in the Regions Tradition, closing with a four-under 68 for a six-stroke victory and his fourth PGA Tour Champions major title.

Stricker’s second Tradition win at Greystone Golf & Country Club came in his third event since returning from a six-month absence for health reasons. Two straight birdies punctuated the dominant performance.

“It’s been a long time,” the emotional Stricker said. “I hate crying, but where I was last November and even a couple of months ago — to come full-circle here, it means a lot.”

He had his 20th consecutive round under par on the Founder’s Course, finishing at 21-under 267 for his eighth victory over the 50-and-over tour.

Padraig Harrington finished second, birdieing the final two holes for a 68.

Steven Alker was in the group at 14 under after a 72. He has finished four straight tournaments in the top three, winning twice.

World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els, who had his third 68 in four days, also was at 14 under with Rod Pampling (67), Stuart Appleby (69) and 2018 winner Miguel Angel Jimenez (70).


Advertisement