In his second consecutive victory in the Byron Nelson, K.H. Lee raced across the fairway to have a better view of the crucial shot. Lee’s 240-yard eagle putt on the par-5 12th hole put him in front for good on his way to a 9-under 63 in the final round and a one-shot triumph over Spieth at birdie-haunted TPC Craig Ranch.
Spieth finished one stroke ahead of Matsuyama (62) and Sebastian Munoz (69), who had held or shared the lead during the first three rounds. Xander Schauffele shared fifth place with Ryan Palmer (66) and Justin Thomas (67), who were part of an eight-way tie for the lead at 20 under early in the final round.
Lee was competing for a spot in the PGA Championship a year ago, and he’ll be back at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, next week. It was for a place in history this time, as the 30-year-old joined Sam Snead (1957-58), Jack Nicklaus (1970-71), and Tom Watson (1978-80) as the Nelson’s only repeat champions.
Lee Shoots a Career Best
Lee’s career-best performance came back from a four-shot deficit in the final round to finish at 26 under par, one shot better than the previous year. His PGA Tour victories have both come at the Nelson.
Spieth had to settle with a career-best result in the tournament he so desperately wants to win, a year after he was ninth but never really near in a poor final round.
After 2,007 birdies a year ago, which was the most on tour last season, there were 2,228 this year.
Eagles were also prevalent. Six players broke the 20-under mark last year. It was 14 this time.
It was a Day of Missed Opportunity
Even missed eagle opportunities cost Munoz a stroke on No. 12, when his 6-footer rimmed the cup and remained out, putting him a stroke behind not long after Lee followed his clutch shot with a short putt.
Matsuyama, who was the defending Masters winner when he finished 39th at the Nelson last year, made six birdies on the front nine and three on the back nine until a bogey halted his progress. He got closer with an eagle on 18.
Scottie Scheffler, a former Texas golfer who shared the spotlight with Spieth as a duo of former Texas players, scored 69 to finish 19 under par. After winning four of his previous six solo starts, the top-ranked player was never a genuine challenger.
With a birdie on 18, Schauffele took the clubhouse lead at 23 under par as the last group approached the turn. With the poor score, the 12th-ranked player indicated he didn’t expect to stay long.
He was free to go after Matsuyama after the 2021 Masters champion’s eagle at 18 placed him in front. Nonetheless, Schauffele’s turnaround in his first tournament since winning the Zurich Classic alongside Patrick Cantlay was spectacular.
The Olympic champion shot 26 under par over the next 49 holes, starting with eight birdies from No. 6 on in the second round to come back from 3 over and make the cut (5 under). He was nine strokes down going into the final round.
Schauffele made eagle on the short par-4 sixth hole with a 97-yard wedge, then added eight birdies over the final 11 holes for his third round of 61 or better this week. Munoz got things started with his second 60 of the year, his first on the circuit.
On 17, Justin Lower hit a low 9-iron from 135 yards just right of the pin before the ball backed up and rolled in for his second of two aces in the round in the stadium setting.
On the 213-yard 15th, Marc Leishman got the first hole-in-one, landing a 7-iron short, and watched it roll in. Leishman’s ace was his second of his career and the first at the Nelson since Tyler Duncan in 2018.