Kang rallies again at Byron Nelson for 1st PGA Tour victory

  • In Sports/Golf
  • 2019-05-12 23:42:11Z
  • By STEPHEN HAWKINS (AP Sports Writer)

DALLAS (AP) -- Sung Kang made a 23-foot birdie putt on the 15th hole to finally take the lead for good at the Byron Nelson and held on for his first PGA Tour victory on a 27-hole Sunday at Trinity Forest.

That was the second of three consecutive birdies for Kang, the 31-year-old South Korean who lives in North Texas. In his 159th career PGA Tour start, Kang closed with a 4-under 67 to finish at 23 under and beat Matt Every and Scott Piercy by two strokes.

Kang pumped his fist when the birdie dropped in at No. 15, making for a two-stroke swing at the 431-yard par 4. Every, who started that hole tied for the lead, was in the middle of the fairway and had a decent approach before three-putting for bogey.

Twice over the last two days, Every overcame deficits of at least four strokes and went ahead of Kang.

Every finished with a 66. Piercy, also in the final threesome, ended a bogey-free tournament with a 64.

Brooks Koepka, the world's No. 3-ranked player who now goes to Bethpage to defend his PGA Championship title, finished fourth at the Nelson at 20 under after a 68. He has also won the last two U.S. Opens.

Jordan Spieth, a member of Trinity Forest, had a closing 71 and finished tied for 29th at 11 under. His best Nelson finish is still a tie for 16th when he played in the tournament for the first time as a 16-year-old amateur on a sponsor's exemption in 2010 at TPC Four Seasons.

Spieth is still without a top-20 finish in his 13 starts this season. He last won at the 2017 British Open, his third major victory.

Every and Kang played all four rounds together at Trinity Forest, including the extended day Sunday after the third round was delayed six hours by rain and they got in only nine holes before play was suspended by darkness.

Kang started the third round with a four-stroke lead, but trailed Every by one when play was stopped midway through that round Saturday night. When they resumed Sunday morning, Kang regained the lead with three birdies on the back nine, while Every had four consecutive bogeys.

A third-round 68 put Kang at 19 under, three strokes ahead of Every (67) going into the fourth round after being up by as many as five in that half-round earlier Sunday.

Every, whose only two PGA Tour wins were back-to-back Arnold Palmer Invitational titles in 2014 and 2015, started the final round with three consecutive birdies and was tied for the lead because Kang bogeyed the par-3 second hole.

Five birdies and a bogey on the first six holes got Every to 20 under, and a stroke ahead when he rebounded from the bogey at No. 4 with consecutive birdies.

Kang also had three consecutive birdies in the middle of the round to go back ahead, but his tee shot missed the green at the par-3 12th hole, with his ball settling in some nasty rough well below the hole. He got the ball out, but it hit the top of the hill and rolled back into a bunker.

That bogey put him at 21 under, tied again with Every at the same time Koepka made a short birdie putt at No. 13 to get him within two strokes of the lead. That followed seven consecutive pars for Koepka after he was 4 under in his first five holes following a 36-foot eagle putt after driving the green at the short 301-yard par-4 No. 5 hole.

The power-hitting Koepka missed a chance for another birdie when his drive at the 620-yard par-4 14th went into a fairway bunker. He birdied the par-4 15th for the third round in a row, but that was his last birdie of the day.


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