AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson

AT&T Byron Nelson
Dallas, Texas
Winner: Sung Kang

What are those secrets caddies tell their golfers? Which club to hit? Wind, the distance, stuff like that? But down the final round of the AT&T Byron Nelson, it develops that Sung Kang’s caddie was coming over to him and saying something like, “Did-ja hear the one about…?”

It all developed from the heavy storm and the six-hour delay Saturday, that left 27 holes to play on Sunday. “I told my caddie, 27 holes is going to be long day for everyone,” Kang said. “I was mentally tired. I told him, just keep telling me about the funny things and that I can laugh and forget about the golf for a while. As soon as we get to the ball, just concentrate again.”

And, of course, Kang had the last laugh. He powered his way into the lead with a second-round 61 and made his way through the rain-battered tournament for his first victory in his 159th career start. Kang won by two over Matt Every and Scott Piercy, shooting the par-71 Trinity Forest in 65-61-68-67, a 23-under total of 261.

“I watched him for 72 holes,” Every said. “He didn’t miss. Tough to beat.” Said Piercy: “I mean he played great all day. He bounced back after a bogey, and hats off.”

Kang actually came back from two bogeys, both the result of missing the green at two par-threes, Nos. 2 and 12. He also took a meaningless bogey at the 18th. It merely cut his winning margin to two. Denny McCarthy, in his second year on the tour, opened the tournament with the lead and a round to remember. He shook off a double bogey at No. 4, and from No. 6 he played the next 12 holes in 10 under for a 63 and a one-stroke lead. His strategy: “Just play really carefree,” he said.

McCarthy would finish joint 23rd, and the tournament, blossoming in low scores, turned into a duel between Kang and Every. Kang warmed up with a two-eagle 65 in the first round, two off McCarthy’s lead, then took over in the second with that blistering, no-bogey 61, matching the course record. He birdied No. 1 from nine inches, then made six straight birdies from the fifth through the 10th, and added three more at the 13th, 14th and 16th.

When the rain-delayed third round was completed Sunday morning, Kang had shot 68 and was leading at 19 under, and Every, after his 67, was three behind at 16 under. Every turned the final round into a shootout with three consecutive birdies from the first, and Kang retook the lead for good with birdies at the 14th, 15th and 16th. The par-four 15th was the final turning point. Kang rolled in a 23-footer for birdie and Every took a three-putt bogey from 40 feet.

Kang birdied the 16th, then took the meaningless closing bogey for the 67 and the two-stroke win over Every (66) and Scott Piercy (64). He had his first win. Kang called his dad back in South Korea. “I did it,” he said.


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