5 Things: Bradley's big Byron Nelson win
IRVING, Texas – Five things you need to know from the final round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship:
Byron Nelson Championship
Check out photos from weekend action of the Byron Nelson Championship
1. For whom the bell tolls: Keegan Bradley said he started to become emotional as he walked up TPC Four Seasons’ 18th fairway during his playoff with Ryan Palmer. What was Bradley thinking about? A cow bell.
Bradley is the nephew of LPGA Hall of Famer Pat Bradley. Bradley’s mother, Kathleen, used to stand on the back porch of the family’s Westford, Mass., home and ring the bell whenever Bradley won an LPGA event. The bell is now in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
"I was thinking about that cow bell, and I started to get emotional," Bradley said. "It was like, pull it together, don't start thinking about the cow bell, because the cow bell in my family is an iconic thing."
Bradley two-putted from about 60 feet on the first playoff hole to make par and defeat Palmer, who hit his approach into water left of the green. Bradley had to play a low, running 6-iron from 163 yards after hitting his drive into trees right of the green. A concession stand had to be moved to give Bradley a clear path to the hole. Palmer birdied the 18th in regulation to force the playoff.
Good bloodlines may have helped Bradley win the Nelson, but so did some good fortune. Bradley said he wasn’t planning on playing the Nelson until his caddie, Stephen “Pepsi” Hale convinced Bradley that the TPC Four Seasons was a better fit for his game than tight and turning Colonial Country Club.
Bradley and Hale only started working together six weeks ago. Hale started caddying for Jamie Lovemark, the 2010 Nationwide Tour player of the year, during the latter half of last year. Bradley and Lovemark are good friends and fellow 2010 Nationwide Tour graduates.
This was Bradley’s 16th start this season. He previously had top-10s at the Bob Hope Classic and Valero Texas Open, the first event where Hale carried his bag.
Bradley is the third PGA Tour rookie to win this year after graduating from last year’s Nationwide Tour. Jhonattan Vegas (Bob Hope Classic) and Brendan Steele (Texas Open) are the others.
2. The kid’s alright: Jordan Spieth was in the top 10 at the Byron Nelson Championship with four holes remaining, but was 6 over par on Nos. 14-18 to fall into a tie for 32nd. Still, the finish will help Spieth’s Walker Cup candidacy. He’s trying to become the first incoming freshman to represent the United States at the Walker Cup since Rickie Fowler in 2007.
“I hung in there until the last four holes, and to be honest it wasn't the nerves like everyone probably thought it was,” Spieth said. “I just -- I hit three fairways today and there is no way you can shoot under par hitting three fairways on this course.”
Spieth was three shots off the lead after a birdie at the par-5 seventh hole but double-bogeyed the next hole after three-putting from 4 feet. Spieth was still even par for the tournament after birdies on Nos. 10 and 12 but his wayward driving eventually caught up to him.
3. De-FENSE: Jason Day, the 2010 Nelson champion, made a strong title defense. He shot a final-round 67 to finish fifth after making the cut on the number. Day, runner-up at the Masters and sixth at The Players, has finished in the top 10 in four of his past five starts.
Day only shot 4 under par on the weekend (69-67) but that was enough to move from worst to just two shots from first because of high winds that made TPC Four Seasons play extremely difficult.
“I was on 3 this morning and I backed off three times because the wind was blowing so hard,” Day said. “So you've got to pick when the gusts are coming, and, you know, obviously a good solid hit.”
Winds consistently blew at about 25 mph, with gusts in the high-30s.
Joe Ogilvie called this event the “U.S. Open in Dallas.”
4. No surge from Sergio: Sergio Garcia couldn’t capitalize on his share of the 36-hole lead at the Byron Nelson Championship. A victory here likely would’ve moved Garcia back into the top 50 in the world ranking and exempted him into the British Open. Garcia shot 74-77 on the weekend and finished 20th. He made just one birdie over the final 36 holes.
5. Cashing in: Ogilvie made the most of a sponsor exemption this week, finishing third to earn $377,000. It was his largest paycheck since his victory at the 2007 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, the lone PGA Tour title of his career.
“I feel for the first time that I actually know where the ball is going with my iron shots,” Ogilvie said, “which is easier to play than when ... anywhere in your peripheral vision is good.”
Ogilvie has relied on sponsor exemptions for most of his starts this season after finishing 143rd on last year’s money list.