Taking to the podium at Byron Nelson at -25 on May 16, Lee Kyoung-hoon is the eighth Korean golfer to win the cup at the world’s number one men’s golf arena.

Lee finished with a three-stroke lead over runner-up Sam Burns. Before Lee, the history of the PGA Tour from 1929 recorded seven Korean golfers winning affiliated events. They include KJ Choi, Yang Yong-eun, Shigeki Maruyama, Bae Sang Moon, Kim Si Woo, Kang Sung and Im Sung-jae.

During Lee’s personal career on the PGA Tour, this achievement comes after 80 events. It brought him $ 1,458 million, a slot until the end of the 2022-2023 season and a ticket to this week’s major PGA Championship.

Lee was happy after being crowned, winning his first title since going on the PGA Tour.  Photo: EPA

Lee is happy after being crowned, winning his first title since going on the PGA Tour. Image: EPA

Particularly at Byron Nelson, Lee is the fourth Korean to win the championship, thereby helping the country to stand on the highest podium in the last two times the tournament was held, after Kang Sung 2019. Last year, this event was canceled because Covid-19. This year, Kang returned to T47, 14 strokes behind Lee.

At this year’s Byron Nelson, Lee hit no more than 67 strokes per round on par72. After 54 holes, he stood T2 at -19 and the top of the table belonged to Sam Burns at -20. On the closing day, both started the last round from hole 1.

Through four holes, Lee monopolized the top and took a two-stroke lead thanks to a three-birdie streak.

At that time, light rain fell and gradually became heavier. Lee and his colleagues are still fighting. Lightning suddenly struck down near the green of hole 16, causing him to jump when he entered a 4.5-meter putting position. At that point, he needed to keep par to maintain the top of the table at -24, three strokes from Burns.

Immediately after, the Organizing Committee blew the whistle to stop the round. The sky was clear after nearly 2.5 hours of pouring rain. The yard maintenance team had to dry the end greens with specialized pushers.

Byron Nelson organizers dry the green after the rain

Lee returned to the 16th hole and bogey from his original position with a two-stroke advantage. However, he birdie the last two holes to keep the first place and three strokes away while Burns a birdie in the same section should come second with $883,000.

“The last three holes, I was shaking but trying to look calm. I didn’t dare look at the scoreboard. It’s been a long day, but I’m so happy,” Lee said after the Byron Nelson trophy ceremony.

After finishing 66 strokes, he reached 302.5 yards in two holes selected by the PGA Tour to record the average distance on the opening shot. Particularly for the par4 16 hole, 492 yards long, the player born in 1991 played only 263 yards due to high winds. But the whole match, he hit 10 of the 14 fairways, went to the green according to the standard of 15 holes.

Lee has been playing professionally since 2010. Before Byron Nelson, he first finished second on the PGA Tour – T2 Phoenix Open in February.

Quoc Huy synthetic


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