IRVING, Texas — Sang-Moon Bae surged to the lead on the front nine, battled swing issues in the middle of his round, and fought off playing partner Keegan Bradley down the stretch to win the HP Byron Nelson Championship on Sunday at the TPC Four Seasons Resort.
For the 26-year-old Korean, it’s his first PGA Tour win in his second season. With 500 FedExCup points, Bae moves from 95th to 18th in the standings. He also becomes just the fifth Korean player to win a Tour event.
Bae shot a final-round 1-under 69 to finish at 13 under, with Bradley shooting a 2-over 72 for 12 under. Charl Schwartzel was third at 10 under, with Justin Bolli, after a bogey-free 65, in solo fourth.
Bae is the third first-time Tour winner in the last four weeks (Billy Horschel and Derek Ernst the other two) and the eighth first-time winner of the season.
“The course was really tough,” Bae said. “The winds were very strong. I did very well this week.”
Bae and Bradley were tied going to the par-5 15th. After both players hit excellent third shots, Bae made his birdie putt from 5 feet, 3 inches, while Bradley — on the same line — saw his birdie putt from 3 feet, 11 inches horseshoe out.
“I wouldn’t have hit the putt any different,” Bradley said. “It’s surprising to miss like that.”
It was the second par for Bradley on TPC Four Seasons two par 5s on Sunday, as he also parred the seventh hole. Through the first 54 holes, Bradley had posted five birdies and one eagle on those two par 5s and had led the field in par-5 scoring.
Bradley had also led the tournament for the first three rounds, seeking to win his second HP Byron Nelson title and fourth Tour event. He entered Sunday leading Bae by one shot, but saw that lead quickly disappear.
“I’m pretty disappointed but Moon played very well,” Bradley said. “He played better than me today, so I’m happy for him.”
Bae posted four birdies in his first eight holes while Bradley bogeyed the par-4 third. When Bae walked off the eighth green, he had a four-stroke lead.
But he double-bogeyed the ninth and bogeyed the 10th. When he bogeyed the 15th while Bradley posted his first birdie of the day, the two were now co-leaders.
Just as quickly, though, Bae went back in front at the 16th when Bradley’s putt lipped out.
Leadeboard: Sang-Moon Bae 66-66-66-69—267 (-13); Keegan Bradley 60-69-68-72—269 (-11).
Sang Moon Bae
— Bae wins his first event on the PGA Tour in his 43rd career start at the age of 26 years, 10 months and 29 days.
— Bae moves from No. 95 to No. 18 in the FedExCup standings. Last year as a rookie, he finished 96th in the FedExCup standings.
— Bae, currently in his sophomore season, has made 11 of 13 cuts this year, with his only other top 10 coming at the Northern Trust Open (T8).
— Bae’s previous best finish on Tour was a playoff loss to Luke Donald at the 2012 Tampa Bay Championship.
— Bae made his first start at the HP Byron Nelson Championship this week. Three of the last four champions of the HP Byron Nelson Championship won in their first start (Jason Day/2010, Keegan Bradley/2011, Sang-Moon Bae/2013).
— Bae is the fifth golfer of Korean-descent to capture a PGA Tour event: K.J. Choi (8), Y.E. Yang (2), Kevin Na (1), John Huh (1).
— A player of Korean-descent in their 20s has won in each of the last three years: Kevin Na (2011/28 years, 17 days), John Huh (2012/21 years, 9 months, 5 days) and Sang-Moon Bae (2013/26 years, 10 months, 29 days).
— Since 2005, the only year that a player of Korean-descent has not won Tour was in 2010.
— Bae is the third first-time winner in the last four weeks (Billy Horschel and Derek Ernst). Bae is the eighth first-time winner of the season.
— There have been 11 players that have claimed their first Tour win at the HP Byron Nelson Championship: Don January (1956), Johnny Pott (1960), Charles Coody (1964), Mark Hayes (1976), Neal Lancaster (1994), Robert Damron (2001), Ted Purdy (2005), Brett Wetterich (2006), Jason Day (2010), Keegan Bradley (2011), Sang-Moon Bae (2013).
— Three of the last four winners have been by players in their 20s: Billy Horschel, Derek Ernst and Bae. Overall, Bae is the seventh player in his 20s to win on Tour this season compared with nine (12 wins) players in their 30s and two players in their 40s.
— Bae is the first Korean to win the HP Byron Nelson Championship and the second Asian-born player (Shigeki Maruyama/2002).
— Bae records the seventh come-from-behind win in the last eight events. Tiger Woods (Arnold Palmer Invitational and The Players) is the only player to carry a 54-hole lead to victory in the last nine weeks.
— Bae has 11 International wins in Asia. He won at least one event in Asia six consecutive years from 2006-2011. He finished T11 at the 2011 PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament to earn his rookie card in 2012.
— Bae’s highest Official World Golf Ranking was No. 26 in 2011.
— Bradley moves from No. 20 to No. 8 in the FedExCup standings. Last year, he finished No. 21 in the FedExCup standings and No. 20 in 2011.
— This marks the second time Bradley has entered the final round with at least a share of the lead. The first came at the 2012 Northern Trust Open where he entered the final round tied with Phil Mickelson. A final-round even-par 71 led to a three-way playoff with Bill Haas defeating both third-round leaders.
— Bradley made his third start at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, winning in 2011 and finishing T24 in 2012 and second in 2013.
— Bradley shot an opening 60 on Thursday with two bogeys in the round. He is the first player in history to shoot a 60-or-better with two bogeys.
— Bradley (R1/HP Byron Nelson Championship) and Phil Mickelson (R1/Waste Management Phoenix Open) each have shot a 60 this season. The only other time in Tour history there have been three 60s in one season was 1954, 2006 and 2010 (Note: in 2010 there were also two 59s).
— The 54-hole leader/co-leader has won twice in the last six years at the HP Byron Nelson Championship (Adam Scott/2008, Jason Dufner/2012).
— The low 72-hole score at the event is 261 by Rory Sabbatini in 2009.
— In 72-hole events, the third-round leader/co-leader has won 10 of 19 times this season, most recently Tiger Woods at The Players Championship.
— Charl Schwartzel finished third his first start at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, recording his third top 10 of the season.
— Justin Bolli (4th) records his second top 10 this season (T4/Puerto Rico Open) and the third of his career.
— Rookie Morgan Hoffman (T5) records the first top-10 finish of his career in 16 starts.
— Martin Kaymer finished T5 in his first start at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, recording his second top 10 of the season (T9/WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship). It is Kaymer’s first top 10 at a stroke-play event on TOUR since winning the 2010 PGA Championship.
— Jason Dufner finished T33 in his title defense of the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
— Ryo Ishikawa (T10) records his first top 10 since a T9 at the Memorial Tournament a year ago.
— Eight past HP Byron Nelson Championship winners: Keegan Bradley (2nd), Jason Day (T27), Jason Dufner (T33), Rory Sabbatini (T43), Vijay Singh (MDF), Jesper Parnevik (MDF), Ted Purdy (MDF), Scott Verplank (MC).