2022 AT&T Byron Nelson leaderboard, grades: K.H. Lee repeats after holding off challenge from Jordan Spieth

2022 AT&T Byron Nelson leaderboard, grades: K.H. Lee repeats after holding off challenge from Jordan Spieth

What do Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and K.H. Lee have in common? As of Sunday, they’re the only golfers in history to win the AT&T Byron Nelson multiple years in a row. Lee followed in the footsteps of some of the best players in history and held off some of the best of his own generation to finish at 26 under and win at TPC Craig Ranch for the second consecutive year.

It took a 63 from Lee on Sunday – the lowest round of his career – to ward off Jordan Spieth (2nd), Hideki Matsuyama (T3), Justin Thomas (T5) and Xander Schauffele (T5). Incredibly, it wasn’t the best round of the day Sunday at the Nelson, nor was it the best round of those players listed. Schauffele dropped a 61 early on to set the clubhouse number at 23 under before Matsuyama reset it at 24 under following his own 62.

Lee was nails throughout, though. He went out in 31 on the front nine before making an eagle on No. 12 after hitting a 240-yard approach to 5 feet. Two more birdies followed – including one at the last – but it was actually a par (which at times this week felt rarer than birdies and eagles) that will go down as biggest moment of the day.

With Spieth (and the entirety of the city of Dallas) surging behind him, Lee had 12 feet for par after an awkward chip shot that he couldn’t get close to the hole. Spieth strode to the 17th tee box where he watched everything play out in front of him, and Lee buried the putt to maintain a one-stroke lead going to the last hole.

“He shot… 9 under,” Spieth said of Lee. “We had it blowing 15 to 18 [miles per hour] our last 10 or 11 holes, so that score this afternoon, especially the last closing stretch of holes is just a phenomenal score.”

Spieth and Lee both birdied that 72nd, and Lee disappointed a gallery hoping to Spieth win his hometown tournament for the first time and Spieth licking his wounds before he goes for the career grand slam next week at the PGA Championship.

For Lee, it was unexpected based on his recent play but not on his history at this course. Lee is now 51 under combined over two years here and even though he only had one top 10 between last year’s win and this year’s win, he’s going to be hard to pick against at TPC Craig Ranch in the future. He might never be among the greats he’s now listed alongside in the record books when it comes to the totality of his career. But as it relates to beating the best in the world for one week in Texas, nobody has done it better over the last two years at this event. As it relates to winning one of the low-key best tournaments of the year to date, K.H. Lee belongs.

Here are the rest of our grades for the AT&T Byron Nelson.

2. Jordan Spieth (-25): If there’s a moment Spieth will look back on, it’s hard to imagine it wouldn’t be 10th hole where he three-putted from 7 feet. It looked for a bit as if he was going to take control of the golf tournament at that moment, and instead, retrospectively, it was probably where he lost it.

“I look back on 10, had a pretty good look at birdie and just got a little too aggressive and hit it through the first break.,” Spieth said. “Then I kind of got in my own head in the wind there on the second one and missed about a 3- or 4-footer which to go from thinking I was going to make birdie to making bogey, I mean that’s obviously a big swing. But I played the holes from there exactly how they were supposed to be played. Grabbed three more birdies and it just wasn’t quite good enough.”

Still, he’s finished first and second in two starts since the Masters and also first and second in strokes gained tee to green in those two outings. He might now tough off the slam next week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, because the putter (especially on short ones) is dicey, but he’s going to make for a hell of an out in the process, and, just as was the case this week at TPC Craig Ranch, the best entertainment in the sport. Grade: A

T3. Hideki Matsuyama (-24): It was another nasty finish in a season full of them for Matsuyama who shot 62 by making eagle at the last. I didn’t think this was a particularly great place for him this week because of how great he is on difficult courses (not sure if anyone noticed, but this was not a difficult course), but it could be a harbinger for next week’s PGA at Southern Hills. He’s hitting the ball very well (fourth in strokes gained tee to green), and the only thing that has disrupted a fabulous Matsuyama season has been an injury that he labored through before the Masters. Other than that, he has a pair of wins, a top 15 at the Masters and five top 10 finishes that could be punctuated by contention next weekend in Tulsa. Grade: A

T5. Xander Schauffele (-23): When Schauffele ended his final round, he was the solo leader and 100-1 to win the tournament. You don’t see that very often, but Schauffele went out early and dropped a nasty 61 that rocketed him up the leaderboard but unfortunately left too little ground for the rest of the field to cover while he sat in the clubhouse. He ultimately dropped from the top of the board as everyone knew he would, but it was a nice Sunday performance to be able to take into next week’s PGA Championship at Southern Hills. Grade: A-

T5. Justin Thomas (-23): J.T. was 2 over through his first seven holes Thursday and 14 back of the lead before playing the last 65 holes in 25 under under to get himself into contention. He failed to bring it all the way back around and take over the tournament on Sunday, but his golf was nonetheless impressive after those first seven holes in Round 1. J.T. failed to take advantage of what was a really strong putting week at TPC Craig Ranch, however he’s now in perfect position for next week to make a run at what would be the second major championship of his career at a place that will value what he does best, which is hit towering irons into tiny silos. Grade: A-

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#ATT #Byron #Nelson #leaderboard #grades #Lee #repeats #holding #challenge #Jordan #Spieth

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