K.H. birdies No. 17 to get back to -24, and that's a wrap.
K.H. Lee is similar to every other professional golfer in that he's always dreamed of winning on the PGA Tour. K.H. Lee is different from every other professional golfer in that he literally has dreams of winning on the PGA Tour. Lee says he has this dream "almost every night," and it finally came true on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson.
Lee shot a 6-under 66 in the final round of the tournament at TPC Craig Ranch to take down playing partner Sam Burns (-22) by three strokes. After a scorching front nine on Sunday in which Lee went out in 32 (with a bogey!) and birdied five of his first eight holes, he battled wind, rain, torrid performances from Patton Kizzire (-9) and Daniel Berger (-8) and then finally a two-hour rain delay to grab his first PGA Tour victory.
Lee's lead was never truly challenged, although it did get a little intriguing when he missed a par putt coming out of the weather delay. He quickly righted the ship with a shot to 4 feet on the 17th, and after sinking that putt for birdie, that was a wrap. He added a birdie on the final hole for good measure.
The 29-year-old who has won all over the globe grabbed his first on the biggest tour in the world in start No. 80. Prior to this weekend, his best finish ever on the PGA Tour came earlier this season when he finished T2 behind Brooks Koepka at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Before that, his most recent top-10 finish was at the end of 2019 (!).
Lee was sublime all week in a field that included Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau and Jon Rahm. His 65-65-67-66 winner included just three bogeys (just one in his first 62 holes), and he was nearly flawless from tee to green for 72 straight holes (only Burns and Will Zalatoris were better). In a sport where being perfect is impossible but also nearly required to win in any given week, Lee was as close to that as you could be this week, and his bounty is a great one.
He'll move into the top 100 in the Official World Golf Rankings, will get into the 2022 Masters and is the last player in the field at the PGA Championship next week at Kiawah Island.
Lee is a nice player who had a fabulous week at TPC Craig Ranch, but the reality of these dreams is that it is likely one of (at most) only a handful of opportunities for him on the PGA Tour. On a nightmare weather day in north Dallas, everything Lee had only ever let enter his mind when everyone else -- including him -- was asleep came to fruition. It probably didn't play out like it did in his imagination (I doubt his dreams included a bogey coming out of a rain delay), but the easiest bet of the day is that he also probably could not have cared less. Grade: A+
Here are the rest of our grades for the AT&T Byron Nelson.
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Jordan Spieth (T9): Spieth notched the best finish of his (long) career at the Byron Nelson, and he did it by gaining strokes in every category (off the tee, with his irons, around and on the greens). He did hit some shots this week that engendered questions for me as it relates to next week's PGA, but in general, this was a great spot for him heading into the second major of the year. It's very difficult to have enough emotional energy to win back-to-back events, which was going to be a problem for him at the Masters after he won the Texas Open. Instead, he can conserve that energy and try to ride his ball-striking to the career grand slam. Grade: A-
Bryson DeChambeau (T55): DeChambeau putted it so poorly this week, which was most of the reason for his weak finish. And while he'll certainly need a better all-around game to contend for a major next week, my view on what he can accomplish at Kiawah Island has not changed simply because of one bad putting week. In fact, it actually may go the other way. It's hard to see him putting together consecutive weeks with a putter that's as cold as it was this week. Given his tremendous finish last weekend at the Wells Fargo Championship and the fact that he's still driving the hell out of the golf ball, I'm still bullish on him contending for -- but not necessarily winning -- the PGA. Grade: C
Brooks Koepka (MC): It's not surprising that Koepka missed the cut here in his first start since the Masters (and only start between the Masters and PGA Championship). It's clear that his body is just not healthy enough to contend at a PGA Tour level right now, at least not at the level at which he's accustomed to competing. And while his ball-striking (which was pretty good) could carry him to a made cut next weekend, it's difficult to imagine Koepka – who still struggles to squat and read putts – putting it all together to contend for a fifth major championship. Grade: D-