The Byron Nelson Championship was quite an intense tournament this week. Initially Sergio Garcia and Ryan Palmer had the lead and it looked like they'd comprise a two man race. But brutal wind and a tough golf course evened out the field and made the leaderboard a completely unpredictable mess in which over 10 players were within 3-4 shots of the lead for much of the final round.
One big story was that of a young amateur from the local area named Jordan Spieth. Jordan had been given a sponsor's exemption in the 2010 tournament and took total advantage. He made the cut and even placed in a tie for 16th. That's amazing for a kid was only 16 at the time.
This year Spieth once again proved he can play at a high level by making the cut again. Spieth's third round score was one shot better than co-leader Ryan Palmer and two better than co-leader Sergio Garcia's.
In the end Spieth finished tied for 32nd place while huge galleries gathered to cheer him on.
Playoff: Keegan Bradley vs Ryan Palmer
Keegan Bradley was playing in the group with Jordan Spieth and sort of flying under the radar. Bradley wasn't even a discussion on the leaderboard until all of the top players started to back up. Eventually Bradley's solid finish of -3 in tough conditions was enough to force a playoff with Texan Ryan Palmer.
Palmer had the lead for most of the week but found himself in a must-birdie situation on the final hole. In front of a huge crowd the Texan didn't disappoint, making only the 4th birdie on the tough 18th hole all day. The crowd erupted and a playoff began, the 10th playoff of the year on the PGA Tour.
Playoff on hole 18
The 18th is an uphill par-4 with water on the left and trees right. The hole doglegs left, with a suggested shot shape of a draw.
Both players in the playoff flared their drives right of the fairway. Both had to hit punch 2nd shots to keep their ball flight low enough to clear under the tree line. Bradley was able to pull of his punch shot, while Palmer's caromed off the bank left of the green and found a watery grave in the lake left of the green.
Bradley, a PGA Tour rookie, would two putt for his first win on the PGA Tour. With the win comes over $1 million, as well as a two year exemption and invites to major championships. A big day for Keegan Bradley to say the least.