AT&T Byron Nelson 2022 Rankings, Grades: KH Lee Repeats After Withstanding Jordan Spieth Challenge

AT&T Byron Nelson 2022 Rankings, Grades: KH Lee Repeats After Withstanding Jordan Spieth Challenge

What do Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and KH Lee have in common? As of Sunday, they are the only golfers in history to have won 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 year in a row.

It took a 63 for 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 was not the best round of the day Sunday at the Nelson, nor the best round of these listed players. Schauffele dropped an early 61 to set the clubhouse number at 23 under before Matsuyama reset it to 24 under after his own 62.

Lee was nailed everywhere, however. He came out 31 of the front nine before eagle on No. 12 after hitting a 240-yard approach from 5 feet. Two more birdies followed – including one at the last – but it was actually a par (which at times this week seemed rarer than birdies and eagles) that will go down as the day’s highlight.

With Spieth (and the entire city of Dallas) behind him, Lee had 12 feet for par after an awkward chip shot he couldn’t get near the hole. Spieth headed to the 17th tee where he watched everything unfold before him, and Lee buried the putt to hold a one-shot lead until the final hole.

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

Spieth and Lee both birdied this 72nd, and Lee disappointed a gallery hoping Spieth wins the hometown tournament for the first time and Spieth licks his wounds ahead of a career Grand Slam next week at the PGA Championship.

For Lee, that was unexpected given his recent play but not his history on this course. Lee now has a combined 51 under over two years here and even though he only had one top 10 between last year’s win and this year’s, it will be hard to pick against him at TPC Craig Ranch in the future. He may never be one of the greats with whom he now sits in the record books for his entire career. But when it comes to beating the best in the world for a week in Texas, no one has done better in the past two years at this event. When it comes to winning one of the best low-key tournaments of the year so far, KH Lee belongs.

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

2. Jordan Spieth (-25): If there’s ever a moment Spieth will look back on, it’s hard to imagine it wouldn’t be the 10th hole where he threw three putts from 7 feet. It kinda looked like he was going to take over the golf tournament at the time, and instead, in retrospect, that’s probably where he lost it.

“I think back to the 10, I looked good at the birdie and just got a little too aggressive and hit it on the first break,” Spieth said. “Then I kind of got into the head in the wind there on the second and missed about a 3 or 4 feet that to go from thinking I was going to birdie to doing a bogey, I mean it’s obviously a great swing. But I played the holes from there exactly the way they were supposed to be played. I caught three more birdies and it just wasn’t good enough.

Still, he finished first and second in two starts since the Masters and also first and second in strokes gained from tee to green in those two outings. He might now resist the slam next week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, because putting (especially on the courts) is risky, but he’s going to fail a hell of a lot in the process, and, just like he did this week at TPC Craig Ranch, the best entertainment in sports. Rating: A

T3. Hideki Matsuyama (-24): It was another bad end to a season full of them for Matsuyama who shot 62 as the eagle at last. I didn’t think it was a particularly great place for him this week due to his quality on hard courses (not sure if anyone noticed, but it wasn’t a hard course), but it could be a harbinger for next week’s PGA. in Southern Hills. He hits the ball very well (fourth in strokes won from tee to green), and the only thing that disrupted a fabulous season at Matsuyama was an injury he suffered before the Masters. Other than that, he has a pair of wins, a top 15 at the Masters and five top 10s that could be divisive next weekend in Tulsa. Rating: A

T5. Xander Schauele (-23): When Schauffele completed his final round, he was the solo and 100-1 leader to win the tournament. You don’t see this very often but Schauffele came out early and dropped a nasty 61 which propelled 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 eventually fell off the top of the board as everyone knew, but it was a great performance on Sunday to qualify for next week’s PGA Championship in Southern Hills. Rating: A-

T5. Justin Thomas (-23): JT was 2 on his first seven holes on Thursday and 14 behind the lead before playing the last 65 holes in 25 under to put himself in contention. He failed to turn back the clock and resume the tournament on Sunday, but his golf was nonetheless impressive after those first seven holes of the opening round. JT failed to take advantage of what was a very good week of putting at TPC Craig Ranch. , but he’s now in prime position for next week to compete in what would be the second major championship of his career in a place that will value what he does best, which is hitting big irons into tiny silos. Rating: A-

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