Seamus Power bravely fought back from two near crippling horror holes to secure a top-10 finish over the storm delayed final round at the AT&T Byron Nelson near Dallas in Texas.
The effort in a closing round 70 for an 18-under par total was good enough for a share of ninth and should see Power returning to Texas in 11 days in qualifying for the Charles Schwab Challenge.
South Korean K H Lee battled the conditions superbly, including waiting out a two hour and 30 minutes lighting and rain delay with two holes to play, to return in posting a closing six-under par 66 for a three shot victory at 25-under par on the TPC Craig Ranch course. Lee, 29, captured a maiden PGA Tour event in his 80th start and he is also the fifth first-time winner in the 2020/21 wraparound schedule.
The now Florida resident is also the third South Korean to capture the AT&T Byron Nelson where there were emotional scenes at the 18th in being greeted by his wife, who is soon to deliver the couple’s first child, while legendary South Korean K J Choi was also standing by.
And while Lee earns a two-year Tour exemption along with an invitation into next year’s Masters, he also is heading to Kiawah Island as the last man into the 103rd PGA Championship after being third reserve at the start of the week.
Lee and Power, along with six other players, had not ended their rounds when play was dramatically halted with Power staring at a 11-foot birdie at the 72nd hole when a bright flash of lightning forced officials to sound the ‘halt play’ siren.
Power returned to two-putt the hole for his par and eventually ended the €6.6m event seven shots adrift of Lee. The effort is Power’s sixth top-10 in 101 PGA Tour starts.
The 36-year-old Irishman had copied Lee in that he also brilliantly birdied five of his opening eight holes and found himself in second place in moving to just two shots behind Lee with nine holes to play when the heavens opened. The final round had been brought forward to a 9am to 10am tee off of all remaining players in a two-tee start but the bad weather struck earlier than expected.
As it continued to pour, Power then made par at his next three holes in arriving on the tee at the par-4 13th, a hole he had posted three earlier pars having dropped just one shot in his prior 66 holes. However, he found a fairway bunker but could only manage to move it forward less than 20-yards from where Power missed the green right ahead of then two-putting for a horror double-bogey ‘6’.
And then to add to his hurt, Power bogeyed the next with another three-putt to drop back to two-under for his round and back to a then share of 10th place at 18-under par. Power then parred his closing four holes, albeit having to wait two-and-a-half -hours between the 68th shot of his last day and then his 69th and 70th strokes.
“I felt really good warming-up and then also from right out of the gate but then I just didn’t quite handle the rain as well as I should but it was a lovely front nine, and nice to give myself a chance,” he said in a positive manner.
“It’s a step in the right direction and I now have the next couple of weeks off, so I have a lot of good things to build on and hope to be back in action in three week’s time and hopefully improve on this result.”
AND it has to be mentioned that prior to Power moving into a share of second after nine holes, he had been afforded zilch TV coverage recognition over the prior three-and-a-half rounds while there had been not a single @PGATour tweet in 63 holes despite the Irishman being in the mix since heading out in the first group on day one.
And at the close of play there still had not been a single Power featured PGA Tour tweet. It was only when Power muscled his way into contention at the turn that Kiwi Frank Nobilo, now a respected analyst for host broadcaster CBS, remarked: “Seamus has the great attribute of being able to hit the ball 300-yards either right-hand or left-hand”.
There was a gem, if you can call it that, from co-host Nick Faldo identifying Power was born in Waterford. “It’s where they make Waterford crystal,” said Faldo.
Then, with it now raining heavily, Aussie Ian Baker-Finch mentioned after Power had parred both the 10th and 11th holes that as a 10-year-old he was racket-ball world champion for his age group. Brilliant detective work, Finchy!
Though the best thing Power could do was let his clubs do the talking and despite the events at 13 and 14, he can be proud of his efforts to secure a top-10 result and a cheque worth $212,625 to go with it.
- Full scoring HERE