Kang wins Nelson (but called out for slow play), Piercy accomplishes rare feat, and a 22-year-old triumphs at British Masters: What you missed
Welcome to the Dew Sweeper, your one-stop shop to catch up on the weekend action from the golf world. From the professional tours, trending news, social media headlines and upcoming events, here's every golf-related thing you need to know for the morning of May 13.
Kang cruises at Nelson
Sung Kang was beat, zapped of vitality. Having to play the final nine holes of the AT&T Byron Nelson third round Sunday morning, the 31-year-old was running on fumes on his second tour of Trinity Forest.
"I was telling my caddie, 'I'm really tired,' Kang said. "I told him, just keep telling me about the funny things and that I can laugh and forget about the golf for awhile."
Apparently Kang's loop, Jason Shortall, is one heck of a comedian. Kang made three consecutive birdies on the back nine to capture the Nelson.
"Just dream come true," Kang said. "I mean when I just started playing golf I really dream about this, winning PGA Tour event and finally happened."
Kang entered the weekend with a four-stroke lead thanks to a course-record 61 on Friday. Kang proceeded to weather two storms—non-stop rain that restricted play on Saturday, the other in the form of Matt Every, who overcame a four-stroke deficit twice over Saturday and Sunday—to defeat Every and Scott Piercy by two shots thanks to a 68 and 67.
It was the first win on tour for Kang, who admitted he slept just three hours on Saturday night. Though already in this week's PGA Championship field, the victory gets Kang into the Masters—good luck getting rest with that excitement in mind—and puts him on the Presidents Cup radar. Let's also hope the comedy folks at Netlfix are gauging Shortall's interest in a special. Unfortunately, Kang's triumph wasn't met with universal acclaim...
Kang called out for slow play
While Kang's play was irreproachable, his pace was anything but. Many fans watching from home found his pre-shot routine—often bordering on 90 seconds—maddening. As did the CBS broadcast crew, making subtle jabs about Kang's "deliberateness."
Not so subtle? Matt Every.
Following the stoppage of third-round play on Saturday, Every let his feelings on Kang's pace known in an interview with the Golf Channel.
“We got into a nice rhythm, we didn’t have to wait on the group in front of us once I think, which was kinda nice," Every said. "Sung decided he wanted to play slow today. So when we got to our balls, we got to hit, there was no wait, which was nice.”
Bold accusations, especially since Every still had nine more holes to play with Kang once play resumed. The two actually played all four rounds together. How Every didn't break out his chair again...
...is a wonder to us all.
The issue is far from new, yet with a handful of prominent pace-related storylines in 2019—such as J.B. Holmes' leisure walk at Riviera to Edoardo Molinari outing slow-play offenders—the matter appears headed for a fever pitch of sorts. Don't expect a respite this week. After all, Bethpage Black has not been particularly hospitable to loitering over one's ball.
Piercy pulls off rare tour feat
Piercy couldn't catch Kang in Texas. But at least Piercy's consolation prize came with a bit of history.
The 40-year-old made 51 pars and 21 birdies at Trinity Forest this week. For you math scholars out there, those numbers equate to 72 holes, meaning Piercy went all four rounds without making a bogey.
"I felt comfortable, I was kind of in the groove," Piercy said afterwards. "I knew the swing, where I was at. Hit it really good. The back nine it cooled off a little bit. Take your hat off to Sung Kang. He played great. You play great, no bogeys, but there's always somebody that's a little bit better sometimes."
If that sounds rare, well, you're correct. It is the first time a player has gone bogey-free in a PGA Tour event since 2010, with Charles Howell III accomplishing the feat at the Greenbrier. Ironically, Chucky Three Sticks also went home without a trophy, overshadowed by Stuart Appleby's final-round 59 to win the tournament.
Piercy is quietly enjoying a solid campaign in 2019, with nine top-25 finishes and ranking 17th in the FedEx Cup standings heading into Bethpage. Despite the performance, Piercy was still miffed about a couple of what-ifs to end his day.
"That's the first time for me," Piercy said. "Putts didn't fall on the back nine. Hit some pretty decent putts, (but) I felt like I misread them. To go 72 holes without a bogey is pretty awesome."
Though Piercy's week is noteworthy, it falls short to Lee Trevino's exploits at the 1974 New Orleans Open. "The Merry Mex" remains the only player in tour history to go bogey-free and win.
22-year-old goes bird-bird for Euro breakthrough
Marcus Kinhult blew it. Then answered in remarkable fashion.
The 22-year-old out of Sweden held a one-stroke lead at the British Masters late in the fourth round, only to surrender his advantage with bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes at the Hillside Golf Club in Southport, England. However, Kinhult recovered with a birdie at the 17th to tie playing partner Matt Wallace, who missed a four-footer on the same hole. Wallace missed another birdie putt on the 18th, giving Kinhult a chance for the W if he converted a 12-footer. If he missed, a four-man playoff with Wallace, Eddie Pepperell and Robert MacIntyre awaited.
Convert he did, giving Kinhult his maiden win on tour.
"I'm speechless, I don't know what happened on the last two holes," Kinhult said. "I was behind Matt and he looked really solid but I just managed to make those last two birdies—it's incredible. There's a lot going through my mind, a lot of emotions, and I am just so happy that I managed to handle those pretty well. It's really special. I have been waiting for this moment for 20 years."
Often a player's first win is dubbed a "breakthrough." The label rings eminently true to Kinhult. He entered the British Masters 169th in the Race to Dubai standings, a byproduct of missing five of six cuts on the European Tour in 2019.
"This game is so weird. It's the small margins," he said. "I've felt all right the last couple of weeks but just couldn't make a cut—but I came here and got off to a good start and just kept the momentum throughout the week."
Player accidentally hits wife with errant shot
Tyler Duncan made just one bogey in his second-round 66 at the Nelson. Unfortunately for the 29-year-old, the bogey cost him more than a shot on the scorecard.
Duncan's approach at the par-4 13th at Trinity Forest sailed to the right of the green on Friday and hit a spectator. A spectator that Duncan holds close to his heart.
"Today I hit my wife in the head on that hole," he told reporters after Round 2. "Took a big bounce and hit her, I guess."
Duncan said he was not aware that it was his wife until after the round, meaning he can't use the incident as an excuse for failing to get up-and-down on the hole. "I had a little mud on the ball, little unfortunate timing there and shot out to the right," he explained.
The craziest part? This wasn't Maria's first golf-related accident.
“Not long after we started dating, she actually got hit in the head by another ball, a random ball from the driving range,” Duncan said. “She’s dodged two hits to the head. I’m sure most people can’t say that.”
Luckily, Duncan said Maria wasn't hurt. Duncan finished T-5 for the week, tying a career-best. Just spitballin,' he might want to set aside some of his $267,810 earnings for an apology gift.
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