AT&T Byron Nelson: A Star is Born

The AT&T Byron Nelson was held in Dallas, TX at the new Trinity Forest Golf Club. The weather was hardly a factor as their were sunny days all weekend. The golf course is extremely appealing to the eye as it is green and stretches as far as the naked eye can see. The lack of trees made it ideal for the golfers, but the slopes gave the athletes something to overcome. On most days, being 15-under would give a player a shot at victory. Not in Dallas as there were 11 guys that finished 15-under or better. There was plenty to clamor over with immaculate drives, stunning putting, and, of course, the underwhelming hacks that led to early exits.

Lackluster Performer: Satoshi Kodaira

The 51st ranked golfer in the world struggled for the second straight week (participated in THE PLAYERS a week ago). Just like last week, Kodaira struggled in this tournament as he missed the cut. In the first day, he finished even with a few bogies and even a double bogey. He helped himself out with an eagle that helped provide him with hope heading into day two. Kodaira started his second day out with a birdy, but ran into some trouble at hole four. He bogeyed and in two of the next three holes he bogeyed. The Japanese golfer was facing an uphill battle and for the second weekend in a row he was sent packing a little earlier than he would have liked.

Disqualified: Ricky Barnes

Barnes had a strange ending to his short-lived time at the new golfing venue. He was disqualified for signing the scorecard incorrectly. He made par at the sixth hole, but signed for a birdie. The incident has caused many to refer to the Master’s incident when Robert DeVicenzo lost the event after signing his scorecard incorrectly. Barnes was not aware of the mistake he made until he took to Twitter later in the day to make people aware of it before deleting the tweet later. One could argue that he would not have made the cut anyway with the score he would have finished with. One thing is for sure and that is Barnes will not ever let this happen again. At least, you would think so.

The Cluster

There were a lot of players that rose and fell in the standings. Jimmy Walker, who finished second last week at Sawgrass, was in second place at one point, but fell to the middle of the pack after that. Branden Grace had a score of 62 on the final day and jumped up well over five spots. He finished third in birdies with 24 as he finished third in the final standings. He will wonder what could have been as he finished with seven costly bogies as well as a double bogey. After all, Grace did finish 19-under along with JJ Spaun and Keith Mitchell.

The defending champion, Billy Horschel, and this year’s favorite, Jordan Spieth had underwhelming performances as they finished 11-under. Marc Leishman finished in second place as he went into the final day tied for the lead with -17. Leishman was tied for the tournament lead in eagles with three of them. Many thought his experience would shine through in the late stages, but that was not the case.

The hometown golfer, Spieth, spoke on his performance. He said rather in a somber tone, “I have not felt extra pressure this week. It’s simply been I haven’t gotten the ball in the hole on the greens.”

Certainly, Spieth will look to bounce back in the next golfing tournament.

The Champion: Aaron Wise

As stated before, there was a tie atop the standings heading into the final day at the Trinity Golf Club. Wise was set for a showdown against Leishman as they were both tied at 17-under. Wise is a rookie at the age of 21 while Leishman is 34. Leishman was asked about the age gap and he gave a rather chipper response.

He said, “I didn’t realize that [in reference to Wise’s age]. I guess I was in high school before he was born.”

Surely a pressure packed moment like this was too big for the former Oregon standout right? That was not the case as he displayed nerves of steel in the final day going six-under. His score of -23 is the second-highest this season. The weather in Dallas and the lack of trees made for a special weekend for this young competitor in his first win as a pro.

After the biggest win in his life, the former Oregon Duck stated, “I felt oddly calm all day long and able to play bogey free.”

Wise, ranked at 54th on the PGA Tour, finished second at the Wells Fargo Championship earlier this month and should be feeling extremely confident after winning the Byron Nelson Classic. He is hitting the ball with conviction and with a smooth technique. His peers and golf’s spectators are taking note as he has been playing like an athlete that has shed the rookie mentality. Wise has taken the PGA Tour by storm as he is one of the game’s brightest young stars.

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