By Will Martin
Before his passing in 2006 coming to the event in Byron Nelson’s name was not only a rite of passage. It was a place to jump start a career. Fitting in that Byron felt strongly about giving newcomers a chance to prove themselves with the hope of shining under a well lit stage.
For some reason 2014 is shaping up to be a great year for first time tour winners. The state of Georgia also gets the spotlight courtesy of a bogey free round of final round play from Brendon Todd.
Todd held strong after leading the first 54 holes. On the 9th and 10th holes birdies gave Todd a lead he would not relinquish (14 under 266) over Mike Weir (12 under 268), Charles Howell III and Marc Leishman (Tied for 3rd 10 under 270).
It was the 77th career PGA Tour event for Todd, who twice in the past five years had to go back to back to the Web.com Tour to regain full playing privileges. He earned $1,242,000, a PGA Tour exemption through the 2015-16 season and a spot next year in the Masters.
Figuratively and literally the monkey was off his back as Brendon explains here.
“I’m excited about the relief like I finally have a chance to play the PGA Tour for multiple years,” Todd said. “No. 1, going to Augusta for the Masters is a dream come true.”
In playing bogey free golf on Sunday there was also an element of being ambidextrous. On Hole 13-a par 3-Todd hooked his shot left. Shot two was a left handed putt that landed mere feet from the pin and his two stroke lead was safe.
“I absolutely scored my pants off,” he said. “I have a great short game and even I’ll say it was special this week.”
“It feels amazing,” Todd said. “Big monkey off the back. It’s been a tough career so far with a lot of ups and downs, but I’m excited to be on top right now.”
Charles Howell III we had a chance to catch up with after his round on Sunday. His shot on 16th went into the hole for an Eagle, a shot that Howell couldn’t see but the crowd let him know immediately.
As for the local kids Jordan Spieth shot a 2 under 68 to finish out the weekend after getting to even par on Saturday. Still, with four previous visits under his belt this week will probably be seen as a slight disappointment.
“It’s a tough week, with wanting to play so well on a course that I have more experience than anywhere else, so I definitely think that I should be able to know where to hit it in certain places and do for the most part, but execution was the issue this week,” he explained.
“I wouldn’t consider it a letdown or a negative at all. I think I had a very positive day today. And although I would like to win this tournament playing in front of family and friends, specifically, didn’t happen this week, but I’ve got a lot of years to go at this place, and looking forward to ’em.”
Jordan Spieth will be a part of a huge field at the Colonial this week in Ft. Worth.
The same cannot be said for a future Longhorn who shot a four under for the week, made the cut Friday as an amateur at 17, then aces a hole in one just for good measure. No money for the kid from Highland Park Scott Scheffler but he will get to team up with a fellow Longhorn.
“I had a lot of fun this week,” said the Scot. “It gives me a little bit of confidence and now I have some more stuff that I can work on going forward.”
As for going home broke?
“Jordan [Spieth) told me I would be mad when I get down to Austin next year and I don’t have any money.”
This weekend belonged to Brendon Todd as evidenced by the response he received while nearing Hole 18.
Kudos to the fifth golfer this year to get a victory as a Bulldog. Todd joins Bubba Watson, Harris English, Russell Henley, and Chris Kirk in keeping the winning peachy keen in 2014. All in all a very memorable 2014 Byron Nelson golf tournament for the thousands who came out all four days to watch the assembled field of players.
An even better field awaits you if you make the trek 30 miles further west to the Colonial in Ft. Worth. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday yours truly will be there to cover the game as only I can. Having the Famous one in tow I’m sure will also be a plus.
Jay Betsill knows Ft. Worth better than I know Dallas.
Congratulations to Brendon Todd in winning his first pro title here in North Texas. Now to get Fox 4’s Brandon Todd to do a 1 on 1 with Brendon Todd before too long. Maybe this weekend would be ideal!