IRVING -- Byron Nelson week began with a flurry of activities, including the official kickoff party at Sfuzzi, three pro-ams and the Celebrity-Am at Dallas National Golf Club coupled with the big news that the PGA Tour's annual Dallas event would be moving to the new Trinity Forest Golf Club, located southeast of downtown Dallas. By the time Sunday afternoon arrived, 14 -year-old Guan Tianlang had missed his first cut and 26-year-old Sang-Moon Bae battled 2011 champion Keegan Bradley and 30-mph winds in the final round to capture his first PGA Tour victory.
While the golf action was entertaining, the scene on the TPC's signature 17th hole was a cross between a party and a fashion show. The downhill Par-3 featuring water to the front right of the green and the 198-yard hole lined with fancy corporate boxes to the left and luxurious mansions the right was the perfect setting for what many DFW residents hope to experience when they attend the first of North Texas' double dose of the PGA TOUR. After all, it has been uttered more than once that 'the Nelson is a big party with golf in the background while the Colonial is a golf tournament where fans have a good time.'
When talking about the social aspect of the Byron Nelson, it cannot be broached without a mention of the Pavilion, which sits behind the No. 2 tee box and features a stage for live music after play Thurs-Sat. and plenty of people-watching fun during play. Many fans long for the days when the Pavilion was located along the No. 1 fairway -- it was relocated to its current following the addition of new villas at the resort five years ago -- when things tended to get a little out of hand, a lot of the time.
A new addition to the Nelson scene worth a mention is the Capital One Clubhouses on Nos. 17 and 18. The shaded sports bar-themed lounge featured stadium seating and complimentary beer, soft drinks and water for those who purchased the special tickets.
The golf action got off to a sizzling start on Thursday as Bradley fired a course-record 60 on the heels of the the huge storm that hit North Texas and left the TPC greens soft. The second round saw the event's biggest name John Daly shoot a 66 to make the cut and 14-year-old phenom Guan Tianlang drop a 77 to miss his first cut.
When Sunday's final round began, Bradley had the opportunity to be a wire-to-wire winner, but found trouble on No. 3 -- the toughest hole on the course -- as his tee shot landed in the water hazard that lines the right of the fairway. Playing alongside Bradley in the final pairing, Bae built a four stroke lead, only to lose it on the back nine before holding on to win by the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship two shots.
Another successful Nelson is in the books -- the Salesmanship Club has now raised a TOUR-record $127 million for charity during the life of the event -- as the action heads 30 minutes west to Fort Worth for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
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