Record score denies Leishman victory
AARON Wise claimed his first US PGA Tour title yesterday, firing six birdies in a six-under 66 to win the Byron Nelson by three strokes over Australian Marc Leishman.
The 21-year-old, who started the day tied for the lead with Leishman, took full advantage of the ideal scoring conditions that prevailed at Trinity Forest when play finally got underway after a four-hour weather delay.
In the tournament's first edition at the new par-71 layout south of Dallas, Wise's 23-under par total of 261 crushed the previous scoring record of 19-under 261 set by Rory Sabbatini at the par-70 TPC Four Seasons in Irving in 2009.
Trinity Forest, a links-style layout with neither tress nor water hazards, offered up a birdie bonanza when softened by rain.
Wise joined the action with back-to-back birdies at the fourth and fifth.
He then birdied four in a row from the seventh through the 10th to set himself up for a march to victory on the back nine - where one of the most pressing questions he faced was whether he would be able to finish the round before darkness fell.
Leishman, who launched the week with a career-best 61, just couldn't keep pace.
The 34-year-old, seeking a third US PGA Tour title, had an eagle and four birdies but tossed in three bogeys that doomed his bid.
Leishman signed for a three-under par 68 that put him alone in second on 264.
"It's awesome," said Wise, who was coming off a career-best PGA Tour finish of second two weeks ago at Quail Hollow which he said gave him "just a ton of self-belief".
"I felt oddly calm all day long," added Wise, the 2016 NCAA collegiate champion who was making his 18th tour start as a member.
"And to play as good as I did, bogey-free, today was awesome."
South African Branden Grace and Americans JJ Spaun and Keith Mitchell shared third on 265.
Grace matched his career-best 62 posted at last year's British Open for a 19-under total while Spaun and Mitchell both carded 63s.
Grace had eight birdies and an eagle with one bogey marring his card. Spaun had eight birdies in his eight-under effort and Mitchell had six birdies and an eagle.
Ryan Blaum got in on the birdie action his six birdies on the front nine including five in a row from the fifth through the ninth. He cooled off with three bogeys and two birdies coming in to card a 66.
His total of 268 left him tied with Kevin Na (68) and Jimmy Walker (67).A bogey-free 65 from Adam Scott lifted him to a tie for ninth at 15 under, his first top-10 result in almost a year, as he benefited from his recent switch back to a long-handled putter.
261 - Aaron Wise 65-63-68-65
264 - Marc Leishman (AUS) 61-66-69-68
265 - Branden Grace (RSA) 66-68-69-62, JJ Spaun 64-69-69-63, Keith Mitchell 65-68-69-63
268 - Ryan Blaum 66-69-67-66, Kevin Na 66-65-69-68, Jimmy Walker 64-67-70-67
269 - Adam Scott (AUS) 67-65-72-65, Charles Howell 69-69-65-66, Kevin Tway 67-65-70-67
270 - Brian Gay 67-62-72-69 271 - Rory Sabbatini (RSA) 66-70-69-66, Ethan Tracy 65-72-67-67, Matt Jones (AUS) 67-65-68-71
272 - Russell Knox (SCO) 69-69-68-66, Hideki Matsuyama (JPN) 72-63-71-66, Bronson Burgoon 69-68-67-68, Joel Dahmen 67-68-68-69, Derek Fathauer 70-67-66-69
273 - Jordan Spieth 69-66-71-67, Billy Horschel 68-69-69-67, Robert Garrigus 66-69-71-67, Peter Uihlein 65-70-69-69, Martin Piller 69-63-71-70