The pictures only tell part of the truth. Lee was indeed happy, having won his first PGA TOUR title, 500 FedExCup points, exempt status until the 2022-23 TOUR season and an entry into the game’s biggest events, starting with the PGA Championship of this week. But he came with considerable distress, including terrible weather conditions for the golf course. At the end of the final round, the players had to be evacuated from TPC Craig Ranch for over two hours, leaving Lee alone with his own thoughts, a two-stroke lead and two holes remaining.
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That’s exactly what the 29-year-old South Korean player did, of course, shortly after play resumed at 4:15 a.m. local time in North Texas.
Lee birdied the 17th par 3. He birdied the 18th par 5. He shot 6-under 66 on an afternoon where, at times, a predictable golf shot seemed about as realistic as kayaking on. a fairway. It turns out that both were very possible.
“Long day for me,” he said, “I think everyone.”
Playing with third-round leader Sam Burns, Lee took the lead in earnest on the third par-4. He widened it to two shots on the fourth, and it was as close as anyone could get.
Lee and others who started late played more than half of their rounds in conditions ranging from a spring shower in Texas to an abject monsoon. It was so heavy that Lee took his position on the 16th par 4 that his practice covered a meager 233 yards, leaving him 245 on the hole.
It was as tense as the tournament. The horn sounded moments later at 1:52 p.m. and Lee bugged the hole as the suspension lifted, his lead now two but the sky now clear.
He widened it to the final margin with birdies at No.17 and 18, where he was greeted by a three-story corporate skybox and a round of cheering from spectators inside.