Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wesley Bryan takes RBC Heritage in South Carolina homecoming

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Wesley Bryan remembers pestering players with crazy questions at Harbour Town Golf Links as he followed father George III's only appearance at the RBC Heritage in 2004.

"I was probably the most annoying 14-year-old there was," Bryan said.

Once a pesky teen, Bryan is now a PGA Tour winner.

Bryan rallied from four shots down Sunday to win his home state tournament, closing with 4-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over Luke Donald.

Bryan, a South Carolina native who played college golf for the Gamecocks, moved into contention with four consecutive birdies on the front nine. He took the lead with a birdie on the 15th hole and finished at 13-under 271.

Bryan earned $1.17 million, a tour exemption through the 2018-19 season and a spot in the 2018 Masters.

While excited about the breakthrough, Bryan believes it's just a stepping stone to bigger dreams he has had since playing the game as a child.

"At the end of the day, it doesn't really change anything other than I now have one PGA Tour victory," he said. "There are a lot of guys that have just one PGA Tour victory. My one goal is to get number two at this point."

Donald shot 68 in his fifth second-place finish here since 2009. Third-round leader Jason Dufner shot 76 to finish five strokes back.

Bryan, 27, tapped in for par on the closing 18th lighthouse hole to make the former trick-shot artist the first South Carolinian to win the state's lone PGA Tour event.

CHAMPIONS: Stephen Ames won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic for his first Champions victory, easily holding off Bernhard Langer at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, Ga. Ames closed with 6-under 66 for a four-stroke victory over Langer. Ames opened with rounds of 67 and 68 to take a one-stroke lead over five players into the final round. He had six birdies in his bogey-free round to finish at 15-under 201.

LPGA: Cristie Kerr won the Lotte Championship late Saturday for her 19th tour title, closing with 6-under 66 for a three-stroke victory in Kapolei, Hawaii. Kerr, 39, broke the tournament record at 20-under 268 to overcome sponsor invite Su-Yeon Jang, the South Korean who led after the second and third rounds and was five ahead of Kerr after three holes Saturday. Jang had 70 to drop into a tie for second with Lydia Ko (64) and In Gee Chun (67).