South Korea's Lee seeks third straight PGA Byron Nelson win

·3-min read
Two-time defending champion Lee Kyoung-hoon of South Korea looks at a video of his swing during a practice round ahead of this week's PGA Byron Nelson tournament
Two-time defending champion Lee Kyoung-hoon of South Korea looks at a video of his swing during a practice round ahead of this week's PGA Byron Nelson tournament

South Korea's Lee Kyoung-hoon will try this week to become only the fourth player in the past 40 years to win the same PGA Tour event three consecutive seasons.

The 31-year-old from Seoul enters the Byron Nelson tournament at par-71 TPC Craig Ranch in suburban Dallas with confidence after an eighth-place at Quail Hollow, his first top-10 result since January's Tournament of Champions.

"Getting better, my game," Lee said. "A couple months ago, I struggled with putting, but I think last week getting much better. It's only confidence for putting and irons, so I think ready for this week.

"It's a lot of good memories here and then a lot of confidence for me. Very good momentum and more confidence."

World number 44 Lee would match Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker and Australian Stuart Appleby as the only players to win the same PGA event three years in a row in 40 years, the most recent to manage the "Three-peat" being Stricker at the John Deere Classic from 2009-2011.

"Very good pressure for me, but still, I'm very thankful for that opportunity, three times in a row champion," Lee said. "I'll try my best. If that happens, it's really cool."

Lee won his first PGA title in 2021, shooting 25-under par to beat Sam Burns by three strokes. Last year, he fired a closing 63 to finish 26-under par and edge hometown hero Jordan Spieth, a three-time major winner, by one stroke.

"I always have great memories here, and so lucky for win last year," Lee said. "Really cool experience for me and very nice memory."

In his two triumphs, Lee has made 53 birdies and two eagles against only six bogeys. His combined 51-under par over two years is eight strokes below his nearest rival in that span.

Lee's scoring average is 65.63 and his worst round is only a 68, with birdies on 16 of the 18 holes on the course in his eight total rounds.

Lee, who recently began working with New Zealand swing coach Grant Waite, marvels at the difference in himself between now and the days before his 2021 breakthrough victory.

"I'm more confident than before not winning tournaments," Lee said. "Feels like first win is very hard, I remember, when I won. So I'm really proud of myself and more confidence for me."

Among those trying to deny Lee's "Three-peat" bid is world number two Scottie Scheffler, playing in the hometown event where he made his PGA debut as he prepares for next week's PGA Championship.

"I'm just trying to gear up. This week is a good prep week for me," Scheffler said. "It's nice to be at home. I have very special memories of this tournament."

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