05/16/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 05/16/2021 18:03
While it's more dramatic when it happens at the buzzer, every PGA TOUR victory counts the same when it concerns gaining entry into the PGA Championship.
When K.H. Lee awoke on Sunday morning, he sat in second place at the AT&T Byron Nelson and one stroke back of 54-hole leader Sam Burns. Lee also was positioned as third alternate for this week's PGA Championship.
After a gutty performance amid a disjointed day due to inclement weather, Lee posted 25-under 263 andprevailed by three strokes (over Burns) at TPC Craig Ranch. Like Burns just two weeks prior, Lee is a first-time winner on the PGA TOUR, but he's also the last man in the field of 156 at Kiawah Island.
Unlike Burns, who finished T29 in the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage, Lee will be making his debut in the major. Sunday's win also secured an exemption into the World Golf Championships-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. It will mark his first start in a WGC for the 29-year-old native of South Korea.
In addition to fully exempt status on the PGA TOUR through 2022-23, Lee has locked up appearances at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, THE PLAYERS Championship and the Masters in 2022, among numerous other automatic exemptions.
Earlier on Sunday, Rikuya Hoshino won the Asia Pacific Diamond Cup in Japan to snare an exemption into The Open Championship in July. In his only career start in a major, he missed the cut at the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
The fifth career win on his home circuit vaults Hoshino into the top slot on the Japan Golf Tour's money list.With Takumi Kanaya ranked second and Chan Kim at third, each of the top three is exempt into the PGA Championship.
If Hoshino doesn't qualify for the U.S. Open prior to sectional qualifying, the 25-year-old will remain in the U.S.for that 36-hole competition.
NOTE: Golfers are omitted if they recently haven't competed in majors for which they are eligible (e.g. PGA Championship=David Toms; The Open Championship=Justin Leonard).
PGA = PGA Championship
US = U.S. Open
OPEN = The Open Championship
SJI = WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational
PGA -- K.H. Lee
US -- none
OPEN -- Rikuya Hoshino
SJI -- K.H. Lee