A golfer 22 years dominates the Byron Nelson tournament
Saturday, May 14, 2005 9:10 p.m.
(AP) - Sean O'Hair is not interested in rehashing the long ordeal he had to live before becoming a rookie 22 years on the PGA Tour. All that interests him is the sign at the Byron Nelson Championship victory.
Pushed too early by his father to join the professional ranks at the age of 17, O'Hair showed a surprising calm Saturday. He played a round of 67, three under par, when he found himself among the last group to start. It is thus given a one-stroke lead over defending champion of the British Open, Todd Hamilton.
"Given that this was the first time I found myself in this situation, I'm pretty happy with the way I reacted," said O'Hair, who has committed a bogey en route to a cumulative of 198, 12 under par.
And suddenly, a tournament which promised soporific - given the early elimination of Tiger Woods - takes the bull by the horns.
O'Hair was once one of the best junior players in the United States. However, it had to deal with a father who made him run a mile for every bogey, which was forced to become a professional player a year before he finished high school, and made him sign a contract requiring to hand him 10 percent of his income. Having failed in the task against too much opposition, O'Hair cut ties with his father. It did not speak for almost two years.
O'Hair reached the major leagues there five months by winning the PGA qualifications. His nightmare is now over, O'Hair is just 18 holes to realize his dream.
"I always thought I would find myself in this situation eventually. So early? I do not think, "said he recognized.
However, he still has work to do.
Hamilton, who has only once finished in the top 10 since winning the British Open, played 65. He missed two putts within six feet for birdie on the last four holes.
Scott Verplank nearly stalling his ball from the 18th fairway. He had three birdies in a row to finally bring a card of 65, good for a total of 200, 10 under par, as Doug Barron (65) and Ted Purdy (68).
Vijay Singh, who could take the title of best golfer in the world at the end of the weekend, avoided finished his day with two bogeys when he propped a rolled eight feet at the 18th green. He has presented a 69, giving him a total of 204, six under par.
Ernie Els has weakened after promises earlier this week, scoring a 69 for a 205 total, tied with Phil Mickelson. He has played 70 after passing two birdies in his last three holes.
Canadian Ian Leggatt was the tied for 43rd after playing 68.