IRVING, May 30, 2011 (AFP) - Keegan Bradley defeated Ryan Palmer at the first hole of a sudden-death playoff to capture his first US PGA Tour victory on Sunday at the Byron Nelson Championship.
Bradley, the nephew of LPGA Tour great Pat Bradley, made a two-foot par putt at the first playoff hole, the 419-yard 18th at the TPC Four Seasons, to seal the victory.
"I don't know what to say. I'm so happy, I can't believe this just happened," said Bradley, whose victory came nine days before his 25th birthday. "This is a dream come true. I've waited for this my whole life."
Palmer, who had forced the playoff with a rare birdie at the final hole of regulation, hit his approach shot into the water at the playoff hole and while he salvaged a bogey with a 13-foot putt it wasn't enough.
About an hour before, Bradley had wrapped up a final round of two-under 68 with a par at his 72nd hole, where his 10-footer for birdie slid past the edge.
Palmer closed with a two-over 72 to join Bradley on three-under 277, the highest winning total on the US tour this year, thanks in large part to the gusting winds that bedevilled golfers over the final two rounds.
Palmer's birdie at the last hole of regulation was just the second of the day at 18.
At the first extra hole, both players were right off the tee.
Tournament volunteers were called to dismantle a large, temporary lemonade stand to give Bradley a line of sight to the green, allowing him to avoid a drop.
He fired out from under the trees, his ball curving back to the left and landing on the fringe at the front of the green -- dangerously close to slipping into the water along the left of the hole.
Palmer, who had a lie in front of a tree, was less fortunate as his ball bounced into the water.
His drop almost rolled back in the drink, but instead nestled in the rough on the slope leaving him a tough chip.
Given the conditions, Bradley's round was relatively uneventful, with birdies at the third, seventh and 10th and a bogey at the fourth.
He saved par at the 172-yard 17th by draining a 12-footer.
Japan's Ryuji Imada exemplified the difficulty of the day.
Imada had a two-stroke lead after making a 10-footer for birdie at 13. But he bogeyed three of the last four.
His short miss at the par-three 17th saw him fall into a tie for the lead, while his bogey at 18 cost him a place in the playoff.
Imada shot a one-over 71 for 278, tied with American Joe Ogilvie, who posted a 70.
It was a further shot back to Australian Jason Day, the defending champion, who carded a 67 for 279, the last of only five players to finish under par for the week.
Day, equal second at the Masters in April, notched his fourth top-10 finish in his last five starts.
Sergio Garcia, who started the day one off the lead, was in trouble from the first hole.
The Spaniard, who hasn't won since 2008 and still hasn't secured a US Open or British Open berth, missed a four-footer for par at the first.
His 77 included a double-bogey at the par-four fourth, where a chip rolled back to his feet and he ended up needing four shots to hole out from 12 feet.
Teenage amateur Jordan Spieth had a tough finish. The 17-year-old local favorite closed with two double bogeys and two bogeys in a seven-over 77 that left him six-over.
"I was humbled by this back nine," Spieth said. "I'm focused on college now. Had I won today, who knows, but I'm focused now on the next step. This will sink in, and I'm sure it will sink in in a positive way. But it stings right now, it really does."
Leading scores on Sunday after the final round of the $6.5 million US PGA Tour Byron Nelson Championship (x-won sudden death playoff, USA unless noted):
277 - x-Keegan Bradley 66-71-72-68, Ryan Palmer 65-67-73-72
278 - Joe Ogilvie 66-70-72-70, Ryuji Imada (JPN) 69-68-70-71
279 - Jason Day (AUS) 72-71-69-67
280 - John Rollins 68-70-71-71, Matt Kuchar 69-71-68-72
281 - James Driscoll 70-71-74-66, Jason Dufner 70-70-72-69, Nick Watney 68-68-73-72, Jeff Overton 64-74-71-72, Rod Pampling (AUS) 70-68-71-72, Arjun Atwal (IND) 68-72-67-74
282 - Justin Hicks 70-69-76-67, Harrison Frazar 71-72-71-68, Brian Gay 71-72-69-70, Chad Collins 67-69-75-71, Hunter Haas 70-72-69-71, Steve Flesch 70-69-71-72
283 - Sergio Garcia (ESP) 66-66-74-77
285 - Fredrik Jacobson (SWE) 70-73-70-72, Vijay Singh (FIJ) 68-73-69-75
286 - a-Jordan Spieth (USA) 69-68-72-77
287 - K.J. Choi (KOR) 71-71-74-71, Carl Pettersson (SWE) 70-69-76-72
288 - Greg Chalmers (AUS) 73-70-75-70, Garth Mulroy (RSA) 67-74-73-74
291 - Steven Bowditch (AUS) 75-65-80-71
293 - Alexandre Rocha (BRA) 71-70-78-74
295 - Cameron Percy (AUS) 71-72-75-77