IRVING, Texas (AP) — Brendon Todd was overcome by excitement and relief walking toward the 18th green for the final putts in his first PGA Tour victory.
"Even some joy, some joyful tears," Todd said.
Closing with bogey-free 4-under 66, Todd won the Byron Nelson Championship. The two-stroke victory Sunday over Mike Weir came with a $1,242,000 check, a PGA Tour exemption through the 2015-16 season and a spot in next year's Masters.
Sure, the money is great. But being fully exempt for the PGA Tour and guaranteed a spot at Augusta are the biggest prizes for the former Georgia Bulldog who twice in the past five years had to go back to the Web.com Tour to regain his card.
"I'm excited about the relief of feeling like I finally have a chance to play the PGA Tour for multiple years. That's a huge exemption for winning," Todd said. "No. 1, going to August for the Masters is a dream come true."
Weir, the 2003 Masters champion who won the last of his eight PGA Tour titles in 2007, finished with a 67.
Charles Howell III (67) and Marc Leishman (68) tied for third at 10 under, a stroke ahead of Boo Weekley (68) and James Hahn (70). Weekley is the defending champion at the next tournament, the Colonial, about 30 miles away in Fort Worth.
It was the best finish for Weir since being the runner-up to Dustin Johnson at Pebble Beach in 2009. The 44-year-old Canadian left-hander hadn't had a top-25 finish since 2010, the same year he partially tore a ligament in his right elbow and went on to miss 17 cuts in a row — including all 14 tournaments he started in 2012.
"It just seems like it's one moment this week that I'm playing great, but I think it's an accumulation of the work I've done in the last couple of years," Weir said. 'I am where I am now and pushing forward. I'm not going to reflect on the past. That's history now and I'm playing good golf, and I want to keep that going now."