Finally A Texas Title for Stewart
On this day, In 1990 Payne Stewart finally won the Byron Nelson Classic and $180,000. It was much of a bittersweet moment for Stewart, who had came so close to winning in 1985, just to let it go in the final stages. There was a time where fans thought Payne was cursed in Texas, even though that’s where he played his successful college golf.
In the first round of the event PGA Tour rookie Steven Lamontange shot an opening round of 66 to lead the tournament. It caused a great deal of excitement which Lamontange didn’t handle well…he responded with rounds of 75, and 74 to finish T11th.
After the conclusion of the second round, Stewart moved into a two-stroke lead in the storm-shortened event. He had a two-under-par 68 for a two-round total of 135, five under par. The course was flooded Thursday, forcing the event into a 3-day, 54-hole format. The rookie Lamontange, who led the first round with a 66, went nine strokes higher to a 75 and was well back at 141.
In the third and final round Payne turned back a bold bid by Lanny Wadkins for a front-running two-stroke victory. He had a final-round 67 for an eight-under-par 202 total.
After much heartbreak…Payne prevailed
Stewart had been here before and had a nightmarish outcome…one that no one would like to see. In the 1985 Byron Nelson Classic Stewart stood on the 18th tee with a 3 shot cushion. Journeyman Bob Eastwood was just behind Payne, playing a couple of groups back had just drained a lengthy birdie putt to cut the lead to two. Payne just needed a bogey 5 on the final par 4 hole to win the title.
Off the tee, Stewart hit his shot into a bunker and could have simply laid up with a wedge and two putt to victory. Instead he chose to go for the green with a long iron which resulted into another bunker. He bladed that bunker shot and three putted to a tie for playoff. Stewart calmly kept his composure after blowing the lead and signed his scorecard. A volunteer escorted him and his caddie the next tee for the playoff only for Stewart to tap her on the shoulder for her to stop the vehicle.
“Ma’am can you stop here for a minute?”
Stewart stepped out of there rear door, closed it gently then yelled an obscenity at a high volume before returning to the car.
“Thank you, ma’am”…”We can go ahead now”
The most heartbreaking scene was Payne and his wife Tracy take the fateful lonely walk back to their hotel room nearby the course after the devastating loss.