Alexander first on Korn Ferry to successfully defend title

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Tyson Alexander became the first player in Korn Ferry Tour history to successfully defend a title, rallying to win the Veritex Bank Championship on Sunday.

Alexander closed with a 6-under 65 to finish at 22-under 262 at Texas Rangers Golf Club, two strokes ahead of Pontus Nyholm (62) and Byeong Hun An (66).

“Whenever you can be the first person to do something, I think that’s cool,” Alexander said. “Back in college, I won the Azalea Invitational two years in a row (2009 and 2010), so I kind of kept thinking about that. I’ve played good golf on this course before, won back-to-back tournaments before. I just kept saying that I’d done this before.”

Alexander capped his bogey-free round with a birdie on the par-5 18th. The 33-year-old former University of Florida player earned $135,000 for his second tour victory. Last year, he closed with a 64 to take the inaugural event at 23 under.

Martin Flores (63), Rob Oppenheim (67) and Taylor Montgomery (70) tied for fourth at 19 under.

Alexander was busy before the tournament, playing the pro-am Tuesday with PGA Tour winner Ryan Palmer and former NBA player and coach Avery Johnson. That night, Alexander joined former President George W. Bush, Matthew McConaughey and Jordan Spieth when he threw out the first pitch at a Texas Rangers game.

“Honestly, I was really excited to be done with everything,” Alexander said. “I was excited to play the first round of golf because I could just focus on golf and do my thing. Throwing the first pitch out is great, getting cowboy boots for the first time is cool, but I just kept telling myself, ‘Hey, we’re here for a golf tournament. We’re here to play good.’ I was excited to tee it up and get going.”

Alexander’s farther, Buddy Alexander, won the 1986 U.S. Amateur Championship and coached Florida to two NCAA titles. His grandfather, Skip Alexander, won three times on the PGA Tour.

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