Kirk outduels Baird for McGladrey Classic title
Sea Island, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Kirk took advantage of a costly mistake by Briny Baird on the last hole Sunday to earn a 1-stroke victory at the McGladrey Classic.
Kirk carded a 4-under 66 during his final round at Sea Island Resort to claim his second career victory on the PGA Tour at 14-under-par 266.
"Everyone in the community has wanted a local to win this event so badly. I don't live here full time, but hopefully they'll take it," said Kirk, who went to the University of Georgia and is a former St. Simons Island resident.
Baird bogeyed his final hole to close out a 3-under 67 and finish in a share of second place at 13-under 267. Tim Clark fired the low round of the day with a 62 to join Baird there.
Brian Gay (67), John Senden (67) and Scott Brown (66) tied for fourth at minus-12, while Matt Kuchar (66), Webb Simpson (66) and Matt Every (66) shared seventh at 10-under.
Baird and Kirk reached the 18th hole sharing the lead at 14-under following Kirk's birdie at the 17th, and both players pulled their drives left of the fairway on the closing hole.
Baird's had landed in a bunker well left of the fairway, and he then blasted his next into the water well short of the green. He would eventually bogey the hole after sinking a 25-foot putt.
That costly mistake allowed Kirk, whose drive found the rough, to calmly 2- putt for par and the win after his second shot settled safely on the green.
"I'm not real well known out here. Usually fans are rooting for the other guy in my group. Today was a nice change," said Kirk.
Baird and Kirk had earlier entered the final round tied for the lead at 10- under, and Baird was the first to move ahead when he stuck his second shot at the second to six feet and converted his birdie effort.
Baird then rolled in a 26-foot birdie putt at the fourth to pull two strokes ahead of Kirk and Clark, who posted five birdies in a six-hole span from the second to jump into a share of second place.
Kirk, Clark and Every would all move within a shot of the lead at 11-under before Kirk's 11-foot birdie at the ninth pulled him even with Baird atop the leaderboard.
After Kirk and Baird both parred the 10th, Kirk capped back-to-back gains at the 11th and 12th with a 25-foot putt to claim a 2-stroke lead at 14-under.
Baird cut into his deficit with a 30-foot birdie putt at the 13th, and then used a 2-stroke swing at the 14th to grab the outright lead as he converted a short birdie effort to reach 14-under.
Kirk, meanwhile, was forced to take a penalty stroke following an errant tee shot en route to a bogey, dropping him to minus-13.
Clark then closed his round with three straight birdies, his seventh, eighth and ninth of the day, to meet Kirk in second place at 13-under and set the clubhouse mark.
But at the 17th, Kirk rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt to grab a share of the lead with Baird, setting up the deciding 18th hole.
NOTES: Kirk's first career victory came at the 2011 Viking Classic ... In both of his wins, Kirk has held at least a share of the 54-hole lead ... Baird has made 365 starts on the PGA Tour without a win. He has now finished in second six times ... Baird has the most starts and money earned ($13,183,237) without a win of any active player.
11/10 17:48:33 ET