Aces wild! Hole-in-one gives Byrd Vegas title|
Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - Jonathan Byrd aced the fourth playoff hole on
Sunday to defeat last year's winner Martin Laird and Cameron Percy at the
Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
After the trio decided to play one more hole in the fading light, Byrd teed
off first on the par-three 17th. His tee ball bounced hard and rolled 10 feet
directly into the hole for the ace.
Byrd hardly reacted, perhaps out of shock, but it turned out to be something
"I couldn't see it," Byrd said in a televised interview. "I'm in shock. I
think the people at the green were the only people who could see it. I hit it
perfect. For it to go in, that's just luck."
After some congratulatory handshakes, Percy and Laird had to hole out to
extend the playoff to Monday.
Even Vegas can't give you those kinds of odds.
Both went at the flag on the left side and both met watery graves.
The title was Byrd's, his fourth on the PGA Tour.
Byrd shot a final-round, three-under 68 to get into the clubhouse at 21-under
263. Percy had a 67 on Sunday, while Laird, the third-round leader, posted a
Percy was the first to get into the clubhouse at 21-under when he drained a
15-foot birdie putt at the 72nd hole. Laird got to that number with a birdie
at the 15th, but Byrd birdied three in a row from 15, including a nine-footer
at the 17th.
At the first playoff hole, Byrd and Percy found the rough, but saved par.
Laird was in the best shape to make birdie, but his 18-footer stayed above
Laird was in the best shape to make birdie at the next two playoff holes, but
couldn't capitalize on his chances. Byrd had a 25-foot birdie putt lip out on
17 the first time they played in the playoff, then nearly found water on the
third extra hole, but saved par from seven feet to stay alive.
It was after the third hole when a discussion took place.
A PGA Tour official came out and told the players the decision was theirs if
they wanted to continue. Byrd said he'd leave up to the others and after Laird
confirmed that if they teed off and couldn't see on the green, they'd be
allowed to return Monday morning.
Byrd's deference paid off nicely.
The ace gave him the unexpected victory.
"I kept preaching to myself all day, hang in there," said Byrd. "What an
Byrd came into the week 117th on the money list. A good tournament and he'd
secure his place in the top 125, but the title gave him a two-year exemption.
It was the second week in a row where a hole-out played a huge role in the
championship. Rocco Mediate holed a wedge on the 17th hole Sunday then went on
for the win.
The last time an eagle won a playoff was the 2004 event at Doral when Craig
Parry holed out from the fairway to beat Scott Verplank. There doesn't appear
to be any recognized ace to win a playoff in the PGA Tour record books.
Webb Simpson held the lead in the championship until a soggy tee ball 17 cost
him a double-bogey. He shot a three-under 68 and tied for fourth with Spencer
Levin at 20-under 264.
Nick Watney and Cameron Beckman shared sixth at minus-19, followed by Ryuji
Imada, Ryan Palmer and Aaron Baddeley, who tied for eighth place at 18-under
NOTES: Richard S. Johnson was the last player to record an ace and win a PGA
Tour event. That came at the 2008 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee...Byrd
pocketed $774,000 for the win...Next week is the inaugural CIMB Asia Pacific
10/24 21:51:57 ET