Byrd hits the jackpot in Las Vegas

By Associated PressOctober 25, 2010, 5:04 am

Justin Timberlake SHC Open

LAS VEGAS – Jonathan Byrd figured there was barely enough light left to play one more hole.

Turns out he only needed one more swing.

In a swift and shocking finish Sunday in Las Vegas, Byrd made a hole-in-one with a 6-iron on the fourth extra hole to win a three-man playoff in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital Open. The PGA Tour said it was the first sudden-death playoff decided by an ace.

“It’s kind of hard to process because I’m still kind of in shock,” Byrd said.

So was everyone else who saw another Fall Series thriller.

Moments earlier, it looked as though the tournament might not finish until Monday – without Byrd.

Byrd’s approach on the 18th tumbled over the green and was one hop away from going into the water when it settled into a clump of grass. He chipped up to 7 feet and saved par to stay in the playoff.

Then came the decision.

Byrd, defending champion Martin Laird and Cameron Percy – they each made par on the three playoff holes – discussed whether there was enough light to continue. They agreed to go one more hole – the 204-yard 17th at the TPC Summerlin – with the understanding any of them could stop if they couldn’t read their putts on the green.

That wasn’t necessary.

Byrd had the honors and hit a slight draw toward the flag. That’s about all he saw. The ball landed about 10 feet short of the hole and rolled in like a putt. It was too dark for Byrd to see the ball disappear into the cup, and even the cheers from a smattering of fans around the green were not immediately convincing.

“Did that go in?” Byrd asked his caddie.

“It started perfect, it turned perfect and it was coming right down the flag,” Byrd said. “I thought I hit it too good. I thought I hit it too far. And I couldn’t see anything. But to hear the reaction as it went in, I was just in shock.”

Byrd said he tried to control his emotion because Laird and Percy, a tour rookie from Australia, still had to tee off.

“It’s pretty hard to follow that,” Byrd said.

Both hit into the water, and Byrd had his fourth PGA Tour victory, this one unlike any other.

Players have made an eagle with a full swing on the final hole to win tournaments. Among the more memorable were Isao Aoki in the Hawaiian Open in 1983, Robert Gamez at Bay Hill in 1990 and Craig Parry to win a playoff on the 18th hole at Doral in 2004.

Paul Casey had a walkoff ace to win a foursomes match at the Ryder Cup in Ireland, and Peter Hanson made a hole-in-one in a playoff at Walton Heath to earn a spot in the 2009 U.S. Open.

But a hole-in-one with a PGA Tour title on the line? That was a first.

“You’re never prepared for a hole-in-one,” Laird said.

It was the second straight week of high drama at a time of the year when players are simply grinding to keep their PGA Tour cards. Just last week at the Open at CordeValle, Rocco Mediate holed out a wedge for eagle on the 17th hole of the final round, right after Alex Prugh came within inches of a holing out from the tee box with a driver.

This one was even more incredible, and it came at just the right time. Byrd was No. 117 on the money list going into Las Vegas, and this gives him a two-year exemption.

Byrd closed with a 68, and he had to watch four times – once in regulation, three times in a playoff – as Laird stood over a birdie putt with a chance to win. That sequence started in regulation, when Laird had a 30-foot birdie try. Laird, the defending champion, shot 69.

Percy, the Australian rookie who needed to win to keep his job on the PGA Tour, earlier holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a 67 that allowed him to get into the playoff. They finished at 21-under 263.

Byrd thought he had a chance on the second playoff hole – also the 17th – when his 25-foot birdie putt spun 180 degrees out of the cup. Getting back to the 17th took almost as big of a break as his hole-in-one.

He was stunned to see his ball go down the side of the green toward the water, figuring his playoff was over.

“When I saw it go down the hill and I heard people going, ‘Aww-w-w,’ I thought it was in the water, and I thought I was going to be done,” he said. “And then right at the last second, I kind of heard somebody cheer. And they don’t cheer when it goes in the water.”

The cheering was even sweeter on the next hole.

Byrd won $774,000 for his first win since the 2007 John Deere Classic.

Percy won $378,400, but he needed a victory to keep his card. He at least moved up to No. 144 on the money list, which at least will spare him going to the second stage of Q-school depending on how he fares in his last tournament.

Webb Simpson was at 22 under and had a one-shot lead until he pulled his tee shot into the water on the 17th and made double bogey. He finished with a 68 and wound up one shot out of the playoff, along with Spencer Levin, who had a 66.

Nick Watney, who lives in Las Vegas and was playing his final tournament before his wedding, had a 66 and tied for sixth with Cameron Beckman, who had a 67.

For those trying to finish in the top 125 on the money list to keep their tour cards, they now must wait two weeks before the final official tournament of the year at Disney.

It will have a hard time topping the last two weeks.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

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Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm