Byrd Aces Vegas PGA Event
The PGA’s Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open came to a thrilling end Sunday with a hole-in-one during a three-way sudden death playoff. Jonathan Byrd aced the fourth playoff hole to defeat defending champion Martin Laird and Cameron Percy at the TPC Summerlin. 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 at the time, but for good reason.
“I couldn’t see it,” he said afterward. “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 still had a chance to hole out to extend the playoff to Monday. Both went at the flag on the left side but ended up in the water.
The title was Byrd’s first victory on tour this year, and his fourth overall.
Byrd shot a -3 68 in the final round to get into the clubhouse at 21-under 263. Percy had a 67 on Sunday, while Laird, the third-round leader, posted a two-under 69 to send the three into the sudden death playoff.
Byrd entered the week at 117th on the PGA money list. He needed a good tournament to secure his place in the top 125, but the title gave him a two-year exemption. He also took $774,000 in prize money.
Webb Simpson held the lead in the tournament until a soggy tee ball on the 17th led to a double-bogey. He shot a three-under 68 and tied for fourth with Spencer Levin at 20-under 264 for the tournament.
Nick Watney and Cameron Beckman tied for sixth at -19, followed by Ryuji Imada, Ryan Palmer and Aaron Baddeley, who tied for eighth at 18-under 266.
The last player to record an ace and win a PGA Tour event was Richard S. Johnson, at the 2008 U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, although there is no record of an ace winning a playoff at a PGA event.