Byrd soars high in Hawaii
Jonathan Byrd won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii after beating Robert Garrigus in a play-off.
Jonathan Byrd became the first champion of 2011 on the PGA Tour, defeating the gutsy Robert Garrigus on the second hole of a tense play-off at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
The pair finished top of the leaderboard on 24 under for the tournament, where they were almost joined by Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, who equalled the course record with a stunning round of 62.
That left him just one shot behind the leading pair but showed the Ryder Cup star has every intention of following up his vintage 2010 in the same manner.
Byrd and Garrigus both shot six-under 67s today, the latter booking his place in the play-off with a birdie at the 18th.
Byrd had a chance to do the same, which would have won him the tournament in regulation, but just missed the crucial to come away with a par.
The sudden-death format came into play as both men repeated the final hole after a short break.
Garrigus made slightly harder work of the par five than his rival, slightly mis-reading his approach to the green and leaving himself a tricky two putt.
Byrd’s hole was more straightforward but he could not pick up a birdie for the win and the pair moved on to the first tee.
This time Byrd almost stole a birdie with a fine long putt that just lipped out and duly collected a simple par.
Garrigus went hard at his putt, which was off line, and left himself a slightly awkward four-and-a-half footer. With the pressure on he missed the putt to concede the hole and the title.
Byrd told Sky Sports 3: “I played solid all day, I felt good out there, but I was a little anxious, a little nervous.
“It’s a great feeling.”
Yet it was McDowell, the 2010 US Open Champion, who was the class act of the day, if not the weekend.
He was 11 under for the day, signing a flawless card that included six birdies on the outward nine and five more after the turn.
Sweden’s Carl Petterson and joint overnight leader Steve Stricker took a share of fourth on 20 under, the American falling out of contention with a modest round of 71.
McDowell’s fellow Ryder Cup-winning European Ian Poulter shaved seven off the course par to finish tied for sixth with Matt Kuchar.
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