July 18, 2004
Clemson, SC – Jonathan Byrd fired a final round 68 and won the PGA Tour’s BC Open at Endicott, NY on Sunday by one shot over Ted Purdy. Byrd completed the four rounds with a 20-under-par 268 total. He had rounds of 67-65-68-68 in claiming the victory. It was the second PGA Tour win of Byrd’s career, as he won the Buick Challenge with a 27-under par score during his rookie year on tour (2002). It marked the fourth time he has shot 20-under par in a PGA Tour event overall.
Byrd’s 68 on Sunday included five birdies and one bogey. For the week the native of Columbia who was born in Anderson and now lives in Sea Island, GA had 23 birdies, one eagle and just five bogeys. His previous best finish this year was 16th at the MCI Heritage Classic back in April, and he more than doubled his earnings for the entire year by claiming the $540,000 first prize. He missed many tournaments in the winter due to hip surgery.
Byrd led after the second and third rounds, and held the lead or was tied for the lead all day on Sunday. But, he had to hold off a large group of golfers throughout the day. At one point there was an eight-way tie for the lead at 18 under-par. But, Byrd broke from the pack when he made a birdie on the 15th and 16th holes. It was the fourth straight day that Byrd had birdied the 16th hole and it gave him a two-shot lead at 20-under-par with just two holes left.
But, Purdy birdied the 17th hole to get to get to within a shot, and then put his second shot on the par four 18th hole within four feet of the pin. Byrd had an 18-foot birdie putt on 18 to put the tournament away, but it lipped out. Purdy then missed his short birdie, a putt that could have forced a playoff.
The victory means Byrd is the first former Tiger to win two PGA Tour events. Dillard Pruitt won the 1991 Chattanooga Classic and Clarence Rose won the 1996 International. Those were the only former Tigers other than Byrd to win a PGA event prior to Byrd joining the tour in 2002.
Byrd was one of three Tigers in the money at the BC Open. Lucas Glover, a teammate of Byrd’s for three seasons at Clemson, had a final round 67 and finished in a tie for 40th at 10-under-par 278. Matt Hendrix, a senior on the 2004 Clemson team and a starter on the 2003 National Championship team, shot a 71 on Sunday and finished 56th with a 281 figure. It was his first professional paycheck.
It was a big week of professional golfer for former Tigers this weekend, as a former Clemson player finished in the top 10 in four different professional events. In addition to Byrd’s victory, D.J. Trahan finished sixth at the Nationwide Tour’s Pete Dye West Virginia Open with a 14-under-par score of 274. Elliott Gealy finished ninth in this week’s Hooter’s Tour event with a 273 score, and Ben Duncan finished third on The Gateway Tour’s event held at Sea Trail Plantation in Myrtle Beach with a 19-under-par 269 score.
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