July 15, 2007
Clemson, SC–Former Clemson All-American (1996-2000) Jonathan Byrd won his third career PGA Tour event with a come-from-behind victory at the John Deere Classic in Sylvis, IL on Sunday. Byrd carded a final round 66 to overtake former NC State All-American Tim Clark by one shot.
Byrd finished with an 18-under par score of 266. He had rounds of 67-68-65-66 on the par 71 course. It marked the fourth time in Byrd’s career that he has had four rounds in the 60s in the same tournament. He was won three of the four. He also had victories at the 2002 Buick Challenge and the 2004 BC Open with four rounds in the 60s.
Byrd is the first golfer with ties to Clemson to win three PGA Tour events. It also marks the fourth straight year a former Clemson All-American has won a PGA Tour event. Since Byrd’s 2004 win at the BC Open, Lucas Glover won the Funai Classic in Florida in 2005 and D.J. Trahan won the Southern Farm Bureau Insurance Classic in Mississippi in 2006.
Byrd’s victory secures him a spot in next week’s British Open at Carnoustie in Scotland and also qualifies him for the 2008 Masters. He also has a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour. This will be Byrd’s first appearance in the British Open. He has played in the previous three majors over his career, including the 2003 Masters when he finished eighth, the best finish ever for a former Clemson golfer in a Major.
Byrd was one of four Tigers who made the cut at the John Deere Classic. He won $738,000 and is now over a million dollars for the year. He moved up to 23rd on the FedX Cup points standings.
Lucas Glover, who was a teammate of Byrd’s for three years at Clemson, finished 11th at the John Deere with a 272 score and also went over the $1 million mark for the year. D.J. Trahan finished 32nd with a 276 score and Charles Warren finished 41st with a 277 score.
Byrd’s victory was surprising in that he had been struggling in his last four events on Tour. He failed to make the cut in his last four tournaments, the first time he had a streak of that length since (Feb-April) 2004 and it was just the third time in his career he had missed four straight cuts. He was a combined 22 over par for his last six rounds on tour and had a 74.5 stroke average.
But, Byrd played consistently over the entire tournament. He trailed by four shots with five holes to play, as Clark had shot a 31 on the front side and had his score to 19 under par through the 13th hole. Byrd was 15 under for the tournament as he played the 14th hole. But, he made a birdie on 14, then hit his approach to two feet on the par three 16th. He made the birdie putt and then made a seven-foot birdie putt on the par five 17th hole to tie Clark. Byrd had a four-under-par 32 on the back nine.
Clark then made a bogey on the 17th hole to fall to 17 under. Byrd two-putted from 75 feet on the 18th hole to finish at 18-under. Clark could have tied Byrd with a birdie on the 18th hole, but his second shot was 70 feet shot of the pin. When his approach putt missed left by two feet, Byrd had his third PGA Tour win.
“This feels great,” said Byrd on the CBS television broadcast at the conclusion of the tournament. “I just asked God for peace and contentment and I had that today. I am going to the British Open. I am excited because I have never played there. I have to go home (to Sea Island, GA) and get my passport and a change of clothes and it will be off to Carnoustie.”
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