Jan. 6, 2003
Former Clemson All-American Jonathan Byrd has been named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. The announcement was made Monday night by the PGA Tour from Kapalua, Hawaii, the site of this weekend’s Mercedes Championship. Byrd is in the field that is comprised of tournament champions from 2002.
Byrd finished the season ranked 39th on the PGA Tour Money list, the highest finish among PGA Tour rookies in 2002. Byrd’s high point of the year came at the end of the season when he won the Buick Challenge with a score of 261, 27-under-par in the next to the last event. The native of Columbia won $666,000 with the victory and finished the year with over $1,000,000 in earnings.
His 39th place finish will allow him to play in the 2003 Masters. He finished fifth in the final tournament of the year, the Southern Farm Bureau Classic, moving him into the final top 40. Statistically, Byrd finished second on the tour in eagles per hole, and was ranked in the top 15 in birdies per round, putting, and driving distance.
At Clemson, Byrd was an All-American in 1999 and 2000. He was a starter on three Clemson ACC Championships teams and became the first Tiger in history to be named first-team All-ACC four straight years. He was also a two-time Academic All-American and was named the IPTAY Athlete of the Year as a junior and senior.
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