American Byrd wins Las Vegas Open with playoff ace

Tuesday, 26 October 2010 04:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - American Jonathan Byrd won the Las Vegas Open in spectacular fashion on Sunday, an ace at the fourth extra hole giving him a playoff victory over Britain’s Martin Laird and Australian Cameron Percy.

Byrd, teeing off first, struck a six-iron at the par-three 17th that bounced once before disappearing into the cup.

“I thought I hit it too far, and I couldn’t see anything,” Byrd told reporters of his final shot of the tournament.

“To hear the reaction as it went in, I was just in shock. I was trying to be considerate of my playing partners because they had a chance to keep playing, and I didn’t want to overreact. I’m numb pretty much.”

PGA tour rookie Percy and defending champion Laird both ended up in water off the tee to hand Byrd the title in fading light at the TPC Summerlin.

The trio had finished the 72 regulation holes on 21-under-par 263. Byrd closed with a 68, defending champion Laird carded a 69 and PGA Tour rookie Percy returned a 67.

American Webb Simpson, who led by a shot after 16 holes before double-bogeying the 17th, fired a 68 to share fourth place with fellow American Spencer Levin (66).

Laird, bidding to become the fourth player to retain a PGA Tour title this year, began the day one stroke clear of the pack but slipped back with bogeys at the fifth and sixth.

At one point, six players shared the lead midway through Sunday’s final round before Laird, Byrd and Percy took the tournament into a playoff with respective back nines of three-under 33.

“If you get hot coming in, you can make up some ground, especially if somebody else makes a mistake,” Byrd said after winning his fourth PGA Tour title, but his first since the 2007 John Deere Classic.

“Unfortunately my buddy Webb Simpson got it to 22-under and then hit it in the water on 17 and made a double. So I’m sad for him because he played so well this week.”

Byrd, who began the final round a stroke behind the pacesetting Laird, said he began to play more freely over the closing holes on Sunday.

“I kept trying to fight that balance all day of not getting too greedy and force things but stay aggressive and try to hit some shots close,” he added.

“I wasn’t able to do that until the end. I started to kind of free things up coming in. I didn’t really have anything to lose at that point.”