Byrd wins Web.com Tour Championship

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Former Clemson All-American Jonathan Byrd, an Anderson native, won the Web.com Tour Championship Monday (Tuesday in Manila) with a 24-under-par total and earned his PGA Tour Card for the 2017-18 season.

Former Tiger Sam Saunders finished tied for second and will also return to the PGA Tour next season.

The Web.com Tour Championship marked the first time that two Clemson golfers finished one-two at a Web.com event, though Byrd and Lucas Glover were the top two finishers at the PGA Tour’s Wells Fargo Invitational in 2011, when Glover won in a playoff.

Jonathan Byrd hits his drive on the 14th hole during the fourth and final round of the Web.com Tour Championship held at Atlantic Beach Country Club on Tuesday in Atlantic Beach, Florida. AFP PHOTO

Saunders was in the lead after the first two rounds thanks to an opening-round 12-under par 59, the lowest round in history for a former Clemson golfer at a PGA Tour-sponsored event. Saunders held the lead after the second round as well, but Byrd’s third-round 64 moved him to 20-under-par, three shots ahead of Saunders entering the final round, and Byrd’s 67 final-round score gave him a four-shot victory.

For Byrd, an All-American at Clemson between 1997 and 2000, it will be his first year on the PGA Tour as a fully exempt member since the 2014-15 season. He played on the Web.com Tour in 2015-16 and 2016-17 as he returned to action from a wrist injury.

Byrd was just 66th entering the Web.com Tour Championship but improved 64 spots in the final standings to finish second in the Web.com playoff. The 2017-18 season will be his fifteenth.

Saunders was 24th entering the tournament and finished sixth. The 2017-18 season will be his fourth on the PGA Tour.

Five former Tigers will play as fully exempt members on the PGA Tour this coming season. Joining Byrd and Saunders will be Kyle Stanley, Lucas Glover and Ben Martin. Stanley finished 24th in the FedEx Cup race and won $3.4 million, the second most won in a season by a former Clemson golfer. Glover finished 43rd in the standings, and Martin finished 123rd.

TNS

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