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Golf Australia Express : Issue 14
AND ANOTHER playoff. And another playoff. That makes 17 this season and a record on the PGA Tour. The latest at the Frys.com Open eventually brought another first- timer, Bryce Molder, into the winner’s circle. The enthralling six-hole battle between the American and his fellow winless compatriot Briny Baird was full of twists and turns as they fought out the longest playoff of the year. Baird looked to have secured his first win at California’s CordeValle Golf Club in his 347th start when Molder hit his tee shot into a hazard on the fourth extra hole. But a clutch recovery from deep rough forced Baird—a 12-year veteran on Tour—to hole a seven-footer to secure his maiden victory. He missed. And off they went again. As darkness descended on course the duo approached the 18th hole for the third time. It would be the last, as 32-year-old Molder finally overcame his 39-year-old elder with a birdie from six MOLDER’S CHEESY GRIN feet courtesy of a brilliant approach shot. The playoff was a toing and froing affair as both players matched birdies and pars before the final twist sealed both their fates. “You practise and work, and you just hope there’s some validating behind it,” Molder said after the nearly two- hour long playoff. “I don’t feel I deserved to win. But I happened to settle myself down to play.” Molder set up his win with birdies on three of the first four back-nine holes in regulation play, which gave him a share of the lead at an important stage of the final round. For Baird, it was his fifth time in his long career he finished second, and he now holds the distinction of being the richest golfer never to win an event, having earned $12 million in that time. It all looked to change when he chipped in for eagle at the 17th in regulation play for the outright lead, before Molder’s 11-foot birdie putt at the 18th ensured the playoff. “Obviously, it’s more than disappointing right now,” Baird said post-event. “I thought I’d be standing where Bryce is. I had my chances. Given a chance, you’ve got to make putts.” Despite a second-tier PGA Tour field, Tiger Woods also had an encouraging event. Shaking off a shaky first round 73 with three consecutive rounds in the 60s for the first time since the 2010 Deutsche Bank Championship proved positive for the former world No.1. His final round, however, was not without incident. An attention-hungry fan ran at the former top dog and threw a hot dog in his direction as he stood over a putt on the 7th green. The spectator was arrested and removed by security before Woods two- putted and moved on with his round, closing the event with his third 68. OTG FINAL STANDINGS 1 BRYCE MOLDER USA -17 $ 900,000 2 BRINY BAIRD USA -17 $ 540,000 3 BUD CAULEY USA -15 $ 340,000 T4 SHANE BERTSCH USA -14 $ 220,000 T4 ERNIE ELS RSA -14 $ 220,000 6 JOHN ROLLINS USA -13 $ 180,000 T7 DAVID HEARN CAN -11 $ 130,312 T7 BILLY HORSCHEL USA -11 $ 130,312 T7 SPENCER LEVIN USA -11 $ 130,312 T7 MATT MCQUILLAN CAN -11 $ 130,312 T7 BRENDAN STEELE USA -11 $ 130,312 T7 JOSH TEATER USA -11 $ 130,312 T7 ADAM HADWIN CAN -11 $ 130,312 T7 PAUL CASEY ENG -11 $ 130,312 WRAP THE