It looked for all the world
like the B.C. Open was going
to a playoff.
When Ted Purdy’s second shot on the 72nd hole landed 3 feet from
the pin July 18, he and Jonathan Byrd shared the same thought.
“I thought we’d have a playoff tomorrow,” Purdy said.
“I thought it was as good as gold,” said Byrd, who held a one-shot lead over Purdy but was 20 feet from the hole and staring at par. “I looked at my caddie and said, ‘Let’s get ready for a playoff.’ ”
But Purdy badly pulled the birdie putt that would have evened him with Byrd, and the tournament had an unlikely finish in regulation at En-Joie Golf Club.
“Now, I won’t be able to sleep for a couple of weeks,” Purdy said. “I’m heartbroken.”
Byrd entered and ended the final round with a one-shot lead, but had to withstand a six-hour rain delay before capturing his second PGA Tour victory and $540,000. Until he reached the 15th hole, it seemed like anybody’s tournament to win.
When Byrd stepped to the 15th tee, he had fallen into an eight-way tie for the lead after a bogey at No. 12. That’s when he assumed control with consecutive birdies. Byrd made pars on the final two holes to finish the day with a 68 and the tournament at 20-under 268.
Todd Fischer (65), Robin Freeman (66), Hidemichi Tanaka (66) and Notah Begay (69) tied for third at 18-under 270. Colombian rookie Camilo Villegas, playing in his fourth PGA Tour event, had a closing 69 and finished tied with Vaughn Taylor and Neal Lancaster at 271.
44Funk’s strategy: Fred Funk figured his chances to earn Ryder Cup points would be better at the B.C. Open than
in the British Open, so he opted for
En-Joie rather than Troon. But Funk, who was ninth on the Ryder Cup list heading into the B.C. Open, didn’t help himself by finishing tied for 40th at
10 under par.
“I experienced the Presidents Cup last year, and that was the highlight of my golf career,” said Funk, who won the B.C. Open in 1996 and had two missed cuts and one withdrawl in three British Open appearances. “Ryder Cup would be right there with it.”
The team is chosen on the basis of points accumulated through the PGA Championship in mid-August. The top 10 finishers in points automatically
qualify for the team, and two more are selected to complete the 12-man squad. The 35th Ryder Cup is Sept. 17-19 at Oakland Hills in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
44Short shots: Robert Gamez (T-10) set a B.C. Open record for best back-to-back rounds by shooting 61 and 65 in the second and third rounds. He was
chasing his first victory in 361 starts since his rookie year in 1990. . . . Kevin Stadler flirted with the lead throughout the second round, but he fell back to three shots off the lead by round’s end. Craig Stadler, Kevin’s father and the defending champion, was four shots off the lead after two rounds. Kevin
finished the tournament tied for 40th, and Craig tied for 21st. . . . After losing to Mark Hensby in a playoff the week before at the John Deere Classic, John Morgan tied for 13th at the B.C. Open.
– Staff and wire reports