EDISON, N.J. – Jonathan Byrd has joined Harrison Frazar and J.J. Henry in the lead at 5 under after making his third straight birdie at the 11th hole.
Byrd, who entered the Playoffs ranked 24th, started the spurt with a 13-footer at the ninth hole and followed it with a putt of 26 feet. The South Carolinian also made a birdie and a bogey on the front nine before getting back into red numbers with a 12-footer for eagle at the fifth hole.
Byrd got his 2011 season off to a great start when he beat Robert Garrigus in a playoff at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. He was also in a playoff at the Wells Fargo Championship but that time his former college teammate Lucas Glover ended up getting the victory.
David Toms, a past winner of the John Deere Classic, was forced to withdraw after his first nine holes in Thursday’s first round with a hip injury.
The injury will also keep Toms, who won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial earlier this year, out of the British Open.
“Not a great day,” Toms tweeted when announcing the news.
Robert Garrigus, who earlier this month finished tied for third at the U.S. Open, also withdrew in the middle of his round with a back injury.
Toms, whose first PGA TOUR win came in 1997 in this event, started his round off the 10th tee. He was 1 over through nine holes.
On Wednesday, Toms had mentioned that his hip was bothering him.
“I've got a bad hip right now, and just to walk around this golf course, it's quite a feat just to get from green to tee and to get through it,” he said.
Garrigus was 5 over through his first nine holes. He is scheduled to fill the spot vacated by Tim Clark in next week’s British Open.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. -- This is the final week of the mini-money list for players otherwise not eligible to get into the British Open (though the top finisher among the top 5 here and next week otherwise not eligible would also get in). The two players topping that list are Fredrik Jacobson with more than $1.2 million and Harrison Frazar with just over $1 million. Jacobson isn’t in the field and Frazar missed the cut.
Both Jacobson and Frazar are likely safe, however.
Paul Goydos, third on that list with $646,000, made the cut, but he entered the final round in last place so he won’t be moving up. Likewise, Kevin Chappell is too far back on the leaderboard to move up. Webb Simpson, Charles Howell III and Robert Garrigus, however, all still have a chance at getting into the British Open this week.
Simpson is tied for fourth entering the final round and if he can stay in the top 5, he’ll be headed to Royal St. George’s. Howell, meanwhile, is tied for 13th, while Garrigus began the final round tied for 27th.
They only way Frazar could be bumped from the mini money list is if Simpson, Howell or Garrigus wins -- a victory by any of them would put them atop the list and Jacobson would move to second. If one of them wins and one or both of the other two finishes in the top 5, then whoever of those two finished higher would also go.
By Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM
BETHESDA, Md. -- Robert Garrigus and Kevin Chappell low Americans?
Who'd have figured that?
Certainly not Garrigus, who couldn't even conceive of someone telling him at the start of the week he'd finish 10 shots off the lead -- let alone tied for third and low American -- and shoot under par everyday day.
"If you had told me I was going to do that,'' he said, "I might have slapped you in the face. I just didn't understand the scores."
What he did understand? Walking off the 18th green.
"It gave me goosebumps for sure,'' he said. "That was one of the things I will never forget. Besides it being Father's Day and to have my son there afterwards and everything, this is a pretty special day. And to make that putt, I get into Augusta, that's probably one of the coolest things I'll ever get to say is I am playing at Augusta next year."
Chappell might agree.
For those of you who don't know, Chappell is a 24-year-old UCLA grad and PGA TOUR rookie. He's the one who closed with a 66 and wasn't sure what this would mean. Garrigus is the 33-year-old who hits it a mile and putts with a tiny -- think junior club -- putter. He closed with a 70.
"Being low American, that's great,'' said Chappell, whose finish, coupled with a tie for second at the Valero Texas Open, ensures him his 2012 TOUR card. "I don't think the state of American golf is where everyone expects it to be, but I think it shows that someone like myself can play out here, and I think it's definitely going to end up going in the right direction here sometime soon.
Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III led the next low All-American group (Heath Slocum, Brandt Snedeker) at 3 under in a tie for 11th. The 47-year-old Love struggled with his putter all week and bristled a bit at the notion that American golf was struggling.
"Really I guess a little bit of an exception with Lee Westwood, but most of them are guys that are over here playing a lot, week in and week out,'' Love said. "Rory (McIlroy) I guess we've seen him a lot in the last year. Everything goes in streaks, you know. We might be talking about how four Americans win the next four.
"We don't look at it that I way, we're just playing the golf course. We don't play nationalities, we're playing golf and trying to win. If it's Kevin Chappell that shoots 17‑under or Rory, it doesn't make any difference to me, I got whipped."