By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
LAS VEGAS -- Jonathan Byrd hit one of the most exciting shots in PGA TOUR history to win the 2010 Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Three years later, he's at TPC Summerlin trying to regain his full TOUR status.
Byrd is starting this season on a major medical extension; he will regain full status if he can earn $166,517 in 10 starts. He shot 63 in his first round of the 2013-14 season, making nine birdies, an eagle and three bogeys Thursday at TPC Summerlin. He was three shots behind leader J.J. Henry after the morning wave completed play.
Byrd won the 2010 Shriners with the first hole-in-one in a playoff in PGA TOUR history. He said he thinks about the ace whenever he plays TPC Summerlin, but "sometimes it's the last thing I think about. I think about par putts I made, and birdie putts I made, to stay in the playoff or get in the playoff. Every shot means something when you win a golf tournament, so you kind of remember them all."
Byrd had surgery on his left wrist Oct. 29, 2012. He didn't return until the last week of March, making just five cuts in 16 starts in 2013. A runner-up in his second-to-last start of the season, the Reno-Tahoe Open, accounted for $264,000 of his $428,966 in earnings, giving him a smaller mountain to climb with regards his major medical extension. A medical extension gives players who missed time due to injury extra starts to match No. 125 on the previous year's money list.
"I'm very thankful for Reno, because if I hadn't played well there I'd be in a much more stressful position. I'll be happy when I get the major medical past me, because then I can really focus on the season," said Byrd, a five-time TOUR winner. "That's my first goal, to make that money, whether it's in one tournament or 10 tournaments. It's been a mental struggle more than it's been a physical struggle.