RD 3- Ben Crane tied for Asia Pacific lead

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Thai golfer Pariya Junhasavasdikul had five birdies over the last seven holes Friday for a 6-under 65 and a share of the lead after the second round of the inaugural Asia Pacific Classic.

Pariya, a business management graduate of Purdue and licensed pilot, is at 11-under 131 overall. Ben Crane, a three-time PGA Tour winner, is tied for first after a 64 at the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event in Southeast Asia.

"My putting is cooperating very much and my ball striking has been good," the 26-year-old Pariya said at the Mines Resort and Golf Club. "We've been working on finding consistency in the game and that's been a reason for my form this year."

The 40-man tournament is also sanctioned by the Asian Tour. The winner receives $1 million from the $6 million purse.

Crane, visiting Malaysia for the first time, took advantage of solid iron play to give himself a chance of winning his second title of the year.

"It was a fun day. I haven't really been overseas other than the British Open and we are having a great time and enjoying what Malaysia has to offer," the 34-year-old said. "I got off to a fast start. I hit a nice wedge shot to about three feet for birdie on the first hole, and that always feels good and frees you up a little bit."

Overnight leader Ricky Barnes (69) and Ryan Moore (68) were both a stroke back, followed by Carl Pettersson (68) in fifth place.

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Ricky Barnes shoots 8-under 63

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SELANGOR, Malaysia -- American Ricky Barnes shot an 8-under 63 on Thursday to take the lead during the first round of the inaugural Asia Pacific Classic, the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event in Southeast Asia.

Sweden's Carl Pettersson, the Canadian Open winner, was 2 strokes back at 65 along with England's Brian Davis and South Korea's Charlie Wi.

South African star Ernie Els was 3 under with seven holes to play, and countryman Retief Goosen was even par with six to go. England's Luke Donald was 2 under with eight holes left.

The 40-man tournament at The Mines Resort and Golf Club also is sanctioned by the Asian Tour. The winner will receive $1 million from the $6 million purse.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press Courtesy of AP, ESPN, and PlayonGolf.com
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Hole-in-one gives Jonathan Byrd win

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Jonathan Byrd figured there was barely enough light left to play one more hole.

Turns out he only needed one more swing.

In a swift and shocking finish Sunday in Las Vegas, Byrd made a hole-in-one with a 6-iron on the fourth extra hole to win a three-man playoff in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital Open. The PGA Tour said it was the first sudden-death playoff decided by an ace.

"It's kind of hard to process because I'm still kind of in shock," Byrd said.

So was everyone else who saw another Fall Series thriller.

Moments earlier, it looked as though the tournament might not finish until Monday -- without Byrd.

Byrd's approach on the 18th tumbled over the green and was one hop away from going into the water when it settled into a clump of grass. He chipped up to 7 feet and saved par to stay in the playoff.

Then came the decision.

Byrd, defending champion Martin Laird and Cameron Percy -- they each made par on the three playoff holes -- discussed whether there was enough light to continue. They agreed to go one more hole -- the 204-yard 17th at the TPC Summerlin -- with the understanding any of them could stop if they couldn't read their putts on the green.

That wasn't necessary.

Byrd had the honors and hit a slight draw toward the flag. That's about all he saw. The ball landed about 10 feet short of the hole and rolled in like a putt. It was too dark for Byrd to see the ball disappear into the cup, and even the cheers from a smattering of fans around the green were not immediately convincing.

"Did that go in?" Byrd asked his caddie.

"It started perfect, it turned perfect and it was coming right down the flag," Byrd said. "I thought I hit it too good. I thought I hit it too far. And I couldn't see anything. But to hear the reaction as it went in, I was just in shock."

Byrd said he tried to control his emotion because Laird and Percy, a tour rookie from Australia, still had to tee off.

"It's pretty hard to follow that," Byrd said. Both hit into the water, and Byrd had his fourth PGA Tour victory, this one unlike any other.

Players have made an eagle with a full swing on the final hole to win tournaments. Among the more memorable were Isao Aoki in the Hawaiian Open in 1983, Robert Gamez at Bay Hill in 1990 and Craig Parry to win a playoff on the 18th hole at Doral in 2004.

Paul Casey had a walkoff ace to win a foursomes match at the Ryder Cup in Ireland, and Peter Hanson made a hole-in-one in a playoff at Walton Heath to earn a spot in the 2009 U.S. Open.

But a hole-in-one with a PGA Tour title on the line? That was a first.

"You're never prepared for a hole-in-one," Laird said.

It was the second straight week of high drama at a time of the year when players are simply grinding to keep their PGA Tour cards. Just last week at the Frys.com Open at CordeValle, Rocco Mediate holed out a wedge for eagle on the 17th hole of the final round, right after Alex Prugh came within inches of a holing out from the tee box with a driver.

This one was even more incredible, and it came at just the right time. Byrd was No. 117 on the money list going into Las Vegas, and this gives him a two-year exemption.

Byrd closed with a 68, and he had to watch four times -- once in regulation, three times in a playoff -- as Laird stood over a birdie putt with a chance to win. That sequence started in regulation, when Laird had a 30-foot birdie try. Laird, the defending champion, shot 69.

Percy, the Australian rookie who needed to win to keep his job on the PGA Tour, earlier holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the last hole for a 67 that allowed him to get into the playoff. They finished at 21-under 263.

Byrd thought he had a chance on the second playoff hole -- also the 17th -- when his 25-foot birdie putt spun 180 degrees out of the cup. Getting back to the 17th took almost as big of a break as his hole-in-one.

He was stunned to see his ball go down the side of the green toward the water, figuring his playoff was over.

"When I saw it go down the hill and I heard people going, 'Aww-w-w,' I thought it was in the water, and I thought I was going to be done," he said. "And then right at the last second, I kind of heard somebody cheer. And they don't cheer when it goes in the water."

The cheering was even sweeter on the next hole.

Byrd won $774,000 for his first win since the 2007 John Deere Classic.

Percy won $378,400, but he needed a victory to keep his card. He at least moved up to No. 144 on the money list, which at least will spare him going to the second stage of Q-school depending on how he fares in his last tournament.

Webb Simpson was at 22 under and had a one-shot lead until he pulled his tee shot into the water on the 17th and made double bogey. He finished with a 68 and wound up one shot out of the playoff, along with Spencer Levin, who had a 66.

Nick Watney, who lives in Las Vegas and was playing his final tournament before his wedding, had a 66 and tied for sixth with Cameron Beckman, who had a 67.

For those trying to finish in the top 125 on the money list to keep their tour cards, they now must wait two weeks before the final official tournament of the year at Disney.

It will have a hard time topping the last two weeks.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press Courtesy of AP, ESPN, and PlayonGolf.com
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Martin Laird leads Jonathan Byrd by 1

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Martin Laird has put together two great rounds at TPC Summerlin, following a second-round 62 with a 63. Now the Scot's trying to follow his breakthrough victory with a successful title defense.

Laird eagled the 310-yard, par-4 15th -- driving the green and holing an 8-foot putt -- and closed with three pars to take a one-stroke lead over Jonathan Byrd on Saturday in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open.

"I really left myself the easiest putt on the green," Laird said. "It was a right-edge, up-the-hill putt. That's the one most of us would want if we had 6 feet for eagle."

Last year, Laird won the event for his first PGA Tour title, beating George McNeill with a birdie on the third hole of a playoff. Chad Campbell was eliminated on the second extra hole.

"It's completely different because last year it was probably the best chance I've had to date to win a tournament and I was 134th or something on the money list," said Laird, 43rd on the money list this season. "So there was a lot more pressure on me last year than this year. It's definitely a little more relaxed week than last year, knowing that I've had a good year so far, and I don't have to worry about playing to keep my card."

Laird, a playoff loser to Matt Kuchar in The Barclays this year, had a 19-under 194 total on the rain-softened course in the fourth of five Fall Series events.

"It's been a good three days and, even after only shooting 2 under the first day, I was pretty confident that I could post three low ones in a row to get back in contention," Laird said. "I maybe didn't think I'd post 17 under the next two rounds, but I'm pleased obviously where I am and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

"Any time you shoot 62 you've got to feel pretty good after it. I was just pleased to finally make some putts because I hit it just as good on Thursday as I did on Friday, just made nothing, so it was nice to see the ball go in the hole. I've started to get a little more comfortable with the speed of the greens as the week has gone on and putted nicely again today."

Byrd shot a 66. Australia's Cameron Percy had a career-best 62, making eight birdies, an eagle and a bogey, to join Webb Simpson (64) at 17 under. Simpson had 10 birdies and two bogeys.

"I was 1 over through five," Simpson said. "But I told myself to stay patient and I knew birdies would come. I knew I was playing well enough to make a lot of birdies, and they came.

"I birdied six through nine and then 11 through 13 and then 15 and 16. I don't know if I've ever had 10 birdies in a round out here on tour, but it felt good."

Percy, a 36-year-old rookie from Australia, is 185th on the money list with the final top 125 earning full status for next year.

Cameron Beckman (64) and Spencer Levin (66) were tied for fifth at 15 under.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press Courtesy of AP, ESPN, and PlayonGolf.com
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Jonathan Byrd Grabs Lead in Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS -- Jonathan Byrd shot an 8-under 63 on Friday at rain-softened TPC Summerlin to take the second-round lead at 13 under in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open.

Byrd, seeking his fourth PGA Tour title, had nine birdies and a bogey in perfect scoring conditions in the fourth of five Fall Series events.

"This golf course, when it's not firm, it takes a lot of teeth out of the golf course," Byrd said. "And the hole location and the way the greens are shaped and everything. But the ball is not going quite as far. I've hit it very well the last two days. I've given myself a lot of options, and I've putted well."

1. Byrd (-13)
2. Imada (-12)
T-3. Five tied at -11

Ryuji Imada was a stroke back after a 62. He had an eagle, eight birdies and a bogey.

"It helps me to have softer greens, because I'm not a longer hitter," Imada said. "And you know, it usually helps me quite a bit."

Defending champion Martin Laird (62), Alex Prugh (64), John Senden (67), George McNeill (66) and Nicholas Thompson (66) were two strokes back at 11 under. Ryder Cup player Rickie Fowler (64) topped a group at 10 under, and U.S. teammate Hunter Mahan was 7 under after a 68.

"Obviously, making the cut is kind of the first step to winning a tournament," Fowler said. "So, we're in good position going into the weekend. It would have been nice to play the par 5s a little bit better today but, all in all, a good run."

Byrd, 117th on the money list, was upset about his bogey on the par-4 11th.

"I let it get to me just for a minute," Byrd said. "I pulled it a little bit [off the tee] and I had a pretty easy shot; just kind of bumped -- run it up from 100 yards on the green. I hit it over the green, bad chip, bad putt to make a bogey. And I came back with a great birdie on the next hole.

"I was starting to think, 'Man, I gave one back.' But then I came back with a birdie on the next hole and kind of got rid of that. That helped a lot."

Imada, the 2008 AT&T Classic winner, is 101st on the money list, with the top 125 after the Children's Miracle Network Classic next month in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., earning full status next year.

"I've been working hard to get my second PGA Tour victory, and you never know when that next chance comes around," Imada said. "And this looks like it, so I'm going to give it my best shot."

Laird, from Scotland, won in a playoff last year, beating George McNeill with a birdie on the third extra hole after Chad Campbell was eliminated on the second hole.

"It's definitely the type of tournament you just have to keep firing, and even when you're 5, 6 under par, you know that's not good enough," Laird said. "You've got to keep going at pins, and that's what I did."

The cut was at 4-under 138.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press Courtesy of AP, ESPN, and PlayonGolf.com
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Five tied for lead atfirst-round lead in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open

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LAS VEGAS -- Robert Garrigus, Will MacKenzie, Michael Letzig, John Senden and rookie Cameron Tringale shot 7-under 64s on Thursday to share the first-round lead in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open, the fourth of five Fall Series events.

George McNeill, Nicholas Thompson, Ryan Palmer, Vaughn Taylor and Martin Flores opened with 65s, and John Daly and Davis Love III topped a group at 66.

Justin Timberlake Open
Letzig T-1. Letzig (-7)
T-1. Senden (-7)
T-1. Tringale (-7)
T-1. Garrigus (-7)
T-1. MacKenzie (-7)
• Complete scores

Hunter Mahan shot a 67 in his first round since the Ryder Cup, and U.S. teammate Rickie Fowler had a 68.

MacKenzie, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour, birdied his first three holes -- Nos. 1, 2 and 3 -- and made up for a bogey on No. 8 with a birdie on the ninth. He birdied Nos. 12-14 and 16 on the back nine.

"I got off to such a great start," MacKenzie said. "I hit a beautiful 5-iron into 6 or 8 feet and made it (on the par-4 third hole). Of course, I started thinking, 'It's about time for me to shoot a real low one.'"

Letzig was 3 under on his last two holes, birdying the par-3 eighth and closing with an eagle on the par-5 ninth, after playing his first nine holes in 6-under 30.

"Got off to an unbelievable start, 6 under through seven," Letzig said. "Just fell asleep in the middle of the round, played really sloppy. Missed a couple greens with wedges in my hand and just kind of got mad at myself. (But I) had a great finish. Birdie-eagle saved the round."

Senden birdied three of his last four holes on the front nine to close out his first round.

"There are half a dozen holes you really feel you have a good chance of birdying them," Senden said. "And you feel a little bit disappointed when you walk off with a par after hitting the ball well.

"This golf course, if you're driving the ball well, you can shoot some real low numbers."

Senden, Garrigus and Tringale shot 4-under 31s on the front nine.

"On a couple of the long putts, where my ball didn't hit any spike marks, ball marks, the ball rolled right in the hole," Garrigus said. "It's also nice to roll a couple in early and get some confidence.

"I left a couple out there. No. 9, I made par because I had to go to the bathroom so bad, I couldn't even walk. I was walking down the fairway and I was thinking, 'I really need a restroom right now.'

"But I didn't know if I was going to be tested or not today. Whenever I go to the bathroom on the golf course, they test me. I was worried about being tested after the round. Once you go to the bathroom on the golf course, it's going to take me three hours to go to the bathroom again."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press Courtesy of AP, ESPN, and PlayonGolf.com
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