Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Charlotte Caddie Comes Up Aces In Las Vegas

Perhaps PGA Tour caddie Adam Hayes, who lives part-time in Charlotte, should spend more time in Nevada.

Hayes was on Vaughn Taylor's bag both times the Augusta, Ga., player won the Reno-Tahoe Open and Hayes was shouldering Jonathan Byrd's clubs last week when the former Clemson star won the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas.

That meant Hayes had the best seat in the house when Byrd aced the fourth playoff hole to beat Martin Laird and Cameron Percy.

"It was pretty awesome just to be part of something like that," Hayes said after returning to Charlotte.

It's believed to be the first time a tournament on a major golf tour was won by an ace in a playoff. Just to get there, Byrd had to do something almost as dramatic -- birdie three of the last four holes to get into the playoff.

In regulation, Byrd birdied the 204-yard, par-3 17th hole to get to 21-under par, enough to get in the playoff. Little did Byrd and Hayes know what was coming.

In the playoff, Byrd parred the 17th the first time through, lipping out a 15-footer that could have won the tournament for him there. When they returned in the gathering darkness for the fourth extra hole, Hayes and Byrd knew exactly what they needed to do.

Byrd pulled a 6-iron, just as he had the two previous times he'd played the hole in the past hour, and left his natural right to left shot work for him.
"I knew we could win it on that hole," Hayes said.

He just didn't know it would happen so dramatically.

"I knew it was going right at the hole but when it went in, it was unbelievable," Hayes said.

It took a moment for Byrd, Hayes and everyone else to know what had happened. It was so dark they couldn't see the hole clearly and there was almost no gallery around the green. The few who were around the green started jumping and cheering and it became clear Byrd had just won his fourth PGA Tour event.

"He has the potential to be a top 20 player on tour," said Hayes, who has worked with Byrd for more than two years. "He just needs something to push him there. Maybe this is it."