ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. — Jonathan Byrd is heading back to the PGA Tour for the first time in three years after winning the weather-delayed Web.com Tour Championship on Monday.
A five-time PGA Tour winner, Byrd closed with a 4-under 67 at Atlantic Beach Country Club for a four-shot victory. He was tied for 66th in the standings going into the last of four Web.com Tour Finals events that awarded tour cards to the top 25.
Byrd finished at 24-under 260. His last PGA Tour victory came in 2011 at the Tournament of Champions.
"There was, I think, a lot more hard work went into getting this win, and I got tired of telling my kids, and my kids kept praying, ‘I want to pray for daddy to get a win.’ It’s been a while," Byrd said. "My youngest, the 5-year-old, has never got to see me win a tournament and she got to be here today. So it’s just very gratifying, very satisfying."
Byrd had considered skipping the event after two straight missed cuts, but he made the drive from his home in Sea Island, Georgia, after a pep talk from his wife.
"You never know when it’s going to be your week, and this week was my week," Byrd said. "I played great, I got great breaks to go along with it, I made putts and it just kind of came easy."
Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer who shot 59 in the first round, closed with a 69 and tied for second with Shawn Stefani (65). Both earned their way back to the PGA Tour, which starts its new season Thursday.
"My goal was to win this tournament, too," Saunders said. "I was looking beyond getting the tour card back. … Disappointed not to win, but I played really well this week, and the 18th hole is the only reason I didn’t win the tournament."
Byrd and Stefani were among five players who moved into the top 25 on the Finals money list in the last event. The others were Matt Jones, Cameron Tringale and Tom Hoge, who closed with a 65 and finished 23rd.
The top 25 players from the regular-season money list already were assured of PGA Tour cards. Chesson Hadley won the money lists for both the regular season and the Finals, earning fully exempt status and a spot in The Players Championship.
Ben Crane, another five-time tour winner, came into the event ranked 24rd on the Finals money list but opted not to play. He fell out of the top 25, though he will have conditional status from finishing in the top 150 in the FedEx Cup.
Crane figured he would miss out on only two tournaments he otherwise would have played. He already was in Napa, California, for the start of the PGA Tour season at the Safeway Open by virtue of his position on the FedEx Cup from last year.
As usual, Crane found an upside to his misfortunes.
"The guys who bumped me were all my buddies," he said, referring specifically to Byrd and Tringale. "I’m much happier for my friends who would have had no status."
Hunter Mahan, who missed the cut, also failed to regain his card. He can take a one-time exemption for being in the top 50 in career earnings.
Chad Collins, Steve Wheatcroft and Seamus Power also locked up their tour cards in the final event.