Bryce Molder wins in playoff for first PGA Tour victory

Reporting From San Martin, Calif. -- Tiger Woods might have been the biggest story at the Open, but he wasn’t the only one.

These late-season tournaments tend to be the domain of lower-tier players trying to steal a victory and youngsters hoping to make a name for themselves. This week in Northern California was no different.

Two men looking for their first PGA Tour title — Bryce Molder and Briny Baird — battled through six playoff holes before Molder sank a birdie putt to secure the win at CordeValle Golf Club.


The extra work was no problem for competitors who had gone a combined 478 career starts without a victory.

“You almost get past being nervous,” Molder, who shot a seven-under-par 64 in the final round, said of the playoff. “You’ve been doing it so long your body can’t even be nervous.”

The Arkansas native, who turned professional in 2001, has a dramatic back story.

Born with no left pectoral muscle and a rare condition known as Poland syndrome, Molder needed two surgeries as a child to reshape a left hand that was much smaller than his right.

Baird was facing a different sort of obstacle Sunday. Entering the final round in first place, he had earned $11.9 million over 347 previous starts — the most career earnings for a golfer who had never won.

Earlier in the tournament, he said a victory was not going to make or break him, qualifying as “more of a bucket-list type thing.” He sounded different after the finish.

“Obviously I’m disappointed right now,” said Baird, whose round of 67 left him at 17-under 267.. “I’m more than disappointed.”

As for Woods, he spent Sunday well off the leaderboard on his way to a tie for 30th place at seven under but still found a way to make news.

The former top-ranked player was standing over a putt on No. 7 when a fan charged out of the gallery yelling “Tiger” and tossed a hot dog in Woods’ direction. Woods calmly backed away.

“He was pretty far away from me,” Woods said. “When I looked up, the hot dog was already in the air.”

The man, described by police as a 31-year-old from nearby Santa Rosa, immediately threw his hands up and was apprehended by security. He was arrested for disturbing the peace, said Sgt. Jose Cardoza of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Dept.

Rod Pampling, paired with Woods in the final round, called the incident “bizarre.” Tournament security official Dan Diggins said it could have been worse.

“It wasn’t a chili dog,” he said.