Big Play: Byrd aces playoff hole to win the Justin Timberlake Open

Big Play: Byrd aces playoff hole to win the Justin Timberlake Open

Jonathan Byrd's hole-in-one gave him his fourth PGA Tour victory.
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

WHO: Jonathan Byrd
WHAT: A hole-in-one with a six iron
WHERE: 200-yard par 3 17th hole at TPC Summerlin
WHEN: Fourth playoff hole at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open

Jonathan’s stock shot is a draw, which he hits 90 percent of the time, so the back left pin at 17 was set up perfectly for him. He hit a sweeping draw that landed 10 feet short and rolled into the cup for his amazing ace.

Jonathan and I frequently play a game to practice his draw. The goal is to teach him to hit a draw but not let the ball cross over to land on the left side of the target. It’s a game you can play to practice either a draw or a fade. Here’s how we play.

We pick a target on the practice range. Then we stick a shaft into the ground 15 feet ahead of the hitting area so that the ball, the shaft and the target are on a straight line. We then hit balls at the target with two objectives:

1) The ball must fly to the right side of the shaft when it passes the shaft.
2) We accrue points based on how close to the target the ball lands. The first person to reach 20 points is the winner.

Here is the point breakdown, which is based on how close the ball lands to the target. The ball must land on the right side of the target to get the points.

10 points: on the target
5 points: within 10 feet
3 points: 10 to 20 feet
1 point: 20 to 30 feet
0 points: outside 30 feet

If the ball lands on the left side of the target:
-1 point: within 10 feet
-3 points: 10 to 20 feet
-5 points: 20 to 30 feet
-10 points: outside 30 feet

On Sunday evening, I sent Jonathan a text message that said, “Nice way to end it, on a 10-pointer.”

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Mike Bender runs the Mike Bender Golf Academy in Lake Mary, Fla. He is Jonathan Byrd’s teacher.