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2011 Open: Molder wins, Tiger Woods returns to competition

Tiger Woods, competing for the first time since the PGA Championship, finished in a tie for 30th place.
Tiger Woods, competing for the first time since the PGA Championship, finished in a tie for 30th place.
Getty/Robert Laberge

It took some extra golf--six holes' worth, to be exact--but Arkansan and Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket Bryce Molder captured his first PGA Tour victory at the 2011 Open at CordeValle Resort in San Martin, California. Molder outlasted Briny Baird as the sun rapidly set over Northern California.

Bryce Molder made the 2011 Open his first PGA Tour victory
Robert Laberge

Baird had begun the final round with a two-stroke lead and shot a final-round four-under par 67 to post 17-under par 267. But Molder, in the penultimate group, shot a final-round 64 that included a birdie on his final hole to ultimately tie Baird and force a playoff.

Both players alternated birdies and pars the first five holes of the playoff (which alternated between the drivable par four 17th hole and the medium-length par four 18th), before Molder put Baird away with a birdie on the sixth hole.

The win was Molder's first in 132 PGA Tour starts. Baird, considered one of the best players on Tour without a win, continues to hold that dubious title. The runner-up finish was his fifth in his 348 career starts.

Also making headlines over the weekend was 14-time major champion Tiger Woods, who has slid all the way to 52nd in the Official World Golf Ranking after a season hampered by injury. The former longtime world number one player regained some form in northern California, though, following an opening round of 73 with three straight 68s to finish in a tie for 30th place. Woods will not play either of the remaining Fall Series events but will likely be seen again in competition before he competes alongside 11 of his fellow elite American professional golfers at next month's Presidents Cup at Australia's Royal Melbourne Country Club.

For now, the PGA Tour heads cross-country to Sea Island Resort's Seaside Course and the McGladrey Classic. Play begins there this Thursday morning.


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