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Baird Almost Gets Maiden Victory
Briny Baird came as close as he ever has to notching his first win on the PGA Tour Sunday. Unfortunately, the 39-year-old journeyman pro came up just short, losing on the sixth sudden-death playoff hole to another previous winless player, Bryce Molder, in the Frys.com Open.
Baird was the leader heading into the final round, the first time he's been in that position since the Disney seven years ago. Alas, he couldn't get over the hump as, after a back-and-forth playoff that saw each player birdie three of the first five holes, Molder got one more to edge Baird.
So Baird's streak of no victories in 358 attempts over 12 seasons continues. But on Sunday evening at CordeValle Golf Club in San Martin, Calif., site of the Frys.com Open, Baird found some solace about his second-place finish, which prevented him having to return to Q-School later this year as he rose up to 93rd on the money list. "I get my $4,500 back," he quipped about receiving his Q-School refund.
Here's what else he had to tell reporters during a post-tournament Q&A.
MODERATOR: Briny, thanks for joining us. Obviously a disappointing finish, but if you could just talk about the day as a whole, another long day, but if you could just talk about the day as a whole and then we'll go to questions.
BRINY BAIRD: Played well. I did -- you know, I gave myself -- you know, going into the day it was like a lot of Sundays I've gone into. I wasn't feeling great, but I figured if I could just stick to my game plan and stick with a routine, and I did that really, really good. I really did. I played good. I mean I'm not -- I'm pissed, but I'm not angry. I guess there's really not that much difference. I don't know if you can really say that or not, but it's disappointing, and I mean I know how long I've played, and I lost my concentration one time today and it was one of the putts that I had to win the golf tournament. And I looked ahead, and that was a mistake, and I don't know if I missed the putt because of that or what, but I did some really good things today. I was happy with that, and as happy as I was with that, like said, I'm not happy with the outcome, but what are you going to do?
BRINY BAIRD: Yeah.
BRINY BAIRD: Yeah. Greens were a little bumpy just from the amount of people walking on them, but I think if the greens were a little bit smoother, the outcome for sure wouldn't have been any different. But Bryce and I both kind of joked about that, like his putt on 17 on one of the times where mine missed right first for eagle and then his missed left, and we had almost the same putt. And he --
Q. How unusual and sort of draining was that playoff, to go that long in a playoff?
BRINY BAIRD: It probably looked a lot worse -- not looked worse, but it probably seemed a lot longer to you guys than it did to us. Obviously I wasn't -- the moment hadn't lost me. I knew what I was playing for, so concentration had to be -- I'm not even sure how many holes we -- well, two, four -- I'm assuming six? So no, it wasn't as draining. I felt better in the playoff than I did during the round as far as -- I felt good.
Q. 17 in regulation you get up there and you're thinking up-and-down birdie?
BRINY BAIRD: Absolutely. Absolutely. Bonus ball.
BRINY BAIRD: Have I ever won? No, no one's ever asked that. (Laughs).
BRINY BAIRD: Is that for sure?
MODERATOR: Projected at 93rd.
BRINY BAIRD: I don't know what the purse is here.
Q. Second place?
MODERATOR: You're projected to move into 93 on the Money List.
BRINY BAIRD: How much was second place?
Q. Almost as much as (indiscernible).
BRINY BAIRD: 540? Just trying to pad that stat that we talked about yesterday.
Q. You were going to Q School; right?
BRINY BAIRD: Yeah. I get my $4,500 back, too. (Laughs).
BRINY BAIRD: Like I said, I played good. I finished second before four times, and only one of those four times did I really honestly think I had a chance to win, and that was the John Deere. The other times they weren't back door seconds, but I didn't feel like I was out there to win the tournament. I was ready for the tournament to kind of fall back to me. Today I felt like I was out there to win the tournament. I hit some shots when I really needed to hit some shots. For me that's a big deal. There's a hurdle that I overcame today that I'm not scared to talk about it. There's a reason why I have not won out here, and it's not obvious, but you know, you gotta be mentally tough, and you can't lose it and you gotta be a good putter.
BRINY BAIRD: When he hit it in the hazard, I thought it was -- yeah, I did. Again. But I didn't think it was over to the point that I lost concentration or anything like that. In my mind I was like, all right, I'm going to hit a good shot. I mean I hit a really good shot down off the tee box, but I did. Again, I thought it was my tournament -- didn't think it was over. I shouldn't say that. I thought it was definitely my tournament. There were some swings out there between him and I where it looked like it was his tournament and it looked like it was my tournament. There's no denying that.
Q. Briny, Ernie said that you guys practiced a lot together and it looked like you were very relaxed in that pairing. How much did it help today just playing that final round with him?
BRINY BAIRD: It helped. Honestly, I don't think it would have made too big a difference who I played with, but -- I shouldn't say that. It probably did help. Ernie's a great guy. I don't think I make him too nervous. So that's good.
BRINY BAIRD: Right, yeah. I think I really scared the you-know-what out of him with that. It was a very good pairing, and Paul Casey as well. Tremendous guy.
Q. What was your feeling going into your first career playoff?
BRINY BAIRD: I thought I -- honestly, there was zero doubt in my mind, and that's what I'm going to take away from this tournament. There was zero doubt that I would grab the check, and that's not a knock on Bryce. Bryce deserved to win the golf tournament, not me, but honestly, going into the playoff, if it were up to me, I might have grabbed my phone and texted -- I've been working with a new teacher for about a year now. I worked 12 years with a guy named Mike Adams, tremendous. And for about the last year I've worked with a guy named Darren May, who's also at the Bears Club. And part of me was thinking, just out of sheer comedy, texting him saying "this is in the bag." I mean I felt really good.
Q. What gave you that confidence?
BRINY BAIRD: I don't know. If I knew, you know, I would have -- I probably would have won. You know, because you keep doing this, that's knocking on the door. A lot of other times, you know, you finish second, you finish third, you finish fourth, you're not really knocking on the door. You're just shooting a good Sunday round when you were in 25th place. This was good. I'm happy, and I'm still that P word that I said.
MODERATOR: Anything else? Briny, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.