Chris Kirk Wins PGA Tour’s McGladrey Classic as Baird Falters

Chris Kirk won golf’s McGladrey Classic by one shot over Tim Clark and Briny Baird, who was denied a chance for his first U.S. PGA Tour victory in 365 starts when he found a water hazard on the final hole.

Kirk, 28, shot a 4-under-par 66 yesterday to finish with a four-round total of 14 under 266 at Sea Island Resort’s Seaside Course on St. Simons Island, Georgia. He received $990,000 for his first PGA Tour title since his breakthrough win at the 2011 Sanderson Farms Championship -- as well as berths in the Masters Tournament and PGA Championship.

The 41-year-old Baird, who has made more career PGA Tour starts without a win than any active player, was tied with Kirk for the lead at the 18th hole before topping his approach from a bunker into a pond for a penalty. Baird didn’t compete on the PGA Tour last season while recovering from double-shoulder surgery and is playing this year on a major medical extension. This was his sixth career runner-up finish.

“This game’s so humbling it’s incredible,” Baird said. “I could have crawled into a shell walking up to the green on 18 knowing that I had no realistic chance at winning the golf tournament. It’s not all about winning, but this hurts.”

Clark matched Baird at 13-under par after shooting a final-round 62 that included birdies on the final three holes. Brian Gay, John Senden and Scott Brown tied for fourth place at 12 under par.

The PGA Tour’s wraparound 2013-14 season, which has six events this year, continues Nov. 14-17 with the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico. It then takes a six-week break before resuming in January with its traditional swing through Hawaii before moving to the U.S. West Coast for six events in California and Arizona.

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