KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- After finishing 2006 at No. 63 on the money list, Chez Reavie just missed the 62-man field of the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship. With his victory at the Knoxville Open presented by Food City on Sunday, Reavie not only guaranteed a berth in this year's Nationwide Tour Championship, but he put himself in great position to finish the year in 'The 25' and earn his 2008 PGA TOUR card.
|INSIDE THE NUMBERS|
|CHEZ REAVIE'S FINAL STATS|
In front of record crowds at one of four events remaining from the original 1990 Nationwide Tour schedule, Reavie shot a 5-under-par 67 to finish at 18 under for the tournament. The three-stroke victory over Kyle McCarthy is Reavie's first victory on the Nationwide Tour and moves him to No. 5 on the money list.
"I've been working so hard this year. I had a couple of chances to win last year and would always have a bad round here or there and fall out," he said. "You really start to question yourself. So it's very gratifying to get a win."
The three-time All-American from Arizona State began the day hot with an eagle on the first hole and a birdie on No. 2, giving him a five-stroke lead. McCarthy battled back with birdies on Nos. 3, 4 and 7, and when Reavie made consecutive bogeys on Nos. 8 and 9, they went to the 10th tee tied for the lead.
Reavie broke the tie quickly with a birdie on the 10th hole combined with a McCarthy bogey. Reavie birdied the next two holes and coasted to his three-stroke victory.
"It was an amazing start to the round," Reavie said. "Then, all of the sudden, I bogey one hole, then another. I had to step back and take a deep breath and compose myself. Then I was able to birdie 10, 11 and 12 and get the lead back."
McCarthy gave the packed galleries something to cheer for all week. The personable underdog shot 73 and failed to Monday qualify, but after several players pulled out of the tournament, the 31st alternate found his way in the field. He picked up a 15-year-old caddie and teed it up on Thursday without playing a practice round. The 24-year-old made his first cut of the season and was rewarded with a career-best second-place finish
"Chez played great," McCarthy said. "I wanted to win, but after the start that Chez had going eagle-birdie, I went from 1 to 4 down. But I made a run at him and am proud of the way I held up."
A birdie at the 18th moved McCarthy from a tie for second to solo second. His finish inside the top 25 puts him in next week's Peek'n Peak Classic field, while the $51,300 paycheck for second place goes a long way toward getting him in the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational -- a tournament reserved for the top 60 on this year's money list.
"I felt like I was going to play well on Wednesday night. I just tried to fool myself into thinking that I was going to play well. ," McCarthy said. "It seemed to work pretty well. I think I'll have to try that again next week."
For the 25-year-old Reavie, the win means that with a few more solid finishes, he will find his way to the PGA TOUR in 2008.
"It's great to win and hopefully I can have a few more good weeks to solidify my place on the money list," Reavie said. "It's great to see the all the hard work is paying off."
Michael Letzig shot his third consecutive bogey-free round with a 5-under 67 and finished the tournament at 13 under par, tied for third. The finish moves Letzig to 15th on the money list and gives him his third top-10 finish of the season. Esteban Toledo also moved into 'The 25' with his third top-10 finish in the last four events.
Final-Round News & Notes: The 214-yard, par-3 16th hole played as the most difficult hole for the tournament, averaging 3.188. The course played to an average of 72.140 for the week. ... Reavie is the 12th player in tournament history to record his first victory in Knoxville. ... The Nationwide Tour heads to Findley Lake, N.Y., next week for the Peek'n Peak Classic. ... Tommy Biershenk (T5) was the only player to eagle the par-5 fifth hole this week. He did it in the second, third and fourth rounds.
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