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March 18 2011

5:24 PM

Willis avoids repeat of last year

Garrett Willis is the player who shot 65 in the opening round of the Transitions Championship last year -- and wasn't even around to play on Sunday after missing the 54-hole cut.

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Willis

He shot 66 on Thursday ... and promptly bogeyed his first hole Friday even though it's an easy 552-yard par-5.

"Same as last year. Here we go again," Willis said. "All I had to do was hit a 7‑iron up the middle of the fairway, hit a wedge on the green to give myself ‑‑ to make a putt. But no; I wanted to hit 3‑wood up in the neck, and if I hit it good to where I can have an easy birdie, and I just missed it a little bit. Goes under the tree, dumped under the bunker and made bogey."

Turns out, it was the last mistake he'd made. He pitched in for eagle on the par-5 fifth and made three more birdies coming in, polishing off a 67 that had him off work in time to see No. 9 seed Tennessee take on No. 8 Michigan in the NCAA West Regional in Charlotte (Willis played collegiately at East Tennessee State).

"I'll get to go home, hang out with the family, hang out with [infant son Gage]," Willis said. "Tennessee is playing basketball here shortly."

"Heading straight home. No practice, no nothing. Golf's behind me until tomorrow morning."

Willis' 133 total is good for the current lead, although Paul Casey, who shot 64 on Thursday, has just teed off.

GARRETT WILLIS: Scorecard | Shot Tracker

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