Lyle wins Knoxville Open in playoff over Kirk

June 22, 2008
Mark Williams, PGA TOUR Staff

KNOXVILE, Tenn. -- After 14 different winners from 14 tournaments this year, the Nationwide Tour has its first dual winner at the halfway point of the season.

Inside the Numbers
Lyle's Final Stats
Category Total Rank
Eagles 0 N/A
Birdies 25 2
Pars 41 T57
Bogeys 6 T39
Double Bogeys 0 N/A
Other 0 N/A
Driving Accuracy 58.9% T39
Driving Distance 297.6 yds. 8
Greens in Regulation 86.1% 1
Putts per Round 28.8 T19
Putts per GIR 1.613 3
Sand Saves 0.0% T48

Jarrod Lyle defeated Chris Kirk with a birdie at the first playoff hole to claim the Knoxville Open Sunday as his second title of the season after both players finished at 19-under-par 269. Lyle, who won the Mexico Open earlier this year, shot 66-67-67-69, and the $90,000 check jumped him to first on the money list with $281,939.

D.J. Brigman birdied the last hole to tie for third with Kyle Reifers, two shots back at 17 under. Brigman jumped from 25th to 17th on the money list while Reifers improved his position to 41st. Chris Smith and Doug Barron tied for fifth.

Lyle, the big Australian, was cruising to his second victory of the year until Kirk birdied the final hole to post 19 under. Lyle, in the final group directly behind Kirk, answered with a par and a final-round 69, to send it to a playoff.

Lyle blocked his tee shot on the playoff hole (18th hole) and got a lucky break when his ball hit the trees, bounced out into the adjacent 10th fairway, then had a clear shot to the green on the 597 yard par 5.

"I had a hanging lie and it wasn't very inviting with all that water in front of the green, but I got up there and committed to the shot," said Lyle, who hit hybrid onto the fringe of the green, 70 feet from the hole. He chipped to 10 inches and tapped in for birdie.

Kirk's long approach shot from the left rough sailed well left of the green. He pitched to 10 feet and missed the putt, and the title was Lyle's.

"The putt in the playoff was on the same line as in regulation and it just didn't break," said a disappointed Kirk. "Jarrod being able to make birdie from the other fairway was pretty incredible, so you've got to hand it to him."

The win was more special for Lyle because his parents, John and Sally, were here to see him win after flying in from Australia for last week's U.S.Open.

For Kirk, it was his best finish of the year. "I knew if I played a solid round today I would have a good chance to win," said the 23-year-old. "I was right there in contention and to make birdie on 18 and have a chance, well, that was great." Kirk advanced to 42nd on the money list with $68,224.

Reifers, who made three eagles in the first round of the recent Bank of America Open, started with eagle and made the turn at 15 under. Three birdies on the back nine, including on both par 3s, had Reifers in the clubhouse at 17 under.

"I was disappointed not to get my ball in the fairway on eighteen to get a better look. I ended up having a pretty good two-putt just for par," said Reifers, referring to his 50-footer on the last hole. The tie for third was his best finish this year.

Bob May, runner-up at the Bank of America Open, moved into "The 25" with his tie for ninth.

Rich Barcelo, a Reno, Nev., resident, made the second hole-in-one of the tournament with a 7-iron at the downhill, 194-yard sixth hole. Barcelo played the other par 3s birdie, bogey, double bogey and shot 67.

Ricky Barnes, from Scottsdale, Ariz., started eagle, par, birdie, birdie and got to 7 under for the day through 13 holes. Bogeys on the final three holes left him with a 68, tied for 49th. He is now the "bubble boy" at 25th on the money list with $100,830.

Final-Round News & Notes David McKenzie played alone in the first group in 2 hours 25 minutes. ... The most difficult hole for the tournament was No. 4 averaging 4.150 while the easiest hole was the 521 yard par-5 first hole, which averaged 4.333. ... The final-round scoring average was 70.862 while the tournament scoring average was 71.260. ... Low round of the day was 66 shared by Stephen Gangluff, Greg Chalmers and Kyle Reifers. ... Garrett Osborn made two eagles Sunday at the fifth and 18th holes, both par 5s. ... Bob May played the par-3 16th hole 2-3-1-5 for the four days. ... Brad Fritsch made eagle at the 436 yard, par-4 fourth hole, the most difficult hole of the week. ... A total of 42 eagles were scored during the week surpassing last year's 35 eagles. ... Spencer Levin made only three bogeys in four rounds.