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Knoxville Open champ
Reavie cruises down the stretch at Fox Den, lays claim to 18th annual event at 17-under

A quick start propelled Chez Reavie to his first Nationwide Tour win at the 18th Annual Knoxville Open, presented by Food City, at Fox Den Country Club Sunday, June 24. Reavie shot a 4-under-par 68 to finish at 17-under for the tournament to finish three strokes ahead of runner-up Kyle McCarthy, who finished the final round with a 2-under-par 70.

“I have been working so hard this year,” said Reavie, who shot 68, 70, 65 and 68 over the four days. “I had a couple chances to win last year and would always have a bad round and fall out. You kind of start questioning yourself with ‘can I really win?’ And here I am. I finally broke through and I know I can win here.”

The 25-year old began the day with an eagle on the first hole and a birdie on No. 2, giving him a five-stroke lead. McCarthy fought back to tie for the lead at the 10th after making birdies on Nos. 3, 4 and 7 and Reavie bogeyed Nos. 8 and 9.

“Chez played great,” McCarthy said. “I wanted to win, but after the start that Chez had going eagle-birdie, I went from one to four down. But I made a run at him and am proud of the way I held up.”

Reavie regained the lead on No. 10 after a birdie and a McCarthy bogey.

“I got off to a really quick start and all of a sudden I three-putted one hole and got a tough break on number nine and all of a sudden I was tied again,” Reavie said. “I just had to step back and take a deep breath and compose myself. I was able to birdie ten, eleven and twelve to get the lead back.”

Composure played a major role throughout the week for the three-time All-American from Arizona State. A conversation Saturday night with swing coach Peter Kostis was flowing through Reavie’s head during the Sunday round.

“I talked to him a lot [about the final day] and he kind of warned me it could go back and forth,” Reavie said. “He said you just have to stay patient and keep plugging away and he was right. I just kind of went through that conversation on the turn and calmed down and made some birdies.”

McCarthy gave Reavie a run for his money, but the back nine belonged to Reavie. Nonetheless, the 24-year-old McCarthy made an impact at Fox Den. After shooting a 1-over par 73 and failing to qualify on Monday, the 31st alternate found his way into the field after several players pulled out of the tournament.

He was the tournament leader at 10-under par after two days of play after shooting a 64 Thursday and 70 Friday.

“I didn’t feel like I struck it well the first two days,” McCarthy said. “I hit twenty-one of thirty-six greens the first two days so it’s not like I was knocking the flag sticks down.

“So I feel like a little more work and just tighten up the irons a little bit more and make puts and I can beat most guys. I didn’t know that before this week. I thought it but I didn’t know it.”

A birdie on 18 solidified a second place finish for McCarthy, as he broke away from Michael Letzig, who finished the day at 6-under par and 13-under for the tournament.

“I tried to fool myself into positive thoughts,” McCarthy said. “Convince yourself that you are going to do well whether you actually think you are. That was the way I tried to go about it. It seemed to work so I might try that again next week.”

While the gallery seemed to enjoy the final pairing, the duo had equal gratitude towards the spectators.

“When you make birdie and hear them go crazy, it’s nice,” Reavie said. “To have them root you on a little bit when you start to get down on yourself, they pump you up a little bit and it’s a lot of fun. They seem to be having a good time so it’s good.”

The win earned Reavie an $85,500 check and vaulted him to fifth on the Nationwide Tour money list. McCarthy earned $51,300 for second-place.

“It’s just a good feeling to walk off knowing I got it up and down and was able to handle all the pressure, and I was able to come out and win,” Reavie said.


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