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Australian wins Open in sudden death
Lyle chip out of trouble on extra hole earns title

Jarrod Lyle of Melbourne, Australia, spoke glowingly of Fox Den Country Club’s golf course and Food City’s chain of “fabulous” supermarkets.

And it’s no wonder why, as Lyle used the FDCC course to post a 72-hole 19-under score (269), then collected a $90,000 championship check with Food City’s name inscribed.

Lyle’s short birdie putt on sudden-death hole No. 18 was good enough to edge out Chris Kirk, Sea Island, Ga. — who barely missed about a 12-foot putt for birdie — and win the 19th annual Knoxville Open Presented by Food City Sunday, June 22.

Lyle, who played in the 2008 U.S. Open, collected his second Nationwide Tour win of the season and is one Tour win short of earning instant elevation to the PGA Tour while earning a PGA Tour Card for 2009.

He’s also zoomed to No. 1 on Nationwide Tour’s money list.

As for the course, Lyle said, “It’s not long by any means but you’ve got to hit it in the right spots.

“There’s such dinky little holes everywhere — if you hit it too long you’re through the dogleg, if you hit it too short you’re not far enough.

“It’s a good ball-striker’s course,” he added. “You’ve got to think you’re way around the course really, really well.

“That’s kinda one of my strengths. My course management is really good.”

In sudden death after clipping trees with his tee shot, Lyle managed to place his second shot on a sloped fringe just off the green then chipped within 18 inches of the hole for an easy birdie.

Kirk had to chip his third shot out of rough near the cart path without as much success.

Leading D.J. Brigman of Albuquerque, N.M. by one shot after three rounds, Lyle blew a two-shot lead with two holes to play Sunday, bogeying No. 17 before barely missing about a 17-foot birdie putt on No. 18.

Kirk, meanwhile, finished regulation with a long birdie putt on No. 18 to force sudden death.

“Thanks to Food City for their on-going support of this tournament, fabulous chain of supermarkets,” Lyle told the crowd gathered around the 18th green during the awards ceremony. “Just unbelievable, everything you could ask for in a supermarket.”

Knox County qualifiers Garrett Willis (144) and FDCC head pro Scott Moran (150) failed to make the cut after 36 holes Friday.


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