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Back 9, wind negate Willis’ round 4 start
Carroll nearly makes cut in 1st Nationwide event

One Farragut-area golfer reflected on falling short of going to the last hole in contention at News Sentinel Open presented by Pilot Sunday, Aug. 28.

Another would have loved the chance to fall short Sunday at Fox Den Country Club, as Bearden High alumnus Chase Carroll missed the cut — in his first-ever Nationwide Tour event — by just one stroke (4-under).

Garrett Willis, ex-Farragut High School state champ from the early 1990s and PGA Tour pro the last five years earning $417,270 in 2011, finished tied for 13th at 15-under par, six behind champ Kirk Triplett.

“My front nine was great, my back nine was not so great,” said Willis, whose quick start on the front nine in Sunday’s final round — three birdies — preceded a collapse on the back nine: bogeys at No. 11, 13, 16 and 17.

“I couldn’t have gotten off to a better start ... it was a dream start. Make a great 25-footer on No. 2. Had it going pretty good when I birdied No. 5.”

Though saying he welcomed a strong Sunday wind he struggled with during Saturday’s third round ( 1-under), “Once again it really got to me,” Willis said. “I thought I had it managed pretty good the first nine holes.

“At No. 10, I didn’t think the wind was blowing that hard, hit a great drive; I was one yard short of carrying that bunker to the left.

“It ends up in a bunker, and kinda sours the rest of my day after that,” he added.

After an even par opening round, Carroll shot 4-under in round 2 Friday, Aug. 26. But this former South Atlantic Conference MVP at Tusculum College bogeyed No. 17 then found water and did the same at No. 18 Friday.

Momentum came quick with a eagle at No. 1 (par 5, 521). “That was a great confidence booster, and got me really relaxed,” Carroll said, adding birdies at 3, 5, 8, 10 and 15. He also bogeyed 6.


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