June 23, 2007
By Chris Reimer
PGA TOUR Staff
KNOXVILLE-- In a round that included a two-hour delay due to lightning, Chez Reavie shot an electric 7-under-par to move to 13-under and take a one-stroke lead at the Knoxville Open presented by Food City. The $85,500 winner's check would look nice to a guy who finished last year No. 63 on the money list, just missing out as the top 62 players advanced to the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship.
"I've learned to be patient out here," he said. "Last year, I would get upset if I wasn't 5-under through 15. This year I've realized that good rounds will come to you. You just can't press on this Tour."
Reavie has five top-25 finishes this season after making the cut in 17 of 22 starts during his rookie campaign last year. The three-time All-American from Arizona State University made seven birdies on the day, including a string of three at holes 12-15, the last of which came just before the horns blew to signify a stoppage in play.
"You play enough golf, you don't get upset about weather delays," Reavie said. "You have to totally start over and not think about the streak you had going."
Sporting a white belt with 1980s rock band Guns-N-Roses etched on it, Kyle McCarthy's Paradise City might become Knoxville if he can slash the one-stroke deficit he faces going into the final round. McCarthy started the day with a one-stroke lead on Deane Pappas. The 24-year-old rookie on the Nationwide Tour made his first cut of the season this week at one of four events remaining from the original 1990 Nationwide Tour schedule.
"I spent the delay sitting with my cousin by the pool. Looking back, it probably wasn't a great idea to sit by a body of water surrounded by a chain link fence during a lightning storm. I might have to find a better spot if that happens again," McCarthy joked. "At the beginning of the week, I would definitely have taken the last group on Sunday. I played solid today except for one bad swing on No. 11. I hit the tee shot into some guy's planter."
After hitting 10 greens in regulation on both Thursday and Friday, McCarthy came out and hit 8 of this first 9 on Saturday. With birdies on holes 1 and 7, he made the turn still in the lead. An errant tee shot on No. 11 led to a double bogey. He rebounded quickly with birdies on 12 and on the difficult par-3 16th. McCarthy's putt to move to 13-under and a share of the lead on the final hole missed just left of the hole.
Jon Mills spent last week at the U.S. Open. This week, he is two strokes behind Reavie heading into the final round. Mills shot a bogey-free 68 on Saturday and is looking for his second top-10 finish of the season over his last three events. Mills shot an opening round 73 at the Open and was later one of the players at 11-over-par that missed the cut because Angel Cabrera birdied his final hole to go to even-par at the end of the second round.
Both McCarthy and Reavie will be playing in the final group for the first time on the Nationwide Tour. Both are aware that they will need to play well in order to win.
"I've seen on TV so many strange things happen in Nationwide Tour tournament," McCarthy said. "Last week, I don't think anyone thought the leaders would back up the way they did. You never know what can happen. There will be no pressing if I make and early bogey."
Final-Round News & Notes: Chez Reavie, Jon Mills, Camilo Benedetti, Nicholas Thompson, Willie Wood, and Michael Letzig shot bogey-free rounds.... Nicholas Thomson, No. 2 on the money list moved from T57 to T13. If he earns more than $17,300 on Sunday, he will jump Nick Flanagan and move to No. 1 on the money list.... Being inside the top 25 on the money list is not the only thing on players' minds this week.... Tommy Biershenk is the only player to birdie the par 5 -- 5th hole this week. He has done it two times... Play was suspended due to lightning in the area at 2:58 p.m. and resumed at 5:15 p.m